Category: AWC alumni

Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

How Rashida Tayabali became a freelance writer and author

Rashida Tayabali had always wanted to write, but had been discouraged from studying journalism at university. While working as a marketing coordinator, she decided her maternity leave would be the perfect opportunity to rediscover her old passion. Inspired by a colleague who had done courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre, Rashida enrolled in Freelance Writing Stage 1 – and immediately her life changed.

Courses completed at AWC:
Freelance Writing Stage 1
Creative Writing Stage 1

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

How AWC graduate Julie Fison learnt to build suspense in her novel ‘One Punch’

Courses completed at AWC:
Crime and Thriller Writing
Copywriting Essentials

Julie Fison had been writing professionally her whole adult life, having worked as a journalist and published books for kids and young adults. But when she decided to write a novel for adults, she knew there was more she could learn. She turned to the Australian Writers’ Centre to hone her skills around plotting and characterisation.

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Crime fiction author and Australian Writers' Centre alumna Dinuka McKenzie smiling in floral shirt
Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

AWC alumna Dinuka McKenzie becomes an award-winning published author with her book ‘The Torrent’

Courses completed at AWC:
Anatomy of a Crime: How to Write About Murder
2 Hours to Scrivener Power
Build Your Author Platform

Dinuka McKenzie was a busy working mum when she decided to start writing as a creative outlet. The more she wrote, the more she loved it, so she decided to complete a few courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre to hone her craft. After finishing her first crime manuscript, she entered it in the Banjo Prize for unpublished fiction – and then came the extraordinary news that she had won!

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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Carla Fitzgerald becomes a published children’s author with two books

Courses completed at AWC:
Short Story Essentials
Creative Writing Stage 1
Writing Chapter Books for 6-9 year olds
How to Write for Children and Young Adults

Carla Fitzgerald had three kids under five when she decided to start writing short stories. They helped to keep her entertained while she was caught in a whirlwind of nappies and breastfeeding. After entering an Australian Writers’ Centre short story competition and making the longlist, Carla was hooked and immediately enrolled in Short Story Essentials.

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Picture book author Millie Lewis with baby
Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Millie Lewis finds success with her picture book ‘Mr Price’s Pet Emporium’

Courses taken at AWC:
Writing Picture Books
Writing Chapter Books for 6-9 year olds
Laugh Out Loud

Millie Lewis had an unexpected birthday treat when she received an ‘I’m interested’ email from publisher James Layton at Larrikin Books. While on maternity leave from her job as a paediatric psychologist, Millie had turned to writing to reclaim her pre-mummy identity, enrolling in courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre. And just a short time later, she had a positive response to her manuscript for Mr Price’s Pet Emporium.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Rebecca Marshallsay on ‘Facing the Wave’ and becoming a published children’s author

Courses taken at AWC: 
Writing Picture Books
Reinvent Yourself

Having completed a picture book manuscript, Rebecca turned to the Australian Writers’ Centre.

“I knew it was worth taking the time to workshop it a bit and, serendipitously, an AWC Writing Picture Books course was starting the following week. I took the leap and signed up straight away,” Rebecca says.

That manuscript became Facing the Wave and it has now been published by Larrikin House.

“I was very excited to be published from my first pitch and I know that the things I learned through the AWC helped me be as prepared as possible.”

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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Congratulations to the AWC alumni shortlisted for the CBCA 2022 Book of the Year

Congratulations to all the wonderful authors, illustrators and publishers who have made it onto the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s (CBCA) shortlisted books for 2022. We’re particularly chuffed for the talented graduates from our Writing Picture Books course – children’s authors Vikki Conley, Sandhya Parappukkaran and author/illustrator Freda Chiu –

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Jeanette Stampone, author of picture book Shadow and the Girl
AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Jeanette Stampone becomes a published author with debut picture book, ‘Shadow and the Girl’

Courses taken at AWC: 
Writing Picture Books
Presenting to Kids

When Janette Stampone came across AWC’s Writing Picture Books course, she was intrigued. She was on maternity leave and felt like the right time to take her writing seriously.

“Enrolling on the course meant I had actually invested in myself and my dream,” Jeanette says. “While I was taking the course, I felt a strong sense of ‘this is what I should be doing’.”

Jeanette’s decision to invest in herself paid off and she can now call herself a published author. Her debut picture book Shadow and the Girl has been released by Red Paper Kite with illustrations by Demelsa Haughton.

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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

AWC alumna Freda Chiu on the Ena Noël Award Shortlist 2022

Huge congratulations to Freda Chiu on being shortlisted for the Ena Noël Award Shortlist 2022! This is an incredible achievement for Freda who wrote and illustrated her picture book A Trip to the Hospital (Allen & Unwin), published last year.  Although she was a successful freelance artist and educator when

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Author Al Campbell
AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Al Campbell: From full-time mum and carer to published author of ‘The Keepers’

Courses taken at AWC:
Creative Writing Stage 1
Novel Writing Essentials
Write Your Novel
Fiction Mentorship
Inside Publishing: What You Need to Know to Get Published

Al Campbell knew she needed a creative outlet to balance her full-time responsibilities as a mother and carer. She enrolled in a creative writing course at AWC – and then another and another.

“Enrolling in those AWC courses made all the difference in the world, the best thing I ever did – I wouldn’t be published now if I hadn’t!” Al says. Her debut novel, ‘The Keepers’ published by University of Queensland Press is out now.

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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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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Congrats to the AWC alumni shortlisted for the 2021 Richell Prize

The shortlist for the 2021 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers has just been announced, and we are proud to congratulate our talented AWC alumni on the list! The winner will receive $10,000 in prize money from Hachette Australia, and a year’s mentoring with one of their publishers. Kay Harrison has

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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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