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A Mentoring Program for Teens and Young Adults

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With Little Owl Mentoring Program co-founder Elisabeth Wilhelm, author Pamela Lord, and mentee Tiffany Lodoen



From left: Elisabeth Wilhelm, Pamela Lord, Tiffany Lodoen


The Little Owl Mentoring Program is a joint effort between Hope Clark, editor of, and Elisabeth Wilhelm, editor of Absynthe Muse, a writing community for young adults. The program connects young adult writers (13-22) with experienced adult writers who mentor them in an all-volunteer free program. Whether the young adult writer’s interest is poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or drama, he or she will be paired with an approved mentor who will work with him or her on accomplishing an agreed upon goal. This goal can be big (”I want to pitch my poetry collection to a New York literary agency!”) or small (”I want to learn how to write authentic-sounding dialogue that fits in a murder mystery novel set in 30s Chicago.”).

Little Owl (Athene noctua) is the bird species that used to hang around Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, the arts, and warfare. Owls came to symbolize wisdom and clarity of thought. Ancient Greeks used to think that owls had special lamps in their heads that allowed them to see in darkness. The Little Owl Mentoring Program brings adult writers who have grown big, fuzzy eyebrows together with the young writers who don’t plan on growing big eyebrows anytime soon.

Elizabeth Wilhelm is the editor-in-chief of online young adult writing community Absynthe Muse and co-founder of the Little Owl Mentoring Program. She started writing seriously after completing a homework assignment for US History which involved stained “old” paper and acrylic blood artistically spattered across old style print. Today, she spends far too much time arguing in third person in Model United Nations and other youth conferences around the world and writing articles on sex, stories about Greek myths gone horribly wrong, editing artsy-fartsy things, and working on so many projects she has a hard time keeping them straight and her friends have declared her insane.

Pam Lord has been writing fantasy, horror and scifi for over three decades. She alarmed her grade-school teachers by using her vocabulary lists to make stories of zombies and werewolves. For the past two years she has been living in Israel finishing two novels in a fantasy series, finding a publisher, and enjoying doing what she loves: writing.

Tiffany Lodoen is a 20-year-old education student who will be teaching English once university is finished. She has been writing since middle school. Along with working with Absynthe Muse, an international young adult writers’ community, she is also a senior editor at

In this enlightening interview, Elisabeth explains the program, and Pam and Tiff tell what it’s like to participate, including:

  • How the program got started and who runs it
  • What the program entails
  • Who can participate
  • How mentors and mentees are paired up
  • How the program’s organizers protect mentees’ privacy and look out for their well-being
  • What happens if mentor and mentee find they’re not a good fit
  • How their new outreach to incarcerated teens is going and how you can help
  • How one pair works together
  • How the mentee deals with taking criticism
  • What they’ve learned from the experience
  • How you can get involved.

Interviewees: Elisabeth Wilhelm, Pamela Lord, and Tiffany Lodoen
Host: Paula B
Date: June 26, 2006
Running time: 01:17:27 minutes
File size: 61 megabytes
Rating: G
Little Owl Web site: Little Owl Mentoring Program
Web sites mentioned in the interview:
International Women’s Writing Guild
Critters, the critiquing group for fantasy horror and scifi
RefDesk for just about anything
A huge markets listing for fantasy/horror/science fiction