Heather Parry and Jenni Fagan : 2016 Emerging Writer Award

Heather Parry recently concluded the year-long programme of writing retreats and mentoring that she received as the winner of the 2016 Emerging Writer Award. Here’s what she had to say about the process:

‘I was stunned and thrilled in equal measure to win the Bridge Award for an Emerging Writer in 2016, especially when I realised that one of my favourite novelists, Michel Faber, was running a novel-writing course at Moniack Mhor shortly after I was notified. The two tutored retreats at Moniack allowed me to spend time, and learn from, some incredibly talented authors and to establish a network of wonderful writers in Scotland. In addition to this, my one-on-one mentoring with Jenni Fagan has allowed me to look at my work in a whole new way, and to make the changes necessary to make my writing what I want it to be. In short, winning this award gave me the inspiration, confidence and means to finish my first novel and to consider myself a real writer. I recommend it to anyone.’

About her experience of mentoring on the award, Jenni said:

‘It is important to offer mentorship for talented young writers early on in their careers. It is hard for writers to know how they might develop their voice fully, or find a route into publication. Encouragement and positivity is vital at this time.

Mentoring before publishing your first novel is great because it allows writers to really hone their skills in private. They can challenge any weaker areas in prose, characterisation, pacing or setting. A mentor is there to recognise potential and push towards achieving the highest quality of work possible. I enjoy mentoring and make it a point to do so with at least one or two writers each year. The Bridge Awards are a brilliant opportunity for young writers and mentors to work together.’

We’re delighted that the award has provided such a positive experience for all involved and we wish Heather every success in her writing career.