Mentoring is the core activity of Megaphone Writers CIC. The details are updated every time we run, but essentially, a small number of writers, selected on merit by a panel of editors, are offered a year of 1-1 mentoring from an experienced children’s author while they write their first novel for young readers, alongside creative and career-focused workshops. At the end of the year, when the novels are completed, we organise a launch to the publishing industry. There is a fee (£300) for Mentoring, but we always have bursaries and flexible payment available and no applicant is ever refused a mentoring place on the basis of affordability. Previously, mentees have enjoyed masterclasses with authors of the calibre of Sharna Jackson, Bali Rai, Patrice Lawrence, Dean Atta and Alex Wheatle MBE.
Community was added in 2021 in order to offer every applicant free talent development. The aim (in the wake of the pandemic) was to provide a safe, low-pressure place for people of colour to come and get inspired to keep on writing for children – maybe make friends and contacts, too. We put on a vast range of creative workshops with authors and insightful interviews with agents, editors and other publishing professionals. The Community activities don’t include 1-1 mentoring, but they are open to the mentees as well. We have a closed, moderated group on www.band.us . The Community scheme was offered free to every person who sent in a valid application – so there was really no way to lose out by applying!
Since 2020 we have run both Mentoring and Community almost entirely online.
We hope to start running a new scheme in 2023 – we’ll add updated information about how to apply when we have more news.