Our program is open to all AWP members, but we particularly encourage applications from writers who have never been associated with an MFA program and those writing from regions, backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives that are typically underrepresented in the literary world.
We receive hundreds of applications each session, and we are usually able to match 15-25 pairs. Our mentors are all established, published authors. When reviewing mentor applications, we look for responses that demonstrate an understanding of the special nature of a good mentor-mentee relationship, and that the applicant shows a willingness to be supportive, responsive, and receptive to learning from the experience. We also choose mentors after considering specific needs present in the mentee applications that session. Most mentors say that their motivation to serve in this program is to give back, having once benefitted from mentors themselves. Others say that they long to be the mentor they wish they'd had.
Mentors are each given three applications to review and choose the person they would like to work with; that person then has the final decision on whether to work with that mentor. Mentors tend to choose mentees based on shared goals and interests, and whether they feel they can help that person at the stage they are in now. Our mentees come from all backgrounds and levels of experience. Be open and honest in your application. Be detailed. Give your prospective partner as much information as you can about your goals, and explain why you feel a mentoring relationship would be helpful to you.
We require that each mentor be an AWP member in good standing and have at least one published book. No formal teaching experience is required, but we do take into consideration an applicant's prior experiences as a mentor, teacher, or participant in writing groups and workshops.
If chosen as a mentor, you will choose between several applicants, and you will make a three-month commitment to your mentee. Together, you will determine whether phone, email, or a mix of communication styles would be the best way to complete a number of modules. We ask that mentors agree to be available for a minimum of two hours per month by phone. If email is preferred, you should expect no more than six per month, unless you make it clear that you are willing to do more.
When reviewing applications, we look for responses that demonstrate an understanding of the special nature of a good mentor-mentee relationship, and a willingness to be supportive, responsive, and receptive to learning from the experience. The more detailed you are in your responses to the questionnaire, the easier it will be for us to find great potential matches for you.
Mentors volunteer their time and receive a free one-year membership to AWP at the program’s conclusion.
Mentors change each session, and being selected as a Writer to Writer mentee is so dependent on the writers we have serving with us at that time. Some mentors prefer to work with writers closer to their own level; others prefer to work with new writers; some come into the program with a very specific kind of partner in mind. If you are not chosen for a session, please consider applying again. We have had people apply three times before being selected, and they agreed that once matched, they had found their perfect mentor and it was worth the wait.
We prefer to accept applications via Submittable. You may also download a PDF version of the application on the right and submit it by mail or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You are welcome to view that PDF before the application period opens to read the questions we ask and start to prepare your responses.
The Submittable application will also ask you to upload a sample of your current work. For fiction, creative nonfiction, and playwriting, we ask to see 10 pages. For poetry, please submit 5-10 poems.