Barbican Academy – Mentoring for writers by our expert writers

A note from Martin Goodman:  ‘Back in 2007 it was good to collaborate with Sara Maitland and write the first guide to Mentoring Creative Writing (a project of New Writing North).  I then shifted into the university system, where MAs give students a taster of mentoring in the latter part of their course. Mentoring comes deeply into play in the PhD process. But a PhD comes with shackles – universities are bureaucracies, more used to fostering critical analysis than creativity, and so while steering students into academia I felt a need to protect them from its ravages.

‘We writers do need protection – I chose the name Barbican for its sense of round walls that keep writers safe. But unlike a university, Barbican Academy has no needs of its own to put first. Our writers work one-on-one, drawing on their experience to develop the writers they work with. For those writers, the journey is thrilling and tough. They push themselves where they did not know they could go.

‘Most of our writers do have PhDs in Creative Writing – they have been through lots of training and trained others. They know that learning never stops – every project sees a writer breaking new bounds. Their aim is for you to be the best of yourself. Our writers know that the writers they lead are their colleagues. Welcome!’

We offer three packages:

The Fresh Start

A 3-month package.

5000 words returned after your mentor’s review with their comments and a focused task for development x 3, plus 3 one hour follow up review meetings.


Why choose The Solid Start?

You may wish to make some headway with a book before really committing to it. Your project may be short – a trio of short stories, perhaps. A tribute to a parent. You may feel early professional feedback will set you on course, and when you have your solid start you are confident about finishing a draft on your own. It feels like a big enough investment and you want to see what return you get for it.


The Clean Run

A 12-month package

5000 words returned after your mentor’s review with their comments and a focused task for development x 10, plus 10 one hour follow-up review meetings.


+ manuscript appraisal (up to 80,000 words) £600. £100 per 10,000 words over 80,000. Or £100 per 10,000 words not reviewed within the programme.

Why choose The Clean Run?

The Clean Run propels you on a regular schedule to complete a writing project. 5,000 words is a manageable challenge. Your writing will be shaped by top level feedback, and steered to grow stronger every month. You can feel pretty sure about completing your book and it being a good deal better than your solo first draft might have been.


The Full Commitment

A 15-24 months package

First meeting: 5,000 words review plus review of a writing plan. 90-minute meeting. £250. This opening review session settles you into knowing that your mentor is in tune with you and your project; you make your own full commitment and know you also have their full commitment.

If both parties agree, proceed to:

Up to 10000 words with comments, (which your mentor will have focused on for 2.5 hours of review) x 8, followed by 8 x 90-minute meetings These take place over a period of between 15 and 24 months on an agreed schedule.

Plus: A review of your completed manuscript by a separate writer. Submission within 6 months of package completion, and response within 8 weeks.


Why choose The Full Commitment?

You expect your writing to take you somewhere deep and you enjoy the struggles with that process, you like going alone, but you don’t want to get lost. Feedback will help you clarify voice, sharpen your intent, give you the strength and belief to carry the project to its inclusion. Conversation has time to go beyond writer’s craft and examine the broad nature of what you are seeking to express. You don’t need an MFA and examination and university trappings, but you’d like personal attention at MFA level or better.

Please get in touch!


Contact Barbican Academy

If you have any questions about taking part in the Barbican Academy, please post them here.