Magabala scholarships update

23rd November 2018

2018 Scholars

Scholarship recipients: Barbara Marie Sheehy (left), Bronwyn Houston (middle, in Bologna) and Natalie Davey

The generosity of our donors enables Magabala Books to offer a wide range of opportunities to established and emerging Indigenous writers and artists.

In 2017-2018 we were thrilled to:

  • award three new scholarships
  • see previously awarded scholarships come to fruition
  • use reserve funds to support the professional and creative development of our authors and illustrators.

2017 Australian Indigenous Creator Scholarship recipients:

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

“The Magabala Books Scholarship allows me to further develop my craft in writing picture books for children. I've submitted my first on-line module... The module focuses on why write, discovering recent picture books, historical background to children's books, Australian children's books and biography of referenced works. I'm ready for module two, can't wait to get busy and get through the next stage of my writing journey!”

Bronwyn Houston (TAS) –  Supported to travel to the Bologna Children's Book Fair in March 2018.

“The recent trip to the Bologna Book Fair was amazing! As a young illustrator who has only worked professionally within Australia it was a major
eye opener to the expanse of the publishing industry... This opportunity has also allowed me to meet a large body of Australian publishers and illustrators and make invaluable contacts that will no doubt strengthen my own work and my scope of opportunity. Thank you for the chance to
have this experience.”

Natalie Davey (WA) – Appointed mentor through the Australian Writers Centre to support professional development. Currently engaged in writer’s mentorship to work on children’s book manuscript development.

Other 2018 scholarship activity:

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

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

  • 2016 scholarship recipient Marie Yoelu McCarthy (NT) received a mentorship to develop her writing for children’s books with publishing industry expert Helen Chamberlin.

  • Illustrator Karen Gibson (QLD) received a mentorship with children’s book designer Jo Hunt.

  • Magabala author and illustrator Paul Seden (NT) awarded a mentorship to develop his writing for children’s books with publishing industry expert Helen Chamberlin.

  • Magabala authors and illustrators Sam 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 Magabala Senior Editor,
    Margaret Whiskin in his home community of Gapuwiyak for the development of his illustrations for Little Bird’s Day by Sally Morgan.
    We cannot wait to share this exquisite book with you in April 2019.

These are just some of the ways the Magabala Scholarship Fund is achieving real and lasting outcomes for Indigenous writers and illustrators!

Stay tuned for the 2019 scholarships call out in February on social media, our eNewsletter and website.

Magabala Scholarships are entirely funded through donations. To contribute to this important work go to or call Kate Rendell, Project Officer on 08 9192 1991.