Three Wicklow-based writers have been selected by the Irish Writers Centre to receive a mentorship under the National Mentoring Programme.
Following a national callout where over 300 applications were received, 37 writers from across Ireland were selected to receive a mentorship. David McGrath, Patrick Fitzgerald and Paul Lenehan were the successful Wicklow applicants.
Funded by Wicklow Arts Office and the Arts Council, David, Patrick, and Paul will receive this potentially life-changing opportunity free-of-charge. The mentorships are also an investment in the long-term literary reputation of the region.
The hope for the National Mentoring Programme is that the chosen writers will go on to write great works of literature to match or best that of the quality of their mentors. This form of peer-to-peer teaching is increasingly popular in literature, formalising the process whereby masters pass on their craft to students.
David McGrath is from the Baltinglass area and will have a story published in the New Writers Issue of ‘The Stinging Fly’ in November. It’s a story set in a pub in rural Ireland. David won the Bare Fiction Prize with a story titled ‘The Donkey Christ of Ballybalt’ which was set in a similar context.
Patrick Fitzgerald’s short stories have appeared in The Dublin Review, Banshee and The Penny Dreadful and he is currently working on a novel. Originally from Ballymoney in Co Wexford, Patrick is a graduate of the School of English at Trinity College.
Paul Lenehan lives in the Arklow area and his short story ‘The Pines’ was shortlisted for the RTÉ/Francis MacManus Award in 2021 while his story ‘December Swimmers’ was shortlisted for Short Story of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Paul also writes flash fiction and is working on a collection of 100 stories each of 100 words.
Running since 2017, the mentorship programme now has numerous published authors among its alumni, including Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Nidhi Zak/Aria Eipe, Fiona Scarlett and Victoria Kennefick. Previous recipients of the mentorship have described the experience as having been invaluable.
Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Tommy Annesley, said he was pleased that the Council was supporting three local writers to receive professional literary mentoring over the next eight months from acclaimed Irish writers of their choice.
Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Mr Brian Gleeson, stated that he was happy to see Wicklow Arts Office support a vibrant and diverse community of writers of all types and talents to develop their craft, capacity and confidence to thrive.