Category: Success stories: Fiction and memoir

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HarperCollins launched the Banjo Prize in 2018, as “a quest to find Australia’s next great storyteller” – inviting unpublished commercial fiction manuscripts and awarding each year’s winner with a publishing contract.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

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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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 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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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

AWC graduate Theresa Miller publishes debut novel ‘The Spin Doctor’s Wife’

Courses taken at AWC: 
Write Your Novel
Build Your Author Platform

Enrolling in the Write Your Novel program was just the push that Theresa Miller needed to finish the draft of her first fiction manuscript. There’s nothing like a deadline to motivate you to finish a project! That book, The Spin Doctor’s Wife, is out now through Critical Mass. 

“The Write Your Novel program helped me finish and publish my novel – which is something I’ve wanted to do since I learned to read,” Theresa says. “[The program] had a huge impact!”

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

From newsreader to published author: Nicole Webb publishes debut memoir ‘China Blonde’

Courses taken at AWC:
Life Writing
Plotting and Planning
Fiction Essentials: Characters

Nicole Webb was a trained journalist and newsreader, with a wealth of writing talent. But when she sat down to write her memoir of life in China, she knew she needed to learn and utilise a whole new set of skills. After taking three courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre, doing hundreds of interviews, writing thousands of words, and doing many rewrites, her debut China Blonde is out now with Brio Books.
“Without doing those courses, I really don’t think I would have had the knowledge or know-how to start a book properly, let alone finish a book,” Nicole says.
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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Sonya Bates: Speech pathologist finds license to thrill with debut novel

AWC courses completed:
Anatomy of a Crime: How to Write About Murder
Build Your Author Platform

Sonya Bates was a speech pathologist who dabbled in writing on the side. But when she had the idea for her thriller Inheritance of Secrets, she knew it was time to take her writing seriously. She signed up for the Anatomy of a Crime: How to Write About Murder course at the Australian Writers’ Centre to get the skills and confidence she needed.

Sonya is now proud to call herself an author with her debut adult novel, Inheritance of Secrets, out now through HarperCollins.

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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Penelope Janu: Meet the lawyer who became a bestselling romance novelist

After more than 20 years as a solicitor and legal academic, Penelope Janu thought it was high time she finally followed her creative impulses. She completed a short course at the Australian Writers’ Centre (AWC), which gave her the confidence to pursue a creative writing degree – and led to her first novel, In at the Deep End, being accepted for publication. She has since gone on to publish several more popular romance novels.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Sarah Clutton carves out a career as a published author and freelance writer

Courses taken at AWC:
Write Your Novel program
Freelance Writing Stage 1
Writing for the Web and Mobile
2 Hours to Scrivener Power
Build Your Author Platform

Sarah Clutton never thought she had the staying power to write a novel – two published books later, she’s proven herself wrong, and says she’d couldn’t have done it without the Australian Writers’ Centre. Sarah’s debut novel, Good Little Liars, was published by Hachette UK imprint Bookouture in 2019; Bookouture also published her second novel, The Daughter’s Promise in 2020, and she’s now working on her third novel.
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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Victoria Mackinlay achieves her childhood dream to become a published author

Courses taken at AWC: 
Writing Picture Books
Creative Writing Stage 1
Freelance Writing Stage 1

When she was a child, Victoria Mackinlay assumed she would grow up to be an author. And now, with the release of her picture book Ribbit Rabbit Robot and more on the way, Victoria’s dream has come true. To top it off, Victoria has won the State Library of NSW Award for Emerging Children’s Author.
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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Sandie Docker: Successful women’s fiction author

Although Sandie Docker always imagined she would be published one day, she knew it required a lot of self-belief and determination. But after studying at the Australian Writers’ Centre, Sandie finally found the confidence and passion to keep going until she reached her dream of becoming a women’s fiction author. She has now published three books with Penguin, including The Kookaburra Creek Cafe, The Cottage At Rosella Cove, and The Banksia Bay Beach Shack.

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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

An amazing year of published books by AWC alumni and presenters

Nothing makes us prouder here at the Australian Writers’ Centre than seeing writers reach their publishing dreams. Over the years, our students have published hundreds of books, and 2019 has been another amazing year of success. From short stories to novels, picture books to picturesque romances, non-fiction, historical fiction, contemporary

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Alumni news
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Laura Waters’ trek into travel writing success

Courses taken at AWC: Online Travel Writing Freelance Writing Masterclass Laura Waters walked over 3000 kilometres across New Zealand to conquer her anxieties and find her true passion: writing. After finishing the Australian Writers’ Centre Travel Writing course, Laura turned her hobby into a profession and now writes travel articles

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Richell Prize for Emerging Writers 2019 Longlist Announcement

We’re thrilled that five Australian Writers’ Centre alumnae have been announced on the Richell Prize Longlist for 2019. Congratulations to Jennifer Carlisle, Lauren Draper, Kylie Orr, January Gilchrist, and Sarah Fiddelaers. All super talented writers! Over 700 entries were received and 21 writers have been announced on this year’s longlist.

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AWC alumni
Australian Writers' Centre Team

Petronella McGovern’s book launch for ‘Six Minutes’

Congratulations to AWC alumna Petronella McGovern who launched her debut novel Six Minutes at Berkelouw Books in Mona Vale in Sydney last week. With over 160 people attending, it was so popular, the event had to relocate across the road to the Memorial Hall. Launched by bestselling author Liane Moriarty,

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