Category: AWC alumni

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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Success stories: Children's fiction
Dean Koorey

Q&A: The origin of “purple patch”

Each week here at the Australian Writers’ Centre, we dissect and discuss, contort and retort, ask and gasp at the English language and all its rules, regulations and ridiculousness. It’s a celebration of language, masquerading as a passive-aggressive whinge about words and weirdness. This week, we’re in a purple patch…

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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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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

AWC alumna Deborah Mackie wins the Wild Atlantic Writing Award

We were beyond excited to hear that Australian Writers’ Centre alumna Deborah Mackie has won the Wild Atlantic Writing Award for her short story “A Letter to Her Husband’s Girlfriend”. As an active member of the AWC, Deborah shared details about the competition in our So you want to be

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Craig Sheather reinvents his career to become a picture book author with ‘The Incredible True Story of Sparky the Wonder Puppy’

Courses taken at AWC: 
Reinvent Yourself
Laugh Out Loud
Writing Picture Books

Craig Sheather is a freelance writer and journalist specialising in the great outdoors. But when travel restrictions limited his writing opportunities, he decided to reinvent himself – taking the Reinvent Yourself course at the Australian Writers’ Centre. Feeling inspired, he went on to do two courses for writing for kids: Writing Picture Books and Laugh Out Loud. Craig has now published his debut picture book The Incredible True Story of Sparky the Wonder Puppy, about a puppy who survived the bushfires.
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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Graci Kim becomes a published children’s author with her middle grade adventure ‘The Last Fallen Star’

Courses taken at AWC: 
Novel Writing Essentials

Graci Kim has worked as a diplomat, cooking show host and even made kids toys – but it was when she sat down to reread her favourite childhood novels that she discovered her passion.

“It hit me – none of the books I read and treasured as a child had people like me in them. All the books I’d loved were about white people. I had been invisible on the page my whole life,” Graci says. She signed up for a course at the Australian Writers’ Centre and started writing books about Korean diaspora kids having magical adventures.

Graci’s debut middle-grade novel, The Last Fallen Star, has now been published by Disney Hyperion (Rick Riordan Presents) and the trilogy has been optioned by the Disney Channel for a live action television series.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

How Sam Buckerfield’s passion for writing led to a publishing deal with Hachette Australia

Courses taken at AWC: 
Write Your Novel
Plotting and Planning
How to Write for Children and Young Adults
Build Your Author Platform
Novel Writing Essentials
Freelance Writing Stage 1

Sam Buckerfield knew he wanted to make a career out of writing, but he was initially held back by his own self-doubts.

“Although I was ambitious, I didn’t know for certain that I had the seeds of an author in me,” he says. That was until presenter Pamela Freeman invited him to join the Write Your Novel program at the Australian Writers’ Centre.

“It was in that very moment that I felt believed in by a professional,” Sam says. “And I, in turn, believed that I had the capacity to be a published author.”

Sam’s first published book is Generation Alpha, co-authored with Mark McCrindle and Ashley Fell, and it is out now with Hachette Australia.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Sandie Jessamine becomes a published memoirist with her powerful story ‘Borderline’

Courses taken at AWC: 
Life Writing
Write Your Novel
Write Your Novel Masterclass
Self-publish your Novel on Kindle

Writing and publishing a memoir was never going to be easy for Sandie Jessamine. Living with borderline personality disorder meant that she could be one person at the start of a sentence and another by the end. Having suffered trauma, abuse and devastating loss, Sandie wanted to write her story to help her process her past. She turned to the AWC to give her the structure she needed.

“I turned into a writer,” Sandie says about the period that followed her decision to enrol in the Write Your Novel program with Pamela Freeman. “During Pamela’s course, I put all my attention and energy into completing a draft novel. The writing gave me a safe space to retreat into away from the emotional pain but eventually I began to write within the pain until the pain was writing itself”

Her extraordinary story, Borderline, has now been published by Bad Apple Press..

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Gaiti Rabbani becomes a published business book author in just one year

Courses taken at AWC: 
Write a Business Book
Travel Writing
Blogging for Beginners

When global events affected her travel and business plans, Gaiti Rabbani thought it was the perfect time to channel her energy into writing a business book. She enrolled in the Write a Business Book course at the Australian Writers’ Centre – and just one year later, she not only wrote the book, but secured a publishing deal as well. Gaiti’s book Curious About Culture is out now with Major Street Publishing.
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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Multi-talented Amy Adeney finds success as a children’s book author

Courses taken at AWC: 
Writing Picture Books
Writing Chapter Books for 6-9 year olds
Build Your Author Platform
MOJO MONTH

Never in a million years did Amy Adeney think that she would be a published author one day. She had a varied career as a fitness instructor, PR executive, and primary school teacher before finally discovering her creative side. She has now published seven books for children – and it all started with a writing exercise during a course at the Australian Writers’ Centre.

“My debut picture book, Turning Cartwheels (EK Books, 2021), actually began its life as an exercise in the AWC Writing Picture Books course!” Amy says. Her tutor, Cathie Tasker, provided Amy with feedback that made her realise that her story idea had potential. “Cathie’s feedback became part of my pitch for the book, and even formed the basis of the book’s description in the EK Books catalogue.”

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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Shankari Chandran’s newest manuscript acquired by Ultimo Press

We’re thrilled to hear that Shankari Chandran has had her latest novel Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens snapped up by Ultimo Press. Shankari is one of our superstar alumnae who found publishing success with her debut novel The Barrier after the Crime and Thriller Writing course at the Australian Writers’

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