Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship Program

Presented by Writing NSW and Text Publishing

Applications for the 2022 mentorship close midnight (AEST) Monday 22 November 2021.

Writing NSW and Text Publishing present the Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship. The mentorship is awarded annually to an unpublished Indigenous writer who has made substantial progress on a work of fiction or non-fiction. The intention of the program is to support the writer to develop their manuscript and to facilitate a pathway to publication. 

The program will pair an emerging Indigenous writer from anywhere in Australia with a senior Indigenous writer for a structured year-long mentorship. The writer will receive 20 hours of mentorship over the following year, including feedback on their work in progress and general advice on writing and developing a publishing career. If possible, an opportunity to meet with the mentor face to face will be provided. The writer will also receive editorial feedback and manuscript development from Text Publishing and access to Writing NSW professional development services.  

At the conclusion of the mentorship, Text Publishing will have the exclusive first right to consider the winning manuscript for publication, under terms to be negotiated with the writer.  

Writers do not need to have a full manuscript at the time of submission, though they must have made substantial progress on a manuscript, which they intend to complete (refer to submission requirements). Applicants must not previously have had a full-length work of fiction or non-fiction professionally published.   

Submissions must be either a work of fiction (including short story collections) or narrative non-fiction for adult, kids (middle grade), or young adult. Please note that poetry, plays, picture books, and practical non-fiction are ineligible.  

Submissions will be judged by Julie Janson, an award-winning Burruberongal writer and 2021 Boundless mentor, in consultation with representatives from Text Publishing and Writing NSW.  

Julie Janson says:

The Boundless Indigenous Mentorship is an important initiative by Writing NSW. The one-to-one mentoring of an emerging writer is a great privilege for both the mentor and the recipient. A writer can expand their knowledge and practice with ongoing support from Writing NSW and the closeness of a personal advocate. Serving the writing is what it is about, while offering professional advice and deep culturally appropriate guidance. 

Tara June Winch, inaugural Boundless judge and mentor says: 

The opportunity to work with a master is not only significant for the emerging writer, but also for the mentoring author. The process they undergo is as old and sacred as our culture, the handing down of the skills and tools needed to one day be passed down again and again. Being able to teach and to learn in such a close and guided fellowship is a once in a career moment.

Lenora Thaker, recipient of the 2021 Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship, says: 

Being awarded the 2021 Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship gave me a confidence boost and enabled me to take my writing to the next level. As an emerging Indigenous writer, having a First Nations’ mentor, the calibre of Julie Janson, really helped me develop my writing and understand the business of writing in a way that’s been culturally safe and supportive. Along with the support of Writing NSW and Text Publishing, I feel that I am finally on the road to success.

John Morrissey, recipient of the 2020 Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship, says: 

The Boundless Mentorship gave me the direction and motivation to produce my first collection of stories, Autoc. It was an enormous benefit and inspiration to feel that my stories might have a home somewhere. Working with Kim Scott in particular has been an immense privilege as a writer. I would encourage any early-career Indigenous writer to apply for the Fellowship.

Allanah Hunt, recipient of the inaugural 2019 mentorship, says: 

Receiving the Boundless mentorship has not only made my novel a better one, but has made me a better writer overall. This mentorship has been priceless in terms of experience and growth. My biggest thanks to Text Publishing, Writing NSW and Tara June Winch for this wonderful opportunity that has lived up to everything I hoped it would be and more! I cannot wait to continue my writing career with the new knowledge I’ve been so generously given.

The mentorship is open to emerging Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander writers who are permanent residents of Australia. Applicants must be over the age of 18. Confirmation of Indigenous status may be required.  

Writing NSW acknowledges the First Nations Australia Writers Network (FNAWN) for their support of this program.  

We thank Booktopia for their ongoing sponsorship of the Boundless Mentorship.  

For enquiries, email info[at]writingnsw.org.au

Read submission requirements, terms and conditions here.

See information about past mentees:

Allanah Hunt (2019)
John Morrissey (2020)
Lenora Thaker (2021)

Read about the Boundless Festival of Indigenous and culturally diverse writers, presented by Writing NSW every two years.

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