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Atwood to mentor emerging writer in Rolex arts program

Thanks to Rolex, one lucky writer will get the chance to become Margaret Atwood’s protege. On Monday, the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative revealed its list of arts professionals who will serve as mentors to emerging artists in the fields of literature, theatre, film, dance, music, and visual arts for the next year.

The luxury watchmaker started the Arts Initiative in 2002 to support “highly talented young artists from around the world and [bring] them together with great masters, for a year of creative collaboration in a one-to-one mentoring relationship.” Through the program, mentor and mentee spend a minimum of six weeks working together. The Arts Initiative provides the protege with US$25,000 for travel costs and living expenses throughout the program, and another US$25,000 at the end of the initiative to finance a project. (No word on whether any watches are involved in the deal, but what young author couldn’t use a diamond-encrusted timekeeper to tick away the writing hours?)

Proteges are selected by a panel of international experts in the six artistic categories who put together a list of potential participants, though the mentor has final say on who they’re paired with.

For 2011“2012, Atwood’s fellow mentors are Chinese choreographer Lin Hwai-min, American film editor and sound designer Walter Murch, Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil, French director Patrice Chéreau, and South African visual artist William Kentridge. Past Rolex literary mentors include Toni Morrison, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, and Wole Soyinka. From 2006“2007, Quebec-based writer Edem Awumey was protege to Moroccan novelist Tahar Ben Jelloun.

(In other Atwood news, the author turns 72 today. She got an early start celebrating at Laurentian University’s seventh annual Margaret Atwood Birthday Dinner in Sudbury, Ontario, on Thursday.)