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Breakthrough Mentoring Programme

Our nine-month fully funded mentoring programme for under-represented writers provides expert tuition and guidance from published authors and agents

Overview

We’re delighted to offer a nine-month mentoring programme for under-represented writers, fully funded by the Curtis Brown Group and Curtis Brown’s literary agents. The programme provides in-depth one-to-one tuition and feedback from published authors to help talented writers progress their long-form writing projects (see below for details). And each mentee also gets a one-to-one meeting with an agent, who will read the opening of their work-in-progress plus a one-page synopsis.

In 2021, mentoring will begin in February, May and October, with different eligibility criteria each time (see below). Each time, five mentees will be selected from applicants by the Curtis Brown Creative team, based on the quality of their writing and of the central idea driving their writing project. If you’re not chosen as one of the five mentees, don’t be discouraged – we offer lots of writing opportunities.

Is it right for me?

This mentoring programme is for you if you are a talented writer who fulfils the eligibility criteria (see below) and if you are seeking targeted, detailed one-to-one feedback on your work-in-progress, plus industry advice. You can apply for mentoring with respect to a project at any stage of writing (from just starting to redrafting) and for a work written in any of the following genres/categories:

  • Novel written for adults
  • Novel written for children (older than 7) or young adults
  • Collection of short stories
  • Memoir
  • Narrative non-fiction

(We may extend the range of genres in future years of the Breakthrough Writers’ Programme but this will be the offer for 2021).

How it works

If you’re selected for mentoring, we will match you with a mentor from our experienced team of author-tutors whose area of expertise/interest matches the kind of project you’re working on.

On three occasions over a nine-month period, you can send up to 10,000 words from your work-in-progress to your mentor, who will read it and meet with you on Zoom for one hour (on a mutually agreeable date) to discuss it in-depth, providing valuable and constructive verbal feedback plus 500 words of notes each time. You can also use a mentoring session to have an in-depth discussion about plot issues, by instead sending a synopsis plus an 8,000-word extract – or just a synopsis and a sheet of issues and questions to put to the mentor.

The three sessions should be spread so that they happen approximately every three months across the nine-month period (though if you want to have the sessions across a shorter time period – e.g. six months, that’s usually possible if agreed in advance).

Agent tutorial

At the end of the nine-month mentoring period (or earlier, at your request), each mentee will receive a 45-minute one-to-one Zoom tutorial with a Curtis Brown or C&W literary agent. The agent will read the opening 3,000-word extract from your novel-in-progress plus your synopsis. They will provide detailed feedback as well as answering questions about your writing more generally and your potential next steps.

Help with submitting your work

For all our mentees – when you’re ready to send the project you’re working on to agents, an experienced member of the CBC team will help you submit your work to the agents at Curtis Brown and C&W.

Eligibility and applications

This mentoring is part of The Breakthrough Writers’ Programme, an initiative offering funded opportunities to under-represented writers. Applications for the autumn 2021 programme will be opening soon.

Meet our author-mentors

Our mentoring team are all published author-tutors – and we’ll be adding more great mentors to this team across the year.