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Now in its fifth year, the Affirm Press Mentorship Award will focus exclusively on Young Adult and middle-grade fiction (ages 10+) for entries to the 2019 award. The three winning submissions will receive a week’s residency and manuscript development at Varuna, the National Writers’ House. The Affirm Press kids team’s commissioning editor and senior editor, Clair Hume and Davina Bell, will be in residence with the writers to provide in-depth manuscript development and feedback, as well as establishing ongoing relationships with the winners.
The aim of the Mentorship is to help writers get their manuscript to a publishable standard and, if the process is successful, for Affirm to publish the work. While the Mentorship does not guarantee of publication, Affirm Press will choose each of the manuscripts because they believe it has the potential to become a work of literary value.
The award has already resulted in two highly regarded published works: Paula Keogh’s Stella Prize shortlisted lyrical memoir The Green Bell and Sonia Orchard’s outstanding novel Into the Fire,which has received glowing reviews after being published earlier this month. A third book, Snakes and Ladders by Angela Williams, is a literary memoir about the Australian prison system and will be published in 2020.
Veechi Stuart, Executive Director of Varuna, said she was keen to see the writing that emerges from this year’s award.
“At Varuna, our aim is to support excellence, innovation and diversity, as well as the very best of Australian writing. The Affirm Press Mentorship program offers writers a unique combination of mentoring, dedicated writing time and publishing opportunities, and is an excellent way for us to discover talented new writers.”
Applications for the award open on Monday 18 March and close on Tuesday 30 April. The residency week will be held from Monday 28 October until Sunday 3 November 2019, and the award includes full board and accommodation, including a private room and writing studio for each writer.
Continuing last year’s initiative to make the award more accessible for low-income writers, application fee assistance and a travel bursary will be available for entrants with health care cards.