The fee for a full Gold Dust mentorship of sixteen hours is £3500
(Please note that some mentors charge VAT – we will let you know this at the application stage)
The fee for a ‘bespoke’ mentorship of eighteen hours, with greater flexibility and the possibility of taking over two years is £4000.
Some mentors offer these hours to be taken as phone or Skype or online mentoring rather than face to face. The fee is the same.
'Being mentored by Jill literally changed my life. I had just completed an MA in creative writing.... I was sixty and giving up hope. ‘Gold Dust changed all that. After the first meeting with Jill I felt empowered and full of ideas. ‘Anyway, to cut to the chase, I’m now a sixty three year old novelist with a two book deal with HQ, an imprint of Harper Collins.' – Rosalind Topps, mentored by Jill Dawson
What we offer
Please note that Gold Dust is selective. We do not offer mentorships to everyone who applies. Our mentors are looking for potential and writing ability and commitment to meeting up in the year ahead.
If you are awarded a Gold Dust mentorship we will provide sixteen such hours with your mentor, spread out usually over a year. This will be in the form of eight hour-long meetings. Between meetings, the mentor will read your work for a further eight hours, and offer feedback on the writing, as well as an insider’s advice on the publishing world and finding an agent.
‘Well within my target year, the novel was out there in the real world, with an agent.’ – Jane Rusbridge, author of The Devil’s Music (Bloomsbury), mentored by Kathryn Heyman
Our unique approach
Many writers have found that with Creative Writing workshops or MA courses what they mostly get is peer review that is, the input of the group. They are unlikely to complete more than a small portion of their novel, even on a two-year MA course, and what’s more they are required to spend time reading the work of the other students. Jill Dawson’s frustration with this model – which she experienced back in 1993 and then went on to teach at University of East Anglia, on the most famous MA in Creative Writing – led her to set up Gold Dust. With our scheme the successful applicant has the mentor-writer all to his or herself. This mentor will always be a published author with at least five books puplished (often many more) and a great deal of tutoring experience on the top writing courses and MAs such as the Faber Academy, Guardian Masterclasses, Bath Spa, Sheffield Hallam, Cambridge MSt, Oxford Brookes, etc. You will have the mentor‘s individual input on your work, which they will read in advance of meeting you, and give you their best experience and advice on how to complete it and if relevant, prepare it for publication. Gold Dust is the gold-standard of mentoring programmes and we have many success stories and graduates to testify to that. Read some of these testimonies here.
Q I have completed an MA in Writing but still feel that I need more help editing or structuring and finishing my novel. Can Gold Dust help me with that?
Yes. Gold Dust Mentors have a lot of experience and publications between them. They will be able to work with you if you would like to work on a book you are completing and whether you have a lot of writing experience or a little, if you feel you need help from one of our mentors, you are welcome to apply.
Q I have no writing experience and have never been published. Am I suitable for the scheme?
If your work is of the right standard (we ask that you submit an extract of around five thousand words and these will be read by our mentors) and you can commit to the eight sessions – yes.
Q. I have an agent who has suggested revisions and I don’t know if I agree with them. Would a Gold Dust mentor be able to help me with this?
As well as writing experience, all our mentors have a great deal of publishing experience. They would be happy to work with you and discuss all aspects of being published, including being represented by an agent.
Q I live in Birmingham but notice your Mentors only work in London, Cambridgeshire, Manchester, Oxford, Bath, Ely, Carlisle or Edinburgh. Can we arrange to meet in Birmingham?
No, if you are accepted and want to take part you must travel to one of those places to meet your Mentor. You must also cover your own travel costs. However if you prefer some mentors offer mentoring via email and phone or Skype.
Q £3500 seems like a lot of money. Can I apply for a grant?
The Gold Dust mentorship is a very special opportunity to work one to one with a writer of the highest calibre. Other cheaper schemes exist and we are happy to suggest them to you. Most creative writing is taught on the workshop model where most of the input is from the other students and where only small extracts of work are read each week (and you must spend a lot of time reading the writing of the other students). With Gold Dust you get the mentor’s individual attention and over the course of the eight sessions they will be able to read the whole of your novel and be able to suggest avenues for publication as well as revision and editing tips. Our mentors also teach on courses such as ,the Faber Academy and Guardian Masterclasses and other MAs in writing and we feel that £3500 (please note: some mentors charge VAT at 20%) is value for money when compared with studying for an MA in Writing, or compared with other writing courses.
In the past, some writers have received funding from the Arts Council, via their Grants for the Arts scheme. This might be worth exploring. However, Gold Dust cannot guarantee that applicants to the Arts Council Grants scheme will be successful and we are no longer able to offer advice or help with applications.
PLEASE NOTE THAT ONCE A PLACE IS OFFERED, THE FULL FEE BECOMES DUE.
Q Can I pay in instalments?
No. If awarded a place on Gold Dust it means that up to three of our mentors have read your work, and one of them has committed to working with you on the manuscript in the year ahead. Payment then becomes due and must be paid in full before mentoring starts. Please make sure you have funds in place before applying.
Q I would like to have a Gold Dust writing mentor but can’t spare the time. Could I do just a taster session and see if I like it?
Sorry but as places are at a premium, only the full eight sessions are available. Please note if you are offered a place and do not accept it there can be no re-application to Gold Dust.
Q I write screenplays for Film or TV (or poetry) or plays – can I apply?
Sorry but Gold Dust does not offer mentoring to screenwriters or poets.
Q Can you recommend an agent or publisher to me?
If your work is of a suitable standard, your Mentor may well recommend an agent, but we cannot offer guarantees of publication. Gold Dust is for writers wishing to explore and experiment and improve their writing. Publishing might come as a result of that improvement but we do not offer any promises of publication.
Q I know the writer I’d like to work with and see that she/he is on your site. Can I ask for that writer as my Mentor?
Certainly. Please mention the name of the Mentor you’d like to work with and we’ll do our best to pair you up with him or her, although if they are very busy you may be disappointed and offered an alternative. At this point, if you decline, your place on the scheme will go to another applicant.
Q Can I talk to someone about why my application was rejected?
Gold Dust regrets but judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence can be entered into.
Q Where will I meet my Mentor? I’m worried about going to a stranger’s home.
Mentors always meet writers in public places such as galleries, cafes or anywhere else where talking together quietly is possible. This is agreed between you, via email. Mentors never invite writers to their home and no home contact details are given for the Mentor, although you will have an email address for him or her.
Q I really want to ask my Mentor about doing research and writing a non-fiction book, memoir or biography, is this something they are going to be able to help me with?
Absolutely. We have many experienced biographers and non-fiction writers on the team. Look up the work of Sally Cline, Midge Gillies and Louise Doughty.
Q I have fallen ill/ lost interest in my novel/ got a new job. Can I have my money back?
No refunds will be offered to those writers who are accepted onto the scheme. As there are limited places per year, and competition is high, please make sure you are committed and available, should you win a place on the Gold Dust mentoring scheme.
Q Can I read the testimonies of others who have been mentored?
Yes, click here. Also all book jackets shown on the website are by past Gold Dust graduates.
Q How do I know which mentor to choose?
Click on the mentors’ page and read their list of publications and awards. Or do contact us via the email address and our administrator will discuss choices with you.
Q I am based in Australia/ America/ etc – do any of your mentors offer email mentoring?
Yes – Kathryn Heyman, Shelley Weiner and Liz Jensen currently do. Others may do on request – please contact us to discuss.