Category: Success stories: Fiction and memoir

Jenna Guillaume: Journalist turned YA fiction author

Success: After putting off the idea of creative writing for many years, Jenna Guillaume signed a two-book deal with Pan Macmillan for her YA fiction. AWC courses completed: Creative Writing Stage 1 Become a Children’s Author Background: Sometimes it takes a ‘sign’ for things to fall into place... read more

Shankari Chandran: From lawyer to published author

When Shankari Chandran took time out of her career as a lawyer to have her fourth child, she turned her hand to writing in between baby feeds and family demands. This pastime has turned into a new career and Shankari has now released her first novel The Barrier, a futuristic... read more

Shelly Unwin: “I LOVE that I can call this my job.”

Success: Shelly has written a series of counting-themed picture books for one to five-year-olds – published June 2017 through Allen & Unwin. AWC courses completed: Writing Picture Books Writing Books for Children and Young Adults Background: Shelly Unwin was a stay-at-home mum with a young family... read more

Catherine Pelosi: From boring office job to book deal

Success: Quark's Academy – debut children's novel signed with Hachette in October 2016. Plus setting up her own copywriting and freelance travel writing business in Sydney. AWC courses completed: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults Copywriting Essentials Travel Writing Background Catherine Pelosi was living in London working at... read more

Road is good for Bridget’s memoir

Success: Road No Good – Finch Publishing, January 2017 (Runner up, Finch Memoir prize 2016) AWC courses taken: Start Your Novel: Introduction to Novel Writing Advanced Fiction Writing Techniques Background After living for two years in remote Vanuatu where she had helped develop the preschools in an isolated town called Luganville... read more

Sarah Bailey: Daydreamer to dream book deal

We all like to daydream about finding success with our writing, but simply wishing for something tends to be an unreliable strategy. Advertising executive Sarah Bailey was one such daydreamer, but she found a way to devote more time to her writing and ultimately land a book deal. Sarah’s... read more

AWC graduate Liz Anelli: Illustrator adds writing skills

When picture book illustrator Liz Anelli moved from England to Australia in 2012, she was keen to add something new to her two decades’ experience. And it was a chance encounter with Australian Writers’ Centre (AWC) presenter Cathie Tasker that would provide the spark to a new career as a... read more

AWC graduate Penny Morrison: Published picture book author

It wasn’t so long ago that Sydney mum Penny Morrison would have laughed off suggestions that she could be a published picture book author. She never thought of herself ever writing books. However, now with half a dozen books to her name, including an industry recognition, she has no... read more

Tamsin Janu’s award-winning start in children’s fiction

Tamsin Janu published her award-winning book Figgy in the World after completing a course at the Australian Writers’ Centre. After taking the book world by storm, she has now followed up with a sequel, Figgy and the President. And it all started when she enrolled in a writing course that would change her life. “On the second day of the course I remember that's when I came up with the idea for my first book!” said Tamsin.

Sally Fawcett: Shaping her picture book future

Primary school teacher, illustrator and mother of three Sally Fawcett is immersed in the world of young children on a daily basis (you could almost call it an occupational hazard). So this provided the perfect foundation to getting her first picture book published. Post-baby creativity The journey began soon... read more

Author C.S. Sealey shares her story

C.S. (Carmel) Sealey’s lifelong dream of completing and publishing her first novel, Equilibrium, finally came true. Making writing a priority Not long ago, Carmel was stuck in a non-creative role at work. “I had no time to work on my book and not much motivation to make... read more

Penny Harrison: Finding success in magazines and picture books

When journalist Penny Harrison made the switch to writing feature stories, little did she know it would lead to her first published picture book – with more to come. “I had been working as a local newspaper journalist for 10 years and was just thinking about returning to work after my... read more

Gwen Wilson: the reluctant retiree publishes her first memoir

Back in 2005, around the same time as the Australian Writers’ Centre was first opening its doors, Gwen Wilson, then 50, was making the first scribblings for what would become her debut memoir, I Belong to No One. “I can trace its beginning to 2005, and it evolved through numerous... read more

Elizabeth Farrelly: From journalist to author

It’s not just new writers who find worth in an Australian Writers’ Centre course. Elizabeth Farrelly is one of Australia’s most respected journalists and columnists, but when she stepped outside her usual writing realm, she sought specific industry advice from the Australian Writers' Centre to help her write... read more

Lisa Venables: Memoir unearths a love of writing

Telling stories is what it’s all about here at the Australian Writers’ Centre. And for Lisa Venables, recounting a very difficult time in her family’s life provided her with both an emotional and creative outlet. That outlet became her book, Saving Zali – telling the story of her infant... read more

Jennifer Smart: “Write what you know” yields debut novel

“There’s a story here. There’s definitely a story here.” That was Jennifer Smart’s hunch, having worked behind the screens in film and television for many years, including five years on Home and Away. And she was in a position to know – having even penned two scripts of... read more

Caro Was Here. And so was Elizabeth Farrelly.

A few weeks back, we spoke with established author Elizabeth Farrelly on the release of her first young fiction book, Caro Was Here. Elizabeth completed a course at Australian Writers’ Centre that provided inspiration for this one, and she chats about that and the book right here… So, tell us... read more

Sara Donovan: Published life begins at 50

Many people might get to the age of 50 and look at their successful career, grown-up kids, stable life – and happily put their feet up. But not Sara Donovan. In fact it was this rather domestic alignment of the planets that saw her come to revisit a lifelong feeling... read more