May Gibbs Fellowships Now Open

Dear SCBWI members

Published authors or illustrators of at least one book for children or young people are invited to apply for a May Gibbs Trust creative time residential fellowship.

Visit and click on all the information provided under creative time fellowships.

The aim of our fellowships is to enable children's authors/illustrators to take up a one-month residency to concentrate intensively on their work and to advance their creative skills. Residencies are away from home in delightful rent-free accommodation provided by the Trust.

Please note that specific eligibility criteria apply. Make sure you read the FAQs below before applying.

May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust

Applications for Creative Time Residential Fellowships

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the eligibility criteria to make an application?

To be eligible to apply for a 2017 fellowship you must have had at least one title for children or young adults published by a “mainstream” or trade publisher.

We regret that for 2017 fellowships, authors and illustrators whose titles are solely published through education publishers are not eligible. We also regret that self/indie-published authors and illustrators are not eligible to apply.

We are very aware that many authors/illustrators have created a fine body of work through these publishing avenues. We discuss and re-visit these criteria every year and so urge authors and illustrators in this position to keep in touch.

I am an emerging children’s author/illustrator. Am I eligible to apply?

We don’t mind where you’re at in your career, however to be eligible for a fellowship you must be the author or illustrator of at least one work published by a reputable publisher.

Please explain within your application why a fellowship would be valuable to you at this stage in your career.

Is there a fee to apply?

No. Applications are by e mail, removing even the cost of postage!

I have received a fellowship in the past. Can I apply for a second one?

Yes, after two years. In other words people who undertook fellowships in 2014 can apply in the 2016 round for another fellowship in 2017.

I live overseas. Can I still apply?

Yes, as long as you are an Australian resident or citizen and understand that the Trust is not in a position to provide an international airfare. You will need to provide a strong rationale within your application for wanting to travel back to Australia for a fellowship.

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

We provide rent-free accommodation for the duration of your one-month Fellowship. We also book and pay for your flights to and from your nearest capital city. Where possible we support you with networking opportunities and professional contacts.

Is there a per diem?

No, you’ll need to ensure that you have the resources to cope with a month away from your usual income, as you’ll need to buy your own meals and organise any day-to-day transport you might need. The studio apartments are all self-catering and we make sure that you are met at the airport and returned there by our volunteers in each host city.

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

No, the actual scheduling of fellowships takes place over several conversations with the Fellowships Co-ordinator at the time of fellowships being offered and accepted. For 2017 fellowships these conversations will take place during September and October 2016.

Can I take my Fellowship in two halves IE two weeks each time?

We strongly prefer to organise fellowships in one block of time, which is one month. We allow fellowships taken in two halves only in exceptional circumstances. If this is relevant to your situation talk to the Fellowships Co-ordinator as soon as you can.

How do the May Gibbs Trust partnerships work?

Over the years we have evolved a range of formal and informal partnerships in a number of settings and institutions, including schools and libraries, which provide paid work opportunities to our fellows. Fees are based on Australian Society of Author rates.

Fellows taking on this work co-construct a program of sessions (workshops, presentations or meet the author sessions) occupying a maximum of 15 sessions/hours, scheduled in collaboration with the host institution. This ensures that uninterrupted creative time is still available. Taking on such work is a commitment made at the time of accepting a fellowship, however please also note that unless and until formal confirmation of work from one of our partners is made, the Trust is not in a position to guarantee paid work. For this reason, fellows must ensure that they are not relying on the prospect of paid work to resource their fellowship time.

Co-constructing the events with the host institution, often some time before the events, can be a simple or a considerably more complex process, depending on the partner’s requirements.

Fellows who take on such work all report immense satisfaction with the quality of the organisation and the chance to meet their target audiences face to face.

Other partners provide work that is more ad hoc and “one off” in nature.

Can I undertake paid work using contacts of my own?

Yes, unless you are undertaking work with a May Gibbs Trust partner (in which case your hours are already likely to be at the maximum amount) and as long as you keep your total contact sessions to a maximum of 15. You must ensure that your personal plans are not likely to compete for audiences with the activities of any May Gibbs Trust events/partners involved in your host city.

Please discuss your plans with the Fellowships Co-ordinator well before devising your schedule and be aware that brokering/liaising with such contacts is not part of the Fellowships Co-ordinator’s role.

Child Safe Environments

The May Gibbs Trust is committed to providing child safe environments. You cannot undertake work with any of our partner organisations without a valid police check and/or working with children clearance. The Fellowships Co-ordinator will need to make a copy of the original(s) of these documents before you can start your work.

Do I need to have an ABN?

If you intend to undertake paid work during your fellowship then yes, as we ask that you invoice the employer (schools, libraries and in some cases the Trust itself) directly for your work.

What about insurance?

We require you to have your own public liability insurance for work undertaken with the public during a Creative Time Residential Fellowship outside the May Gibbs Trust studios. We can recommend some user friendly and extremely cost effective ways of becoming insured. Contact the Fellowships Co-ordinator for further information.

If your fellowship consists purely of uninterrupted creative time, with no engagement with the public, insurance is not required.

What do you expect from me as a Fellow?

Fellows are required to:

qacknowledge 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 Coordinator) and an appropriate version of the following short acknowledgement:

[Title] was conceived/developed/completed as part of a Creative Time Residential Fellowship provided by the May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust

qcontribute to the fellows’ journal which is kept in the studio apartment

qcomplete a brief report about the fellowship within 8 weeks of its conclusion

qif working with a Trust partner take on no more than 15 hours paid speaking, teaching and/or promotional employment during the fellowship

qliaise with the Fellowships Co-ordinator prior to taking on any additional speaking, teaching and/or promotional work that has not been arranged by the MGCLT

qset fees at MGCLT rates for any additional speaking, teaching and/or promotional activities undertaken within the Fellowship

qprovide the Fellowships Co-ordinator with a copy of your police check/working with children clearance if involved in any work

qliaise with the Fellowships Co-ordinator on suitable content for information provided to the media

qspeak without further payment at a MGCLT function organised by the local support committee.

What is the MGCLT function?

As part of all fellowships we ask that our fellows speak/present without further payment at an event organised by the voluntary May Gibbs Trust support committees or partner committees. This is an event essentially in your honour, but also designed to promote you and the Trust and provide special experiences for our supporters.

Events may be literary lunches, dinners, partner functions, schools sessions, a PD for teachers or any kind of relevant function to link your skills and interests with the interests of our stakeholders. This is why we ask for information about the content and style of your presentations, even if you’re not looking for work. Where possible the functions coincide with major events, such as Book Week.

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, with you during your residency. The accommodation is not suitable for longer-term stays.

What kind of networking opportunities will be available to me?

Fellows are invited to meetings and events, both formally and informally, as they arise during fellowship dates.

You can read more at the website.

If you’ve read the FAQs and are ready to apply, contact Sally Chance, Fellowships Coordinator, for details of what you’ll need to do next:

Completed applications must be received by midnight on Saturday April 30 2016

Good luck!

Warm regards,

Sally Chance, Fellowships Coordinator