Literary youth mentorship programme seeks emerging young writers

By ReadNZ | Posted: Monday March 9, 2020

Four New Zealand secondary school students have an opportunity to be mentored by a professional writer in order to develop their craft and hone their skills.

The New Zealand Society of Authors (Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa) opens its Youth Mentorship Programme for 2020 and offers four aspiring young writers (aged 15-18) a chance to secure a mentorship from May to November, giving them the opportunity to gain valuable skills and knowledge.

The intent of the programme is to foster emerging writing talent with the support of established authors, with ongoing feedback and development of their work throughout the mentorship.

Aspiring Auckland writer Xiaole Zhan was partnered with poet and editor Ivy Alvarez for her mentorship and had this to say about her experience: “I enjoyed how the mentorship was very individualised to my personal goals and needs. I also enjoyed the opportunity for open discussion, which often helped me approach a concept from a different perspective. The opportunity to submit reworked sections of my manuscript for feedback also allowed me to see the ways in which I'd improved.”

Xiaole Zhan went on to win the secondary schools poetry competition in 2019, on National Poetry Day.

Hannah Turnbull of Gisborne was partnered with award winning novelist Anna Mackenzie for her mentorship and she commented: "I feel like I can go on from this with the skills needed to write a decent story. I still have a lot to learn, but that comes with the process, and I've been given the guidance I need from Anna to make that journey on my own".

The NZSA is the principal organisation representing writers in New Zealand. It offers support through advocacy and representation, professional development opportunities, information and guidance on publishing and the literary arts, administer prizes and awards and provide a contract advisory service.

It works to protect author incomes and are affiliated to International PEN, an organisation that upholds freedom of speech and protests against writers falsely silenced and imprisoned around the world. NZSA offers student, associate and full memberships. Its many assessment and mentorship programmes, such as the annual youth mentorships, are offered with the support of Creative New Zealand.

The deadline for applications is 4 April 2020.

For further information and application forms, please click here.

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