Deb: Why Apprentice?

It might be said – I’m painting with a very broad brush here
– that there are two kinds of writers: those who have the utmost confidence in their work and can only scratch their heads over why publishers have yet to  appreciate its awesomeness, and
those who believe that their writing can always improve because there is always
more to be learned.
If you’re aligned with the first group, you may as well
stop reading now – an apprenticeship isn’t for you.
Apprenticeships began with the very earliest skilled trades.
In the Renaissance, artists apprenticed with masters in studios. They studied
and learned as experienced artists critiqued their work and helped launch their
careers. While study is good, the holistic approach of an apprenticeship is
The first 49 Writers apprenticeship launched last spring.
The idea was to make apprenticeships available at an affordable cost through a
selective process to writers throughout the state and beyond. In addition to
critiquing a body of work, instructors would coach and mentor their students
via email and phone conversations, assisting with particular projects and
guiding their apprentices with personalized suggestions for additional
readings, areas for further study, publishing opportunities, and career-building
“For what I paid I got a lot more in return than I
expected,” said one of the participants in the Spring 2012 program. “If I had
any friends who were budding writers I would highly recommend this
This fall, you can apply for an apprenticeship in fiction
with Martha Amore or in children’s literature with me, Deb Vanasse. Martha is
an MFA graduate of the University of Alaska
, where she is also an adjunct
instructor. She has published both fiction and nonfiction. As for me – well, if
you’ve been reading here awhile you probably know that I’m the co-founder of 49
Writers and a former instructor with the University
of Alaska
. I’m the author of eleven
books, eight of which are for children, including Junior Literary Guild and
Battle Books titles. My work in children’s literature has been for all age
levels, from pre-readers through young adults.
If you want to apply for a 49 Writers apprenticeship, don’t
delay: your writing sample must be emailed by September 30 to 
Scroll to Top