Youth Mentor Programme Information

The NZ Society of Authors has run a highly successful mentoring programme for writers since 1999 and the Youth Mentorship Programme is now in its ninth year. The youth programme, supported by Creative New Zealand, is open to students aged 15 to 18 years old nationwide.  The aims are to nurture, encourage, inspire and develop emerging writers with the support of established authors through the mentoring process.

There are four places available and the successful students will be matched with a well-known published New Zealand author.

Mentoring can take place either face-to-face, by telephone, email, Skype, or a combination of these. Each mentorship will be 9 hours long, and take place during Terms 2 and 3. The students will be able to discuss ideas and address areas of weakness in their work. The mentor also provides encouragement and practical advice and specific examples of how to improve the work. They share the benefit of their experience as published writers.

Most writers say they receive enormous benefit from having an experienced writer affirm that they have the ability to write well and younger writers are now also being similarly inspired by their mentors. Ideally, the students will have a project they would like to develop. This might include working on a short story collection; collecting together a themed group of poems; or developing the first draft of a novel or play.

Applicants are expected to be motivated to develop their writing and have a keen attitude towards being mentored. The application requires a sample of writing, and a letter of support from the student’s teacher or, in the case of a home schooled student, their guardian.

Applications are assessed by a panel of experienced writers. The panel will be looking for good writing style, originality in the project idea, and a project outline which shows that the student has a clear idea about what they would like to achieve in their writing.  They will also be looking for the students who can demonstrate a commitment to the mentorship. Unsuccessful applications will receive comments on their project from the panel members.

Applications close 4 April in any given year and applicants will be notified of the results by the end of April.