A slightly different blog post today, in honour of an amazing initiative set up by a friend of mine, the author Kerry Hudson.
It all started – as many things do these days – via a conversation on Twitter. Worried by the disparity between male and female authors (male writers are still far more heavily reviewed than their female counterparts, and the majority of literary critics are men), Kerry wanted to do something to redress the balance and came up with the idea of offering free mentoring to female writers just starting out. She asked, on Twitter, who would be willing to donate their time and expertise for free, and now she has over sixty mentors signed up, all of whom are professional writers, literary agents or editors, like myself.
The overwhelmingly positive response meant that Kerry’s idea had to quickly become a reality. In little over a month, she has set up The WoMentoring Project, designed a website (with beautiful illustrations by Sally Jane Thompson) and written guidelines for mentors and mentees alike. The ethos behind it is ‘exceptional women supporting exceptional women.’
Everyone involved has, or will be, dedicating their time and energy for free. The aim is to give female voices that would otherwise find it hard to be heard the opportunity to reach their true potential and have access to a world that can initially seem daunting and impenetrable. Hopefully we will see the emergence of some wonderful and talented new female literary voices as a result!
The website went live today, and you can see it in all its glory here. Women from all over the world are eligible to apply for free mentoring from an industry professional, and you can find out more details about the type and length of work to submit and how the application process works on the website.
Please do share and spread the word. The project can be found on Twitter under @WoMentoringP and there’s also a hashtag #WoMentoring.