Academic writing expertise, we argue, is acquired through long practice and by the mentoring of significant others in a socialisation process which resembles an ‘apprenticeship’. The way that feedback provided to novice writers by community-sanctioned experts can scaffold research writers’ development of texts and their scholarly identities as writers, which, however, has been relatively little studied. In this paper, we examine the interactions around two L2 writers’ engagements with PhD thesis and research article writing at an English medium university. Focusing on the literature review of these genres, we use thematic and intertextual analyses to explore interconnections between apprenticeship patterns, feedback messages, and expertise acquisition. The analyses present feedback as an apprenticeship: a multi-dimensional scaffolding and an interconnected mentorship oriented towards the process of learning and the nurturing of a writerly self.