Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship

Ian Wilson


The Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship (IWMF) was created by the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust (MGCLT) to honour our founding Chair, the late Honourable Ian Wilson AM. 

Ian was a Federal Government Minister holding portfolios for Aboriginal Affairs, and Home Affairs and the Environment. He loved his country and its landscape, devoted much energy to its people and was an avid reader. Fostering high quality literature for Australian children and young people became a key commitment of his later life.

In 1999 Ian and others established the MGCLT, the purpose of which was to foster the creation and development of Australian children’s literature. Ian was Chairman of the Trust until his death in 2013.


The IWMF was established by the Trust to honour one of our founders and first Chair, the late Hon. Ian Wilson AM. This Fellowship is offered annually and supports an emerging author or illustrator with creative time and professional development.

The Trust's mission is to support the creativity and careers of contemporary Australian children's writers and illustrators by providing Residential Fellowships.

IWM Fellows will spend the 2 weeks working intensively on their creative project; a further week will be spent undertaking a co-constructed schedule of supported networking opportunities, visits, and professional development. These opportunities are subject to availability but may include networking opportunities with local professional groups; meetings with industry representatives such as publishers, book shop selectors or children’s librarians; observation of the work of people such as teacher librarians or writers/illustrators at work; attendance at the Adelaide Festival’s Writers’ Week.

The Trust works in the name of May Gibbs but has no connection with her financial legacy and does not hold the copyright on any of her works.

IWMF Selection Guidelines

Applications for the IWM Fellowship are received by the Selection Committee.

The committee members are children’s authors and illustrators and others with an interest in Australian children’s literature. These members are familiar with, and support the Trust’s aims and objectives. Committee meetings are conducted by email through a presiding Chair.


  • Proposals must be for work that reflects Australian voices or themes
  • Proposals must be from emerging authors or illustrators whose work is unpublished or self-published, or whose work has been published only as an educational resource
  • Project proposals must be for unpublished work for children or young people up to the age of 18 years
  • Project proposals must be for work in development at any stage of the project’s life-cycle.

Selection Criteria

  • Literary merit
  • The clarity of the proposed project outline
  • The contribution the Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship is likely to make to the development of the applicant’s creative skills and literary career.

Information about some of our previous Ian Wilson Memorial Fellows, including Rachel Gregg, Amelia Mellor and Georgina Chadderton, can be found on our Alumni pages.

How to apply

CLICK HERE to register your interest in our 2025 Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship.