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Apprentice Scheme

Word Factory 2016 Apprentices

Word Factory is delighted to welcome four new apprentices for 2016, selected from nearly one hundred entries.

Director Cathy Galvin and Associate Director Paul McVeigh were looking for applicants with short story talent and a dedication to the supportive ethos of the Word Factory. In the third year of running the scheme, they had also been seeking new voices across the country and are delighted that two of the new apprentices are from BAME backgrounds.

The 2016 apprentices are:


“The standard of entry was high: we wanted to work with at least five more of the applicants as apprentices and it was heartbreaking to have to announce only four names,” commented Cathy Galvin. “It was also hugely heartening, a testament to the talent of short story writers in the UK and their dedication.”

Apprentices are provided with one-to-one mentoring, a reading with their mentor at the Word Factory and access to the Word Factory community, team and salons. In exchange, they are expected to work supportively with the team and other writers.

This year, the apprentices will also be supported by the Word Factory team and partners, including Waterstones Piccadilly, who have offered each of the apprentices a residency at their store and £100 in book vouchers; the writer development agency Spread the Word, literary agent Carrie Kania and Arts Council England.

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

Previous apprentices – Rebecca Swirsky, Holly Dawson, Uschi Gatward and Kerstin Twatchmann – 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.


We offer sincere thanks to our previous mentors – Adam Marek, Alex Preston, Nicholas Royle and Stella Duffy. You made a difference. And to our continuing partners – Waterstones Piccadilly and literary agent and bookshop owner extraordinaire, Carrie Kania.


2015 Apprentice readings: