Bridging Literary Divides is a mentoring programme which aims to empower people through writing and to increase literary representation of authors from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. The programme seeks to support aspiring writers from socially disadvantaged backgrounds whose voices are currently under-represented in literature.
By pairing up mentees with experienced authors and literary agents, we aim to boost their confidence and develop their writing skills to publishing standard. At the same time, the mentoring will expand mentees’ writing portfolios by supporting submissions to competitions, magazines and other creative outlets.
The writing mentoring lasts for six months and is currently open to applications. If you would like to find out more about becoming a mentee, and wish to apply, please visit here. Over time we aim to widen under-represented voices in literature by connecting mentees with agents and publishers, as well as cross-exhibiting their work.
Bridging Literary Divides is a programme run by the Arkbound Foundation, a charity based in Glasgow. Our purpose is to support people from a range of diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds develop their writing and get published.
Since being founded in 2015, Arkbound has published an impressive selection of works from marginalised voices, demonstrating our vital contribution to an industry that is well known to struggle markedly with equalities.
We have also previously delivered successful mentoring initiatives in both creative writing and journalism (the latter of which was a lead project funded by the Council of Europe). Through our workshops and mentoring, we have reached people who would otherwise be excluded and communities who face multiple levels of deprivation – building skills, improving capacity and creating new opportunities.
Our ethos is one of sharing and collaboration, which has allowed us – despite being a small charity in receipt of minimal funding – to deliver a range of projects, from tree planting to national writing competitions. As well as supporting books that cover important social and environmental themes, we like to creatively explore ideas outside of the mainstream, including new socio-economic models (www.arkbound.ac.uk) and grassroots initiatives that build on local resilience and self-sufficiency.
The Bridging Literary divides mentoring programme is funded with the support of Creative Scotland and enables the employment of six mentors with experienced writing skills. Each mentor will be matched with up to two mentees, with their work being developed across a period of six months. There are no set expectations for mentees: some may need help with finessing their writing skills; for others it may be around building confidence and contacts in the industry.
Whatever the case, over time we will encourage and support mentees to build their writing portfolios, whether that be submitting to competitions, other media, or working on a book proposal with an agent or publisher. Working with their mentors, they will hone their writing skills and gain knowledge of the publishing industry. At the end of the mentoring, we hope to see some become published authors, freelance writers, journalists, editors and proofreaders.
The programme is open to anyone living in Scotland aged over 16, who has identified as experiencing social exclusion or being from a disadvantaged background. Applications for mentoring have now closed but we hope to reopen them next year.
The six mentors for this project are published authors and experienced
literary agents. We have been careful to ensure that mentors don’t just have professional literary
and publishing experience, but also have a background in tutoring individuals, both from
disadvantaged circumstances and otherwise. Arkbound is ensuring that our mentors will be fully
supported and managed by our core team. As part of our training for the group, we will be
providing an introduction to, and digital training of our safeguarding policy and working with
vulnerable adults. Our mentor group consists of: