NZSA Mentor Programme

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The NZ Society of Authors Mentor Programme is designed to give beginning or emerging writers who demonstrate potential and commitment the opportunity to work closely with an experienced writer as their mentor in order to hone their writing skills and, in the process, take a piece of work from the early stages to a polished manuscript with potential for publication.

Offering professional development, a safe space to discuss the craft of writing, intellectual community, role models, accountability and substantive feedback.

NZSA seek to reflect and expand the depth and breadth of our sector and welcome applications from diverse writers working across a range of genres and writing disciplines. As part of our commitment to diversity we tag three mentorships for emerging writers identifying as Māori, Pasifika, and Asian. 

This programme is open to financial members of the NZSA. Mentors dedicate 25 hours of their time to a full mentorship and 12.5 hours to a half mentorship. Each mentorship spans a 7 – 8 month period which starts in April when the match is confirmed and ends by 1 December of that year. There are 13 mentorships available in 2024.


To apply to be part of this programme you need to fill out the online application form (link below) and pay the application fee of $35. Please read the guidelines and rules for this programme before making your application.

Desired outcomes from the mentoring programme are that writers:

  • utilise skills and awareness to self-critique their work;
  • work through the various drafts on their own to produce publishable work;
  • have confidence in their ability and worth as a writer;
  • have learnt and gone some way towards perfecting the techniques of writing;
  • have a project that is approaching a publishable quality;
  • develop tools and techniques that will assist them throughout their writing career;
  • gain a better understanding of the publishing industry;
  • achieve stated goals more easily.

Since its inception, the programme has had many successes.  Mentored projects including poetry collections, novels, and work for children have been accepted for publication and many graduates have gone on to develop successful careers in published writing.

The programme is designed to help new and emerging writers to develop skills which will sustain them throughout their future career.  Working on a specific project, successful applicants will get an opportunity to discuss ideas and problems, practical and editorial, and benefit from the experience and knowledge of published writers.

Mentors give 25 hours for full mentorships and 12.5 hours for half mentorships up until mid-November. Some of these hours are for the mentor to read and write critiques and the rest is for communication with the mentee to discuss ideas and problems, provide practical and editorial advice and share the benefit of their experience as published writers. We have compiled a register of mentors which includes some of New Zealand’s most experienced writers, editors and creative writing tutors. We are also open to contacting a writer who is not on our register to see if they are willing and have the time to take on a mentorship.

Mentoring can take place either face-to-face, by telephone, skype, email or a combination of these. Each mentee makes a plan with their mentor about the best way to communicate during the mentorship.

Applications are assessed by a selection committee of three experienced writers.

Mentees – 2023
Mentees – 2022
Mentees – 2021
Mentees – 2020
Mentees – 2019