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AfterWords Youth Mentorship Program

Basic Details:

Applications open October 1, 2023

Deadline to apply: November 24, 2023, 5pm AT

Mentorship period: March 1-April 30, 2024

For Nova Scotians between the ages of 14 and 18.

About the Youth Mentorship Program

The first annual AfterWords Youth Mentorship Program will pair two professional Halifax writers with two Nova Scotian writers between the ages of 14 and 18 inclusive, for a six-week virtual mentorship in March and April 2024. One of the two youth mentorship spots will be reserved for a Black or Indigenous Nova Scotian.


Each mentor will meet with their mentee online for six one-hour sessions. Mentors will also be available for up to six extra hours for reviewing their mentee’s work and offering encouragement and critical feedback, and all applicants to the program  will receive two free virtual writing workshops as well as two free tickets to an AfterWords Literary Festival event. 


The two mentees will also be invited to give a short reading alongside their mentors at an AfterWords event with reading fee, travel and accommodations fully covered.


Application Deadline: November 24, 2023, 5pm AT


2023/24 Mentors: We are very excited to have Tom Ryan and Andre Fenton as our mentors for our first annual program! 


Andre Fenton is an award-winning African Nova Scotian author, spoken-word artist, screenwriter and arts educator who has represented Halifax at seven national poetry festivals across Canada. He is a recipient of the Emerging Artist Recognition Award at the 2022 Creative NS Awards, and the author of three young adult fiction novels, Worthy of Love, which won bronze in The Coast’s 2018 Best Of Awards, He is also the author of ANNAKA, that was the 2022 recipient of The Community & Place Award from Digitally Lit, and is the author of The Summer Between Us, which won Gold in The Coast’s 2022 Best Of Awards. Andre has facilitated writing and performances workshops at over 50 schools across Nova Scotia. He is currently screenwriting the film adaptation of his novel, ANNAKA that is being produced by Fine Devils Films. Andre is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Tom Ryan is an award winning author, screenwriter and producer. His YA mystery KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF was the winner of the 2020 ITW Thriller Award for Best YA Thriller, the 2020 Arthur Ellis Award for Best YA Crime Book, and the 2021 Ann Connor Brimer Award, and is currently being adapted for television. His followup YA mystery I HOPE YOU’RE LISTENING was the winner of the 2021 Lambda “Lammy” Award for Best LGBTQ Mystery. He was a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow in Young Adult Fiction. Tom, his husband and their dog divide their time between Dartmouth and Cape Breton.


Eligibility and Application Guidelines

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for the AfterWords Youth Mentorship Program, writers must meet the following criteria.

  • You must be a permanent resident of Nova Scotia (i.e., you have lived in Nova Scotia permanently for at least one year)

  • You must between the ages of 14 and 18 inclusive on December 31, 2023.

  • You must be available to participate in the program’s six virtual one-hour meetings (conducted by video chat in March and April), as well as the program’s wrap-up event, an in-person public reading in May, 2024 (where both mentees and both mentors will read from their work).



In order to apply, you must fill out the form listed at the bottom of this page (the form will be linked on this page starting on October 1, 2023). The form will ask for the following information: your first and last name, your address, and your age. It will also ask you for the following:


  • Self-identification: We encourage you to briefly self-identify (recommended: one or two lines) if you belong to any communities that are marginalized on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender or sexuality, or ability or disability. AfterWords reserves one mentorship each year for Black and Indigenous Nova Scotians. Your willingness to self-identify can help us offer mentorships in a more equitable way.

  • Letter of Intent: Your letter of intent can be up to 500 words telling us a bit about you and your writing. It should answer each of the following questions (but need not be limited to them):

    • Why is writing important to you?

    • How long have you been writing?

    • How often do you write?

    • Are you prepared to put time and energy into becoming a better writer?

    • What would you like to learn from working with a professional writer

  • Writing Sample: a sample of a work-in-progress of up to 2000 words (for prose) and up to 6 pages (for poetry). (Please double-space for prose, single-space for poetry, and use 12-pt Times New Roman or Arial font). 

Application Form: You can fill out the application form here. Please be sure to apply on or before the application deadline of Friday, November 24, 5pm AT.


Assessment Process

After applications have been processed to ensure they are complete and eligible, they will be shared with a peer assessment jury of three professional writers contracted by AfterWords.

All applicants will be notified of their application results by early February. 

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