**Applications are Required**
Program Will Start May 15, 2021
Click HERE to Apply by May 10, 2021. Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis. Early applications are encouraged.
IMPORTANT: Please do not pay for the mentorship until you receive an acceptance notification via email.
Any questions about this mentorship? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
The Ideal Applicant may be at any stage of their nonfiction project, but will have at least 10-15 pages of writing, whether the project is essays, memoir, narrative nonfiction, or a hybrid. The ideal applicant will come to this mentorship program eager to expand and revise their project. We will discuss the work from word choice to choice of form. Along the way we will tackle voice, theme, story arc, and the balance of experience, research, and exposition in the piece. Applicants should either have one long piece (3K words plus) or multiple shorter ones. Drafts are fine, as long as the applicant is committed to the process of expansion and revision.
The goal of the mentorship is to have one finished piece ready for submission; a pitch for another piece connected to the same project or in line with the mentee’s goals; and a general strategy to produce and publish new work. Part of the program is benefiting from Lisa’s many years as a writer and editor, and you will learn how to find the best venues for your writing—dream publications, good bets, and everything in-between.
This mentorship is meant to encourage, motivate, inspire, and push you. Writers accepted into the mentorship should already have experience writing, revising, and talking about their work. The mentorship is intended to give writers a taste of graduate-level work and help them meet practical goals. Interested applicants will understand that growth requires work, critique, and revision, and will have an eagerness to learn and a willingness to try new techniques.
Lisa does not have a one-size-fits-all approach to mentoring. Each student will have their own program, with readings, writing deadlines, and extensive critique at the sentence and the developmental level. This mentorship will consist of Lisa giving feedback and advice, as well as pushing you to think about your overall goal as a writer. Her critiques are practical and analytical and she will help you to revise both your work and your thinking. Lisa will also recommend books and/or articles tailored to each writer’s needs. She will share pitches that worked, techniques for communicating with editors (and making them love you), and examples of drafts of her own published essays so you can see how revision unfolds.
Lisa will be available via email any time over the three months, but scheduled phone meetings will occur every two weeks. You will be expected to submit new pages every two weeks (the number of pages will depend on the individual mentee’s goals) and to revise your work as the mentorship progresses. At the end of three months, you will have polished work ready to submit and new pages to revise, as well as a plan for your writing life.
You will also be given new resources from the instructor including writing tips, ideas about structure and form, how to deal with rejection and other realities of publishing. You will also be free to ask about other aspects of developing a writing practice and how to position yourself as a writer based on your long-term goals. We will discuss what the writer wants to accomplish during the three months of the mentorship, and they will be responsible for submitting progress reports every few weeks.
Since the course is online, the resources Lisa shares will be in the form of readings, handouts, etc., rather than through lecture. She will be available to help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and she will help you devise ways to improve until you are ready for publication. At the end of the mentorship, you will have a clear vision of how to proceed with your project and your writing.
“Lisa Levy was one of my first freelance editors. She's sharp, savvy, and easy to work with, an editor who can help you shape your writing and guide you through the ins and outs of the publishing world.” -Steph Cha, author of Your House Will Pay, editor of Best American Mystery Stories
“Lisa Levy is one of our foremost critics and writers about the culture. She has a nose for the latest trends and when I read her stuff I always come away impressed by her street smarts.” -Adrian McKinty, author of The Chain and the Sean Duffy series
"I really loved the course. You get out of it what you put in. My instructor, Lisa, required a lot of readings, and you obviously don't have to do them, but the whole point of doing one of these is to learn by doing the work. If you don't shortchange yourself, these can really be a great avenue to get feedback on your writing. 10/10 would do again." -Dustin H.
“I’ve worked with many editors and Lisa is up there with the best. Her feedback helped me finally see how to fix an essay I've been wrestling with for over a year. My future work will also be stronger because of how she highlighted some of my writing "bad habits," along with strengths I hadn't noticed before. Her editing style is clear, straightforward without being abrupt, and always productive. My biggest takeaway from the experience is that Lisa genuinely loves reading and working out the puzzle of making work the best it can be on its own terms.” —Sara B.
"Lisa is really very good at pop culture. And she's wonderful at pushing you in a good direction without really telling you where to go. A gentle nudge that gets you thinking, basically, and then you're off to the races. I would highly recommend this class if you have any interest at all in pop culture writing." -Rachel H.
“Nothing gets by Lisa. She is precise in her naming of voice, style, and literary device etc.; she inspires me to be just as careful/open-eyed in my close reading and critique. At the same time, she is a generous conversationalist. Lisa buoys all student-perspectives, and invites nuance in the interpretation of readings--even those she's taught for years. It is clear that Lisa lives what she teaches. A book/author recommendation to help mentor your personal writing-passions and pitfalls is always on the tip of her tongue--just ask! She is committed to helping her students pursue a sophisticated reading and writing life--one in which we observe the world critically, make original connections, and hone our distinct voice. Lisa is a swift, clever editor of works-in-progress. She helped me re-see my essay draft on both the macro level of narrative structure/organization, and on the micro-level of sentence configuration. She will help you 'Kill Your Darlings' without killing your self-esteem/ in the most freeing of ways. Lisa is a generous communicator outside class hours (book recommendations, personal writing advice, tech-support, etc).” —Martha K.
Mentor’s Monthly Input:
- One-on-one meeting on Zoom or phone
- In-line comments and critiques on submitted work
- A monthly reading list tailored to your areas of need and interest, which might also contain a movie or TV show or other relevant material to help you with your project.
- Suggestions of where to submit your work, now or in the future (this means you should start reading the publication now).
- Ideas for prompts, craft advice, creating a writing practice, and how to structure your goals as a writer.
- Availability over email and phone to answer questions and provide encouragement.
The 3 Month Nonfiction Mentorship Entails
- One-on-one mentoring
- Learning how to read like a writer
- Regular meetings (approximately bi-weekly but can change depend on the mentee’s needs)
- Personalized advice for achieving your project goals
- Daily Accountability Email
- Access to mentor via email for questions for three months
- Monthly critique of pages, including line notes and specific feedback for improvement and revisions
- Personalized readings and assignments based on your specific needs
- Writing and revision exercises and advice
- Resources and ideas to further your goals as well as access to Lisa’s network
Mentee's Monthly Responsibilities:
- Participate in one-on-one meetings
- Send pages to mentor based on individual project goals negotiated with mentor
- Submit progress reports based on a schedule devised by the mentor and mentee.
- Read articles or books mentor assigns to aid growth in specific areas
- Participate in a monthly one-on-one session with mentor to review progress and challenges.
Full Tuition for the 3-month program is $1,900. Accepted writers must commit to the full three months and meet all assigned deadlines. You can pay the tuition in full or opt for equal monthly payments by selecting Affirm at checkout. If you decide to create a monthly payment plan using Affirm, you can do so once you add "Full Tuition" to your cart, enter your contact information, and are on the payment page.
Additional Program Information:
- Tuition is $1,900
- Class size limited to 8 writers
- Program Dates: May 15th to August 15th, 2021
- The Mentorship is fully online and students may participate from anywhere.
- NOTE: Shifting some dates around may be necessary but any changes will be communicated well in advance, if possible.
Please contact us if you have any questions about this program.
Mentor Lisa Levy is a writer, editor, essayist, and critic. Her work has appeared in many publications, including the New Republic, the LARB, the Believer, the Millions, the Rumpus, TLS, Brevity, and Lit Hub, where she is a contributing editor. She is also a columnist and contributing editor to Crime Reads. She has an essay in the collection Talking About Pauline Kael and one in the forthcoming anthology Dating & Sex: The Theory of Mutual Self-Destruction. She is pursuing an MFA in nonfiction writing at Goucher College and working on a collection of linked essays about chronic illness and cultural ideas about life narrative, progressive time, and futurity, as well as a critical study about women and crime fiction.
Lisa has taught across the nonfiction spectrum (including a popular WWD class on criticism) and has run workshops on how to publish. She has taught or is teaching at Sackett Street Writers, Grub Street, the Loft, Writers Circle and WWD. She also runs a group for nonfiction writers and has worked on many editorial projects.
Lisa moved from New York City to Toronto in the summer of 2019. She lives with her husband and their Basset hound, Daisy, in the Leslieville neighborhood in Toronto. She considers herself an amateur Canadian.
Read her work here.