Category: Alumni news

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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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 After finishing her first crime manuscript, she entered it in the Banjo Prize for unpublished fiction – and then came the extraordinary news that she had won!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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Alumni news
Guest Writer

5 tips for finding your ‘write’ people

It took me a while to find my people, but when I did things really started happening…fast! 
I went from my world of “one” where no one other than my non-writing family and friends knew about my creative writing projects – to sharing my work with a community of like-minded writers. Here’s how you can fast track your way to finding your people…

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