The Residential Mentorship is Byron Writers Festival’s flagship development program for emerging writers. The group mentorship program offers four writers the opportunity to spend five days in a Byron Shire location with accommodation and some meals provided, with one-on-one mentoring with Sarah Armstrong, a successful and published author of adult and children’s books. It’s an experience that many have described as life-changing, a time to forge lasting friendships and discover what lies at the heart of one’s work.
This opportunity has already proved to be a launch pad for many regional writers. Established in 2001, the roll call of past participants who are now published authors continues to grow every year. Notable alumni include Jesse Blackadder, Jarrah Dundler, Jessie Cole, Russell Eldridge, Mirandi Riwoe and many more.
The Firsthand Feedback Scholarships are a free feedback session with a professional author/mentor. Feedback sessions are two hours including the mentor’s reading time, and provide an initial appraisal of one’s work from an industry professional. The session will cover a 5000-word excerpt and synopsis. Four scholarships will be awarded.
Applicants can submit for both the Residential Mentorship and Firsthand Feedback Scholarships, or for only one of the programs.
Applicants for both opportunities must reside in the catchment area, from Tweed Heads to Taree and west to Kyogle and be a current member of Byron Writers Festival.
These sessions are generously supported by Lynda and Christopher Dean.
In a single Word document, applicants should collate the following:
A 200-word statement on why they want to be part of the mentorship, outlining how the mentorship will assist them at this stage of the writing process.
A 250-word synopsis or description of this project and their intentions for the work in progress.
The first 40 continuous pages of the manuscript (work must be typed, 12 point, Times New Roman font, double-spaced and paginated. The name of the applicant should not appear in the document).
The application fee is $40.
Applications open: w/c Monday 18 September 2023
Applications close: Thursday 5 October 2023, 11.59pm
Recipients announced: Mid-October 2023
Residency dates: 13 – 17 November 2023
Firsthand Feedback sessions take place anytime between Nov 2023 – Feb 2024
The Residential Mentorship application fee is $40. Successful applicants will be asked to make a contribution of $280 each towards their residency.
We encourage writers of all backgrounds to apply, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers.
Eligible writers must:
Be 18 years of age or over
Reside in the catchment area (from Tweed Heads to Taree and west to Kyogle)
Be a current member of Byron Writers Festival. Click here to become a member.
Manuscripts should be fiction or narrative non-fiction.
Applicants must be available for the entire period of the residency if successful and be able to attend as an individual without family or friends; and free themselves of all other commitments and obligations, including work.
The opportunity is open to one application per writer.
Previous Residential Mentorship recipients are eligible to apply again but it must be for a different manuscript.
Applicants who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or who are experiencing financial hardship are welcome to request a waiver of the application and contribution fees. Please email [email protected]
Before beginning the application form, please have your submission document ready (see submission guidelines above), your current membership number, and your credit card. If you are not yet a member of Byron Writers festival, please click here to become a member.
Two literary industry professionals will judge the entries. Judges will be asked to select four writers to participate in the Residential Mentorship, and four writers to receive a Firsthand Feedback session. The recipients will be selected according to:
Suitability of the work for the mentorship scheme
Potential of the work
Originality of the idea
The judges’ decision is final. Unsuccessful applicants will not be given individual feedback on their submission.
About the Residential Mentorship mentor
Sarah Armstrong was a journalist at the ABC where she won a Walkley Award. She’s written three novels, including Salt Rain which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. Big Magic is her first novel for children and its sequel Magic Awry was released earlier this year. She lives in Mullumbimby with her partner, the writer, Alan Close and their young daughter.