Kate O’Donnell - Adelaide 2019
Kate O’Donnell is a writer, editor and bookseller specialising in children’s and young adult literature. Her first novel, Untidy Towns, was published in 2017, and her second is due for publication in early 2020. Kate will spend her residency drafting a new contemporary young adult novel, which will explore themes of decay and renewal, despair and hope, as well as innocence and the loss of innocence. The overarching storyline will focus on community, government mismanagement and environmental sustainability.
Caroline Magerl - Adelaide 2019
Caroline Magerl is a picture book author/illustrator, based the Sunshine Coast. Her big break came in 2001 when she illustrated Grandma’s Shoes, winning the Crichton Award for new illustrators. Caroline has since won several awards, including for her first book as an author-illustrator, Rose and the Wish Thing. Caroline will spend her time in Adelaide working on a new picture book for 3-7 year olds, Piano Fingers, which centres on a young girl's journey learning to play a musical instrument. The story will be told in her signature magical realist writing style, with unique line and wash illustrations.
Aśka - Adelaide 2019
Aśka is both an illustrator and scientist. She has illustrated eight books, and is a regular illustrator for The School Magazine and other children’s publications. She also works for the West Australian Science centre, and travels across the state to deliver shows and workshops to primary schools.
Aśka’s fellowship project in Adelaide will be the development of one of her own story telling projects. She will work on a picture book for readers aged six to twelve, which will use the language of graphic novels, such as panels and speech bubbles.
The reader will be introduced to a world much like our own, through the central character Rusty, who lives in a mundane environment filled with escapist, high-tech entertainment. However, a chance discovery leads Rusty to learn a startling truth, igniting interest in the world around us.
Through this story, Aśka aims to communicate complex ideas about what makes us human and to develop the curiosity that is at the heart of scientific inquiry.
Sally Murphy - Canberra 2019
Uninterrupted time and space to write helped me to produce over 25,000 new words on my various projects, and establish a good writing pattern after a busy period of my life where my writing opportunities and habits had been hampered.
Sally used her fellowship to complete several major projects. The first is a draft of a verse novel about an Australian girl who moves to live in Hanoi with her parents. The second is a junior prose novel about a girl who does not want a birthday party, even though the rest of her family thinks she is crazy. Sally has now revised this work and it is near ready for submission.
Sally's residency in Canberra enabled her to complete research for three other projects. She visited the National War Memorial and the National Library multiple times in order to progress these works. This resulted in the completion of a full draft of an historical picture book inspired by a Canberra landmark, as well as a sound amount of research for the other two projects.
Sally networked with local authors and other creators, sharing industry news, creative journeys and fellowship with her peers.
Pip Harry - Brisbane 2019
I’m thrilled to now be working on a 40,000-word third draft and getting ready to send it out to critique readers. I would not be in this position without the quiet, focused working time the fellowship allowed me to have. MGCLT gave me a chance to think, dream, wonder and write – I will always be grateful for the weeks I spent in Brisbane working on this novel.
Pip devoted most of her residency to working on a contemporary verse novel for 10-14 year olds. She refined the themes and relationships within the work, and set herself a goal of writing at least 1000 words per day. She achieved this and more, with her first draft completed by the end of the second week. This left Pip time to edit, refine and polish her characters, plot, themes and motifs in a second draft.
Pip was also struck by inspiration for a picture book during her fellowship. She has shared this with her publisher and is now working on developing the manuscript, her first book for very young readers.
Pip took her fellowship at a busy time of year in the children’s literature community and took part in several engagements and too many informal networking opportunities to mention, including two school visits, two talks at Riverbend Books for teacher librarians, a Book Links workshop for kids aged 7-12, and a podcast interview for the Australian Writers' Centre.
Rachel Gregg - Adelaide 2019
Time to observe, to breathe, research, be inspired, learn, extend and step outside my comfort zone is what this residency gifted me with. Creative time. So often put as a second, third or never priority. The Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship was a turning point in my career as an emerging author/illustrator in that it allowed me the necessary contact to industry and sincere support of dedicated time to pursue my long-held dream of illustrating picture books.
Rachel devoted her creative time to her picture book concept, working title “Nana Jacaranda”, a story set against the backdrop of the Australian landscape that seeks to push aside the stigma that surrounds death. The story unfolds when a young girl, accompanied by her late grandmother’s dog, spends a day deciding on the perfect tree to plant in Nana’s memory. She is taken on a journey of remembrance, discovery and connection to her grandmother, all the while finding solace in nature itself. Rachel spent time during her residency researching Australian flora and fauna, photographing reference material, sketching examples, writing and re-writing text, storyboarding, character development and drawing and painting.
The Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship also provides a professional development program. Rachel attended the Writers festival, met with the local SCBWI group, and met local illustrators and writers, including Elizabeth Hutchins, Sally Heinrich and an impromptu discussion with Mandy Foote, as she presented her final illustrations to the Little Book Press.
In an exciting "first" for the Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship, Rachel's initial meeting with literary agent Dyan Blacklock for a general discussion turned into a follow-up meeting and ultimately a contract for representation, taking Rachel one step further along her journey from emerging to published writer/illustrator.
Jackie Hosking - Canberra 2019
Time. Time. Time! The joy of just being able to know that I could sit, guilt free, and work on whatever I pleased.
Jackie had a very productive time in Canberra working on various projects, including a rewrite of her current picture book "Road Trip" (working title), contracted with Walker Books. Jackie wrote numerous new poems, and submitted many poems and stories to various publishers. One of her stories was accepted by Smarty Pants Magazine (USA) during the fellowship. As well as this, Jackie wrote two new picture books, and created a photo book of all her poetry using Mixbooks, so she now has a showcase of all her works in one place.
Jackie met with the SCBWI ACT group twice, and long-time online friend, and 2018 MGCLT Fellow, Tania McCartney. She attended two book launches and toured the NCACL.
Shivaun Plozza - Brisbane 2019
The biggest benefit of the fellowship is the time and space (both physical and mental) it afforded me to really dive deeply into my novel. It gave me the time and space to really tear my novel apart and stick it back together in a new shape – I don’t think I would have had the mental capacity or physical space to be able to do that at home.
Shivaun was in residency in Brisbane to complete a first draft of her YA speculative fiction novel, Echo in the Dream (working title). The fellowship gave her the time and space to engender an enormous overhaul of this project.
Shivaun took a step back and reconsidered the plot and entire premise of the novel, resulting in a rigorous restructure and sweeping changes to the plot.
"I spent a lot of time on the floor of the apartment working with palm cards, shifting scenes around, adding new scenes and taking away old ones – it was great to have the physical space where I could do that and then leave it spread all over the carpet and not worry about anyone stumbling across it and messing it up!"
After taking this time, Shivaun was able to make a start on her new, improved first draft and finished a third of it during her fellowship.
Shivaun also performed at the Readers and Writers festival in Bellingen and gave a talk at the local CBCA chapter about her experiences during her fellowship. She enjoyed engaging with Brisbane's literary world, visiting bookshops and meeting with contacts in the local publishing industry.
Sue Whiting - Adelaide 2019
The solitude of 'The Burrow' and the opportunity for uninterrupted creative time allowed me to make a solid start on a work that I have been thinking about for a long time but too 'busy' to get started. Without this opportunity I feared the work would always be in the 'too hard' basket.
Sue worked on two projects during her residency. The first was her middle grade historical novel, working title "Any Day Now", for which she conducted research at Adelaide's many museums, libraries and historic buildings. She also met a number of experts and historians, and felt by the end of her fellowship that she had developed a solid base from which to build this novel. Sue discovered that being “on the ground” in the setting of the novel allowed her to get a real sense of place and time that would not have been possible from her home in NSW. This will undoubtedly add authenticity and depth to the work, and Sue found that some of her experiences provided fabulous unexpected plot elements and emotional insights.
Sue's second project was a structural edit and reworking of her novel for 10-14 year olds, "The Book of Chance", due for release in March 2020 by Walker Books Australia. This was a difficult edit that required "a lot of soul searching, rethinking and rolling up the sleeves and putting in the hard yards." Sue found that the creative time of the fellowship allowed her to find the intense concentration required to take the novel to the next level.
As well as her creative time, Sue undertook a five-day school visit at Victor Harbor R-7, and spoke at the SCBWI Adelaide dinner.
Sherryl Clark - Adelaide 2018
To be able to arrive in Adelaide, shut the door and simply give myself over to writing and reading has been so restorative and enriching that I have gone home with a wealth of new ideas, focus and determination. There is no procrastination or unwelcome intrusions on a fellowship!
Sherryl spent much of her time researching for her as-yet-untitled historical novel about Boudicca and her daughters. the uninterrupted immersion was invaluable for getting a feel for how to approach the writing. Despite saying that she initially “had no idea how to begin”, Sherryl found that her residency gave her the boost she needed and she was able suddenly to write 4000 words at a time.
During her Adelaide fellowship, Sherryl also wrote two new picture books and did a lot of free writing to develop characters and backstory ideas. Following her hugely successful week of poetry workshops at Seymour College, which formed part of her fellowship, Sherryl wrote several poems.
Sherryl spent time at the Musee D’Orsay exhibition, finding visual art inspiring for poetry, and the State Library, as well as meeting with other children’s writers and May Gibbs supporters.
Natalie Jane Prior - Canberra 2018
It was invaluable to have time away from home to write without interruption, and complete so much work in such a short period.
Natalie spent her creative time in Canberra working on two texts. The first is a picture book called Whale Mail. Prior to her fellowship, Natalie was unable to do more than make notes, but her residency gave her the opportunity to complete several drafts, leading to submitting the manuscript to her agent. Natalie's second project was The Night Time Book, a miscellany of short stories and poetry with a night time theme. Natalie completed a huge 75% of the book.
As well as her creative endeavours, Natalie found time to meet with her agent, whom she rarely gets to see in person. She also enjoyed the National Library and the Lu Rees Collection at the University of Canberra, who will be receiving some new materials from Natalie soon.
Helen Thurloe - Adelaide 2018
The residency in Adelaide was a significant contributor to finalising this project, with extended quiet time for synthesising complex research strands. I have been working on this project for almost two years, and am hugely grateful to the Trust for valuing and supporting time for the intense concentration that can be so productive.
Helen used her residency to make progress on her novel, The Fourteenth Wife, set in eighteenth century Essex, England. Helen conducted the solid research that is a cornerstone of her writing, and took advantage of the Museum of Economic Botany in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens as a useful source of material for the novel. As well as research, Helen wrote a whopping 40,000 words and has completed her draft since returning home.
Julie Hunt - Brisbane 2018
I’m grateful for the support, care and enthusiasm of fellow booklovers, for the beautiful cosy apartment with its collection of books from past fellows, and the luxury of a month spent writing, thinking, conjuring, listening and exploring. The residency provided fresh inspiration and I’m only now realising how much it has given me.
During her fellowship in Brisbane, Julie worked on two novels, “Shoestring the Boy Who Walks on Air”, and “Sylvie and the House of Fabio Sham” (working title), which are both adventure fantasy stories for 8-12 year-olds and sequels to the graphic novel, KidGlovz.
Julie concentrated on rewriting “Shoestring” during the first half of her fellowship, with a focus on plot consistency and developing the main character. this is what Julie said about her process:
“On the first day I laid out the chapters on the floor of the apartment and took a deep breath — new place, new eyes and plenty of time to revise. Slowly I began to work my way through the book.”
In working on “Sylvie”, Julie concentrated on developing her concept. She used her time and the ensuing logical and calm frame of mind to look at the preceding books and “went searching for the thread”, emerging with complex and inspired thematic and plot ideas.
“Shoestring” will be published in 2019, and Julie hopes to complete the draft of “Sylvie” by the end of 2018.
Julie met up with many other writers, as well as the “dream team”, Judy Russell and her Brisbane committee. She also spent time networking at bookshops and the Queensland Writers’ Centre.
Tania McCartney - Adelaide 2018
The benefits of this Fellowship were incalculable, and also surprising. I not only produced a solid round of work and the fleshing out of new ideas, I was pulled firmly outside my comfort zone, and this proved a very good thing. These four weeks taught me about focus. I saw, with laser-vision, what I want to focus on, where I want to go, and what inspires me. It was a time of potential, insight and inspiration that I’ll forever be grateful for.
During her fellowship in Adelaide, Tania fleshed out nine stories for her first junior fiction series, Evie and Pog, which will be published by HarperCollins in 2020. She also completed a pile of line drawings for inclusion in this fully-illustrated series. Tania spent time working on character studies for a new picture book, with hopes to forming the idea into her first wordless picture book, and worked on digital illustrations for her first ABC picture book too. Much of her creative production time was spent in cafés and in art galleries/museums, where she observed people, artefacts and artworks, and she also took long walks, marvelling at plants, trees and architecture. These meanderings were hugely inspirational, and several book ideas were fleshed out as a direct result. Tania was thrilled to launch her latest picture book, Mamie, a tale about the life of May Gibbs, during her residency. Tania networked with several local authors, illustrators and bookshops, and also spent a very happy and successful morning running workshops at Scotch College.
Catherine Bateson - Brisbane 2018
The start I made [during the residency] has given the project an impetus it would not have had otherwise. To have a consolidated block of time completely given over to the one writing project was an absolute joy!
Catherine worked on a novel for middle readers set during World War 2 and loosely based on her mother’s experiences of growing up at that time. She was able to complete nearly 20,000 words, with the focused time allowing her to find the voice of the book and consolidate her characters.
She had the opportunity to conduct research in order to begin the task of fictionalising her family stories. The State Library of Queensland, Brisbane City Library and the Fryer Library at University of Queensland were invaluable. The latter houses some of her family's papers and she was able to read letters sent to her grandmother.
To find out more about the progress of Catherine's work, please visit her website: http://awritingmiscellany.catherine-bateson.com/2018/07/may-gibbs-high-tea and previous posts.
Kathryn Apel - Adelaide 2018
The Fellowship nourished my creativity and my soul. The value of a sustained period of time in such a nurturing environment, particularly for a somewhat isolated regional writer, cannot be measured. I returned home rejuvenated physically and mentally — with a long list of projects to work on to keep the writing (and submission) momentum rolling, and a wealth of warm and wonderful memories.
Kathryn had a number of projects to work on during her stay in Adelaide. She immersed herself in her historical verse novel about an early scientific expedition to Antarctica, finding that “the more I write, the more I love it”. To follow the progress of this work, find it on Twitter: #AntarcticVNwip.
Kathryn also focused on revising and polishing a number of picture books, and writing submissions. Finally, she dedicated time to the collation of a poetry collection, creating new poems as well as selecting and revising existing ones.
Kathryn found the interactions she had during her residency to be of huge value. She met with many members of the MGCLT team, as well as Little Book Press, and fellow writers and illustrators, amongst others. She also took on a week of workshops at Victor Harbor School. Kathryn found these opportunities to network particularly meaningful as a regional author.
Amelia Mellor - Adelaide 2018
The time and space to work have been absolutely invaluable. The importance of the validation provided by the Fellowship cannot be overlooked. Not only is it incredibly personally motivating to know that so many people are in my corner, barracking for me and for this book, but it has also been a useful professional credential. The Fellowship will serve as a brand of quality for the work.
Amelia is our second Ian Wilson Memorial Fellow, who spent her time in Adelaide developing her middle-grade historical fantasy novel The Grandest Bookshop in the World, based on Edward Cole, his family and his Arcade.
Amelia worked mainly on character development and devising puzzles, and produced an impressive 16,000 words and seven new illustrations. In the final week of her fellowship, Amelia tried out some of her manuscript and puzzles on children in her target age group at a workshop for Year Fives. They were deeply absorbed in the story and also demonstrated their enthusiasm for the puzzles from Edward Cole’s Funny Picture Books.
Amelia was able to immerse herself in some practical research, including visiting the Mortlock Wing of the SA State Library, Treloar’s Antiquarian Bookshop and the Adelaide Arcade. She was out and about studying parrots and monkeys at the zoo as well as tracking down and sampling some vintage sweets from Blackeby’s.
Amelia took advantage of professional development opportunities, including Writers’ Week talks on historical fiction and writing for children. She was wonderfully supported by Julie Wells, who introduced her to State Library curators and facilitated Amelia’s school workshop. Elizabeth Hutchins was an invaluable source of expertise and introduced Amelia to fellow historical fiction author Alan Tucker, as well as helping Amelia connect with other illustrators. Many others advised Amelia on craft, on publishing and on marketing.
Neridah McMullin - Adelaide 2017
The flow of my ideas flourished in this environment and I found that as time went on, I became more and more productive and was able to write more quickly. It was joyful to be able to work for as long as I wished. There were plenty of times I wrote straight through at The Burrow only to look up and find it was 11pm. Unheard of! It’s so cliché to talk about *the gift of time*, but that what it was for me, an absolutely precious gift. It gave me time to slow down, to think, to reflect, to absorb myself completely with the task as hand, to delve deeply into my characters as I never have before.
Neridah was hugely productive during her fellowship, writing a 25,000-word junior fiction novel, and five new picture book manuscripts, as well as working on several picture book manuscripts she already had in the pipeline.
Neridah’s new novel is based on the shipwreck of the SS Bancoora in 1880, during which a live rhinoceros washed ashore. Neridah’s protagonist, Evie, a silent child troubled by the loss of her parents in a shipwreck, finds Rhino — and takes him home. Neridah used preparations for her fellowship to try a new approach to writing this novel: normally she never plans but this time she had everything she needed to hit the ground running as soon as she reached The Burrow. This included a setting with images, planned characters, a 15-page storyline, and a two-page quick storyline.
Of Neridah’s five new picture books, one is an Aussie Rules football story, one is about the life of a drover, and three are about animals, including the much neglected dung beetle. This is not my Cat is inspired by the tabby cat next door to The Burrow who spent plenty of time staring at Neridah through the window and rather forcefully asking to come in.
Along with her vast creative output, Neridah also found time to meet with local writers, in particular Janeen Brian, who helped her with the redrafting process for the novel. She met with a publisher, did a book signing and an author visit at a local school, visited bookshops, the State Library and museum, and attended a writing masterclass.
Matt Shanks - Adelaide 2017
After four weeks in the Burrow, my newfound identity as an artist has deepened and it’s changed my every day habits for the better. I’ve made some incredible professional connections and friendships with some of Australia’s most talented artists. While productivity is a very important part of the fellowship, it’s actually the journey of self-discovery that I went on over the course of the four weeks that was a true gift, and also very surprising. There’s something about keeping yourself company, letting the planets in your own solar system of thoughts collide in to one another, that you begin to realise how different it is to write and draw with uninterrupted time. My writing was more lyrical, my characters deeper and more vivid, my drawing and painting looser and free. I had plenty of time to make (and correct) mistakes so the opportunity to really go off on a tangent and follow a thread to its end just to ‘see what happens’ was a true pleasure and it’s made a significant impact on the way I work post-Burrow.
Matt was a super-productive fellow. He worked on drafts of six fiction picture books, and a storyboard concept for one non-fiction picture book. He also wrote a whopping total of 50,000 words spread across three middle grade novels on which he is working.
Matt appeared at the inaugural Adelaide Festival of Children’s Books, his first time presenting at a children’s festival. Matt’s session was hugely successful, with countless positive comments from the organisers, fellow presenters and attendees, leading to Matt gaining a contact at a speaker’s agency should he wish to explore this aspect of his career further. The festival was also a chance to interact with many of Adelaide’s booksellers and artists. Matt found the opportunity to share tools and techniques to be one great gain from this, as well as sharing the ‘inner emotional rollercoaster in an occupation that is largely an isolated one’.
Matt was also approached by an SA publisher and offered three manuscripts for consideration, which he describes as ‘a bit of a dream come true’.
Ursula Dubosarsky - Canberra 2017
Solitude, concentration, relief from responsibilities, creation time. Absolutely invaluable and treasured time. Very grateful and appreciative of every moment.
Ursula worked on her as-yet-untitled novel about the abdication of Edward VII and the French folk tale Petit Poucet. She found the fellowship enabled her to approach her writing from many angles, including "thinking time, some redrafting, organizing of thoughts, dismissing of some ideas, discovering others…."
Sam-Ellen Bound - Brisbane 2017
Sam-Ellen's focus during her fellowship was her junior fiction series 'Project Ocean'. She pursued hands-on research opportunities available to her in Queensland, including diving, snorkelling and eco tours, as well as interviews with experts in the field of environment and conservation. This led to her completion of two manuscripts, 'Rumble in the Reef' and 'Cyclones, Sharks and Secrets', as well as editing and creation of supplementary material. She also developed a standalone middle grade fictional title, with 10,000 words written. And finally, Sam-Ellen embarked on the early stages of a new middle grade fantasy series.
Sam-Ellen found the support she received "super fantastic", particularly in terms of providing opportunities to meet other authors and industry professionals.
Sally Heinrich - Brisbane 2017
What a beautiful and precious gift the time of a fellowship is. I’m still amazed at my productivity! Having the time to focus single-mindedly on the project, without distractions, was invaluable. To see a project that I’ve worked on and around for so many years come together in this way, and to now have a clear vision of the finished project is unbelievably exciting! Also, being awarded the fellowship was a show of belief in the project, which helped to give me the confidence to throw myself into it.
Sally's initial focus for her fellowship was creating a storyboard for her provisionally titled, 'The Rainbow Thief". However, she went one step further and produced a huge amount of work, not only determining the structure of the entire story, but also managing to complete a full and detailed dummy book. This leaves her with all the major organisational and conceptual work done, and a clear path ahead to completion.
Sally also networked with some new contacts in the Kidlit field, as well as catching up with other colleagues at the StoryArts Festival and at her MGCLT High Tea.
Georgina Chadderton - Adelaide 2017
Artists get few opportunities to have dedicated time to work on their projects without distraction from work and life. At the Burrow I was able to draft 130 pages of my graphic novel memoir in just three weeks. Normally figuring out and editing that many pages would have taken me months! But the benefit of the residency was not only doing this work, but also to get a tonne of hard thinking done about the work. I was able to sit and think about the book and figure out the best way to write and draw the story. A luxury for any author!
During her fellowship Gina worked on Part Two of Oh Brother, her graphic novel about growing up with a brother with severe autism. Prior to the fellowship she had completed the written script and thumbnails, which meant that during her creative time she was able to focus on drawing the pencil draft. This is a readable draft version of the comic that can be read like the finished comic, ready for editing and sending to publishers. In three weeks, Gina finished 120 pages of the 150 in Part Two, as well as undertaking some editing, as well as some planning for the script for Part Three. Gina says this "was pretty amazing, because in comparison, the pencil draft of Part One took me six weeks to complete and that was only 100 pages long. This is what dedicated time to work on a project can do for an artist." Gina found the surroundings inspiring and went on long walks every day, just walking and thinking about her project. She collected a leaf on each walk to remind herself of the time she was able to spend creating her book. Gina also used her time to build some industry connections, including agents, librarians, publishers and booksellers. As an unpublished author/illustrator, she found this to be a particularly valuable learning experience.
Christina Booth - Adelaide 2017
I appreciated greatly the time to focus solely on starting my graphic novel project. It was doomed to the ‘one day when I get time’ drawer of life. The fellowship gave me the space to create a solid foundation and start the momentum of the project so that it can be easily continued at home between other tasks. It was a wonderful start to my new ‘apprenticeship’ in creating graphic novels.
Christina embarked on some dedicated research into the techniques and processes involved in creating strip narrative, writing graphic novel scripts and other aspects of comic and graphic novel creation. She is adapting her successful publication Potato Music into a graphic novel as well as extending it into a young adult story. Christina learned about the history, theories and science behind comics and their creation. She also conducted historical research on the context of Potato Music, set against the backdrop of World War Two. Christina's research into the genre enabled her to start constructing a timeline for the graphic novel and plans for adaptation, editing and structure. Christina networked at some SCBWI events and also undertook a residency at Scotch College, where she enjoyed engaging with her readership audience.
Allison Marlow Paterson - Canberra 2017
The fellowship was a godsend, a wonderful opportunity to avoid the distractions and disruptions of daily life at home. After thirty years of teaching and administration the permission to just ‘sit and write’ was an amazing gift - a chance to develop my sense of worth as an emerging author. I am certain I would not have achieved my writing goal without the dedicated time to plan, imagine and ultimately write over 35 000 words.
Allison dedicated her creative time to developing her young adult historical fiction manuscript, titled Follow After Me. This builds on her hugely successful Anzac Sons publications, and interweaves the setting of World War One with a 2017 storyline that tackles contemporary young adult issues. Allison made the most of her Canberra location to research at the Australian War Memorial, the National Library and the National Museum. These resources not only informed her current work, but have also provided inspiration for further projects. Allison spoke about her writing and fellowship at various events, including the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, which she says broadened her opportunities for networking and professional speaking. She also enjoyed her time at Palmerston District Primary School, where she presented workshops and attended an Anzac Day service with the whole school; these were very successful and Allison has received further school invitations as a result.
Steph Bowe - Adelaide 2016
I cannot speak highly enough of the value of my Creative Time Residential Fellowship; having the dedicated time and space to work intensively on a new manuscript allowed me to achieve far more than I would at home in the same amount of time, and made it far easier to be truly absorbed in the work.
Steph used her fellowship to research her contemporary YA crime manuscript, working title Teenage Wasteland, writing approximately 10,000 words of the first draft. She wrote a further 10,000 words of a second YA novel-in-progress, working title Sunny at the End of the World. She also developed the concept of a third new YA novel, Funny You Should Say That, including research, note-taking and writing of early scenes.
Steph was the 2016 Von Compton author in residence at Seymour College, where she presented writing workshops to Year 8 and 9 students. Steph says she found this immensely rewarding.
Lorraine Marwood - Brisbane 2016
Without this important time I just wouldn't have completed the verse novel, which is now in the hands of publishers. Thank you to all involved in making these fellowships possible - the life blood of Australian children's authors, poets and illustrators.
She then enjoyed a prolific fellowship, completing Leave Taking, a verse novel of 5500 words. Lorraine also wrote two seasons of her seasonal colour poetry picture book, 7000 words of her fantasy novel (working title Marmi), re-wrote and completed two picture book texts Saturday and Joe's Old Ute, looked at a picture book text Clifftops, that needed a better ending, wrote seven new poems, 1500 words of a small fantasy story about a fairy called Fuschia (a small chapter book for a younger audience), looked at a verse novel she'd already completed, rewriting it in two voices, and restored her big family novel with a 1500 word rewrite. Lorraine was able to meet her Queensland schools' booking agent face to face and take part in the centenary celebration in honour of The School Magazine, NSW, organised by SCBWI at the Brisbane City Library. Lorraine says that she was delighted to be able to attend this event, renewing friendships, meeting new authors and celebrating a magazine that has, over the years, fostered her children's poetry.
Ruth Starke - Canberra 2016
An uninterrupted and concentrated period of time in which to really get to grips with my book.
Ruth used her creative time to research the complex background to her historical non-fiction book, working title Armistice and Aftermath. She found the Canberra accommodation at the ANU to be a huge asset, with the ANU Chifley Library a 15-minute walk across campus. The Australian War Memorial was another local reinforcer of her research. She used her time at the studio to search for photographic resources to support her text. Ruth completed a grand total of four complete drafts during her fellowship, seeing great progress from first to fourth.
Andrew McDonald - Adelaide 2016
I cannot overstate the positive impact the fellowship had on me and my writing. Having time and space to concentrate solely on the creative process is the greatest gift a writer can possess. The very existence of the fellowship validates both children’s literature and those who write it — and that validation played an important role in inspiring and motivating me to produce the best writing possible.
Andrew worked on the first half of his third middle-grade novel. He started with a list of characters, a few sketched-out scenes and a rough plot outline. By the end of his fellowship, Andrew had a substantial manuscript, having used his time to become full immersed in the story and engaged with his characters and the intricate lives they lead. The novel is about a young girl with a passion for astronomy, who runs away from her over-bearing father and embarks on a journey of discovery. Andrew attended an observatory viewing night of the Astronomical Society of South Australia in order to get a feel for telescopes and their use. He also spent time at the South Australian Museum's Mineral Science collections, researching meteors and geology.
Susanne Gervay - Adelaide 2016
My life in Sydney is so hectic I have hardly any time to breathe, so nearly four weeks away in such a comfortable apartment in lovely Norwood was a godsend. I loved every part of my fellowship and am very proud to have a May Gibbs Literature Trust Fellow badge.
Susanne used her fellowship time to develop her middle-grade novel The Glass House, and reached halfway through the first draft. She found that the space to focus enabled her to come to some important insights, such as pinning down the narrative viewpoint to third person, as well as extending character development and keeping the criss-crossing plot lines unfolding. The surroundings of the Adelaide “Burrow” influenced Susanne, particularly the burst of spring roses around Norwood; roses now feature in the novel. She was able to research Lillian de Lissa, an historical figure who features in the novel, at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library, and met with the archivist, in order to explore invaluable information, photos and memorabilia. Susanne was busy catching up with others in the literary world, which she found important both professionally and personally. Susanne also undertook a residency at Scotch College Junior School.
Claire Richards - Canberra 2016
The creative time in Canberra has pushed me in my illustration and writing. It was an incredibly productive experience where I had no distractions and could just tear into my drawing and storyboards.
Claire used her creative time to develop the story for a picture book, as well as work on the manuscript for a graphic novel. Being in a different space away from her studio enabled her to focus, and she completed the picture book to submission stage. Claire made the most of the resources in Canberra, feeling inspired by the galleries and museums there. She enjoyed just absorbing the incredible art and also put together some historical profiles for a children's history magazine. Claire has created a tour builder map that documents some of her experiences in Canberra. Click here to view it.
Marianne Musgrove - Brisbane 2016
Without the fellowship, I would not have been able to write this book. I was able to hold the story together in my head without any of the distractions of home.
The majority of Marianne’s time was devoted to researching her children’s book, Blackbird (working title) about the labour trade between the South Sea Islands and Australia in the 1860’s and ’70’s. Marianne’s story centres around a boy from the New Hebrides, who is kidnapped and transported to the sugarcane fields of Mackay to work as an indentured labourer.
She spent much of her time in the State Library in the microfilm section and in the special collections area researching relevant legislation, historic farming practices, diaries from the time period, hand written speech notes written by prominent anti-slave labour advocates, newspaper articles of the day and transcripts from Royal Commissions into the labour trade which included verbatim reports by South Sea Islander people.
With each new piece of research, the story and characters developed. Following a discussion with a librarian at John Oxley Library whose family were sugarcane farmers, Marianne retitled her book, Black Snow. This is the term the locals used to describe the black ash that drifted across the landscape when they set the cane fields alight.
Marianne used her 2016 Max Fatchen Fellowship (awarded biennially to a children’s writer in the SA Premier’s Awards for Literature) to travel to Vanuatu to continue her research.
Samantha Wheeler - Adelaide 2015
The Fellowship experience boosted my confidence as a writer. It’s tough starting out as an author, as it often seems like a select few, more experienced writers are always in the limelight, making you feel a little invisible. But while in Adelaide, as a Creative Time Fellow, this certainly wasn’t the case. I felt supported, encouraged and validated, which was a huge benefit to me.
Liz Anelli - Adelaide 2015
I met with dozens of people in the children’s book industry & creative arts in Adelaide. Having barely been out of Newcastle in my 3 years since relocating to Australia this was amazing for me. Best of all I had all that time to myself to quietly think and push ideas around without a deadline to pressure me. Sometimes time constraints are good in focusing the mind but on this occasion it was great just to drift and dream and then suddenly discover my head full of ideas.
Liz used her fellowship time to do a huge amount of drawing in Adelaide and surrounding suburbs, courtesy of Katrina Germein’s wonderful yellow bicycle! This informed her new picture book ideas and developed into a series of prints about the city. She got really very interested in the vast number of mini roundabouts and went to her first ever footie game. She says that although she didn’t really understand how the points worked she loved drawing the crowds and the steep perspective of the highest stands. And it gave her ideas. Liz used the drawings and ideas gathered whilst out and about (especially in Port Adelaide) to write first drafts and rough storyboards for a possible A-Z of Lesser Known Cities.
Liz also developed the roughs for One Photo, her current picture book with Penguin Books, written by Ross Watkins.
She networked widely, was guest speaker at the Trust’s annual Spring Luncheon and took part in the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Tigers & Teapots community engagement workshop at Saint Ignatius' College. She had created illustrations for the CD and teaching booklet for conductor and musician David Banney and was delighted that this ASO event coincided with her fellowship.
Liz was also in residence at Victor Harbor R — 7 School, where she worked with 570 students on a massive collage/illustrated map about their local area. The idea was that these workshops would inform her own book, based on the narrative guided by a map or by looking down on the world… and so this in turn became a story about Martians trying to contact us Humans — with some unexpected consequences…
Tony Davis - Adelaide 2015
I would recommend time at The Burrow to any writer who needs space to develop or finish a project, or just needs thinking time to shape their future work.
Tony enjoyed uninterrupted creative time, working on a new tween/YA novel called Stand Up Thom. He turned three pages of point-form notes into a complete 45,000 word first draft.
In this way Tony was able to take a complete break from his normal hectic world. He says: “I reflected often how hard it is in my current circumstances to spend even one whole day (let alone day after day) doing nothing but writing fiction. At The Burrow, it was different; I was able to become completely lost in my story and characters. The momentum I could build up under these circumstances was enormous. The alternative is the usual necessity of writing in small blocks and spending quite a bit of each “block” getting back into the mood and flow of the story.”
Pam Harvey - Canberra 2015
There is no feeling like waking up in the morning knowing that the job for the day is to get writing. I have never had that much time specifically for writing before and it was a great gift. Since returning to ‘normal’ life, with its full time day job and other dramas, it seems like a dream! But it has also made me plan for more dedicated time chunks for my writing as it certainly moves a project along when you have dedicated time to plan, think and write.
Pam worked on four main pieces of work: A revision of a YA novel called ‘Earth and Stars’ so that it was ready for a manuscript development assessment paid for by a VicArts Grant received for 2014 A short story called ‘Tristram and Belle’ which will be published in an online anthology through Printz Charming Bools The first draft of a chapter book for younger readers called ‘Art and Arthur’ and A second draft of a new YA novel called ‘Roar’. The latter benefitted from time spent researching elements of the war in Afghanistan at The Australian War Memorial Pam was also invited to speak at the CBCA ACT branch ‘Creators’ night’ where she met many other local writers.
Richard Yaxley - Canberra 2015
To be given the time and space to create is nothing less than wonderful… I loved being able to clear my head of the clutter than defines everyday living and think of little else but my novel. Being in Canberra during the stillness and peace of autumn really aided this process. More than anything, though, the Fellowship reminded me that I am a capable writer; my work does have value, both intrinsic and extrinsic — and I can negotiate this often difficult and lonely path. The Fellowship went a long way towards reinstalling my sense of self-worth as a creator. For that I am particularly grateful.
Although part of Richard’s time was taken up with reorganising the micro-structures of the larger (as yet untitled) work he was able to complete, to draft level, one full section and most of another, approximately thirty thousand words. He also took advantage of Canberra’s resources, specifically the National Museum, National Library and Australian War Memorial, to further his research and ‘cement’ a number of concepts that he already had in place. As part of his research, Richard met with Judy Hickson and Jono Lineen, both curators at the National Museum. He also enjoyed speaking to the ACT Branch of the CBA and ran a short story writing workshop with a small group of children at the Tuggeranong Library.
Sheryl Gwyther - Adelaide 2015
The MGCLT Fellowship Residency was a marvellous privilege! Most authors have moments of self-doubt, but the Fellowship confirms and celebrates one’s ability, skill and professionalism as an author.
During her residency Sheryl worked exclusively on the first draft of Vivaldi’s Angel, her junior fiction novel. She had started with a rough outline and had hoped to finish the first draft. In the end, she made it half-way through the story - thirteen chapters and about 16,000 words. She was also in residence at Scotch College. Sheryl says that her main character, Caterina, grew so much stronger over that 4 weeks, both in her personality and her voice; she leads the story, an ideal place for the writer. She relished the freedom to write unfettered by time, phones, emails and day-to-day interruptions — to lose myself within 18th Century Venice; to fall in love with my main characters; to race with Caterina across the Bridge of Sighs as the glorious strains of Vivaldi’s concertos follow us on silver wings.
Josie Montano - Adelaide 2015
The fellowship provides a bubble of space where life’s responsibilities and pressures don’t exist. What was important was the project at hand. The time actually breeds and manifests creativity to the fullest, indulgent time, full immersion into the project.
Josie worked on a new YA manuscript. Originally titled Isn’t She Lovely, Josie’s research, planning and brainstorming, plus a face book poll, morphed the title into The Reel Drama Queen. The concept is based on Australia’s very first Hollywood star, Louise Lovely, the height of whose fame was between 1915 and 1920. Josie’s research involved delving into Australian film, the silent film era, Australians in Hollywood, vaudeville and World War 1. Her plot eventually turned around a teen from the 70’s, who meets Louise in the present and the past.
Josie shared her practice with the Unley Young Writers in a one-off workshop with this skilled and committed group based at the Unley Library, SA.
Terry Whitebeach - Adelaide 2014
The vision and dedication of the founders and current directors and committee has given me what every writer craves — time and space to attend to the work. It is the greatest gift we can receive.
During her Fellowship Terry worked on a novel for younger readers, Paper Chain, a book about 6 young sisters. She arrived in Adelaide with an outline, two or three pages of manuscript and the strong desire for a quiet space in which to "eavesdrop" on the sisters and explore the situation they were in and to write as much of the first draft of the novel as she could.
She completed 18 chapters (approx. 10,000 words) and feels that she got the novel to that important point where it "had legs” and was a living, breathing viable entity.
Terry also edited, and redrafted some sections of her YA novel Obulejo - Trouble Tomorrow, the story of a teenager's experience during the Sudanese Civil War.
James Roy - Adelaide 2014
Thank you for offering us such a fabulous opportunity. The students were enthralled by James’s storytelling and bewitched by his accounts of his literary (and other) adventures. I'm sure it's something that many students will remember all their lives. David Strempel, Teacher Librarian, Marryatville High School
James developed a children’s novel, with the working title Red Kigali Sky, based around the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The title was already contracted to Omnibus Books, which gave him the terrific opportunity to spend face-to-face time with his publisher, Dyan Blacklock. During his Fellowship he arrived at a reasonably advanced draft of the book.
James was also the 2014 City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters Fellow, working as author in residence to Marryatville High School and Prince Alfred College.
During his residency James ran 7 participatory writing workshops, meeting around 300 students. Marryatville High School chose to focus James’s sessions on Year 10 students. His workshops here involved an Extension English class, whose members had the chance to develop and complete a piece of writing.
Prince Alfred College’s Year 12s took part in workshops exploring short story narratives and recount writing. Some of these students featured in an outside broadcast on 3D Radio’s Youth FM programme, with young broadcasters AJ Gillian and Sakura Lim.
James also met 350 students at Marymount College, Glenelg, courtesy of the Holdfast Libraries.
Ian Trevaskis - Adelaide 2014
The granting of the MGCT Fellowship was a godsend because it offered me an escape clause; a means of avoiding the daily interruptions and distractions and allowing me the opportunity to focus on the story I so desperately wanted to tell.
Ian arrived in Adelaide with about 20,000 words written of a first draft for a YA novel provisionally titled My Olympic Year. At the end of his stay he had completed a 70,000 word first draft and during the process was able to resolve a number of issues and concerns he had with voice, character and the overall structure of the novel.
Ian also spent some time thinking about, developing ideas and characters, and writing notes for a planned series of books based on the adventures of a feral ten year old girl, her feisty grandmother and her cousin Mungo in a remote seaside town. The series is provisionally titled The Saga of Sally Sweetwater and Mungo.
In the midst of all this he spent a week in residence at Victor Harbor R — 7 School, where he met over 500 students. He described the staff as “friendly and welcoming”, the students as “keen and interested” and the organisation of the whole week as “flawless.”
Deb Abela - Canberra 2014
The main benefit has to be the concentrated time spent writing. I wrote every day and had uninterrupted swathes of time to think and create. This was perfect! The chance to meet local authors, illustrators and teacher librarians was also brilliant!
Deb completed a third draft of New City, the sequel to her novel, Grimsdon. (Deb worked on Grimsdon, published in 2010 by Random House, during her 2008 Fellowship in Adelaide.) New City is for readers aged 8-12 and is published by Random House. Deb also researched and worked on the first draft of an historical fiction called A New World For Theresa. This title will be for the same age group and published by Scholastic.
Deb led the very first Canberra Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) meeting. She described it as a great chance to meet local writers. She led a writing workshop at the ACT Writers Centre, presented at the ACT Children’s Book Council AGM and met 120 students at Canberra Girls Grammar.
Sue Lawson - Adelaide 2014
I was able to create and set in place better habits that I've maintained at home - less internet time, blocks of writing time, streamlining approaches etc. I have to admit, I wrote a list of goals before I left home, and achieved every one. I returned to 'normal' life creatively, physically and emotionally renewed.
CLICK HERE to read Fran Knight's interview with Sue for the Read Plus Review Blog
Sue’s initial focus was on a complete and intensive edit of her newest YA novel, Freedom Ride (working title). She met with her editor prior to leaving for her Adelaide-based Fellowship, and says she had “the luxury of uninterrupted time to read aloud, edit, ponder and polish the manuscript. She also researched and wrote a non-fiction project which will be part of the Walker/Black Dog Books 'Our Stories' series. At present the project has the working title Protests, but will have what Sue describes as a “spiffier” title soon! Sue met every student in years 1 — 6 at Scotch College Junior School, as well as 12 members of the Unley Young Writers, a skilled and wonderful group convened by the Unley Libraries.
Alan Tucker - Brisbane 2014
There are many benefits to working as a May Gibbs Fellow in Brisbane. The most memorable is being provided with the opportunity to work in an interrupted mode for three weeks in a well-appointed and located apartment. The workshops I conducted in the fourth week were highly beneficial. The State Library arranged and managed them professionally and the teachers and schools that opted to involve their students did so because they wanted them to have a positive learning experience. The teachers had primed their classes with my books and historic fiction genre in mind, which allowed students to engage thoughtfully and positively. Discussions about a possible historic fiction set at the time of the 2010 — 2011 Brisbane floods, also provided me with insights into what 10-14 year old students saw as family and personal priorities during an emergency evacuation.
Alan added another 8,000 words to Australia's Great War: 1916 (Book 3 of 5 book series, Scholastic Australia) and edited what he had already written. Most of the new words consisted of dialogue, which was needed to differentiate between the four main characters. He did some additional research and checking of facts, and made some structural changes. The book is due for publication in February 2016, the 100th anniversary of the battles, which form the background to Alan's historic fiction.
Alan spent a week in residence through the State Library of Queensland, visiting 6 schools and working with over 200 students from years 6 to 9. He spoke about his journey to becoming a writer and offered tips on writing historical fiction. Alan says that a particular highlight from the week was his session at the Brisbane School of Distance Education where he streamed live to 10 very keen students from all over the state (including 1 in Western Australia).
Mark Carthew - Brisbane 2013
The 2013 May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Creative Time Fellowship has been much more than a residency. While the main aim of providing focused creative time to achieve a writing objective was important and also successful (as I completed a picture book manuscript); it also signalled a fresh and vibrant reflection my life as a professional writer. The award was affirmation by my peers and I was being entrusted with some funded time to produce something special. As my first residency this was part of a long creative journey and I have felt remarkably privileged to have had the time to not only to develop new ideas and projects, but also to reflect on the roads less travelled and future options associated with my creative life. In many ways I have felt like an ambassador and I have proudly worn the badge of MGLCT Fellow throughout the year. The fellowship has also encouraged interest in and respect for my work and provided further opportunities for events, festivals and school visits — both nationally and internationally. It has also provided terrific personal motivation to live up to the creative output expectations of awardees and I have greatly enjoyed the way it has provided further opportunity to develop relationships and networks within the children’s literature community.
Mark worked on a manuscript with the working title: Where’s Moose, Bruce?, a sequel to his title The Moose is Loose. He also engaged in some research at the Brisbane Central State Library Branch looking at story structure in his genre, as well as some conceptual thinking about value products associated with this specific project, including an accompanying song with the same title (Carthew / Fairbairn), which he fine tuned whilst in residence, teacher notes, merchandise and website material.
Mark met well over 200 children whilst in residence at the State Library of Queensland.
Anne Ryan - Adelaide 2013
The Fellowship is a living treasure that supports Australian authors and illustrators to continue producing valuable and significant literary works. In these very difficult economic times when opportunities are being squeezed from many facets of the industry, it is even more valuable and significant that this time is supported and encouraged. Creative individuals will always continue to develop their own bodies of work, but the Fellowship reinforces that other parts of the community value and want to promote creative works undertaken for the benefit of the broader community. The Fellowship upholds longevity, vision and forward thinking for our culture and the Arts as a whole. It actively supports and nurtures the creative voices of our time in Australian children’s literature.
Anne completed nearly 14 pages of full colour finished artworks for her picture book "A Song for a Yellow Monday". This work included many hours developing rough sketches, researching settings, lighting effects and character expressions and reworking sketches before creating the final artwork in acrylic paint. Anne says: It was rewarding to experience the continuity of imagery and the essence of the story, flow so easily with concentrated uninterrupted creative time. The end result was definitely a stronger and more convincing body of work.
Jacqueline Harvey - Adelaide 2013
Having time away from home to write, while not thinking about the more mundane daily chores was great. Being in a new and previously unvisited location was inspiring and I really enjoyed walking everywhere and the cafe culture of Norwood. I loved the networking opportunities, making connections with many people I now consider friends.
Jacqueline worked on Alice-Miranda In Japan, which is the ninth title in the series. The book required considerable research, which she undertook in consultation with a Japanese-speaking friend.
Angela Sunde - Adelaide 2013
Being able to reflect, rest and think in a quiet, uninterrupted and comfortable space certainly benefited my writing. I have had the most amazing kick-start to the year. I'm far ahead of where I expected to be and the momentum to keep going has been set firmly in place.
Angela worked on The Reversible Cape, reading through research notes, working through the manuscript, fixing and adjusting plot points, re-writing then writing a further 10,000 words.
She also worked on The Blue Tutu, achieving a complete rewrite in rhyme and cutting and pasting the new text into a dummy book to see how it read through. Angela edited another picture book manuscript called Lots of Things, and wrote up notes for a new idea for a picture book story about her grandmother’s fig tree.
Angela was in residence at Victor Harbor R-7 School, SA.
Prue Mason - Canberra 2013
What a gift — a whole month of time to live inside the heads of my flying heroes — it was a blast and it’s all thanks the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust.
Prue developed a children’s non-fiction book on Australian aviation history from the point of view of the pilots who made the history. This was perfect terrain for Prue who is a private pilot and owns a vintage aircraft.
Bruce Mutard - Canberra 2013
Just wanted to say thanks again for the wonderful opportunity you’ve given me this past month. Although half my time here was diverted into other activities than my novel, I did do some serious work on it. I also especially enjoyed meeting so many new and lovely people here, many of whom I think will be friends for life.
Bruce divided his time between working on his new graphic novel, The Fight, the second volume of the Robert Wells Trilogy and making a range of appearances around Canberra, including Impact Comics, the You Are Here zine fair and the ACT Writers Centre.
Greg Bastian - Adelaide 2013
Uninterrupted time at the studio was a welcome opportunity to complete a further draft of my new novel.
Greg researched and completed an advanced draft of his next novel for younger readers. He was in residence at Seymour College and also met the Unley Young Writers, a group organised by the Unley libraries.
Judith Rossell - Brisbane 2013
James Foley - Adelaide 2013
James was in residence at Scotch College prompting the teacher librarian’s comment: ‘What an incredible talent. I would recommend James to any school.
James completed the final illustrations and cover for book 1 of Magpie Mischief, a new chapter book series by Ken Spillman and Jon Doust. He finished the cover designs and some roughs for books 2 and 3. As part of his Fellowship James completed the illustrations for two new titles in the Amity Kids Adventure series written by John Doust and Ken Spillman. These are now available as e books via James's web site' James also powered ahead with his own picture books completing the manuscript of The Night Care Centre, almost finishing the first draft of Brobot and outlining The Horrible Prince.
Stephen Axelsen - Adelaide 2012
Greg Holfield - Canberra 2012
Kelly Gardiner - Brisbane 2012
Judy Horacek - Brisbane 2012
She presented at West End bookshop, Avid Reader and spoke at the legendary May Gibbs Trust afternoon tea.
Pam Rushby - Canberra 2012
The research time at the Australian War Memorial was invaluable. I would not have been able to attempt the two historical novels I am working on without it. The time, and the quiet, and the lack of the usual responsibilities has enabled me to progress far further than I had expected with both novels.
Pam undertook research at the Australian War Memorial for two historical novels, one for children and one for young adults. She developed full outlines for both novels and wrote a good half of the first draft of one novel. Pam gave an interview on ABC radio with Genevieve Jacobs and a talk about her most recent novel at the time of her Fellowship - The Horses Didn't Come Home, (HarperCollins 2012) - at the Paperchain Bookstore, Manuka.
Oliver Phommavanh - Adelaide 2012
It felt so free to be fully immersed in my work. I found that random thoughts and funny lines came more freely than before… I found myself having a productive evening too. BONUS writing time. So it felt like 2 days for 1!
Oliver’s Fellowship projects were Nothing’s Prefect, the story of a boy who is thrown into being a prefect in a rundown high school where weirdness happens and Bookish, which he describes as a lifelong love letter to librarians. Oliver wowed audiences young and not so young in a number of schools and public libraries as well as in a bookshop and a Thai restaurant as part of a new partnership between the Trust and the City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters.
Aimee Said - Adelaide 2012
I leave with most of a plot and 10,000 words of a brand new novel, plus a mind overflowing with possible twists and turns for this book. This has been a precious month of writing and thinking.
Aimee developed the plot, character and setting and drafted the initial chapters of her new novel for young adults, a Gothic-inspired book about family and school secrets set in a girls' boarding school. During her Fellowship Aimee was in residence at Seymour College meeting 150 year 11 students.
Jeni Mawter - Adelaide 2012
Words can’t express my appreciation to all at the May Gibbs Trust for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. From the time of my initial application until now, I feel I have made giant strides.
Jeni researched how to write for the interactive world of children’s apps, writing 3 (A Rainbow Surprise, Shape Explorers and A Race Against Time), which were accepted for publication in 2013 by Flying Books. She researched, developed the concept and wrote 1000 words for a young adult long form non-fiction work with the working title The Seduction of Narcissism in response to interest from Macmillan’s Momentum digital section. Jeni was in residence at Scotch College Junior School and ran a workshop called ‘How to Fix a Broken Story’ for the Unley Young Writers Group and members of the SA Writers Centre.
Clare McFadden - Melbourne 2011
Clare was also in residence at the children’s cultural venue, Artplay, and at The Book Factory, a Melbourne Writers Festival event organised by Kids Own Publishing. In the course of this work she met and worked with over 215 children.
Amanda Betts - Adelaide 2011
AJ developed a work of fiction for young adults, tentatively titled Zac and Hannah, a story about two teenagers who meet and form a relationship on a cancer ward, but who find life outside the hospital much more complicated.
The final publication (August 2013) is Zac and Mia which won the 2012 text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing.
AJ was also in residence at Seymour College, working with over 100 students on their own creative writing. Her time in Adelaide coincided with Book Week 2011.
Dawn Meredith - Adelaide 2011
Malcolm Walker - Canberra 2011
Malcolm opted for the focus, solitude and discipline of uninterrupted creative time, working on the first book in the trilogy City of Thieves. The trilogy aims to blend fantasy and social realism, while mirroring contemporary teenage issues. He finished a complete working draft almost ready for submission to his agent, as well as achieving a considerable amount of research and some chapters of the second and third books in the trilogy. He also took the chance to edit and re-draft some of his existing work.
Corinne Fenton - Brisbane 2011
Corinne wrote a polished draft for an environmental story, researched and re-wrote an old picture book text for a different format, tidied up and completed the first draft of a verse novel, wrote some poetry (“miscellaneous poetry” as she describes it!) and began the re-write of a short novel.
The Trust’s Brisbane-based support group hosted a high tea for Corinne at the new Norman Park State School Library, where she gave an insightful presentation on how she began her writing career and the meticulous research that goes into each title. Corinne worked at the State Library of Queensland, meeting 40 children and 37 adults.
Krista Bell - Brisbane 2011
Without (the) May Gibbs (Trust) I would never have had the creative space and time to develop this book, but rather I would have still have tantalising, but unrelated experiences swirling around in my imagination waiting to be developed into a story.
Krista developed Troubles in Tuscany, a junior novel for 8-12 year old readers. She developed the entire storyline and the characterisations in Brisbane because — as she says — “only then did have the opportunity to pause and piece together all my inspirational Italian experiences of the past two years and weave them into a story.”
As part of this Fellowship the Trust’s Brisbane support group organised the launch of Krista’s paperback Lofty’s Mission, which she wrote in Canberra on a May Gibbs Trust residency back in 2004.
Nathan Luff - Adelaide 2011
As an emerging author, trying to balance full time work, writing and an addiction to HBO television, I am used to stealing time from my day, and working with distractions everywhere. … I was a fulltime writer with my only distraction being the occasional boil of the kettle — the opportunity to engross myself in my work so fully was not only a heap of fun, it meant I completed a manuscript (through 4 drafts) in 8 months as opposed to the usual 1-2 year slog.
Nathan’s Fellowship saw him take Bad Grammar, his new middle years novel, from its first draft to publication readiness. Walker Books published the novel in January 2013. Bad Grammar stars a computer game enthusiast (read nerd), who is mistakenly sent to a reform school in the Outback of Australia, where the enemies are very much real… Nathan was also in residence at Scotch College Junior School, where he met over 300 students.
Karen Tayleur - Adelaide 2011
It was a very interesting experience to take myself out of my normal life and live for a month in a place where there were no excuses not to write. I was frustrated with pinning down my ‘voice’ for the book during this period, but I did have time to explore the genre I was writing in, taking leisurely afternoons of sitting near the window in the sun and reading, while feeling only slightly guilty. This is what I enjoyed the most. Instead of having to squash my reading/research time into stolen moments, I brazenly sat with a pot of tea and explored to my heart’s content.
"My other project, my main reason for applying, was to work on a ‘gothic romance’ for the Young Adult market titled Love Notes from Vinegar House. I am happy to say that this book is to be released in May 2012 by Walker Books under the black dog books imprint and the May Gibbs Trust has been duly acknowledged with my heartfelt thanks."
Briony Stewart - Brisbane 2010
Dawn Hort - Canberra 2010
Dawn Hort worked from 1-30 May on the second draft of 007 Robot Thief, the first in a series for Scholastic. Her Fellowship time allowed her to double the word length. She also began a new story, The Stone Birds, and drafted a range of ideas for subsequent books in the series. While in Canberra, Dawn visited the National Museum of Australia with the particular goal of seeing its largest working exhibit, the Paddle Steamer ‘Enterprise’, which provided background to her forthcoming steam punk novel series The Time Seekers.
Dawn met over 100 children through her sessions at Yass Public School and Erindale Library. She also met a small group of writers with a mental illness.
Her networking opportunities arose through meetings with the Speculative Fiction Guild, the Lu Rees Archives, the Tuggeranong Library, the Dickson Library and the University of Canberra.
Katy Watson-Kell - Adelaide 2010
Katy Watson-Kell enjoyed uninterrupted creative time working on a creative non-fiction picture book project called The Ghost of Seaforth McKenzie: King of Penguin Island during her Fellowship (1 — 23 October.)
Highly detailed research was the cornerstone of Katy’s time:
- She explored Seaforth McKenzie’s childhood years in Pictou, Nova Scotia and managed to source some highly specific material on Gaelic culture and the lifestyle of the Scottish Highlanders who settled in Canada during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
- She researched the culture of the indigenous Mi’ kmaq people of the region. In this way, she developed a strong, creative concept for the Nova Scotian thread of the story an important and hitherto mysterious chapter in McKenzie’s life. Katy also worked on some early illustrations.
- She continued research into another thread of the story linked to McKenzie’s Aboriginal friend Joe, whom Nyoongar elders in WA believe is likely to have been a former prisoner of the Rottnest Island penal colony.
- She researched aspects of whaling and sealing at the SA Whale Centre at Victor Harbor for Capturing Chloe, a young adult novel.
- She looked at Adelaide buildings and landscapes for authentic setting development for this story, set in the 1940s.
Felicity Pulman - Adelaide 2010
Felicity Pulman (31 May — 30 June) researched and wrote some 40,000 words for Hearts in Chains (working title), a time-slip novel for young adults set on Norfolk Island, incorporating events from the second penal settlement established on the island.
Felicity attended several functions organised by the SA Writers’ Centre, including a Young Writers Night and The SA English Teachers Association’s massive and collegiate Meet the Author event. She met up to 400 young people in years 7 and 8 and about 50 adults in workshops of her own at Seymour College, the SAWC and Flinders University.
Bernadette Kelly - Adelaide 2010
I found that my interaction with people from the Canberra CBC... provided me with valuable networking opportunities and an opportunity to expand my professional contact base.
She enjoyed networking with colleagues at the Lu Rees Archives and the ACT Children’s Book Council.
Bernadette met over 200 children in sessions at the Erindale Library, St Monica’s Primary School and Torrens Primary School.
Jenny Sharp - Brisbane 2010
Jenny Sharp opted for uninterrupted creative time (1 — 28 November). She continued work on her young adult novel Sweet Pea Sky, which tells the story of best friends Erin and Elly. Told from Elly’s perspective, Sweet Pea Sky explores the emotional territory of Erin’s illness, treatment and death from leukaemia.
Jenny also spent time at the Royal Children’s Hospital researching the Macadamia Nut program, an educational, interactive TV program run by the hospital network.
Brenton McKenna - Melbourne 2010
Dee White - Brisbane 2010
I thought that if I could get the main part of the research done during my residency and the plot outline for the books, I'd be well ahead. If things were going really well I thought I might get the first 30 or so pages written. I never dreamed that I'd achieve so much more. Not only did I complete the 56,000 word first draft of book one, but I also had so much time to read, meet with other authors and just enjoy being a writer.
Dee White enjoyed a prolific residency (13 March — 10 April). She developed the plot outline for The Chat Room series: Book One — Secrets, Book Two — Lies and Book Three — Truth, undertook extensive internet research on personality disorders and chat room procedures, developed character profiles for four main characters and four subsidiary characters, wrote the first draft of Secrets, arrived at ideas for Hit Me with your Donut and Sophie’s Secret Garden and blogged daily about her May Gibbs experience at http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com
Dee attended her traditional May Gibbs High Tea, the Queensland Writers Centre AGM, appearances by Patrick Ness at QUT and Michael Bauer at the George Street library and met Queensland-based children’s and young adult authors.
In addition, Dee ran 13 workshops for schools groups in years 5 — 10, based in outer metropolitan areas as well as a school holiday workshop. The schools groups explored Heroes and Villains, while the holiday program travelled From Portrait to Prose. In total Dee met 280 children and young people.
Claire Saxby - Adelaide 2010
Claire also wrote several poems and revised a picture book manuscript, which was subsequently discussed face to face on two occasions with Jane Covernton at Working Title Press.
Claire attended several professional functions and meetings, including two where she was guest speaker (CBCA and SCBWI events). She also attended Max Fatchen’s 90th birthday party.
Claire ran workshops at Scotch College, Flinders University and the two City of Unley libraries. Through these she met nearly 700 children and 50 adults.