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Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program


Entries for the Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program 2019 will open on 1st May.

Please note, for 2019 only, we will NOT be accepting manuscripts for older readers.

Full details regarding the closing date and terms/conditions of entry will follow shortly.





Congratulations to 2018 Aspiring Writer | Peta Miller for her winning manuscript Sing Us Home.

CEO of HarperCollins Australia and New Zealand James Kellow presented Peta with the Charlotte Waring Barton Award, named in honour of Charlotte Waring Barton (1797–1867), the author of Australia’s earliest known children’s book.

Peta was presented at an evening for aspiring writers who heard from guest speakers Sheryl Gwyther and Liz Anelli along with 2017 winner, Maura Pierlot and HarperCollins publishers Cristina Cappelluto and Lisa Berryman.

Peta will also receive an extensive mentorship program from HarperCollins Children’s Books which involves two, three-hour guidance sessions with a published HarperCollins author, as well as an additional three hours with HarperCollins staff, including a publisher, an editor and a marketing communications manager.

We’d like to thank HarperCollins Children’s Books for their sponsorship of this program 2016-2018.


Peta Miller | Alison Manno

Congratulations also goes to
Short List :

  • Wendy Adams  |  Graegrim
  • Dhana Fox        |  Pierre

Long List:

The Girl With The Curl         |  Kesta Fleming
Mary Lou's Tap Shoe Blues |  Rebecca Landy
Mission Control                    |  Zewlan Moor
Isadora's Eggs                     |  Lana Spasevski


Emma Boffin: How I Defeated Bullies With
Friends, Food And Fantasatic Inventions
 |  Holly Bidwell
Miss Alice Einstein's School for Talking Pets  | Kelli Hawkins
Duck Summer - Adventure By A River Canal  | Binh Pham
The Eel  | Elizabeth Williams


Our Stolen Bones  | Rebecca Higgie
Strangeway  | Frank Leggett
Aethernity  | Irene Nolan
Hamelin  | Shaun Stephen

Information on the 2019 Aspiring Writers Mentorship program will be available early April 2019



Congratulations to the authors of the following manuscripts:
2018 Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program Long List

Picture Book Category   Younger Reader
(Children’s Fiction)
Older Reader Category
  • Isadora’s Eggs
  • May Lou’s Tap Shoe Blues
  • Mission Control
  • Pierre
  • The Girl with the Curl
  • Duck Summer
  • Emma Boffin
  • Graegrim
  • Miss Alice Einstein’s
    School for Talking Pets
  • The Eel
  • Aethernity
  • Hamelin
  • Our Stolen Bones     
  • Sing us Home           
  • Strangeway               


Flyer | Night for Aspiring Writers | 2018

A Night for Aspiring Writers – all welcome!
Thursday November 8, 2018 - 6.00pm for 6.30 - 8.30pm
Book here!

Join us as we announce the winner of our 2018 Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program and present the Charlotte Waring Barton Award. 
Hear what publishers from HarperCollins are looking for in a manuscript and from last year’s winner Maura Pierlot.
Guest authors:

Speakers from HarperCollins:
James Kellow – CEO Australia and New Zealand
Cristina Cappelluto – Children’s Publishing Director
Lisa Berryman – Publisher.

CBCA Members | $45 
Non-Members    | $60.00 
Drinks and Canapes on arrival.

Venue | HarperCollins Children’s Books Australia | Level 13, 201 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 

Many thanks to HarperCollins for sponsoring the 2018 Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program and providing their amazing offices for this event.

Thanks also to:

  • Oatley Fine Wine Merchants
  • Pixography                        
HarperCollins Children's Books Logo

Oatley Fine Wine Merchants | LogoPixography | Logo

Sheryl Gwyther | Photo by Ross GwytherSheryl Gwyther | Photo by Ross GwytherSheryl Gwyther | Photo by Ross Gwyther

Sheryl Gwyther 
is an award-winning author from Brisbane, Australia. Her first children's novel, Secrets of Eromanga was published by Lothian Books/Hachette Australia in 2006. 

Her chapter books are also in many Australian schools and across the globe. Sheryl's short stories and plays are found in Australia's The School Magazine, Ireland's The Looking Glass Magazine and New Zealand's Junior Journal, and most recently, a new Chapbook of children's flash fiction, Seven Tales.

Sheryl's awards include two Australian Society of Authors' Mentorships, two May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust Fellowship Residencies; and a 2015 Work-of-Outstanding-Progress Grant from SCBWI International (the first non-American to win) for her manuscript, Sweet Adversity.

Liz Anelli | IllustratorLiz Anelli | IllustratorLiz Anelli | Illustrator

Award winning illustrator/author Liz Anelli has been making up stories since she was very small. She moved from England in 2012 to live in sunny Newcastle, NSW where it is much nicer to draw outside.

Liz collects things and owns dozens of sketchbooks full of drawings, scraps of packaging, tickets, rubbings and patterns which she digitally weaves into her collage, paint and print images.

Her illustrations for non-fiction, historical and fiction children’s books have been extensively recognised - ‘Desert Lake’ (whose research was enabled by an Australian Society of Authors Award), won the Scholastic Australia Standing Orders Librarians’ Choice Award 2016 and in 2017 was a Notable Book in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards in both the Eve Pownall Award and Picture Book category. It was shortlisted for Educational Publishing Awards, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, NSW Premier’s Young People’s History Award, Speech Pathology Awards and Environment Award for Children’s Literature 2017. ‘One Photo’ was shortlisted CBCA Picture Book of the Year 2017 and ‘Ten Pound Pom’ in 2018. Other recent picture books are ‘Howzat!’, ‘Grace and Katie’ and ‘Maddie’s First Day’ with Dry to Dry (a second Nature Story Series title) and ‘The Biscuit Maker’ (also with Walker Books) scheduled for next year.

Liz delights in complex scenes and is also well known for her large scale illustrated city maps and murals. But most of all she loves to draw – anytime, anywhere.

An active member of SCWBI, CBCA and a Board Director of ASA, she regularly delivers talks and workshops with schools, festivals and conferences. Liz is an Ambassador for Books in Homes and reviews and judges picture books for CBCA.

Liz is represented for picture books by The Transatlantic Agency, USA.


In 2018 the Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program continues to be sponsored by HarperCollins Children's Books Australia

Applications open Thursday 1 March 2018
Applications close - manuscript deadline - Saturday 30 June 2018

March 1, Thursday

Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program  (AWMP) - Applications open

June 30, Saturday

Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program - Manuscript Deadline - Applications close

Charlotte Waring Barton Award

The winner of the 2018 Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program receives the Charlotte Waring Barton Award and a comprehensive mentorship which includes: 

  • 2 x 3-hour guidance sessions with an established HarperCollins author.
  • 1 x 1-hour session with a HarperCollins editor.
  • 1 x 1-hour session with a publishing expert in HarperCollins Marketing Communications Manager.
  • 1 x 1-hour session with a HarperCollins publisher.

If the winner resides outside of Sydney, HarperCollins reserves the right to conduct all sessions via Skype.

The Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program aims at fostering the talent of aspiring writers of children's literature across Australia.

In its 22nd year, the mentorship offers an unpublished author of children's books the opportunity to work with a publisher to further develop their manuscript.

The 2018 winner will receive the Charlotte Waring Barton Award and work with our current sponsor HarperCollins Children'sBooks Australia in a comprehensive mentorship which includes:

  • 2 x 3-hour guidance sessions with an established HarperCollins author
  • 1 x 1-hour session with a HarperCollins editor
  • 1 x 1-hour session with a publishing expert in HarperCollins Marketing Communications
  • 1 x 1-hour session with a HarperCollins publisher

Please note: If the winner resides outside of Sydney, HarperCollins reserves the right to conduct all sessions via Skype.

This initiative began in 1996 as the Frustrated Writers Menstorship Program.

HarperCollins Children's Books Logo


Celebrate the Presentation of the Charlotte Waring Barton Award to the winner of the Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program at HarperCollins Australia. Come along to this wonderful venue and join us for canapes and drinks while luxuriating in the amazing view.

Date:  November 8
Time:  6pm for 6.30 – 8.30

HarperCollins Publishers Australia
Level 13
201 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Hear from industry professionals and the 2017 winner  - Maura Pierlot.

More details to come.

Maura Pierlot

The 2017 winner, Maura Pierlot receives the Charlotte Waring Barton Award from James Kellow of HarperCollins  Australia & New Zealand CEO at the Aspiring Writers award night

Past Recipients

CBCA NSW 2016 Aspiring Writer winner 2016 Charlotte Waring Barton Award winner Danika Hall, attended HarperCollins Children’s Books, met the team and toured their offices.

CBCA NSW Branch Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program winners since 1996