Emerging talent . . . Writer Lynda Scott Araya has been selected for the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa Mentorship Programme 2022. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

Wanting to break into the New Zealand literary scene was the motivation for Lynda Scott Araya to enter a national mentorship programme.

Ms Scott Araya was one of 14 people selected for this year’s New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa Mentorship Programme.

The programme pairs emerging writers with New Zealand professionals to help hone their skills while completing a project of their choice.

‘‘I’ve done a lot of writing now and have been published overseas but I think it’s harder to break into the New Zealand market,’’ Ms Scott Araya said.

‘‘I’m at the stage of my career where I’ve had mentoring from a wonderful editor overseas in Miami and I just want to have the opportunity to have the mentoring that I need here in New Zealand.’’

To enter, people had to write about themselves and the project they wanted to work on.
Ms Scott Araya planned to work on poems about grief, bereavement, suicide and mental health awareness.

She wanted to create a poetry anthology that would be helpful for people when they were first bereaved and others who were trying to support them. Her inspiration comes from her son’s death. ‘‘Just that whole journey around grief and the way that it’s still stigmatised.’’

Ms Scott Araya has always had a passion for writing and has had many short stories and poems published, including in Landfall 240 in 2020. Landfall is New Zealand’s longest› running arts and literary journal.

But most of her work has been published overseas.

She has forthcoming work which will be published in the The Bangalore Review, and another in an anthology by Weasel Press later this year.

She has also written book reviews, been a reader for Beyond Words Literary Magazine and was a guest writer for the Prospectus: A Literary Offering.

Its editor, Celia Lisset Alvarez, has been a mentor for her during her writing career.
Her passion for writing extended to encouraging others to use their voice, particularly women and people who were often not heard.

She had a strong, feminist voice and often wrote about domestic violence and misogyny, among other things.

‘‘If people want to write then they should,’’ she said.

‘‘They should write about what is meaningful to them and not be deterred by others who tell them not to.’’

Reading as much as possible was key, no matter whether it was a comic book or a novel, she said.

‘‘Reading is vital to being able to write more, to write more fluently and to write differently.

‘‘All reading is valid.’’