We are delighted to announce the recipients of the second round of the Affirm Press Mentorship for Sweatshop Writers.

Established in 2018, the mentorship was created to support and represent members of the growing collective of culturally diverse writers within the nationally-renowned literacy movement known as Sweatshop. The mentees are awarded up to two years of editorial support and feedback to develop their debut books, as well as advice on building a writing profile. Affirm Press receives the first publishing option for the chosen manuscripts.

The recipients of the 2021 Affirm Press Mentorship for Sweatshop Writers are Egyptian-Australian writer and journalist, Daniel Nour, and African-American writer, Tyree Barnette.

In a joint statement, Daniel and Tyree said: ‘We are honoured and humbled to be selected for the Affirm Press Mentorship. We are eager to take up this wonderful opportunity from Affirm Press and Sweatshop Literacy Movement. There is an urgent need for authentic and honest representation of diverse voices across the arts and especially in literature. There is no single Australian story, but rather many equally valuable and important voices. It’s high time for the shelves in our libraries and bookstores to include unique talent from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.’

The general manager of Sweatshop, Winnie Dunn, said that the mentorship plays a vital role in reflecting Australia’s literary diversity. ‘This is a unique opportunity for two of Sydney’s most exciting new writers to work with one of Australia’s best publishers. The mentorship will result in two new creative non-fiction works which reflect the powerful eclecticism of Australian culture,’ said Ms Dunn.

The first two recipients of the mentorship were award-winning poet, Sara Saleh, and critically acclaimed essayist and prose writer, Shirley Le, whose debut novel has recently been acquired by Affirm Press for 2023 publication.

Martin Hughes, Affirm Press Publishing Director, was one of the driving forces behind setting up the mentorship with Sweatshop and will be working directly with Daniel and Tyree to help develop their debuts. ‘We are committed to nurturing new talent and promoting greater diversity across our publishing list, and we could hardly be more excited about teaming up with an organisation as dynamic and direct as Sweatshop,’ he said. ‘Daniel and Tyree are exceptional writers and we can’t wait to collaborate with them on the second round of books in this splendid initiative.’

Daniel Nour and Tyree Barnette