About the Mentors

KYD offers a unique, comprehensive and structured editorial mentorship program designed to support early-career writers. Writers across Australia can apply to work with these experienced, award-winning writers, editors and teachers, with valuable insights into both the publishing industry and the creative regime required to craft a long-form manuscript.

Ruby Hamad

Genres: Narrative non-fiction, longform journalism/features and essays. 

‘In these rapidly transforming — and transformative —  times, our next generation of authors are charged with an extraordinary task.  They are emerging into the literary landscape just in time to spearhead the search for answers to questions including the very role and place writing is to have in a world that is sure to be different to anything any of us imagined when the year began. What an honour to be able to guide one of them on this part of their journey, be that through feedback on their work, listening to their hopes and fears as the world changes by the minute, or by sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned on how to survive in a tough, sometimes heartbreaking but always essential, industry.’

Ruby Hamad is an author, academic and long-time media writer. A former weekly columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, her essays, features and criticism also appear in Meanjin, Crikey, The Guardian, SBS and more. Her first book, the critically acclaimed White Tears/Brown Scars, published by Melbourne University Press, was shortlisted in the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards .


Rebecca Lim

Genres: Children’s picture book, middle grade, Young Adult.

‘As an advocate and mentor for emerging creators from diverse and intersectional backgrounds, I’m keen to work with emerging writers who are eager to bring new stories and fresh perspectives to Australian fiction for children and young adults. Writing comes to life when you’re able to translate the vast landscape that’s in your head, and your experiences and particular intersections, into language in a way that can move others and make them feel, question, comprehend and empathise. Having someone navigate a story with you, and help you unpick and examine the threads and drivers of your story and the motivations and interior lives of your characters, is invaluable. When I was starting out, I never had that, and the privilege of being a mentor now is that I get to walk in someone else’s worlds and pass on what I’ve learnt about the creative process.’

Rebecca Lim is a writer, illustrator and editor and the author of nineteen books, including The Astrologer’s Daughter (A Kirkus Best Book of 2015 and CBCA Notable Book for Older Readers) and the bestselling Mercy. Her work has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award and INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award, shortlisted multiple times for the Aurealis Award and Davitt Award, and longlisted for the Gold Inky Award and the David Gemmell Legend Award. Her novels have been translated into German, French, Turkish, Portuguese and Polish. She is a co-founder of the Voices from the Intersection initiative for emerging Own Voices creators and a co-editor of Meet Me at the Intersection, a groundbreaking anthology of YA #OwnVoice memoir, poetry and fiction. Rebecca has worked with Fremantle Press and Thames & Hudson Australia as a freelance editor. She was a mentor for The Wheeler Centre’s The Next Chapter program in 2019.


Jennifer Mills

Genre: Fiction (short stories or novels). 

‘I’m excited to work on the rare craft of writing fiction. I don’t have a regular teaching practice and I miss the encounters with emerging writers that I had as fiction editor at Overland. Mentorships are collaborations, and I’m excited to help someone develop their work in depth over time. I’m always ready to share whatever knowledge I’ve managed to pick up about the work itself, the publishing industry, and the writing life.’

Jennifer Mills is an Australian author currently based in Torino, Italy. Her latest novel, Dyschronia (Picador Australia) was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin, Aurealis, and Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. She is the author of the novels Gone and The Diamond Anchor and the short story collection The Rest is Weight (UQP). In 2012, Mills was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. Her fiction and essays have been published in Meanjin, Overland, the Sydney Morning Herald, Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays, Lithub, The Washington Post, and the Sydney Review of Books. She was the fiction editor at Overland for six years. Her next novel, The Airways, will be published by Picador Australia in 2021.


Sisonke Msimang

Genre: Narrative non-fiction, memoir, essays, short-stories.

‘No matter who you are, you need second pair of eyes. Whether you’ve been writing forever or are just starting out, its so important to have someone who can look at your work and help you figure out what whether you’re communicating what you really want to say in ways that are compelling and true. The wonderful thing about a mentorship is it helps give you time with someone who can ask you those questions in a way that’s thoughtful and nurturing.  But the bigger goal is to help you to think about your work critically and sharply, to get you to learn the art of asking yourself questions.  My favourite moments in working with new writers are those where they realise that my questions aren’t magic, when they realise that they can learn to ask themselves the right questions, and push themselves further in their writing practice than they thought they could.’

Sisonke Msimang is the author of two books, Always Another Country: A memoir of exile and home and The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela. She is a South African writer whose work is focussed on race, gender and democracy. She writes for international publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Guardian, Newsweek and Al Jazeera and curates the Perth Writer’s Festival.  You can find her TED talk here.


Heather Rose

Genre: Middle-grade and adult fiction.

‘I love to nurture other writers in their process. I have tutored and lectured in Creative Writing over almost a decade and I’m passionate about imagination. I write for children and adults and this has taught me many skills with plot, pacing, character development and discipline. It’s a privilege to share the journey with fellow writers as they delve into the mysteries of their creativity.’

Heather Rose is the award winning Australian author of eight novels. Her new novel is the bestselling political thriller Bruny. Heather writes for both adults and children. Her work spans literary fiction, crime, magical realism, satire, thriller and fantasy. Her seventh novel – The Museum of Modern Love – won the 2017 Stella Prize, Christina Stead Prize and the Margaret Scott Prize. It has been published internationally, translated into numerous languages, and is being adapted for both the stage and the screen. Heather is also one half of children’s author Angelica Banks with co-writer Danielle Wood. Their Tuesday McGillycuddy series for middle grade readers is published internationally and has twice been shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards.  Heather lives by the sea in Tasmania.

Jeff Sparrow

Genre: history, politics, biography, narrative journalism and most forms of non-fiction.

‘I am looking forward to encountering new ideas, reading ambitious manuscripts and talking to writers about what they’re seeking to communicate. Over many years of working professionally as a writer, I have developed some theories about structure, themes and writing practice that work for me and that hopefully will be of assistance to others.’

Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley-award winning writer, editor and broadcaster. He writes regular columns for Guardian Australia and Jacobin, and contributes to many other local and international publications. He is the author of many books, including Fascists Among Us: Online Hate and the Christchurch Massacre, Trigger Warnings: Political Correctness and the Rise of the Right, and No Way But This: In Search of Paul Robeson. He is a former 3RRR Breakfaster and an ex-editor of Overland.


Find out how to apply for the KYD Mentors Program 2020 here. 

Previous mentors include Danielle Binks, Claire G. Coleman, Carly Findlay, Leanne Hall, Benjamin Law, Bri Lee, Graeme Simsion, Rebecca Starford and Fiona Wright. 

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