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Member only guide to the Australian book industry.
The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) is thrilled to announce the 2022 Tasmanian Writers and Illustrators Program recipients!
Picture Book Illustration
Australian Society of Authors CEO, Olivia Lanchester, says, ‘Our warm congratulations to the recipients of the 2022 Tasmanian Writers and Illustrators Mentorship Program. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to nurture the next generation of literary talent in Tasmania, and thank Arts Tasmania for partnering with us to offer this invaluable program.’
Tasmanian Minister for the Arts, Elise Archer, says, ‘Our government is continuing to provide our artists with more opportunities to grow their talents. Through this program, 20 talented Tasmanian authors will be nurtured through the publication process, providing invaluable guidance to many in our literary sector, expanding local knowledge, and strengthening Tasmania’s connections to the national publishing network.
I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to each of the mentorship recipients, along with my gratitude to the Australian Society of Authors for their support for our local literary sector. I look forward to reading more Tasmanian stories from talented and emerging Tasmanian writers in the coming years.’
About the Mentorship Program
The 2022 Tasmanian Writers and Illustrators Mentorship Program has been developed to cultivate literary talent in Tasmania and to link Tasmanian creators to professional development opportunities and national publishing networks. This new mentorship program has been made possible by the generous support of Arts Tasmania.
The program offers twenty 20-hour mentorships with an experienced author, illustrator or publishing professional to help develop their manuscript or illustration project to a publishable standard. In addition, the recipients each receive a free ticket to the popular Virtual Literary Speed Dating event, Pitch Perfect or Pitch Perfect: Picture Books professional development program and a free ticket to the ASA’s Optimising Your Income series, as well as one-year’s free membership to the ASA, access to a private Facebook group for the mentorship recipients and a $500 honorarium.
The mentorship recipients were selected by a panel of assessors consisting of Adolfo Aranjuez, Christina Booth, Kate Gordon, Alexandra Payne and Kate Ryan. The assessors remarked on the high standard of the applications, which demonstrated the great depth of talent and diversity in the Tasmanian community. The assessors have shared their comments below.
Children’s, Picture Book Illustration and Graphic Novels
‘I would like to commend all the applicants on their thoughtful and considered applications. Understanding the purpose of the mentorships on offer being to ultimately empower you to develop your work to be ready for publication, as well as acknowledging the journey of allowing your story, be it visual narrative or text, to evolve and become something beyond what you imagined at the beginning, demonstrates a readiness to undertake guidance from other writers.
The standard of most applications was high, and those who allowed room to move with editing and adapting new points of view stood out the most. Several picture book texts submitted were rhyming. This is a very difficult process to do well, and few can achieve it at a level a publisher will accept. There are practical reasons also. Rhyming texts do not translate well into other languages and ideally, this is what a trade publisher would be looking for: a universal story for a wide readership. This also applies to self-publishing, as your work needs to be of equal standard to compete within the commercial publication arena.
Whether the text was rhyming or prose, in showing the capacity to adapt, allowing room to move, evolve and grow during the mentoring process, demonstrated those who would gain the most benefit from working with a mentor. Frequently, the desire to be published is a big motivator to write. The winning submissions were those who recognised they had further to go before focusing on this stage and presented stories that were engaging and had the opportunity to develop into stronger final works.’
– Christina Booth
‘The field for the 2022 Tasmanian Writers and Illustrators Mentorship Program is a testament to the diversity and depth of writing talent in our small community. Contemporary narratives juxtaposed with the historical – science fiction with the magic realist. It was a delight to read each and every one and I finished the judging process with a renewed sense of excitement for the future of Tasmanian writing.
The winners of this mentorship have in common beautiful prose and inventive plots. Though their genres could not be more different, the sense of magic and possibility at their hearts excited me upon reading. One story is steeped in the past – the gothic history of this unique island – while the other imagines a world very far in our future. One is immersed in the natural world. The other is set in a world where nature as we know it barely exists. They are both dreamlike, in their own ways, and both full of hope and heart. I can’t wait to see how they develop over the course of these mentorships and I look forward to finding both of them on bookshop shelves in years to come.’
– Kate Gordon
‘I was impressed by the high standard of writing in all the applications, making choosing the winners a pleasurable but difficult task. The entire group of applicants revealed in the standard of their prose a clear and evident commitment to drafting and redrafting their work, thus deepening and strengthening it.
Those who have been awarded mentorships, however, stood out in the immediacy of their writing, their depth of characterisation and their ability to draw the reader into their imaginative world from the opening paragraphs. The genre of the winners varied from romantic comedies with an acute contemporary slant, historical novels, to fantasy, crime and distinctive takes on coming-of-age. The awarded writers approached their subjects with a particular originality and flair. The settings of their novels were beautifully described and varied too, including but not limited to, desert country near Alice Springs, World War 2 Latvia and Wales in the 1970s. Tasmania itself featured as a site to be reckoned with, shaping the protagonists in these works in particular, precise ways and I enjoyed the complexity and range of these explorations. The subject matter of the winners varied greatly: grief, identity formation, new motherhood, the effect on the psyche of the natural environment, and the attempt to grapple with Tasmania’s violent past were just some subjects powerfully framed in these fictional worlds. I congratulate the winning writers on their outstanding writing.’
– Kate Ryan
‘I was inspired to see the diversity of non-fiction entries for the 2022 Tasmanian Writers and Illustrators Mentorship Program. Submissions ranged from fascinating memoir and life stories to popular science and current affairs. Each work had a clear sense of what it was trying to achieve, even if it wasn’t quite there yet – that is, after all, the benefit of seeking professional support. It was very difficult to select the winners: alongside the quality of writing, the key factor was the publishing potential of each manuscript’s topic and conceptual approach. I only wish it were possible to offer each author a mentorship, and I encourage the entrants to keep writing and revising their work. You all have interesting stories to tell.
The winning submissions were chosen for their unique offering. One is particularly timely and topical, the other unusually creative and reflective – both clearly set out to do something differently and are ambitious in scope. The individual voices of the authors were strong and defined – vital in non-fiction – and the writing nuanced. Congratulations, and best of luck on the next steps in your writing journey.’
– Alexandra Payne
‘The poetry applications for the Tasmanian Writers and Illustrators Mentorship Program, on the whole, brimmed with enthusiasm and passion: it was clear that each applicant was driven by a desire to sharpen their craft, make inroads in the literary industry, and tell their stories with bravery and poignance. As with any application process, however, some stood out more immediately than others, partly due to their stronger command of poetic devices (interventions to form; confident experimentations with rhythm and sound; deft deployment of imagery, metaphor and voice), and partly due to what scaffolding the mentorship can offer for their careers.’
– Adolfo Aranjuez
The 2022 Tasmanian Writers and Illustrators Mentorship Program is assisted through Arts Tasmania.