About Gold Dust

Based in the UK, Gold Dust is a unique mentoring scheme for writers, founded by novelist Jill Dawson. An invaluable resource for new and emerging novelists and authors of non-fiction, Gold Dust offers eight hours of face-to-face meetings with an established novelist, biographer or short-story writer, usually taking place over a year. In 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.

jillJill Dawson on why she set up Gold Dust

In 1992 I was a newly single mother, and unemployed. I had published stories and poems but what I longed for was to complete the novel I was struggling to write, and publish it.  I saw an ad for a new course at Sheffield Hallam University, an MA in Writing.  It cost four thousand pounds and I really had to think hard about finding the money and whether it was a sensible thing to do. Not just the money but the travelling up to Sheffield, and finding someone to look after my three year old for the day – I seem to remember it was just one day –  perhaps it was a mad idea.  But I did it, and not only did I never regret it, but it changed everything.

Wonderful things came out of that course.  I met Kathryn Heyman, a would-be novelist like me, and made a lasting friendship. And I met and got to know the poet Archie (E.A) Markham and novelists Lesley Glaister and Jane Rogers.  At that point in my life I’d never met any published writers. I was on the dole and living in a council flat: why would I have? What I longed for, was not the MA itself, or the qualification, or the other students work-shopping my work (an experience I found bewildering and hateful) – it was an opportunity to meet and learn from those I thought of as ‘real’ writers: published authors with a body of work, and discover if I really could count myself among them.

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