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.


Claire G. Coleman 

Genre: Fiction

Having developed my writing practice completely solo, with no aid from mentors, I would love to give someone else the opportunity I never had: advice from a more experienced writer. Every person is different, no two writers write the same so I am excited to perhaps learn something from the person I mentor.

Claire G. Coleman is a writer from Western Australia. She identifies with the South Coast Noongar people. Her family are associated with the area around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun. Claire grew up in a Forestry settlement in the middle of a tree plantation, where her dad worked, not far out of Perth. She wrote her black&write! fellowship-winning book Terra Nullius while travelling around Australia in a caravan. The Old Lie is her second novel.


Carly Findlay

Photo credit: Rick Guidotti

Genres: Memoir, personal essays

I cannot wait to work with diverse emerging writers on their writing projects through the KYD Mentors Program. Writing can be solitary, so it’s important for writers to be able to call upon mentors for guidance, connections and also to celebrate their milestones. Memoirs and personal essays are recordings of history, and I am excited to help them come to life.

Carly Findlay is an award-winning writer, speaker and appearance activist. Her first book, a memoir called Say Hello, was released in Australia in 2019. She is also working on editing Growing Up Disabled in Australia (Black Inc.). She writes on disability and appearance diversity issues for news outlets including the ABC, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, and SBS. She has appeared on The Project, You Can’t Ask That, 7-30 and Cyberhate with Tara Moss, and has been a regular on various ABC radio programs. She has spoken at the Melbourne Writers Festival, the University of Western England and Melbourne University – to name a few. She organised the history-making Access to Fashion – a Melbourne Fashion Week event featuring disabled models. She has a Masters of Communication and Bachelor of eCommerce. Carly identifies as a proud disabled woman. She lives in Melbourne, Australia.


Leanne Hall

Genres: Middle-grade, young adult

‘I really love having in-depth conversations with writers about their stories: characters, structure, setting, voice and the expression of big ideas and unique perspectives. But I also think that mentoring isn’t solely about offering feedback on the writing; it can also be about sharing personal experiences of the publishing industry and talking about the practicalities of being a writer.’

Leanne Hall is an author of young adult and children’s fiction. Her debut novel, This Is Shyness, won the Text Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Writing, and was followed by a sequel, Queen of the Night. Her novel for younger readers, Iris and the Tiger, won the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature at the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Leanne works as a children’s and YA specialist at the independent bookshop Readings.


Graeme Simsion

Photo credit: Rebecca Rocks

Genres: Fiction, memoir

‘I’ve done a lot of teaching and mentoring in both writing and in my previous life as an IT / business consultant. With my background in screenwriting and a PhD in design theory, I’m a story-structure nut, and that’s probably the area in which I can help most. If you’re struggling to plan your story, to keep it interesting after the first 30k words, to avoid the ending feeling hasty… I may be the mentor for you.’

Graeme Simsion is a former IT / business consultant who decided at the age of fifty that he wanted to be a writer. He spent five years studying screenwriting before realising that most movies were adaptations of best-selling books, and (fortunately) that much of what he learned in screenwriting could be adapted to novel writing. He studied that too. He has written five novels, all of which have been international bestsellers. The Rosie Project won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and was ABIA book of the year for 2014. Movie rights for all of his novels have been sold or optioned.


Rebecca Starford

Genres: Fiction, short stories, memoir, narrative non-fiction

‘Writing can be a solitary activity. What I enjoy most about working with new writers, and what I think is most beneficial to them, is having that close and really engaging conversation about their work – asking them questions that haven’t been asked before, about why a character does this, or why the plot is shaped like that. A conversation that can give new perspective and clarity to the work, while at the same time providing pathways to improving it.’

Rebecca Starford is the publishing director of Kill Your Darlings. She is also the author of the memoir, Bad Behaviour, and the forthcoming novel, Hidden (both Allen & Unwin). She is a former editor at Text Publishing, and has worked for Affirm Press and Australian Book Review. Her writing has appeared in the GuardianAgeWeekend Australian, and Big Issue Fiction Edition. Bad Behaviour is currently in development with Matchbox Pictures. Rebecca teaches creative writing at the University of Queensland and coordinates KYD’s Writers Workshop.


Fiona Wright

Genres: Personal essays, memoir and creative non-fiction

When I started out as a writer I had absolutely no idea what I was doing – in terms of craft, of course, but also in terms of publishing and ‘the industry’, which are in many ways more difficult things to learn without somebody’s help; I also had zero confidence to speak of. Other writers played a huge part in helping me get where I am today, and I am always grateful for the chance to pass this kindness on to newer writers. I love reading other people’s work and throwing ideas around, and watching them evolve and grow. I’m especially interested in working with writers with disability and/or chronic illness, LGBTQIA+ writers, and women.’

Fiona Wright is a writer, editor and critic. Her book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction. Her poetry collections are Knuckled, which won the 2012 Dame Mary Gilmore Award, and Domestic Interior, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Her new essay collection is The World Was Whole.



Previous mentors include Danielle Binks, Benjamin Law and Bri Lee.

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