All our mentors have a wealth of experience as writing teachers, mentors and editors. In addition, they are all established, critically-acclaimed writers with at least five major works to their credit. Our mentors have won and been shortlisted for major Australian and international awards and are published internationally.
Dr Kathryn Heyman is the author of six novels, including The Accomplice and Captain Starlight’s Apprentice. Her latest novel is Storm & Grace, published in 2017. She has won numerous awards including an Arts Council of England Writers Award, the Wingate and the Southern Arts Awards, and been nominated for the Orange Prize, the Scottish Writer of the Year Award, the Edinburgh Fringe Critics’ Awards, the Kibble Prize, and the West Australian Premier’s Book Awards. Her radio plays for BBC Radio include adaptations of her own work. She is the fiction program director for Faber Academy in Australia, served as the senior judge (chair) for all categories of the NSW Premier’s Awards and is a member of the Folio Prize Academy. She is acknowledged as being particularly skilled at helping writers with structure. She is the Conjoint Professor in English and Humanities at the University of Newcastle, and holds the 2018 Copyright Agency Author Fellowship.
Ross Grayson Bell is a screenwriter, producer and story consultant with over twenty-five years of international experience in story development. Having worked his way up from a creative executive for legendary Hollywood producer Ray Stark, Ross developed and produced Fight Club for Twentieth Century Fox and united Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman on Under Suspicion, which he executive produced. He created his own production company in 1993 and formed producing partnerships with Winona Ryder, Jamie Foxx and Lawrence Bender and worked with the directors Gillian Armstrong, David Fincher, Pedro Almodóvar, Gus Van Sant and Gore Verbinski, among others. In 2007 Ross moved to London after his adaptation of Tom Spanbauer’s novel The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon landed him on the British List of Best Unproduced Screenplays and was commissioned by BBC Films to adapt the story of troubled, white teenager who turns his life around by learning Cantonese in the local fish and chip shop: I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Cantonese.In 2009 Ross took up the position of Head of Screenwriting at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School where he guided five students to Australian Writers’ Guild Award nominations for the TV pilots they developed as part of their course work, with one student winning for her pilot in 2013.
Ross was also commissioned to adapt Susan Duncan’s memoir Salvation Creek which was one of four projects selected in 2013 for Screen NSW’s Aurora Feature Film Development Program. Ross is currently serving his third year as Senior Judge of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, working as an external script assessor for Screen Australia, lecturing on story, both in Australia and Malaysia, and regularly speaks at Writers’ Festivals, Australian Writers’ Guild member events around the country. In 2014 he gave the Literary Address the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
James Bradley is a writer and critic. His books include the novels, Clade, Wrack, The Deep Field and The Resurrectionist, a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus, and as editor, The Penguin Book of the Ocean. In addition to being widely translated, James’ novels have won or been shortlisted for a number of awards, including The Age Fiction Book of the Year Award, the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction and the Miles Franklin Award. As well as writing fiction and poetry, The Resurrectionist was an international bestseller and selected in the UK as a ‘Richard and Judy Summer Read’. James’ reviews and essays have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as The Times Literary Supplement, The Australian Literary Review, The Guardian, The Monthly, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Heat and The Sydney Morning Herald. He was the recipient of the 2012 Pascall Prize for the Australian Critic of the Year and is a Course Director for Faber Academy at Allen & Unwin.
Alison Croggon is an award-winning novelist, poet, librettist and critic based in Melbourne. She has published eight collections of poetry and several novels, including the acclaimed fantasy quintet The Books of Pellinor, Black Spring and The River and the Book. She won the Dame Mary Gilmore and Anne Elder Awards for poetry and the Wilderness Society’s 2016 Environment Award for Children’s Literature for The River and the Book. As well, her poetry collections and novels have been shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, the WA Premier’s Literary Award, and her most recent fantasy novel The Bone Queen was shortlisted for YA Book of the Year in the 2017 Aurealis Awards.
Alison has written libretti for eight operas, including The Riders with Iain Grandage, for which they won Vocal/Choral Work of the Year in the Art Music Awards in 2015, and Mayakovsky with Michael Smetanin, for which her libretto was shortlisted for the Drama Prize in the 2015 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. She has 30 years experience reviewing performance for outlets such as the Australian, the ABC and The Monthly and generated an international reputation as a performance critic with her influential blog Theatre Notes, and is a co-editor and founder of Witness Performance. In 2009 she was the first online critic to win the prestigious Geraldine Pascall Critic of the Year Award.
Dr Stephanie Dowrick is one of Australia’s most successful writers and has been actively involved with writing, editing and publishing for many years. She has written for children and also 16 books for adults, both fiction and non-fiction. Five have been international No.1 bestsellers. Perhaps best known are Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love, Intimacy and Solitude, and Seeking the Sacred. She came to writing after a celebrated publishing career, including founding the London feminist publishing house, The Women’s Press, where she published many celebrated writers including Alice Walker, Michele Roberts, Janet Frame and Susan Griffin. She worked as Allen & Unwin’s Fiction Publisher in the early 1990s where she again published household name writers and helped launch some illustrious careers. Stephanie has always combined her own writing projects with teaching and journalism. She was the “Inner Life” columnist for the Good Weekend for ten years and has contributed to all our major media outlets including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and as regular guest on the ABC. Stephanie completed a research PhD in 2007 on the prophet/poet Rainer Maria Rilke. This became her critically acclaimed book, In the Company of Rilke. She is a trained psychotherapist, an ordained interfaith minister and a pioneer in Interfaith spirituality, leading retreats, giving talks, and leading a large Sydney congregation. Stephanie Dowrick regards writing as “a privileged voyage of discovery” and is a passionate advocate of the rewards possible for every genuinely committed writer.
Nick Earls is the author of twenty-six books for adults, teenagers and children. His books have won awards in Australia, the UK and US, and also appeared on bestseller lists in those countries. Two of his novels have been adapted into feature films – 48 Shades of Brown into 48 Shades (distributed by Disney’s Buena Vista) and the Italian edition of Perfect Skin into Solo un Padre (Warner Brothers/Cattleya). Five of his novels have been adapted into stage plays, with the Zigzag Street play touring to thirty-six cities and towns around Australia in 2005. His articles and op-ed pieces have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian. His short fiction has been published in journals and anthologies in Australia, the US and UK. His most recent project is the novella series Wisdom Tree, which also formed the basis of his University of Queensland PhD thesis, along with an essay on the impact of technology on twenty-first century novella publishing. Wisdom Tree has won several awards in Australia and the US, including a NSW Premier’s Literary Award and a gold medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards (USA).
Ashley Hay’s work has been praised for its “intelligent scrutiny of the human psyche”, “a tenderness that is deeply compelling” and its “simple grace”. Her most recent novel, A Hundred Small Lessons, was shortlisted in the 2017 Queensland Literary Awards’ fiction category and will also be published in the US and UK. Her earlier books include The Railwayman’s Wife, (recipient of the Colin Roderick Award from the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies, and People’s Choice in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards) and The Body in the Clouds – both of which received numerous prize nominations and were also published overseas.
In a previous and more journalistic life, Ashley worked as both an editor and writer, and she was literary editor for The Bulletin for several years. As an essayist, journalist and reviewer, her own words have appeared in a range of publications in Australia and beyond, and have been included in Best Australian Essays, Best Australian Short Stories and Best Australian Science Writing – the 2014 anthology of which she also edited. In 2016 she won the Bragg/UNSW Press Prize for Science Writing.
She has lectured and taught workshops and masterclasses in fiction, narrative non-fiction and a range of writing processes for more than a decade for writers’ centres, writers’ festivals, universities and the MEAA.
Toni Jordan is the author of four novels. The international best-seller Addition (2008), was a Richard and Judy Bookclub pick and was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award. Fall Girl (2010) was published internationally and has been optioned for film, and Nine Days was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards, was shortlisted for the ABIA Best General Fiction award and was named in Kirkus Review’s top 10 Historical Novels of 2013. Her latest novel is Our Tiny Useless Hearts (2016). Toni has been widely published in newspapers and magazines and teaches creative writing at Faber Academy at Allen & Unwin.
Jacqueline Kent was born in Sydney, and grew up there and in Adelaide. After completing an arts degree at the University of Adelaide she returned to Sydney and worked as a journalist, radio producer and scriptwriter for the ABC. After travelling in England and Europe for some years, she returned to Australia and became a book editor and writer.
She has published fourteen books including fiction for young adults, social history and biography and she has received grants from the Australia Council.
Her first book, published in 1983, was Out of the Bakelite Box: The Heyday of Australian Radio, a social and oral history of Australian radio, drawing heavily on original interviews. In the Half Light: Life as a Child in Australia 1900-1970 (1988) consists of reminiscences of people from all walks of life, with emphasis on events and personalities in Australian life seen through a child’s eyes. A Certain Style: Beatrice Davis, A Literary Life (2001) the biography of a pioneering Australian book editor, won the 2002 National Biography Award, as well as the Nita B. Kibble Award for Women Writers; it was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award. An Exacting Heart: The Story of Hephzibah Menuhin (2008), the story of the brilliant pianist and social reformer who lived all her life in the shadow of her violinist brother Yehudi, was the 2009 winner of the Nita B. Kibble Award and was shortlisted for the New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria Premiers’ Awards, the Adelaide Festival Literature Award and a Walkley Award. Her biography of Australia’s first woman prime minister, The Making of Julia Gillard (2009), was a best-seller updated three times; its sequel, the Penguin Special Take Your Best Shot (2012) was a specific analysis of Gillard’s prime ministership. Forthcoming books include a reissue of A Certain Style, a memoir of her life with writer Kenneth Cook titled Beyond Words, and a biography of pioneering suffragist Vida Goldstein.
As a book editor she has worked across all genres for Australia’s major publishers, most recently concentrating on non-fiction, especially biography. In 1994 she was awarded the Australia Council’s Beatrice Davis Fellowship to study publishing in New York. She has several times been a mentor for young editors in the Australia Council/Publishers’ Association Residential Editorial Program as well as a mentor with the Australian Society of Authors. She has written and presented courses in writing, editing and research at several writers’ centres and at Sydney’s Macleay College.
She has written several entries for the Australian Dictionary of Biography and occasionally reviews books for the Sydney Morning Herald. She holds a Doctorate of Creative Arts from the University of Technology, Sydney.
Malcolm Knox is the author of 21 books of fiction and non-fiction. He has published six novels: Summerland, A Private Man, Jamaica, The Endangered List (as ‘Brian Westlake’), The Life and The Wonder Lover. His novels have won prizes for crime fiction (A Private Man), first fiction (Summerland) and the Colin Roderick Prize for best Australian book of the year (Jamaica), as well as being shortlisted for major awards in Australia and overseas. His books have been published in the USA and the UK and also translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch and Slovakian. As a journalist, he has won two Walkley Awards and a Human Rights Commission Award and been runner-up for Australian journalist of the year. He has also ghost-written 15 memoirs with diverse authors including Bart Cummings, Adam Gilchrist, Greg Chappell, Michael Clarke, Ben Cousins, Peter Greste and Victoria Cross winner Mark Donaldson.
Jaclyn Moriarty is the author of several novels for young adults (and one for adults), including the internationally best-selling Feeling Sorry for Celia and Finding Cassie Crazy, and, most recently, the Colours of Madeleine trilogy. The first book in that trilogy, A Corner of White, won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Young Adult fiction, the Queensland Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Western Australian Premier’s Awards. In the US, it was a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor book, was shortlisted for the Nebula (Andre Norton prize), and was a Kirkus Best Book of the Year. The second in the trilogy also won both the NSW and Queensland Literary Awards, was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Awards, and won the Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy. A former media and entertainment lawyer, Jaclyn has a Masters in Law from Yale and a PhD from Cambridge.
Mark Tredinnick, winner of the Montreal Poetry Prize (2011) and the Cardiff Poetry Prize (2012), is the author of The Blue Plateau, Fire Diary, and nine other acclaimed works of poetry and prose. As well as The Blue Plateau: A Landscape Memoir (which won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award) and Fire Diary (winner of the WA Premier’s Book Prize), other works include The Little Green Grammar Book, The Little Red Writing Book (published outside Australia as Writing Well: the Essential Guide), The Land’s Wild Music, The Little Black Book of Business Writing, The Lyrebird (poems), and most recently Australia’s Wild Weather. He has judged the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and taught many emerging writers.