Since 2001, the Byron Writers Festival Residential Mentorship has been inspiring writers on the path to publication. The program has produced seventeen published authors in seventeen years. Here’s what they have to say about the program.
‘The most valuable thing about the mentorship was the sense it gave me of being part of a community of writers, so important after years of working away alone, writing into the void.’
Published novels include Salt Rain (2004), His Other House (2015), and Promise (2016).
‘Working under Marele’s guidance on After the Party – which went on to become my first published novel – was a springboard for my career, and for building a lovely network with local authors. It led to the formation of a writing group that ran for more than a decade.’
Published novels include After the Part (2005), The Raven’s Heart (2011), Chasing the Light (2013), Stay: The Last Dog in Antarctica (2013) and Sixty Seconds(2017).
‘The mentorship with Marele played a pivotal role in the early days of my writing career. Not only did her guidance give me the confidence to pursue the development of a first manuscript, it was the revelation that, with commitment to the craft, my long held dream to embrace a writing life could be realized. Five wonderful days in the company of three similarly passionate writers – it was truly transformative.’
Published travel memoir The Way is a River of Stars (2013), the novel Andal’s Garland (2021) and companion volume of translated verse A Garland of Love (2021)
‘Selection for the mentorship validated my ambition and allowed me to see myself as a ‘real writer’ for the first time. Feedback, from established crime author Marele Day, set me on the path towards improving my manuscript for traditional publication, and planted an indestructible seed of determination never to give up on that goal.’
Published The Wrong Hand in 2016.
‘Participating in the mentorship with Marele Day boosted my confidence and increased my skill in fine tuning prose and structure in order to complete a novel.’
Published novels include Liar Bird (2012), Sex, Lies and Bonsai (2013) and Arkie’s Pilgrimage to the Next Big Thing (2015). Her next novel Paris Syndrome is due for publication in 2018.
‘The Byron Writers Festival Residential Mentorship played a key role in my professional development, giving me direction, inspiration and encouragement.’
Published The Byron Journals in 2010.
‘The mentorship programme was a turning point for me as I was on the brink of giving up writing. Marele’s advice and mysterious methods made for a magical few days, as did the camaraderie of the group. I’d do it all over again in a flash.’
Published Have You Seen Simone? in 2014.
‘The Residential mentorship with Marele proved to be a crucial step towards publication. The guidance offered by both Marele herself, along with my fellow mentees, helped shape and refine the manuscript to a point I felt confident to present it to publishers.’
Published Bruce & Me in 2009.
‘The residency was the first opportunity I had to meet other writers. It was life-changing to be part of a small group of people who shared the same passion I did. Working with Marele, who is so steady and sure, gave me such a good start in the industry. The whole experience was enormously important, especially in building my confidence as a writer.’
Published novels include Darkness on the Edge of Town (2012), and Deeper Water (2014).
‘The mentorship turned the corner for my manuscript – providing time, focus, encouragement, practical advice – and hope.’
Published The Floating Garden in 2015.
‘The mentorship gave me the confidence and the feedback to take a raw manuscript to a new level. The skill of mentor Marele Day and the environment of trust and support among the participants was a rare gift.’
Published Harry Mac in 2015.
‘What an amazing opportunity and experience to have my work critiqued and guided by Marele Day. I was lucky enough to share this time with three very talented, diverse writers. The residency impacted my growth as a writer over the years, both in practice and professionally.’
Published She be Damned (under the name M J Tjia) and The Fish Girl in 2017.
‘It’s been a long journey and the help I received from Marele during the mentorship was invaluable. She showed me how to focus and polish each individual scene, and suggested structural changes that increased the tension and suspense. The lessons I learned in that five days not only resulted in a much stronger story, but have made me a better story teller today.’
Published Tarin of the Mammoths Trilogy: Exile (2017), Clan of Wolves (2017), Cave Bear Mountain (2018).
‘Before the residential mentorship program I had a rough forty pages of a novel manuscript I dreamed one day would be published. Marele’s astute feedback, heartfelt encouragement, and connections with the writing industry the program offered, all helped me to realise this dream.’