A 13-month opportunity for emerging writers:
May 2021 – June 2022
The Collegeville Institute’s Emerging Writers Mentorship Program is a 13-month program (May 2021 – June 2022) for writers who address matters of faith, religion, and belief (or lack thereof) in their work. This program gives six participants the chance to work closely with a writing mentor to hone and deepen their writing skills, as well as the opportunity to publish regularly on Bearings Online.
The purpose of this program is to help emerging writers—particularly those from communities whose voices are underrepresented in published writing about the church, matters of faith, and religion and culture in general—improve their writing abilities while gaining a publishing foothold as well as learning about the wider world of religious publishing—how to pitch an article, how the editorial process works, how to find publications that are good fits for the work you hope to place.
This program is open to writers who demonstrate a high level of skill, and interest in religious and spiritual topics. Participants are not eligible if they have published a book or are currently enrolled in an MFA program.
Each participant will be assigned to work with either Sophfronia Scott or Michael N. McGregor (see below for mentor bios) during the course of the 13-month program. Participants will complete four essays under the guidance of their writing mentor: an opinion or op-ed piece; a personal essay about a spiritual/religious issue or experience; an informational article or profile; and a fourth essay in a form of their choosing, either from the three options given above, or in an alternative form with the approval of their mentor. Some essays from each participant will be submitted the Collegeville Institute’s online publication Bearings Online and proceed through Bearings Online regular editorial process to publication.
The program will kick off with a welcome orientation on Wednesday, May 26 from 3-5 PM central time, followed by individual virtual meetings with their writing mentors during June and July where participants will generate several essay ideas.
Participants will attend a virtual writing workshop on Friday, July 30 – Tuesday, August 3, 2021. The writing workshop will involve formal seminars, individual mentorship and goal setting, peer-to-peer work, and time for participants to develop, write, and polish their first article.
After the workshop, McGregor and Scott will continue to work online with their assigned participants to develop a series of articles and/or essays to be published in Bearings Online. This work will include direct feedback on writing, Zoom sessions, and instruction on specific writing techniques. On occasion all six writers may gather together online for instruction.
Michael N. McGregor is the author of Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax, Fordham University Press, a finalist for a Washington State Book Award and several other prizes. His essays, articles and stories have been widely published in journals and magazines, including The Seattle Review, Story Quarterly, Poetry, The South Dakota Review, The Crab Orchard Review, The Mid-America Poetry Review, Notre Dame Magazine, and The Dictionary of Literary Biography. Among his honors and awards are the Daniel Curley Award for Short Fiction, an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship, an Illinois Arts Council Literary Grant and a Best American Essays Notable Essay selection. McGregor is an award-winning professor and former director of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Portland State University.
Sophfronia Scott is a novelist, essayist, and leading contemplative thinker whose work has appeared in Time, People, O: The Oprah Magazine, and numerous other outlets. When her first novel, All I Need to Get By, was published, she was nominated for best new author at the African American Literary Awards and hailed by Henry Louis Gates Jr. as “one of the best writers of her generation.” Her other books include Unforgivable Love, Love’s Long Line, and This Child of Faith. Scott holds degrees from Harvard and the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
The program is limited to six participants.
Due to the Covid-19 public health crisis, the writing workshop portion of this program will be held virtually.
The application deadline for this program has now passed.