In 2016, Scottish Book Trust will provide four published writers with a unique opportunity for one-to-one mentoring with a writer or industry professional.

Mentoring supports writers who have a specific writing project which they need some extra support with.

Previous projects include:

  • A novelist working on playwriting
  • A graphic novelist working on a screenplay
  • An illustrator writing on a first novel
  • A narrative non-fiction writer working on children’s fiction
  • A Gaelic writer working in English

If you are a published writer who has completed a substantial amount of content and you need some additional support, mentoring could be for you. Mentoring can bring a fresh perspective to a project, help you develop your skills and grow in confidence as a writer.


What is Scottish Book Trust Mentoring? Andrew Mentoring

“It's been a real privilege to have such an engaged critic read over such a rough draft...I've learnt far more than any creative writing course could teach.” – Mentee

Successful applicants will be allocated a mentor, either a writer or another industry professional. We do not have a pool of mentors, we find you someone based on your specific needs. Previous mentors include Bernard MacLaverty, Beatrice Colin, Alan Bissett and agent Kathryn Ross. 

Mentoring lasts nine months with four face-to-face meetings and an induction and evaluation session with Scottish Book Trust. The exact dates of the meetings can be arranged between you and your mentor; however, we do ask that you have the time to dedicate to improving your work over the nine-month period.

Mentoring itself is completely free to participants, and Scottish Book Trust offers the mentors a fee for their time and input. In addition, we pay all associated travel costs and expenses for both mentors and mentees.


Eligibility criteria

You must live and work in Scotland to apply.

You can apply if you meet the criteria for the Live Literature Database. You do not need to be listed on the database to apply but you should meet the criteria at the time of making your application.

Applicants should have a specific project in mind for which they need dedicated support.

Before you apply, you should have a substantial amount of content in order to give the mentor material to work with straight away. E.g. if you were submitting a novel you would need to have a first draft, or a nearly completed first draft.

If you are a writer who does not meet the criteria for the database, then you should apply to the New Writers Awards or the Next Chapter Award. Please sign up to the Writing e-Update to be kept informed about this and other opportunities. 

Self-published writers (including poets) are eligible to apply if:

  • You have sold 300 printed copies or 500 e-books within a 12 month period, as per the Society of Authors guidelines and
  • You can demonstrate a career as a professional writer (i.e. giving workshops, publishing work in magazines, receiving reviews etc.).

If you have any questions about the criteria please email


Your application should include:

  • A completed mentoring application form.
  • A writing sample. This can include short stories or an extract from a longer piece of work. (Length limit: 2,000 words of prose, 70 lines of poetry or 10 pages of script.) 
  • Your writing sample and synopsis should be font Arial, size 12, double-spaced.
    If your sample is an extract from a longer piece of work, please include a synopsis. Those submitting poetry or a script should include a brief commentary about their proposed project. (Word limit: 500 words.)

For all enquiries, email

Deadline for applications: Wednesday 28 October, 2015 at midday

We will get back to everyone who applies by the end of November. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview at Scottish Book Trust in Edinburgh on Wednesday 9 December 2015. The panel will consist of representatives from Scottish Book Trust. 


Want to be a mentor? 

Scottish Book Trust is not currently seeking mentors.

We do not have a pool of mentors; we look for people who specifically suit the needs of the writers being mentored. Mentors are always writers or industry professionals with extensive experience and/or a substantial publication history. We can keep your CV on file but there is no guarantee you will be selected as a mentor in future. For all enquiries, email


Here’s what some previous mentors and mentees have to say about mentoring:


“Mentoring developing writers under the Scottish Book Trust schemes is fascinating and rewarding. It’s a process rooted in reality – no wild guarantees or promises – and so feels as if it’s about the whole business of writing. Discussions are wide-ranging - suggesting ways of making working environments more comfortable, authentic characters, plotting strategies, how to respond to editorial input, debates (always good natured) about the numbers of commas used, and everything in between.” – Lindsey Fraser

“I absolutely loved the experience of working as a Mentor for Scottish Book Trust. I was paired with a writer I’d never met before, but we quickly became friends, and over several months working together on his manuscript, we saw that work evolve and take shape, and long after the mentoring finished, we’re still in touch and talking about the work. It’s a real pleasure to have the time to work so closely on a piece of writing, to listen, reflect, challenge and learn, and offer support as it is needed.” – Ali Bowden

“Working as a screenwriting mentor with novelists and short story writers is a fascinating experience. We tell stories in different forms but the passion for the work creates an immediate bond.

Before you share any knowledge you better be sure you know what you are talking about. As a mentor you constantly review your working practices and motivations. It is a great opportunity to check your own progress and career plans.”
– Adrian Mead



“The mentorship with SBT was a hugely rewarding experience, enabling me to view my work through a third party’s eyes, to see its many faults - along with its fewer merits. It boosted my confidence enormously and was a great opportunity.” –Clio Gray

“I would not be a novelist if it had not been for my Scottish Book Trust mentoring experience. I joined the scheme to develop short texts for picture books but discovered along the way that I itched to write novels. With my mentor’s expert guidance, and a lot of hard work, I wrote my first illustrated novel for young readers. It became the first in an internationally published trilogy and I have since written two other standalone books. I cannot recommend the Scottish Book Trust mentoring scheme highly enough. Because of the opportunity it gave me, my creative life has been enriched more than I ever imagined.” – Teresa Flavin

“It would be impossible to list everything discussed at our meetings. As well as the publishing world in general and my intended readership, my mentor’s input covered many other elements specific to the draft: plot construction, narrative flow, dialogue - especially as a means of developing character and plot - and many other issues. The opportunity to discuss the development of the story with someone of their experience was hugely helpful. I found the experience both challenging and stimulating.” Annemarie Allan

"Mentoring was a great opportunity to focus on the detail of my writing in a one-to-one situation. It gave me the chance to pick the brains of an old hand who understood completely the nitty-gritty of creating a page-turner.” – Mentee (Linda Henderson)

“My experience on the mentor scheme was very positive. My mentor was helpful and supportive and her guidance kept me on track and focused. The opportunity was invaluable to me and I very much appreciated my mentor’s advice.” – Zoe Venditozzi

“Writing a novel is a long, exciting journey and I felt very privileged to have an experienced novelist travel the road beside me, helping me to read the map, pointing out pathways and landmarks that I might otherwise have overlooked, letting me know when I was taking a metaphor too far...” – Alison Flett

“The mentoring scheme really helped me to move on with the plot and characters of my stage play, The Garden of Earthly Delights, a process that culminated in a rehearsed reading by professional actors hosted by Scottish Book Trust.  Now, a few years on, the story has morphed into a published novel (see attached image)  My mentor, David Ian Neville was very positive and perceptive, and I particularly remember pleasant afternoon teas in the sunny garden behind the Museum of Modern Art discussing the ins and outs of the text." – Robert Dodds