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Magabala Creative Development Scholarships Applications Now Closed.

Submissions for Creative Development Scholarships are currently being assessed. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their submission in December.

Magabala Creative Development Scholarships support professional development activity relating to writing, illustration and storytelling, which may result in a manuscript for potential publication. Scholarships are self-customised to meet the development needs of the individual creator.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers, writers, illustrators and artists of any genre are eligible to apply. Scholarship proposals are welcomed from both emerging and established creators.

Please contact us at or call Magabala Books on 08 9192 1991 with any queries or to discuss your scholarship applicaiton.

Magabala Scholar profile - Samantha Fry

Samantha Fry, on right, with Rachel Bin Salleh at the launch of Alfred's War

“Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be an illustrator, so it was a dream come true to get the scholarship and work on the book with Rachel Bin Salleh.” – Samantha Fry

In 2016 Samantha Fry received a Magabala Creative Development Scholarship to fund a mentorship learning the craft of illustration. Working with established illustrator and designer Tracey Gibbs, Samantha was mentored through the complete process of illustrating a manuscript, from roughs, story-boarding and design to final publication.

The outcome, Alfred's War by Rachel Bin Salleh and illustrated by Samantha Fry, was published in April 2018. In 2020 Magabala Books published Samantha Fry's second illustrated title, Brother Moon by Maree McCarthy Yoelu.

Previous Scholarship recipients

2022 Scholars 

Ari Mills (VIC) participated in online writing course and/or purchased materials to further support their development as a creator. 

Brooke Robinson (TAS) participated in an online writing course to further develop her skills. 

Charmaine Ledden-Lewis (NSW) received support to engage in a writing mentorship and participated in a children's picture book or junior fiction online writing course through Australian Writer's Centre and Kill Your Darlings. 

Eddie Kitching (NT) undertaking an editorial mentorship to support the development of his writing and individual development. 

Janice Slater (WA) undertaking an editorial mentorship to assist with manuscript assessment and editing and to support professional development to the creator. 

Jayne Christian (NSW) received support to enrol in an online writing course with Gotham Writers Workshop and is undertaking a mentorship.

Joanna Agius (SA) undertaking a mentorship with Gayle Kennedy and Auslan interpreted mentoring sessions to support individual creative development. 

Lay Maloney (VIC) received support for individual professional development. 

Lulu Houdini (QLD) undertaking a mentorship to further support professional development to the creator. 

Merinda Dutton (QLD) received support to enrol in an online writing course with Gotham Writers Workshop. 

Samantha Campbell (NT) received support for the design and implementation of her illustrator website.  

Tahnaya Hunt (NSW) received support to enrol in an online writing course and further her professional development.

Tahnee Carter (WA) undertaking an editorial mentorship and support individual professional development.  

2021 Scholars

Casey Mulder (WA) participated in the editorial mentorship and training with Nigh Parrot Press.  

Elijah Money (VIC) received support to purchase digital illustration and design materials 

Kerry Moran (NSW) received support to engage with a transcription and editorial mentorship, and purchase of materials and technology to further support her development as a creator.  

Marjorie Williams (NT) received support to engage a mentor for writing and editorial support, and purchase of art materials to support the development of a children's picture book. 

Natalie Davey (WA) received creative development fees and undertook a creative writing residency in Broome.  

Teela Reid (NSW) received creative development fees and undertook a creative writing residency on Bundjalung country. 

2020 Scholars

Carl Merrison (WA) completed a series of professional development courses to further develop his writing for children and received support to purchase new writing equipment.

Gaberyah Cox (WA) undertook an online comic book masterclass and receive support to purchase illustration materials and equipment.

Uncle Greg Simms (WA) will be supported to continue transcribing his life story with his niece Dr Danièle Hromek, a Budawang woman of the Yuin nation, and will receive an editorial mentorship to develop his story into a manuscript for publication.

Kirli Saunders (NSW) received creative development fees and undertook a creative residency in Broome to further develop her children’s picture book series Cloud Spotting.

Linda Augusto (NSW) received support to enrol in a number of online creative writing courses to develop foundations of genre, plot and character and further explore her craft as an emerging writer.

Tyrown Waigana (WA) received creative development fees and support to undertake a comic writing course.

2019 Scholars

Robyn Jean (WA) completed a writing mentorship to work on her poetry collection, themed around poetic responses to mental illness.

Neville Poelina (WA) is receiving a mentorship to develop his biography/ life story into a manuscript through transcription and editorial support.

Rowena Morgan (WA) is completing a mentorship in book illustration and working towards producing a children’s picture book.

Dub Leffler (Qld) undertook a writing mentorship to further develop his writing for children and the sequel to Once There was a Boy.

Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr (NT) completed a mentorship to produce illustrations for The River, published in 2021.

2017/2018 Scholars

Barbara Marie Sheehy (QLD) enrolled in the ‘Create A Picture Book’ online course and mentoring program throughout 2018.

Bronwyn Houston (TAS) travelled to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in March 2018.

Charmaine Ledden-Lewis (NSW), winner of the 2019 Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award, received mentoring with Cathie Tasker for the development of illustrations for Found.

Natalie Davey (WA) undertook a writer’s mentorship, through the Australian Writers Centre, to work on a children’s book manuscript.

Gregg Dreise (QLD) attended a digital illustration workshop with David Hardy
(Magabala illustrator and former Disney illustrator) in Sydney.

Brenton (Ezra) McKenna (WA), author of the Ubby’s Underdogs trilogy series, attended the Australian Comic Arts Festival in Canberra.

Illustrator Karen Gibson (QLD) was supported to undertake a mentorship with children’s book designer Jo Hunt.

Author and illustrator Paul Seden (NT) was awarded a mentorship to develop his writing for children with publishing industry expert Helen Chamberlin.

Magabala authors and illustrators Samantha Fry (NT), Dub Leffler (NSW) and Gregg Dreise (QLD) were supported to participate in the Woylie Festival: Aboriginal Australian Kids Story Festival in Fremantle in early 2018.

Johnny Malibirr (NT), winner of the inaugural Kestin Indigenous Illustrator Award, received mentoring from Margaret Whiskin in his home community of Gapuwiyak for the development of his illustrations for Little Bird’s Day.

2016 Scholars

Enoch Mailangi (QLD), a poet who lives in Sydney, received a mentorship with a poetry specialist to further develop his work.

Samantha Fry (NT) received a mentorship to learn the craft of illustration and illustrate her first children’s picture book, Alfred's War. Samantha has gone on to also illustrate Brother Moon by Maree McCarthy Yoelu in 2020.

Bruno Starrs (WA), an award-winning playwright and novelist and a descendant of the Pitjantjatjara people, received professional manuscript assessment of his fourth novel.

Kamsani Bin Salleh (WA), a Noongar and Nimunburr artist, designer and illustrator, received a mentorship to learn the craft of book illustration. 

Brenton (Ezra) McKenna (WA) received specialist mentoring and training within the graphic novel genre and attended the Australian Comics Festival.

Sharon Hughes (VIC) participated in a specialised writing workshop through ASA in Victoria.

Maree McCarthy Yoelu (NT) received a writing for children mentorship with Helen Chamberlin, undertaken in 2018. She published her first book Brother Moon in 2020.

Gregg Dreise (QLD), a Kamilaroi and Yuwalayaay author and illustrator of three children’s picture books – Silly Birds, Kookoo Kookaburra and Mad Magpie – received a mentorship to further develop his next book in the series: Cunning Crow.

2015 Scholars

Jane Harrison (NSW), author of Becoming Kirrali Lewis, was supported to attend the world-class Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in October 2015.

Paul Seden (NT), author of the award-winning Crabbing with Dadreceived mentoring in illustration for work on Lorraine Teece's children’s title, Molly the Pirate

Fern Martins (NSW), illustrator of The Spotty Dotty Lady, Bubbay's Desert Adventure and The Toast Tree, used her scholarship funds to purchase art equipment to develop her digital illustration skills.

Sharona Wilson (WA) an emerging illustrator, utilised her scholarship funds to purchase art supplies.

2014 Scholars

Tori-Jay Mordey (QLD), illustrator of Bakir and Bi, used her scholarship funds to purchase multimedia equipment. 

Reggie Sultan (NT) received support to attend an illustrator's workshop in Sydney.

Maureen Nampijimpa O'Keefe (NT), an author and artist from Alice Springs received mentoring to work on her children's book manuscript, Mum's Elephant and related travel assistance. 

Samuel Stream (WA), a Broome based artist and illustrator originally from Marble Bar, used his scholarship to attend a workshop in Perth and purchase art materials.

2013 Scholars

Archie Weller (WA) enlisted a cultural advisor to assist with Nyoongar philosophy and language, as well as deepening the cultural integrity of his work. “This kind of specialised assistance is expensive and hard to find.”

Dub Leffler (QLD), author and illustrator of Once There Was a Boy, purchased high quality art materials and drawing equipment.

Jannali Jones (NSW), author of My Father's Shadow published in 2019, received professional editorial mentoring on early drafts of the manuscript. 

Joshua Button (WA) worked closely with a mentor on his second manuscript, Steve Goes to Carnival published in 2016.

Fern Martins (NSW) used her scholarship funding to acquire a light box for drawing and illustration.

Support the Magabala Scholarships program

With your donation we can continue to support the creative development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and illustrators. 

 Joshua Button working on an illustration for ‘Steve goes to Carnival’ (Joshua Button and Robyn Wells, Magabala 2016)