Mentorships: Fiction

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Fiona Kelly McGregor

Fiona Kelly McGregor is a writer, artist, critic, teacher and mentor with over thirty years’ experience. McGregor has published eight books and won a variety of awards, including The Age Book of the Year for Indelible Ink, a Queensland Literary Award (Steel Rudd) for short story collection Suck my Toes and the Woollahra Digital Literary Award for essay ‘The Hot Desk’. Recent nominations include the Miles Franklin, the NSW Premiers’ Award, and the Stella Prize for the novel Iris. McGregor has conducted seminars at universities and given lectures internationally on topics pertaining to writing, performance art, urban histories, memoir, street life, activism, LGBTIQ culture and politics, and more. McGregor has taught a range of creative writing subjects including fiction both long and short, narrative non-fiction, and arts and music criticism. McGregor has also taught English as a second language and mentored extensively, with several mentees progressing to publication and being shortlisted for awards. McGregor is based in Sydney, on unceded Gadigal land. Web: Instagram: Fiona Kelly McGregor

Ashley Kalagian Blunt

Ashley Kalagian Blunt is the author of How to Be Australian, a memoir; and My Name Is Revenge, a collection of fiction and essays, and a finalist in the 2018 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award. Her writing appears in Australian Book Review, Overland, Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books, the Sydney Morning Herald, Kill Your Darlings and more. She co-hosts James and Ashley Stay at Home, a podcast about writing, creativity and health, and loves helping writers learn practical skills and develop deeper insights into the craft of writing.

Personal website:

Pip Smith

Pip Smith is a novelist, poet, songwriter and children’s author based in Sydney. Her critically acclaimed first novel, Half Wild, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2017, and her first collection of poetry, Too Close for Comfort, won the inaugural Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest Award in 2013. She reviews Australian literature for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian, and has two children’s picture books with Scholastic: Theodore the Unsure (2019) and To Greenland! (2022). She has judged the poetry and fiction categories for the Woollahra Digital Literary Award since its inauguration in 2017, judged the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist Award (2021), and has taught creative writing in high schools and universities. She thoroughly enjoys climbing inside works of literature in development and working out what makes them tick. (@PipCSmith)

Abigail Nathan

Abigail Nathan is a freelance editor who has run Bothersome Words Editing & Writing Services for more than twelve years. She specialises in fiction (including genre — fantasy, science fiction, horror, crime, suspense, romance etc.) for adults, young adults and middle grade, and works with major Australian and UK trade publishers including HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Hachette and Gollancz; as well as small presses in the USA. She has edited a range of authors for these publishers, including Karen Miller, Traci Harding, Alastair Reynolds and James Barclay. In addition, she works regularly with emerging and self-publishing writers including authors such as Mitchell Hogan and Maria Lewis. Abigail was a committee member and website coordinator for Editors NSW for over ten years and occasionally presents workshops on editing, self-publishing and freelancing. Personal website:

Kirsten Tranter


Kirsten Tranter is a novelist and critic with over twenty years experience in the world of publishing, and the author of the critically acclaimed novels The LegacyHold, and A Common Loss. Her approach to mentoring involves identifying and building on the storytelling strengths of a manuscript, with a focus on narrative structure and voice. Kirsten has taught creative writing at UC Berkeley, UTS, Writing NSW and literary festivals across Australia. Since the early 1990s Kirsten has worked as a freelance manuscript assessor and editor for organisations including leading agency Australian Literary Management. Kirsten brings expertise in a wide range of genres from literary fiction to genre fiction including sci-fi, fantasy, and romance. Personal website:

Leonie Tyle

Leonie Tyle has been dedicated to children’s literature as a librarian, reviewer, speaker, editor and publisher. She was Children’s & Young Adult Publisher at University of Queensland Press and established Woolshed Press, a children’s literary imprint for Random House Australia. Both lists have won many awards including the inaugural Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Literature.

She is currently a Partner in Tyle&Bateson Publishing, a multi-faceted publishing services enterprise. Leonie does sessional teaching at Queensland University of Technology. She is the currently one of 3 judges for the Rosanne Fitzgibbon Editorial Award & a judge for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Award.

Leonie has worked with many of Australia’s finest authors and illustrators including Steven Herrick, James Moloney, Brian Caswell, James Roy, Gregory Rogers, David Mackintosh, Stella Danalis, Anthony Eaton, Bill Condon, Christine Bongers, Nette Hilton, Samuel Wagan Watson, Celeste Walters and Doris Pilkington Garimara. She has a passion for literature and believes in encouraging and providing an environment for her authors and illustrators to produce their most imaginative and creative work. Personal website:

Keith Stevenson

Keith Stevenson is the author of Horizon: an SF thriller (HarperCollins) and The Lenticular Series: Traitor’s Run (finalist in the Aurealis Awards for Best SF Novel), Traitor’s Bargain, and Traitor’s War. On Traitor’s Run, Kirkus Reviews said, “The author’s gift for xenofiction matches that of genre grandmasters like Hal Clement, Larry Niven, and C.J. Cherryh” and Aurealis Magazine described it as, “wild and expansive, and just so utterly out there”. He’s also a past editor of Aurealis Magazineand Dimension6 as well as a number of anthologies including X6 (which won the World Fantasy Award for Margo Langan’s “Sea-Hearts”), and Anywhere But Earth. Keith brings his critical skills as a writer and editor immersed in the SF, Fantasy and Horror genres to the mentorship program. Personal website:

Pamela Cook

Pamela Cook writes Rural Fiction novels (Hachette) featuring feisty women, tangled family relationships and a dash of romance. Her first novel, Blackwattle Lake, was published in 2012 after being selected for the Queensland Writer’s Centre/Hachette Manuscript Development Program. Her following novels were Essie’s Way (2013) and Close To Home (2015) and her fourth book, The Crossroads was released in December 2016. Her next book will be Contemporary Women’s Fiction. Pamela has taught writing workshops since 2005 and a number of her students have been published. She particularly enjoys working with new writers and helping them get to ‘The End’. Personal website:

Diana Giese

Diana Giese has worked for publishers large and small, including Macmillan, Oxford University Press, HarperEducational and Brandl & Schlesinger, in Australia and overseas. She has collaborated with many writers to help them develop their best possible work, and produced and promoted prize-winners and excellent sellers. She is the author of six books, including Astronauts, Lost Souls and Dragons (University of Queensland Press), Beyond Chinatown (National Library of Australia) and A better place to live (Freshwater Bay Press). She has also worked as a literary journalist for major newspapers and ABC radio, and served on writers’ festival and prize committees. A recent mentoree placed his first book with a major international publisher. Diana will help you produce memoirs, fiction and history. Diana’s personal website:

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