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Talking Travel Writing x BGTW Mentorship Programme

The British Guild of Travel Writers (BGTW) and Talking Travel Writing (TTW), a weekly newsletter authored by journalists Lottie Gross and Steph Dyson, are pleased to announce that the 2022 Talking Travel Writing x BGTW mentorship programme is now open for applications from mentees until Friday 15th July 2022.

This follows the success of this partnership in 2021 with the inaugural mentoring programme for aspiring travel writers. The scheme, which saw 10 members of the BGTW mentor 10 new and aspiring travel writers during four hour-long sessions across October 2021, received over 170 applications from a diverse range of applicants located within the United Kingdom and beyond.

“I am grateful for the insight that I have gained and the generosity of my mentor.”

Feedback was resoundingly positive, with 100% of the mentees indicating that they would recommend the programme to other new writers within the industry. 

Aspiring travel writer Deborah Gray said: “It was a privilege to be given one-on-one time with Pól Ó Conghaile, a travel editor and award-winning writer, to be able to ask questions and learn from his experience. Starting out, it’s so easy to keep making the same mistakes, producing work that is not commercial and writing pitches that don’t attract attention. This scheme has challenged me to do things differently. I am grateful for the insight that I have gained and the generosity of my mentor.”

James Scanlan, who was partnered with travel writer Claire Dodd, also reflected on the strengths of the scheme and the professional development opportunities it provided. He said: “The mentoring sessions were really beneficial and I learnt loads – from how best to form an article and a pitch to the importance of emphasising my niche when promoting my stories.” 

Providing a valuable learning opportunity for experienced travel writers 

While the focus was on supporting the development of new and aspiring writers, some mentors also found the programme to be a valuable learning opportunity for themselves, as well as offering the opportunity to share insights into the industry that are often not discussed. 

Award-winning travel journalist and author Shafik Meghji said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would be happy to take part again in the future. Beyond the satisfaction of (hopefully) helping someone break into an industry that can often seem daunting from the outside, I learned a lot from the planning and the sessions themselves. I also think Hajar Meddah – my mentee – and I were well-matched. We were able to discuss certain issues (such as the challenges writers of colour can face in the media) that may not have been so easy to raise with another writer.”

Former BGTW Chairman Simon Willmore, who oversaw the implementation of the 2021 programme, was pleased that the Guild was able to take part in such an industry-leading scheme. “I was delighted that Guild members Lottie and Steph approached me to partner up with the BGTW for this mentoring scheme,” he said. 

“The Talking Travel Writing newsletter is one of the best initiatives to have come out of the travel media industry in the last couple of years and it perfectly aligns with Guild’s efforts to connect members, give something back to the industry and to nurture future talent. I look forward to the Guild running a similar scheme very soon.”

Summer 2022 now sees the Talking Travel Writing x BGTW mentoring programme opening for a second round of applications from aspiring travel writers seeking mentorship with experienced journalists looking to offer their skills as mentors selected from the BGTW membership. “We’re very happy to be supporting this programme again,” says BGTW chair Meera Dattani. “It was a huge success for both sides – the mentors also learned from mentees – and the programme provided the perfect opportunity to share insights and advice in what can sometimes seem like a mysterious, inaccessible and competitive industry.”

About the 2022 programme

The 2022 Talking Travel Writing x BGTW mentoring programme is for new or aspiring travel writers. That means you might be a journalist in another field looking to get bylines in travel publications; maybe you’re a student looking to get into the travel media when you graduate; or perhaps you’re completely new to the writing game entirely and would like guidance on where to get started.

There are no formal entry requirements, but you must be new(ish) to the industry and aiming to pursue a career as a professional travel writer. You might be a journalist in another field looking to get bylines in travel publications; or a student looking to get into the travel media when you graduate; or you’re new to the writing game and would like guidance on where to get started. The scheme is keen to help diversify the travel press and make it more inclusive so minority and marginalised writers are encouraged to apply.

The scheme will officially launch at this #BGTWTalksTravel pitching webinar on Friday 8th July 2022, but mentees can apply anytime from now until midnight BST on Friday 15th July 2022. All sessions are free for mentees. Application form here.

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Talking Travel Writing is a practical weekly newsletter that aims to demystify the travel media. From interviews with editors, calls for pitches, and industry analysis, it’s an essential resource for anyone looking to thrive as a travel writer in 2022. 

Meera Dattani
By: Meera Dattani Commissioning Editor, Freelance Journalist, Guidebook Writer