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  • Proposals must be from emerging authors or illustrators whose work is unpublished or self-published, or whose work has been published only as an educational resource
  • Project proposals must be for unpublished work for children or young people up to the age of 18 years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:

How to Apply

Step One - Research

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

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

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 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.