The Word Factory Apprentice Scheme 2017

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The Word Factory Apprentice Scheme

From 1st December 2016, Word Factory is accepting applications for our 2017 apprentice scheme. We have places for four writers and will, this year, seek at least one applicant from the north of England and one from a BAME background. Applicants must be over 18, serious about developing their short story writing and passionate about working with the Word Factory team.

Apprentices will:

  • Have one-on-one mentorship with one of our four leading authors:

    Alexei Sayle, Zoe Gilbert, Nikesh Shukla and Jarred McGinnis.

  • Be invited to read with your mentor at a Word Factory event. The film of that event will be available to you.
  • Be offered additional support from Conville and Walsh literary agent Carrie Kania.
  • Receive vouchers from Waterstones.
  • Be invited to attend our salons for free and a selection of masterclasses.
  • Have access to the brilliant Word Factory team.
  • Be promoted by us on our website and on social media.

In exchange, we expect your dedication to your craft and to the ethos of the Word Factory. We are an organisation founded on a passion for excellence in short fiction. We are looking for writers who will contribute their time in helping us run and promote events, work with us online and offer their skills to the team.

Previous apprentices – Rebecca Swirsky, Holly Dawson, Kerstin Twatchmann, Uschi Gatward, Claire Adam, Divya Ghelani and Emily Devane – have been published in a wide variety of journals including The Best British Short Stories annual anthology (Salt) and have won numerous prizes and continue to work with the Word Factory.

Rebecca Swirsky has said:

Like in medicine, there is a level of trust administered, and delivered, between mentor and mentee. The Word Factory creates a safe space for that conversation to happen because honoring writing is what the Word Factory does par excellence. I discovered that mentoring can take many forms, unique to the relationship that develops. Stella Duffy was my mentor for the Word Factory apprentice and receiving her generous thoughts about my collection was intensely refreshing, offering new avenues of consideration. Meshing her ideas and mine as to how the collection might be shaped was priceless, with the opportunity to connect with Stella’s ‘life-wisdom’ being one of the mentorship’s main bonuses. Another highlights of the mentorship was reading alongside Stella Duffy and David Almond at Waterstones, Piccadilly – an experience I will treasure forever. Writers in dialogue with other writers: this encapsulates the Word Factory ethos – a unique, supportive community helping each other, step by step, word by word, long into the future, and hopefully, into a new career.

Sincere thanks to everyone who has supported our scheme to date: Waterstones Piccadilly, Spread the Word and most particularly our previous mentors Adam Marek, Stella Duffy, Alex Preston and Nicholas Royle , Jacob Ross,Vanessa Gebbie and Professor Ailsa Cox.

Funds to administer the apprentice scheme have been provided through the generosity of the 2016 Word Factory Patrons: David Almond, David Andrew, Penelope Rendall, Alexei Sayle, Margarette Driscoll, Peter Kellner, Tony Lahert, Valerie Curtis and Dame Antonia Byatt and Arts Council England.

Hot To Apply:

Please apply if you are working seriously on your writing and would benefit from our scheme at this stage of your career. You may have already had stories published or be at the stage of thinking about sending work out for publication. We will be looking for dedication and understanding of the art and craft of the form and for individuals willing to work within our team. Please Note: the scheme is not suitable for anyone with novels or collections already published or under contract (self-published and non-fiction books may apply).

Application is simple:

You will need to send us two files: your best 2,000 word story (or part of a story) and 500 words explaining both how the scheme will benefit you and what skills you could bring to Word Factory. In your letter please tell us where you live and whether you have a BAME background.

Please Note: Application is only open to residents of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


  • Use this page to "buy a £20 ticket" - this covers our admin fee.
  • After you have purchased your "ticket", you will receive an email confirmation with the email address to send your story and covering letter to. Please include your booking reference number in your email subject.
  • Then, email us your story and supporting letter.
  • Applications OPEN: December 1st 2017.
  • Applications CLOSE: January 22nd 2017.

Director and founder of the Word Factory Cathy Galvin and associate director Paul McVeigh will assess the applications and, if you have been successful, will contact you a week before the first Word Factory salon of 2017 on February 25th. Due to the high numbers of applications expected, we will not be contacting you if your application has been unsuccessful.

Good luck! Look forward to seeing you in 2017.

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