Mentors and protégés in Literature

Through the years

Michael Ondaatje & Miroslav Penkov

2014-2015

Michael Ondaatje & Miroslav Penkov

Michael Ondaatje says that having a mentor to warn about the dangers of easy victories is essential for a young writer. His Bulgarian protégé Miroslav Penkov greatly admires Ondaatje’s work and relishes his company as he finds his literary voice.

Margaret Atwood & Naomi Alderman

2012-2013

Margaret Atwood & Naomi Alderman

A shared interest in history, technology and religion created an immediate rapport between Margaret Atwood and Naomi Alderman. Their exploration of the digital world resulted in a web-based novel, co-written between lively encounters in New York, London and Toronto.

Hans Magnus Enzensberger & Tracy K. Smith

2010-2011

Hans Magnus Enzensberger & Tracy K. Smith

The mentor, a master of German letters, moves easily across forms and genres in a way that inspired his protégée, a young poet, as she explored a new literary medium, the memoir.

Wole Soyinka & Tara June Winch

2008-2009

Wole Soyinka & Tara June Winch

Worlds apart in terms of geography, culture and experience, the paths of the mentor and protégée converged naturally, as a vital experience of life and literature brought them together in a close, spontaneous partnership.

Tahar Ben Jelloun & Edem

2006-2007

Tahar Ben Jelloun & Edem

Each living far from his birthplace, the mentor and protégé meet in their literary explorations of exclusion and exile.

Mario Vargas Llosa & Antonio García Ángel

2004-2005

Mario Vargas Llosa & Antonio García Ángel

Antonio García Ángel thought Mario Vargas Llosa was going to help him write a new novel. In fact, Llosa showed him a whole new way of working.

Toni Morrison & Julia Leigh

2002-2003

Toni Morrison & Julia Leigh

On the basis of work-in-progress Leigh sent, Morrison knew that Leigh was the one. “Her plans and ideas were so compelling to me,” she says.