Northland Maori writers are urged to enter manuscripts for possible inclusion in the national Te Papa Tupu Writing Incubator scheme.

The deadline is looming, though, with applications only open until 5pm on Sunday .

The successful applicant will spend six months this year working with a mentor to develop a manuscript and improve their writing processes. The aim is to finish with a publishable manuscript.

"Te Papa Tupu has helped enormously in my development as a writer - as a participant in 2012 and later as a mentor," writer Whiti Hereaka said.

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"Without the support of the programme, I wouldn't have written my novel Bugs. It's a great opportunity - grab it."

Bugs won the 2014 New Zealand Children's and Young Adults Book Awards.

Previous participants include Jacquie McRae (The Scent of Apples), Mark Sweet (Zhu Mao), Tihema Baker (Watched) and Fred Te Maro's Tutewehi, the first Maori language book to be published as a result of Te Papa Tupu.

The trust invites Maori writers to send in completed manuscripts, either in English or Maori. For details, check out www.mlt.org.nz