From police force to published author
Kerryn Mayne was on maternity leave from her job on the police force when she returned to her high school love of writing. She soon realised that her professional experiences of crime and policing could be useful when penning her own stories, so she fired up her computer and got down to work. With an outline for a new book idea, Kerryn enrolled in Creative Writing Stage 1 online at the Australian Writers’ Centre, so she could learn about the writing process and connect with other aspiring writers.
Astrid Scholte
Courses taken at AWC:
Creative Writing Stage 1
Novel Writing Essentials
History, Mystery and Magic
Blogging for Beginners
Astrid Scholte had always hoped to be published. In fact, she had the lofty goal of being published before she was 18. “I was a little ambitious! While it took me a lot longer I’m so happy to have achieved this dream of mine. I cannot wait to hold my book Four Dead Queens in my hands early next year, I’m sure there will be plenty of tears!” says Astrid.
Emma Pei Yin’s journey to publishing success
“I rolled up my sleeves, signed up for as many courses as I could with AWC and just went from there,” Emma told us.  After fine-tuning her skills, Emma perfected her manuscript and her pitch, and received offers from five literary agents before signing with Laurie Robertson at Peters Fraser Dunlop.
AWC alumna Brooke Graham’s picture books helps kids with anxiety
AWC courses completed:
Writing Picture Books
Writing Picture Books Masterclass
How to Write for Children and Young Adults
Build Your Author Platform
As a mum and a primary school teacher, Brooke Graham knew the value of good children's books. Reading to kids was one of the most enjoyable parts of her job. Then after completing the Writing Picture Books course at the Australian Writers' Centre, Brooke became hooked on writing and was determined to write her own. Her debut picture book Go Away, Worry Monster! has now been published by EK Books.
AWC alumna Dinuka McKenzie is an award-winning published author with her crime thrillers
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!
Amy Hutton scores two book deals
When television producer Amy Hutton decided she wanted to switch careers and become a writer, she went all in. After making such a decisive move, Amy knew she had to learn the craft of writing if she were to succeed. She liked the variety of courses on offer at the Australian Writers' Centre and she jumped in, learning the essentials of Fiction and Grammar, Plotting and Planning and how to Pitch Your Novel. Fast forward a few years and Amy is now a published author, with her debut novel Sit, Stay, Love released in 2023 and the follow up Love From Scratch out in 2024, both published by Simon & Schuster.
Vikki Conley’s path to becoming an award-winning children’s author
Courses taken at AWC:
Writing Picture Books

Vikki Conley dreamed of writing for children and, over the years, that little voice telling her to write books got louder until she simply couldn’t ignore it. She threw in her marketing job, enrolled in an Australian Writers' Centre course and started writing. Within two years, she has already established herself as a prolific author, with the publication of seven picture books and contracts with four publishers. Her most recent book is the CBCA shortlisted Amira's Suitcase, while Milly and the Mulberry Tree and Where the Lyrebird Lives will be released in 2022. Vikki's other publications include Tomorrow Girl, Little Puggle's Song, The Lost Moustache and Ella & Mrs Gooseberry.
How Madeline Te Whiu became a fantasy author
Her perseverance paid off with the completion of her first draft for The Assassin Thief. But over 50 rejections later, she knew she needed to try a new approach. Madeline enrolled in Creative Writing Stage 1 at the Australian Writers' Centre to nail the basics of her story, then went on to edit her manuscript with Cut, Shape, Polish. After taking Pitch Your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers, she was ready to send out her novel again - and this time she was snapped up by New Dawn Publishing.
Karina May is set to be the Next Big Thing in rom-com writing
Karina May was working in digital marketing when she started dabbling in creative writing just for the fun of it – but she soon found herself hooked on the craft of storytelling. She voraciously attended courses at the Australian Writers' Centre, including two rounds of Write Your Novel with Pamela Freeman, which gave her the structure to complete her first manuscript. After signing a two-book deal with Pan MacMillan, Karina has now released her novel Duck à l'Orange for Breakfast.
Zewlan Moor launches her career as an author with two picture books!
When Dr Zewlan Moor started her training to become a general practitioner, she had two goals: to complete her GP fellowship and to write a novel for National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). It might seem like an unusual combination, but Zewlan was determined to follow her passion for writing alongside her medical career. She was drawn to Writing Picture Books at the Australian Writers' Centre and is now delighted to announce that she will be publishing two picture books in 2023.
Susannah Glenn’s reinvention to become an author
“My earliest memories were of reading and writing and dreaming of becoming a full-time writer. Instead, I became a journalist and editor (the pay was better), thinking ‘one day’ I’ll turn my attention to fiction,” Susannah told us. “Well, that ‘one day’ had come! I rolled up my sleeves and learnt everything I could about how and where to start. Fortunately, one of the amazing resources I discovered was the Australian Writers’ Centre.”
Helen Edwards publishes debut children’s novel
Helen Edwards had spent her life pursuing various careers, including social work, charity and interior styling, but what “beat inside her heart like a thousand tiny wings” was her desire to be an author. After completing her PhD in Psychology, she felt the time was now. She signed up for an Australian Writers' Centre course and immediately began work on her first manuscript. Fast forward a few more manuscripts, and Helen has published her debut middle grade novel The Rebels of Mount Buffalo with Riveted Press.
Vikki Marmaras scores three book deals after AWC course
Vikki Marmaras was on maternity leave with her second child when she decided she needed a new challenge. She had been writing picture book manuscripts on and off for a few years, but didn’t feel like she was getting anywhere, so she signed up for the course Writing Picture Books.
Lucy Lever's journey from aspiring writer to published author
Lucy Lever had been writing on and off for years, but could never quite finish the novel she dreamt of writing. That all changed when she discovered the Australian Writers' Centre. “Stumbling across AWC was like discovering a treasure trove of wonderful courses, and I wanted to do them all,” Lucy told us. “I realised that I should have started rather than finished here, given that AWC offered a step-by-step guide to novel writing and many other wonderful courses with lots of workshopping along the way and highly skilled teachers.” Lucy went on to complete several courses with the AWC and her debut novel, Mystic Ridge, has now been published by HarperCollins HQ.
Three writing tips from Katherine Rundell
Katherine Rundell is a bestselling author whose novels for children include Rooftoppers, The Wolf Wilder, The Explorer and The Good Thieves. She has won the Costa Children’s Book Award, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, amongst many others. Her books have sold millions of copies worldwide.
How workshopping helped Bronwyn Hall achieve publishing success
When community health worker Bronwyn Hall found out she was going to be published she was delighted – and terrified! “Firstly, I felt a profound shock,” Bronwyn recalls. “It was a case of, ‘Really? I mean, have they thought it through?’ Thankfully, my anxiety faded and the happy came back when the editing started.” Bronwyn’s edge-of-the-seat debut thriller Gone to Ground is out now with HarperCollins and it’s already getting rave reviews.
Joanne Speirs goes from student to successful romance author
Joanne Speirs turned to writing to help her through some mentally and emotionally tough times. A friend urged her to “just write it all down” and so Joanne dove into poetry and recollections, using words to help her process her emotions. Next, she turned to blogging and started taking courses at the Australian Writers' Centre, including Romance Writing, and worked on her first novel.
How Alli Parker’s tweet resulted in her book deal
Alli was worried that she hadn’t written prose for over a decade, having been focused on screenplays. She decided to follow the novel writing path at the Australian Writers' Centre, starting with Creative Writing Stage 1, then moving on to Novel Writing Essentials and capping it off with Write Your Novel. “I wanted guidance, I wanted to learn and grow and be better so I could hone my craft and write a beautiful book to do justice to the story of my grandparents. The AWC had a range of courses, it was accessible and didn't cost a fortune. I figured it was a good place to start.”
Jo Dabrowski gets three book deals as a children’s author
“I’m great at imagining things! I should also say that I’ve imagined winning an Oscar, but I’m yet to imagine what category it would be in,” Jo told us. “The part I struggle with is believing I’m a published author. I still feel like someone has made a mistake somewhere and I’m about to be found out.” But it is definitely not a mistake! Since completing Writing Picture Books at the Australian Writers' Centre, Jo has published two picture books, which she also illustrated, and her middle grade novel Get Your Act Together, Doris Kozlowski, is out now with Affirm Press.
Chenée Marrapodi goes from hobby writer to published children’s author
“Writing news stories is very different to writing a children’s book!” Chenée told us. “I knew if I tried to find all of the information myself, I’d end up falling down the ‘Google rabbit hole’ and I’d waste even more time – yet another excuse to stop me from actually writing the book!” Instead, she dove into the course Writing Children's Novels and, as she says, hasn’t looked back. Chenée’s debut book, One Wrong Turn, is out now with Fremantle Press.
Anna Spargo-Ryan on writing beautiful sentences
Anna Spargo-Ryan is known for her beautiful way with words. Her novels The Paper House and The Gulf received critical acclaim, while her memoir A Kind Of Magic, released in October 2022, was shortlisted for the Nonfiction Book Award in the 2023 Queensland Literary Awards.
Heidi Walkinshaw’s new career as a picture book author and copywriter
After the birth of her first child, Heidi Walkinshaw knew she wanted to try a new career, so she enrolled in a psychology degree. However, it didn’t quite scratch her creative itch, so she turned to the Australian Writers' Centre. “After procrastinating for a little while, I took the plunge and enrolled in the Writing Picture Books course with Cathie Tasker and suddenly all those notebooks of ideas that I had been scribbling in for years made sense,” Heidi told us.
Shankari Chandran: From lawyer to award-winning 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 fast-paced thriller that has been compared to the works of Michael Crichton and Matthew Reilly.
From physiotherapist to published novelist
Megan White loved to write during high school and university, but always in a wishful way. It was only after taking the course Creative Writing Stage 1 that she realised she could take her love of fiction further. “Creative Writing Stage 1 taught me how to write a scene which instantly changed the way I looked at writing,” Clare told us. “Having a little knowledge in craft meant I could begin to take writing a little more seriously. It meant that becoming a writer felt more attainable as something you could learn and practice and less about being a natural prodigy.”
Racquel Collard publishes her book Marketing Launchpad
Racquel Collard was at the peak of her career in marketing but felt that she needed a new challenge. The next natural step was a CEO role, but that didn’t feel like the right fit for her, so instead Racquel decided to write a book. She completed Write a Book That Showcases Your Expertise with the Australian Writers' Centre and, with the publication of her debut, Marketing Launchpad, has now left the corporate rat race behind and embarked on a new career.
Jennifer Mackenzie Dunbar: from writing student to published novelist
“It might sound cheesy but the AWC courses changed my life! I finished a (very rough) first draft of my novel while I was in Scotland and haven't stopped writing since. The courses provided me with great foundation information, the basic building blocks for any novel writing. It is information I have retained and, through my writing groups, I've felt confident in sharing my learning with others.”
Samera Kamaleddine fulfils her publishing dreams
Samera Kamaleddine quit her job as editor of Women’s Fitness magazine to finally write the novel that was in her head - but she quickly discovered she had no idea where to start! After taking a course at the Australian Writers' Centre, she found her writing rhythm and has now gone on to publish her debut young adult (YA) novel, Half My Luck.
Matt Samuel turns his dream of writing picture books into reality
Matt decided to enrol in Writing Picture Books at the Australian Writers' Centre and was hooked. Finally, he could put his picture book ideas into practice. After a meeting with an editor at Yellow Brick Books, Matt was offered a contract and his debut picture book The Other Side of the Clouds will be published this year.
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.

Meet our Freelance Writing graduates

Carolyn Swindell’s brilliant novel ‘We Only Want What’s Best’
Carolyn Swindell was working in a “high heels and business suit job” in corporate responsibility when she decided to enrol in her first AWC course. “The biggest thing about the courses is the permission you give yourself to be a writer by investing in yourself,” Carolyn told us. “I had been shy about admitting this ambition, but going along and sitting with other aspiring writers and learning the craft and the business was such a boost to my motivation and my skill level.” Carolyn put that motivation and skill to good use, with her debut novel, We Only Want What’s Best, out now with Affirm Press.
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.
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.
Danielle Norton's journey from teacher to travel and food writer
Courses taken at AWC:
Travel Writing
Food Writing
Freelance Writing Stage 1
Copywriting Essentials
Freelance Writing Masterclass Program
Creative Writing Stage 1
Danielle Norton was half way through the AWC's Food Writing course when she managed to sell her first two recipes to an online magazine. Not bad for a former school teacher who, by her own admission, was naive about the media industry. Now a veteran of six AWC courses, Danielle is an established freelance writer and copywriter, and she is sought after by editors for her travel and parenting articles.
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 fulltime. She is also a published author with Bewildered, the incredible story of her extraordinary hike, out now with Affirm Press.
How vision impaired Graham Frizzell gained the confidence to become a successful freelance writer
Courses taken at AWC:
Freelance Writing Stage 1
Travel Writing
How to Build a Successful Freelance Copywriting Business
Copywriting Essentials

Living with profound vision impairment (Graham is legally blind) and growing up prior to the advent of the adaptive technology that has so enriched his life today, Graham felt completely lost when it came to mainstream employment. He had finished a Certificate IV in Professional Writing & Editing qualification at Melbourne Polytechnic TAFE but felt it was geared predominantly to fiction writing. So he decided to enrol into AWC’s online Freelance Writing Stage 1 course, and has never looked back.
Brad Kelly: From history teacher to full-time freelance writer
AWC courses completed:
Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1
Freelance Writing Masterclass Program
Copywriting Essentials
Profile Writing
The Business of Freelancing
Writing Australian History
After a 15-year career as a history teacher, Brad Kelly was ready for his next challenge. With a keen interest in the world of writing, he completed a course at the Australian Writers’ Centre. “I had always been drawn to long form journalism and features, and I wanted to learn the nuts and bolts of the trade,” says Brad.
Joy Adan: Living her dream as a freelance writer
AWC courses completed:
Writing for the Web and Mobile
Freelance Writing Stage 1
Freelance Writing Masterclass Program
Profile Writing
Reinvent Yourself
Creative Writing Stage 1
Make Time to Write
Life Writing
Even though Joy Adan dreamt of becoming a writer, she initially didn’t have the confidence to pursue this passion. “I had a recurring voice in my head – that sounded a lot like my mother – that kept telling me that the only people who could call themselves writers were either really lucky or really poor. That I should do the responsible thing – and set aside my creative ambitions in search for a secure, well-paying job.”
How Jennifer Johnston gained the confidence to become a freelance writer
AWC courses completed:
Travel Writing
Profile Writing
Copywriting Essentials
Freelance Writing Masterclass Program (current member)
Jennifer Johnston is living proof that you never stop learning – in fact, she has built a career on it. Having completed a postgraduate certificate in creative industries, she realised that while she had a lot of theory, there were many gaps with regard to practical skills. On the long-time recommendation of a friend, she chose a short online course in Travel Writing at the Australian Writers Centre – and wished she had taken her advice sooner!
Michaela Fox: Blogger turned successful freelance writer
As a blogger, Michaela Fox was already loving being able to write while at home, but it was almost too comfortable. The idea of working as a freelance writer and earning a living really appealed. “Being able to freelance from home is just the ideal situation for me,” she says. “I get to still be at home with my kids, which is really important for me. I want to be involved in their lives – they’re only young.”
How part-time lawyer Libby Hakim carved out a successful career as a freelance writer
Libby Hakim had a simple goal: to see her byline in a magazine or newspaper. After completing a course at the Australian Writers’ Centre, she not only achieved that – she’s now been published in many top publications.

Working as a part-time lawyer, Libby first completed a five-week online course in Magazine and Newspaper Writing Stage 1. That changed the course of Libby’s life. "Before I started the course I actually had the goal of getting published, I wanted to see my byline in a magazine or a newspaper,” says Libby, who was working part-time as a lawyer.
Catherine Rodie: overcoming dyslexia to become a successful writer
Catherine Rodie never thought she would become a writer. This limiting belief, coupled with her experience with dyslexia, meant that she hadn’t considered that writing could be a real career for her. But after completing a course at the Australian Writers’ Centre, that all changed. And now, she’s not only become one of the most prolific freelance writers in Australia, she’s laid the foundations to pursue a career in publishing, recently scoring a coveted part-time role at Bauer Magazines.
Rob Grant: From nine-to-five corporate cubicle dweller to exotic adventures as a travel writer
Rob Grant loves travelling. But it can be hard to satisfy your wanderlust when you’re consumed by a nine-to-five corporate career. That’s exactly the position Rob was in until he discovered the Travel Writing course at the Australian Writers’ Centre. Now he’s swapped his corporate job for his new path in life – working part-time as a travel writer and part-time as a marketing consultant.
How Susannah Hardy’s new year’s resolution turned into a new career
One new year’s day, Susannah Hardy made a decision that would change the rest of her life. She decided she wanted to earn money from writing. Already working as an actor, Susannah then enrolled in a course at the Australian Writers’ Centre. That set her on a path where she now has dual careers – as an actor, as well as a successful freelance writer, published in Australia’s top magazines and newspapers.
Josefa Pete: research scientist becomes freelance feature writer
“Eighteen months ago, if someone had said to me you’re going to be doing freelance writing, I probably would have brushed it off and said ‘no way’…” And yet today Josefa Pete, busy mum to two boys, proudly calls herself a freelance writer, without a moment’s hesitation. So what changed?
AWC graduate Megan Blandford: From human resources to successful writer
After becoming a first time mum, Megan Blandford, then 34, surprised herself. She didn't feel compelled to return to her human resources role in the corporate world.
Her company wanted her to return to work full time. "I remember sitting in front of my computer one day and thinking: 'what do I do?'" she says. "I always wanted to try writing since I was a little girl and I got caught up in this sort of sensible path of the mainstream thing people do. So I sat there and thought, right it’s now or never."
Changing careers and landing a coveted role in publishing
Courses taken at AWC:
Creative Writing Stage 1
Freelance Writing Stage 1
Grammar and Punctuation Essentials
History, Mystery and Magic
Deadlines. Celebrities. Breaking stories. And a growing audience of women who are clamouring for more digital content. That’s the world of Avi Vince, Managing Editor of iVillage Australia, which is part of the Mamamia Women’s Network. Both iVillage and its sister site Mamamia have carved a firm niche in the Australian publishing landscape, driven by magazine-turned-digital-publishing supremo, Mia Freedman.