Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship FAQs

May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust

Applications for the 2018 Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility criteria to make an application?

You must be emerging as an author and/or illustrator of books for children or young people, wishing to dedicate time to new work that reflects Australian voices or themes. The Trust’s definition of “emerging”, for the purposes of the 2018 programme, is an author or illustrator whose work is as yet unpublished commercially or who may have titles published independently or by an educational publisher.

What do you mean by “Australian voices and themes”?

We want to see an authentic sense of Australian settings, voices and/or themes, through which young readers can see themselves and their lives. We are interested in your depiction of society and culture, and any aspect of the broader Australian environment in which we live.

Do I have to be young as well as emerging?

Absolutely not! We recognise that people begin writing/illustrating at various times in their lives.

I am an established author/illustrator of books for adults, but I am emerging into the field of children’s/young adult literature. Am I still eligible to apply?

Yes you are.

Is there a fee to apply?


I live overseas. Can I still apply?

Yes, as long as you are an Australian resident or citizen and understand that the Trust will not provide an international airfare. You will need to provide a very strong rationale for wanting to travel to Adelaide for the 2018 Fellowship.

Do I need to specify the dates of my Fellowship as part of my application?

The 2018 Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship is available only in March.

Can I undertake paid work during the Fellowship?

No, the Ian Wilson Memorial Fellow is expected to spend two weeks on their creative project(s) and a third week undertaking a program of networking and professional development.

A living allowance of $50 per day (to a maximum of $1100) is provided to the Ian Wilson Memorial Fellow because no paid work is available during the Fellowship.

What does the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust provide?

·      Rent-free accommodation for up to 21 nights in the Trust’s Adelaide-based studio apartment

·      If you are not from SA, flights from and to your nearest capital city

·      If resident in regional SA, support with transport to and from Adelaide

·      A living allowance of $50 per day for the duration of your stay, to a maximum of $1100

·      A co-constructed schedule of supported networking opportunities, visits and professional development.

 I live in South Australia. Can I still apply?

Yes you can, but you must take up the accommodation in Norwood, rather than working from home.

What do you expect from me as the Ian Wilson Memorial Fellow?

The Ian Wilson Memorial Fellow is required to:

❑      dedicate two weeks to the development of (a) new project(s);

❑      co-construct a personalised one-week programme of professional development. This 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 in residence at work, attendance at the Adelaide Festival’s Writers’ Week;

❑      acknowledge the support of the MGCLT in any publication arising from the work undertaken or completed, in full or in part, during the Fellowship, using the Trust’s logo (contact the Fellowships Co-ordinator) and an appropriate version of the following short acknowledgement:

[Title] was conceived/developed/completed as part of the Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship provided by the May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust;

❑      contribute to the Fellows’ journal in the studio apartment;

❑      complete a brief report about the Fellowship within eight weeks of its conclusion;

❑      liaise with the Fellowships Co-ordinator on suitable content for information provided to the media/social media.

You may be asked to speak without payment at an informal event designed to promote your work, the work of the Trust and the profile of the Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship.

Can I have my partner/family to stay during my residency?

Partners and family members are welcome to stay for a short time, such as a weekend, during your Fellowship. The accommodation is not suitable for longer-term stays because it’s also your work space.

The 2018 Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship

Information for Applicants

The Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship was created by the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust to honour our founding Chair, the late Honourable Ian Wilson AM. Ian was a Federal Government Minister holding portfolios for Aboriginal Affairs and also 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 May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust, 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 Trust’s mission is to support the creativity and careers of contemporary Australian children’s writers and illustrators by providing creative time residential fellowships.

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.

The Fellowship

The Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship will give one emerging author or illustrator creative time away from home in the Trust’s Adelaide studio, Osmond Terrace, Norwood, SA 5062.

The Fellowship is for a maximum of 21 nights and must be taken up during March 2018.


  • 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, but this can be at any stage of the project.

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.

The 2017 Ian Wilson Memorial Fellow will be provided with:

  • Rent-free accommodation for up to 21 nights in the Trust’s Adelaide studio
  • Flights from and to his/her nearest capital city (if not from SA) or support with travel from regional SA to Adelaide
  • A living allowance of $50 per day for the duration of the Fellowship
  • A co-constructed schedule of supported networking opportunities, visits and professional development.

Applications open on Tuesday 1st August 2017 and close at midnight on Saturday 30th September 2017.

Applications must arrive by email to Polly Hamer, Fellowships Co-ordinator: contact@maygibbs.org.au

How to Apply

Step One - Research

Read the following information in conjunction with the background information (especially the FAQs) available at the web site: maygibbs.org.au

Step Two - Assemble

Please assemble your application in one document

Start with the form and then respond to each heading. The document will expand to fit your words. The other information we request can be added in to this document.

Applications must comprise:

  • the completed form sections
  • a detailed outline of your project(s), including proposed content and how this reflects Australian voices or themes, your goals for your Fellowship, and how your proposed project(s) will meet these goals (Maximum 2 x A4 pages)
  • your biography. Tell us about yourself, why you write/illustrate, why you consider yourself to be emerging as an author/illustrator, how you began and what keeps you motivated. Don't be too modest! Describe your skills and aspirations; describe any groups or memberships that benefit you as an author/illustrator; tell us how you imagine your future as an author/illustrator. Tell us why you'd like to have the Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship at this stage in your career. Please make sure you include the details of any educational/self-published titles. (Maximum 2 x A4 pages)
  • a sample of your writing or illustration (Maximum 2 x A4 pages)
  • one support letter from a mentor, supporter or colleague who can attest to the quality of your work and to the value of the Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship at this stage in your literary career. 

Step Three – Send

Send your application by email to contact@maygibbs.org.au

Our practical requirements:

  • Please do not send multiple pages of writing/illustrations or any accompanying visual material (other than the required two-page examples of your work)
  • Please supply a maximum of one support letter
  • Please do not assemble your application in any kind of special folder
  • Visual material can be sent in ways other than by e mail if preferred (by post, dropbox etc). Contact Polly at contact@maygibbs.org.au about this.

Step Four - Selection

The Trust’s Selection Committee members read each application and rank them according to the selection criteria. Committee members support and promote the objectives of the Trust and have considerable experience and expertise in Australian children’s literature,

The final decision to award the Fellowship will be made by the Board on the recommendation of the Selection Committee.

The Board may choose to give reasons for decisions to unsuccessful applicants, but is not obliged to do so.

Step Five – Notification

We will notify you of the outcome of your application during by 30th November 2017.







Bringing Your Story to Market—A Special SCBWI Event

Thursday July 20

A casual evening with top US Marketing Specialist Susan Raab, President, Raab Associates, an agency specializing in marketing and branding books/products and art.

Susan Raab has been in the book, arts and education business for more than 25 years. She founded Raab Associates as the only agency dedicated to promoting and marketing children’s books and family products. Over the years, that has expanded to include marketing for associations, educational institutions and arts organizations.

You can find out more about Susan here:


Over drinks and nibbles, Susan generously shared with us her key marketing points in promoting your book. She firstly spoke about the changing nature of marketing, mostly notably the movement from TV to online with the added change that audiences can now talk back, thanks to many and various social media platforms.

Once upon a time, if you were chosen by a publisher, you would be treated royally and each book would be marketed until you were made a sensation.

Now, however, creators are expected to turn up not only with the work, but with a marketing plan. When Susan first spoke about this to clients, she was disdained as if marketing was a dirty word. She emphasized that creators don't have to do it, but that you may be at an extreme disadvantage if you don’t.

Now down to the nuts and bolts of what Susan covered.

The Brand is YOU

  • you need to craft your message
  • nurture contacts
  • build infrastructure eg data base of contacts
  • make it as easy as possible for yourself to manage
  • cultivate community. A good core community can make a big difference.

Many platforms can help-Here are some to consider.

  • Outlook Zoho – database management
  • Constant Contact/Mailchimp – newsletters eblasts
  • PRNewswire/PRWeb – press release distribution
  • Cision/Marketwired – media list development
  • Pitch Engine/24/7 Press Release - create social makes releases
  • Hootsuite/SproutSocial – Social media management
  • Feedly/GoogleNews/Pocket – news aggregation. Scoop up news and post it on your media.
  • Muck Rack newsorg that watches trends.
  • HARO – media calls for info. Help reporters find info. 
  • Crystal Knows

Marketing Priorities

  • You want the least cost and most value
  • Websites are easiest – lays everything out simply. Good for a snapshot.
  • Other things skew from there. Eg social media, blogs, Instagram, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Press releases, newsletters.
  • School visits, events, festivals, conferences

Self-publishing Tips

The advantage is of course you control everything, but make sure you:

  • Compare platforms – Createspace, Amazon Kindle Direct, Lulu, Ingranspark)
  • deal with a legitimate publisher.
  • Hire a professional designer and editor.
  • Invest in great cover design.
  • Ensure production looks professional
  • Prepare a website, blog, marketing campaign.
  • Get social – FB, Instagram, Twitter etc
  • Connect with influencers – people who have the same interests as your book.
  • Explore crowd-funding options eg Kickstarter, Indiegogo
  • Consider becoming a publisher

Let’s Talk about Social

  • Where is your fan base?
  • Which formats do you prefer? Only choose ones that suit you.
  • Who has good social presence?
  • Make it efficient and fun.
  • Make sure it is consistent. Doing everything is not necessarily best. Choose your best platform, stick with that, use it consistently and often.

Email Marketing

  • Constant Contact
  • Mailchimp
  • Mad Mimi

Media Monitoring

  • Google Alerts
  • Alltop – search topics and it will give you the most recent blogs.

Content Creation Tools

  • Storify – cross platform stories
  • Biteable – video
  • Tiki-Toki Timelines
  • PowToon - animation
  • Piktochart – info graphics
  • Audacity – audio editing
  • Canva - design

Marketing Planning Advice

  • Self promotion goals
  • Outline your strategy
  • Decide on messaging (word and design)
  • Fine-tune as you go.

Promotional Goals

  • Get active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
  • Increase blog presence, do guest posts.
  • Consider podcasting/Youtube
  • Book event/skype
  • Conferences/Festivals
  • Schools and libraries
  • Contact with press