Local Writers selected for the Irish Writers Centre’s National Mentoring Programme

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Local writers, Nuala Roche and Caoileann O’ Mahony, have been selected by the Irish Writers Centre to receive professional literary mentoring over the next eight months from an acclaimed Irish writer of their choice.

After a national call out, 37 writers have been selected from a total of over three hundred applicants.

County Kilkenny Arts Office funded the literary mentorship along with the Arts Council of Ireland to guarantee that the best applicant from the county would be selected. Their support will ensure that the chosen mentee receives this potentially life-changing support free of charge. It is also an investment in the long-term literary reputation of the region.

The mentoring process involves four meetings between the selected ‘mentee’ and their chosen professional writer. In advance of each meeting, the mentor reads up to 10,000 words / 180 lines of poetry of the awarded mentee’s writing, then shares their hard-earned critical feedback and advice.

Nuala Roche writes poetry and fiction and more recently, creative non-fiction. She won Dromineer Festival’s 2017 Poetry Prize and her chapbook was Highly Commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Competition. For stage she wrote and presented the play Bridie at The Watergate Theatre and a women’s monologues show at Cleere’s Theatre. Her work is published in The Cormorant Broadsheets & Anthology, Doghouse Press, The Milk House, Pendemic.ie and Kilkenny Poetry Broadsheets. Her poem, Lumber, was nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.

Caoileann O’Mahony is a Kilkenny-based writer with a love of all things science fiction and fantasy. She’s from Dublin originally, where she completed a B.A. in English Literature and an M.Phil in Popular Literature. She’s currently working on a fantasy novel and is very excited to have won a place on the National Mentoring Programme.

The Irish Writers Centre’s mission is to support a vibrant and diverse community of writers of all types and talents to develop their craft, capacity and confidence to thrive as a writer in the world. The hope for the National Mentoring Programme is that the chosen mentees will go on to write great works of literature to match or best the quality of their mentors. It’s a form of peer to peer teaching that is increasingly popular in literature, formalizing the process whereby masters pass on their craft to students.

Running since 2017, the programme now has numerous published authors among its alumni, including Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Fiona Scarlett, and Victoria Kennefick to name just a few.

IWC Website: irishwriterscentre.ie

About the Irish Writers Centre:

As the leading support and development organisation for writers since 1991, the Irish Writers Centre carries out its work, online and in person, on an all island basis. The Centre works with writers of all types and talents, and actively encourages writers from all communities to engage in creative writing. It provides many ways and means for them to develop their skill, advance their ambitions and join a vibrant and diverse community of people who share their passion and purpose.


The IWC is also a membership organisation, always seeking new opportunities for members to grow as writers and to connect with each other through IWC programmes and supports.


Quotes from previous recipients:

“It has been a very positive experience for me and I am a lot more confident about my story now. Without it, I would have found it very difficult to return to the book, as I had spent so much time on it previously and I simply didn’t know what to do with it. Knowing that my mentor was expecting work by certain deadlines really concentrated my mind and pushed me forward.”


“It’s particularly helpful to have someone engage with your work critically and interrogate not just the MS but your intentions as author. I feel I’m being forced to address issues I took for granted before, which I think is a good thing to do before I start the journey to publication.”


“I expected to focus on the words, but virtually all of my effort has gone into structure and

character. I have been encouraged to develop a more global perspective on the work, while also attending to minute details about character and narrative voice.”


“The experience so far has been invaluable: having thorough, focused attention on my work has enhanced my knowledge, especially at this point in my writing journey.”


Contact: Laura McCormack, Irish Writers Centre Communications Officer

t: (+353) 1 872 1302 | e: events@writerscentre.ie



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