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Category: AWC alumni

AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Sarah Jane Lightfoot’s path to author and illustrator success, with debut picture book ‘Down the Road, Little Bee’

Courses taken at AWC:
Writing Picture Books

Textile designer Sarah Jane Lightfoot was determined to be a published children’s author and after creating a calendar based on a story idea, she was delighted to get a contract for a picture book with Affirm Press! But with the contract also came the doubt that she didn’t quite know what she was doing.

“I enrolled in the Writing Picture Books course to learn as much as I could about the industry I was entering and build on my confidence and capabilities as an author. I’m so incredibly grateful that I did.” With her newfound skills, Sarah went on to publish her debut picture book ‘Down the Road, Little Bee’.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Jacinta Froud: From teacher to published children’s author

Courses taken at AWC:
Writing Picture Books
Writing Picture Books Masterclass
Writing Chapter Books for 6-9 year olds

When Jacinta Froud came across the Writing Picture Books course at AWC, she jumped at the chance to learn the practical storytelling skills for children’s fiction.

“I loved the fact that it was online, self-paced and that I could complete the course around my family commitments,” Jacinta says. “I made connections with the lovely writing community and more recently I secured a publishing deal with the amazing Larrikin House.”

Jacinta’s debut picture book Jingle Belly will be published by Larrikin House in November 2021, with illustrations by Gabriella Petruso.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Gary Nunn: From freelance journalist to published author of ‘The Psychic Tests’

Courses taken at AWC: 
Novel Writing Essentials
The Story Doctor

Although he had a successful career as a freelance journalist, Gary turned to the Australian Writers’ Centre to help hone his craft in writing fiction and creative non-fiction. The result is his first book, The Psychic Tests: An Adventure In The World Of Believers and Sceptics, published by Pantera Press.

“The AWC was such a key part of that: meeting other writers, access to those who’d done it, the community that forms around those taking a course. Writing can be such a solitary pursuit for a gregarious, garrulous person like me! The AWC was the antidote to that.”

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

AWC alumna Veronica Lando wins the HarperCollins 2021 Banjo Prize

Publishing house HarperCollins launched the Banjo Prize in 2018, as “a quest to find Australia’s next great storyteller” – inviting unpublished commercial fiction manuscripts and awarding each year’s winner with a publishing contract. Now in its fourth year, the Banjo Prize recently announced its 2021 winner. And we were SO

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Freda Chiu combines her creative talents with debut picture book ‘A Trip to the Hospital’

Courses taken at AWC: 
Writing Picture Books

“My heart was pounding hard in my chest and I felt so elated and relieved that my childhood dream was finally coming true!”

That’s how Freda Chiu describes the moment she found out that her debut picture book, A Trip to the Hospital, was going to be published by Allen & Unwin. Although she was a successful freelance artist and educator, Freda wasn’t sure she had the skills to write her own picture book. But after taking the Writing Picture Books course with the Australian Writers’ Centre, Freda was unstoppable.

“I loved how structured and practical the Writing Picture Books course was,” Freda says. “I learned more in the two days I was at the AWC than in the few years prior doing self-research.”

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Fiona Murphy becomes a published author with her debut memoir ‘The Shape of Sound’

Courses taken at AWC: 
Reinvent Yourself
Freelance Writing Stage 1
Build Your Author Platform
2 Hours to Scrivener Power

As a budding writer, Fiona Murphy had a slew of writing ideas, but felt she lacked the confidence and skills to make them come to life. After taking a few freelance writing courses with the Australian Writers’ Centre, something clicked and she started successfully pitching stories.

That momentum led to the start of her career as an essayist and has culminated in the release of her memoir The Shape of Sound, published by Text Publishing in March 2021.

“Signing the contract was an out-of-body experience—it was both thrilling and terrifying! It took weeks for it to sink in.”

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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Bec Nanayakkara scores publishing deal for her first picture book

Courses taken at AWC: 
Writing Picture Books

Congratulations to AWC graduate Bec Nanayakkara who has landed a publishing deal for her debut picture book – which is based on an idea she workshopped in our Writing Picture Books course with tutor Zanni Louise just a year ago!

“I wrote a story for one of the assignments, and soon after the course, I polished it up and submitted it to Affirm Press. It was my first picture book submission to a publisher,” Bec told us. “Six months later they got in touch, and I have just signed a contract with them. They will be turning my manuscript into a real live story book in 2023!”

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Anika Molesworth shares her powerful story with debut book, ‘Our Sunburnt Country’

Courses taken at AWC: 
Creative Non-fiction

With an outline for her book, Anika secured a contract with Pan MacMillan to write about her experiences of climate change as a scientist and farmer. But after months of writing, she knew she needed some expert advice to shape her thoughts into a coherent book. She enrolled in the Australian Writers’ Centre’s Creative Non-fiction course.

“As I worked my way through the course, I began to feel more confident as a writer. And once I completed the course, I was so eager to dive back into my manuscript and apply all my new learnings.”

Anika’s debut book Our Sunburnt Country is out now with Pan Macmillan.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

How Sandhya Parappukkaran followed her creative curiosity to become a published picture book author

Courses taken at AWC: 
Writing Picture Books

When Sandhya Parappukkaran quit her food technology job to pursue her creative dreams, she originally turned to arts and crafts. But while reading with her son, Sandhya’s childhood love of books was rekindled. After completing the Writing Picture Books course, her debut picture book The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name has been published by Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing.
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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Ep 427 Meet Rebekah Campbell, author of ‘138 Dates’

Meet Rebekah Campbell, author of ‘138 Dates: The true story of one woman’s search for everything’. Discover how to harness community to build book sales. Have you listened to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast? Plus, we have 3 copies of ‘The Disappearing Act’ by Catherine Steadman to give away.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

How Rebekah Campbell’s 138 dates led to a publishing deal with Allen & Unwin

Courses taken at AWC: 
Write Your Novel
Writing Picture Books

Whenever Rebekah Campbell told people the story of how she met her husband, they would lean in and ask for more. That’s when she knew she had to write a book about her three-year search for love. So when she saw the Write Your Novel six-month program at the Australian Writers’ Centre, she felt it was the push she needed to write the book she’d been putting off for years.

Doing the course paid off. Rebekah’s book 138 Dates has now been published by Allen & Unwin.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Gabriella Kelly-Davies becomes a published biographer with debut book ‘Breaking Through the Pain Barrier’

Courses taken at AWC: 
Life Writing
Pitch Your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers

Retiring from corporate life was the perfect opportunity for Gabriella Kelly-Davies to pursue her passion for biography. After completing Patti Miller’s popular Life Writing course at the Australian Writers’ Centre, Gabriella went on to write the biography of Professor Michael Cousins AO, a trailblazing Australian pain medicine pioneer. Gabriella then followed on with the Pitch Your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers course to learn how to get the book published.

“I followed AWC’s advice to the letter, attracting a publisher within weeks,” Gabriella says.

Her debut biography Breaking Through the Pain Barrier: The Extraordinary Life of Dr Michael J. Cousins has now been published by Hawkeye Publishing.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

CJ Fentiman discovers her perfect career path writing about pets

Courses taken at AWC: 
Travel Writing
Creative Writing Stage 1
Novel Writing Essentials

After taking several courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre, CJ gained the confidence to write a book about her experiences of living in Japan and the cats she met along the way.

“These courses provided me with the skills I needed to develop my writing further and to meet like-minded people, so we could grow and nurture our creativity together,” CJ says.

CJ’s uplifting memoir The Cat with Three Passports is out now with Silver Vine Press, and it was an award-winning finalist in the Animals/Pets: Narrative Non-Fiction category of the 2021 International Book Awards.

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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Congrats to the AWC alumni shortlisted for the 2021 $10,000 Text Prize

This week, Text Publishing announced the seven shortlisted manuscripts in the running for the $10,000 Text Prize for young adult and children’s writing – and we were thrilled to spot some familiar names on the list!  Australian Writers’ Centre alumna Jacqueline Mohr has been shortlisted for her children’s story The

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