Writers in Schools

Writers SA’s Writers in Schools Program embeds professional practising writers in outer suburban and regional public high schools in South Australia to teach writing skills, provide literary career pathways, and inspire a love of writing and reading in students.

The program provides employment to the writers to undertake two or four-week residencies where they will work on personal creative projects. The writers will also work with teachers to provide writing workshops, author talks and other activities with students in alignment with the curriculum, and has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Creative Australia, its arts funding and advisory body.

2023 Writers in Schools

Jude Aquilina

Jude will be based at Penola High School for two weeks from the 20th February 2023.

Jude Aquilina is an award-winning poet and author whose work is published in literary journals, newspapers and anthologies across Australia and abroad. She has published and edited many books. Her Wakefield Press titles include Knifing the Ice, On a moon spiced night and Tadpoles in the Torrens: poems for young readers. Jude is a freelance writer, editor, mentor and educator. She has taught creative writing to a wide sector of the community, at schools, libraries, community centres, university, TAFE, and in a prison.

Jude was the 2018 recipient of the Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship. Her works in progress include a poetry collection about the outback, titled Big Backyard, a novel based on her opal-mining grandmother, and a book of South Australian ghost stories.

Jude believes that everyone can write and enjoys assisting people on their writing journeys as a mentor and editor. She conducts workshops on the topics of poetry, memoir, short stories and general creative writing.

Jude says: “Everyone should have a chance to try creative writing. I am thrilled to be working with the Penola High School students. It is so important to bridge the gap for under-served public high schools. Such students are of the age where imaginative and creative skills are heightened.

Many high school students don’t have the opportunity to try creative writing, meet published authors or discuss writing careers and opportunities. I look forward to sharing my knowledge, offering my support and running some inspiring workshops.”

Allayne Webster

Allayne will be based at Roma Mitchell Secondary College March 13-24, 2023.

Allayne writes Children’s and Young Adult literature. She’s a Premier’s Reading Challenge Ambassador, multiple arts grants winner, she sings and plays guitar, and sometimes she illustrates.

Paper Planes (Scholastic) was a 2016 CBCA Notable, shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Awards, and is included with the Australian Heritage Untapped Project. A Cardboard Palace (MidnightSun), a 2018 CBCA Notable, was published in Sweden. Our Little Secret (Scholastic) was listed for the Golden Inkys and has recently been republished (Ligature Press.) The Centre of My Everything (PenguinRandomHouse) was shortlisted in the 2019 Davitt Awards (crime) and the 2020 Adelaide Festival Awards. Sensitive (UQP) is published in Russia, was shortlisted in the 2020 Australian Speech Pathology Awards, and is an IBBY Outstanding Book for Young People with Disabilities. That Thing I Did (YA – Wakefield Press) was out March 2022 and Selfie (YA -Text Publishing) is out April 2023. Allayne continues to write for children and young adults.

Allayne says: “I’ve been a member of Writers SA for many years and during that time my membership has provided me with a myriad of wonderful opportunities – and now I can add a residency at Roma Mitchell Secondary College to the list! Writing for children and teenagers is my life’s passion, so to get to work intensively with students and staff over a two week period is a dream come true. Normally I would be visiting a school for one or two days, but this residency means I have a greater timeframe in which to share knowledge, build skills, and deliver real community impact. I’m very excited!”

Jennifer Mills

Jennifer will be based at Heathfield High School May 1-14, 2023.

Jennifer Mills is the author of the novels The Airways (Picador, 2021), Dyschronia (Picador, 2018), Gone (UQP, 2011) and The Diamond Anchor (UQP, 2009) and a collection of short stories, The Rest is Weight (UQP, 2012). In 2019 Dyschronia was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia’s most prestigious prize for literary fiction, the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, and the Aurealis Awards for science fiction. The Rest is Weight was shortlisted for the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards Steele Rudd Award for an Australian Short Story Collection and longlisted for the 2013 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.

Alysha Herrmann

Alysha will be spending time at Berri Regional Highschool in term 2, 2023.

Alysha Herrmann lives, loves, and creates from regional South Australia. She is an award-winning independent creative producer, writer, performance-maker, and community organiser, and is the co-founder of Part of Things. Alysha most often writes about vulnerability, community, hope, grief, forgiveness and belonging. Her work spans creative non-fiction (memoir, essays etc), experimental digital writing, script writing (screen and theatre), other performance texts, short stories, long-form fiction, and poetry (written and spoken). Alysha is a long-time fantasy nerd and would love to write for videogames in the future. Recent work includes Drowned in the Saltbush Review (SA), Guthrak for Under the Microscope (SA), The Riverland of Rax for Critical Stages (NSW) and Paines Plough’s (UK) Come to Where I Am Australia, and DEV for State Theatre Company (SA) and ActNow Theatre’s (SA) Decameron 2.0. Her written work has been published by Currency Press, Griffith Review, Rochford Street Press, Routledge, Ginniderra Press, The Dirty Thirty, ABC Open and others. 

Audrey Menz

Audrey will be doing a digital residency with Riverton Highschool in term 2, 2023 and an online teen circle for regional highschool-aged youths.

Audrey Menz is an emerging queer writer based in Mount Barker, South Australia. She is a recent graduate of a Bachelor of Creative Writing, a current student of a Graduate Diploma of Digital and Social Media, and lover of all things literary academia. 

She is particularly interested in fostering and developing spaces for diverse writers, and in her downtime is an avid Slushpile Screener and Reader for the young adult magazine, ‘Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things.’

In her own work Audrey explores how the fantastical can be used to deconstruct and investigate social issues. She is currently writing a dark fantasy novel about monsters, gods, and how to heal after experiencing trauma. 

When not reading or writing Audrey is a self-proclaimed ‘nerd’ who can be found delving into her new favourite fandom.

Campbell (Kami) McGuiness

Kami will be spending time at Meningie Area School and Millicent Highschool in term 3, 2023.

Campbell McInnes AKA Kami is a published poet and author, twice representing the state in the Australian Poetry Slam in Sydney and is now co-director of Spoken Word SA, presenting and coordinating the SA program for the Australian Poetry Slam.

For a decade Kami went to the pub on Ralph magazine’s dime and was (briefly) People magazine’s boxing expert. He has had two novellas published, with poetry and short stories published in various journals nationally and internationally. In 2010 Kami was the winner of the Single Poet Collection Award at the Poetry Unleashed Festival. He has performed in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle including the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the National Young Writers Festival and the Melbourne Writers Festival. In 2009 and 2011 he represented South Australia at the Australian Poetry Slam National Slam in Sydney. As a spoken word performer, he has supported national and international musical acts in Adelaide and Sydney. Kami has organised and hosted slams, book launches and readings, as well as chairing and appearing on writing panels both in SA and interstate.

Sarah Jane Justice

Sarah will be spending time at Para Hills Highschool in term 4, 2023.

Sarah Jane Justice is a South Australian writer with an array of credits to her name. Starting out as a songwriter, she released three studio recordings of original music and created a science-fiction cabaret show focused on lyrical storytelling.

In her time as a competitive slam poet, she won the Goolwa Poetry Cup, the Northern Fringes Slam, the Salisbury Fringe Slam, and the SA State Final of the Australian Poetry Slam, taking her to the Sydney Opera House to compete in the competition’s national final.

Since shifting her focus to the written word, she has had dozens of short work published in collections around the world. Her poetry has been featured by publishers such as The Blue Nib, Capsule Stories, and South Broadway Press, and her short stories have been released by The Bombay Review, Eerie River Publishing, and Caustic Frolic. She has written three episodes of chart-topping horror podcast ‘The Other Stories’, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in short fiction, and collaborated with photographer Phillip Walker to create the immersive poetry/photography exhibition Cracks in our Shadows

 This funded project has concluded but if you’d like to get involved in future projects, please reach out – [email protected]

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