Indigenous Writer Mentorship Program

Presented by Text Publishing and Writing NSW

Applications open on Tuesday 12 June 2018.
Applications close midnight (AEST) Monday 13 August 2018.

The mentorship is awarded to an unpublished Indigenous writer who has made substantial progress on a fiction or non-fiction writing project. 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 in the same genre for a structured year-long mentorship. The writer will receive 20 hours of mentorship over the following 12 months, including feedback on their work in progress and general advice on writing and developing a publishing career. The writer will also receive editorial feedback and manuscript development from Text Publishing and access to Writing NSW professional development services.

The program includes funding for the writer and mentor to attend Boundless – a festival of culturally diverse writers to be held in Sydney in 2019.

At the conclusion of the mentorship, Text Publishing will have the exclusive first right to consider the selected 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). To be eligible, writers must not previously have had a full-length work 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 multi-award-winning Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch, alongside representatives from Text Publishing and Writing NSW.

‘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.’ Tara June Winch

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 and proof of Indigenous status may be required.

The Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship is supported by the First Nations Australia Writers Network.

For enquiries, email

Find out more about Text Publishing.

Submission Requirements
Applications must be submitted online via the Writing NSW website.

Please submit an extract from the work you would like to be mentored for. The extract must be a minimum of 8,000 words up to a maximum of 10,000 words.

Please also attach a statement of no more than two A4 pages including:

  • An outline of how you think the mentorship would benefit you and your work. (max one paragraph)
  • A description of your efforts to be a writer, including any writing courses you have participated in, any prizes you have won and any work you have had published. (max one paragraph)
  • A brief description of the project you are working on, telling us what stage you are at with it, and a chapter breakdown.

Apply now

Terms & Conditions

  • The submission guidelines form part of the Terms & Conditions.
  • You must be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Proof of Indigenous status may be required.
  • You must be 18 years of age or over and an Australian resident.
  • You must not have had a full-length work of fiction or narrative non-fiction professionally published.
  • To be eligible for the mentorship, manuscripts cannot have been previously published in print or digital formats or be currently submitted for publication.
  • It is a condition of entry that Text Publishing has the right to consider any submitted manuscript for publication under terms to be negotiated with the writer, until the winner has been announced.
  • If your entry is selected for the Mentorship, you grant Text Publishing the exclusive first option to consider the work for publication. You agree to negotiate in good faith with Text Publishing to publish the work on reasonable commercial terms.
  • Text Publishing does not guarantee publication of the manuscript.
  • If, after submission, your work is the winner of any other prize, or is accepted for publication, or self-published, you must notify Writing NSW in writing immediately, and your work may be deemed ineligible for the program and withdrawn from the judging process.
  • Submitted material must be your own original work.
  • Submitted work must be in English, with a page number and identifying title on each page.
  • Your name must not appear on either the extract from your work or your accompanying statement.
  • Manuscripts must be submitted as PDFs, set up as an A4 double-spaced document in 12 pt Roman font with 3 cm margins and page numbers on each page.
  • Hardcopies / direct electronic submissions will not be accepted, nor will hand delivered submissions. Please use the online form provided.
  • Applications must be received no later than Monday 13 August.
  • Copyright in any work you submit remains with you, but Writing NSW reserves the right to use successful applicants’ submitted work for promotion purposes.
  • The successful applicant will be notified directly, and their name will be announced on the Writing NSW and Text Publishing websites in November 2018.
  • The successful applicant agrees to assist Writing NSW and Text Publishing in promoting the mentorship program.
  • The decision of the judges is final. The judges will not enter into any correspondence and no individual feedback will be provided to entrants.
  • Submissions cannot be for work related to a university or other qualification.
  • By entering the Boundless Mentorship you opt in to the marketing database of Writing NSW and Text Publishing and agree to receive marketing information from it. You may opt out of these marketing databases at any time.
  • By submitting your entry you agree to these Terms & Conditions.

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