08 Aug 2022

Kildare writers selected for national mentoring programme

Kildare writers selected for national mentoring programme

Kildare writer Ruth Ennis

Kildare writers, Ruth Ennis and Kevin Conroy has been selected by Words Ireland to receive professional literary mentoring over the next eight months from an acclaimed Irish writer of their choice.

After a national call out, a total of 24 writers were selected from 250 applicants.

County Kildare Arts Service 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 for free. It is also an investment in the long-term literary reputation of the region.

The mentoring process involves four two-hour meetings between the selected ‘mentee’ and their chosen professional writer.

The mentor reads up to 10,000 words of the awarded mentee’s writing in advance of each, then shares their hard-earned critical feedback and advice. The hope is that the chosen mentees will go on to write great works of literature to match or beat the quality of their mentors. It’s a form of peer to peer teaching that is increasingly popular across all sectors of Irish life — in industry as well as the arts.

Ruth Ennis is a bookseller and the co-founder of teen and YA literary journal Paper Lanterns. Originally from Rathcoffey, now living in Maynooth, she has an MPhil in Children’s Literature from TCD. Ruth has been published by Sonder, The Blue Nib, The Mouldy Bike, Caveat Lector and the Irish Times. She is an aspiring children’s writer. You can find her online at @rurooie.

Kevin Conroy from Naas has been published in The Irish Times, the Stony Thursday Book, One by jacar press, the moth, THE SHOp, Southword, Burning Bush II, Boyne Berries, The Blue Max Review, The Curlew, Sixteen Literary Magazine, erbacce, The Runt magazine, Skylight 47.

Writer Kevin Conroy

He was shortlisted in several competitions and the runner-up in The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2016. A new poem appears in the issue of Skylight 47 which will launch on Zoom on July 23. His debut collection will be published October 2020 by Salmon Poetry.

Arts Officer for Kildare County Council, Lucina Russell congratulated the awardees and acknowledged the exciting partnership with Words Ireland. “The Arts Service is very committed to the professional development and mentoring of artists across art form, through a range of initiatives. We look forward to hearing how this opportunity shapes what the award recipients progress their work,” she said.

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