Mentorship Program


The AHWA would like to thank all of the applicants to the 2021 Mentorship Program. We are pleased to state that the following Members provided strong applications and have been accepted into the program with their individual works:

  • JM Merryt, who will be working on her horror-fantasy novel with Deborah Sheldon.
  • Janet Haigh, who will be working on her dark folklore novel with Kaaron Warren.
  • Chris Jacobs, who will be working on a cult horror novel with Paul Mannering.
  • Emma Jones, who will be working on her supernatural feature film script with Shayne Armstrong.
  • Annabel Maclean, who will be working on her Australian horror film with Shayne Armstrong.
  • Jane Miles, who will be working on her psychological horror novel with Geneve Flynn.
  • Alannah Pearson, who will be working on her Gaslamp novelette with Dan Rabarts.
  • Alex von Hoffman, who will be working on his strange feature film and pathways to pitching with Shayne Armstrong.

The AHWA would like to thank Paul Mannering, Deborah Sheldon, and Kaaron Warren for their return to mentoring roles. In addition, we would like to express sincere gratitude to Eugen M. Bacon and Silvia Cantón Rodoni, who has also been involved in the program this year.

The Mentorship Program runs for the next three months of 2021.


The AHWA Mentor Program will open for applications from Friday 16 July 2021.

The program provides the opportunity to work closely with our highly qualified mentors on an approved project. Successful applicants will be matched for a three- month period of one-on-one development and guidance to develop and progress their accepted work. Applicants must be an existing AHWA Member or become one on our Membership page before applying for the program.

Applications will close at midnight on Friday 31 July 2021. To apply, download the Application Form here. Please ensure you DOWNLOAD the form, fill it in, and send it in.

The form includes information on submission requirements and the program fee for successful applicants ($175.00).

Please read the Program Guidelines below for an outline of the program and send us your best work!

The AHWA Mentor Programme offers AHWA members the opportunity to learn more about their craft and improve their skills by working one-on-one with a mentor for a set period. The things a mentee can learn in a mentorship can range from pitching a story idea, drafting a novel or publishing an e-book, depending on the available mentors in the program. Mentoring is a two-way learning experience, benefitting both parties in a variety of ways. The benefits can be personal: for the mentor, the ability to pay it forward, or for the mentee, a bolstering of confidence, or getting a piece of work to a higher standard. There are many benefits, and each mentorship will experience different things.
The greatest gifts an experienced industry professional can give (as a mentor) is their time and expertise – to share the things they have learned. A mentee will get the most benefit from the program by carefully considering feedback, communicating in a timely fashion, completing any exercises set, and respecting the Mentor’s time by not making excessive demands. The more a mentee puts into their mentorship, the more they will learn. Details of the mentors and the mentorships available are listed at the end of this document.

Program Details
All information submitted to the mentorship convenor is confidential and will only be used to match mentees with mentors in the AHWA Mentor Programme

The programme is only open to financial members of the AHWA; committee members are eligible to apply. Application is free.

 The cost to the Mentee is $175.00; of this amount, $150.00 is forwarded to the Mentor as an honorarium and $25.00 goes to the AHWA as an administration fee. This is not a paid position for the mentor; the honorarium payment is not representative of an hourly rate and is only a token payment.
 Once the mentorship is confirmed, payments will be received/made through PayPal.

Application process
 Mentees can only apply for the programme during the open period.
 Mentees can apply for the AHWA Mentor Programme by filling in an application form, and where specified, by also providing a sample of their writing, artwork, or other details as requested.
 Once submissions are closed, the reading period will take approximately four weeks.
 This programme has limited places, and not all applications will be successful. Applicants are encouraged to reapply in the following years’ programmes.
 At the conclusion of the reading period, the mentors will advise the convenor of selections, and mentees will be contacted with offers.
 If an applicant declines, the mentor will choose another mentee who will be offered the mentorship.
 Submission requirements for successful applicants will vary depending on available mentors.

 Once all offers are accepted, the Mentorship Convenor will advise the successful applicant how to pay via PayPal.
 Once the payment of $175.00 is confirmed, the convenor will introduce the mentor to the mentee, and the mentorship will commence.
 Payment will be made to the mentor at the beginning of the programme.

How does the mentorship work?

Experienced professionals can act as mentors in several ways. They can offer encouragement, advice and guidance, helping a mentee to improve their craft. Or, they can offer advice in general, perhaps on how to pitch a project to a publisher, finding the right market or how to write a query letter. Sometimes they can offer a little of both things. The mentorship is only for a limited amount of time, so it helps if the mentee is very clear on what they would like to work on. Participation in the programme does not guarantee a mentee’s work will be accepted for publication.

Midway check-in
The programme convenor will check in with both the mentor and mentee to see how things are going around the midway point. At this check-in point, the mentor will be sent a mentee evaluation, ready to start compiling for the programme’s close.

When the mentorship is complete
 At completion, the mentor will be asked to write a short evaluation for the mentee, and the mentee will be asked to provide a testimonial about their experience for the AHWA to use for promotion purposes.
 A feedback request will also be sent to both parties.

A note for the mentee
A Mentor is not a teacher. They won’t correct or mark work, but they will give feedback to help you improve your craft. A mentor guides you towards your goal, but it will be up to you to get there. Time is limited so it is useful to have specific questions or areas you wish to work on in mind. If there is something niggling you about your writing, make sure this is one of the first things you ask.

Contact us
If you have any queries or concerns about any aspect of the programme, please contact the convenor at

2021 Mentors

shayne SHAYNE ARMSTRONG is an award-winning screenwriter and script consultant. With his screenwriting partner, SP Krause, Shayne has written the horror features ACOLYTES, BAIT 3D and Blumhouse’s THE DARKNESS). Several of his projects are currently in development including the sci-fi/horror audio drama CRASH COVER for Audible and the supernatural thriller THEO: A HAUNTING with producer Kristian Moliere (THE BABADOOK). He has won the John Hinde Award for Excellence in Science-Fiction Screenwriting twice. He is also a script assessor and consultant for Screen Queensland and Screen Territory, teaches screenwriting at several universities and is a Board Member of the Australian Writers Guild.


Shayne is interested in mentoring short and feature film scripts.


eugenEUGEN M. BACON is African Australian, a computer scientist mentally re-engineered into creative writing. Her work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in national and international awards, including the Foreword Book of the Year Awards, Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Australian Shadows Awards, Ditmar Awards and Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans. Her novella Ivory’s Story was shortlisted in the 2020 British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Awards. Upcoming: Danged Black Thing, a short story collection by Transit Lounge Publishing (2021), Saving Shadows, an illustrated microfiction collection by NewCon Press, and Mage of Fools, an Afrofuturistic dystopian novel by Meerkat Press (2022). Prefers: Microfictions, short stories, novelettes and prose poetry.

Website: Twitter: @EugenBacon

Eugen is interested in mentoring flash, short, novella, novelette or editing projects.

silviaSILVIA CANTON RODONI is Spanish-born Australian poet, writer, and visual artist who identifies as neurodivergent and LGBTIQAP+. Her poetry collection Stark Naked was released worldwide by IFWG Australia in June 2021. The poems in Stark Naked reveal her transition from childhood through grief and trauma to the resilient woman she is today, and are illustrated by artist Silvia Nieto. Silvia Cantón Rondoni is also the editor of the poetry anthology Infectious Hope which brings together outstanding literary and genre poets writing about their experiences of hope and resilience during COVID. Infectious Hope is due for publication in late 2021.

Experienced editor and literary translator, Silvia runs Telltale Literary Translation. She focuses on interpreting works published in English and aids authors with their tales’ transition into the Spanish language while remaining faithful to their original tone, voice and style.

Silvia has an Associate Degree of Writing and Editing from RMIT and lives in Canberra with award-winning New Zealand writer Paul Mannering and her bulldog Patch.


Silvia is interested in mentoring editing and poetry (including individual works, collections and anthologies).


geneGENEVE FLYNN is an award-winning speculative fiction editor and author.

She co-edited Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women with Lee Murray. The anthology is a 2020 Bram Stoker Award® winner and is shortlisted for the 2020 Aurealis Award and Australian Shadows Award. Black Cranes has been listed on Tor Nightfire’s Works of Feminist Horror and Locus magazine’s 2020 Recommended Reading List.

Her short stories have been published in various markets, including Flame Tree Publishing, Things in the Well, and PseudoPod. Her latest short story, “They Call Me Mother,” will appear in Classic Monsters Unleashed with some of the biggest names in horror, including Joe Lansdale, Jonathan Maberry, and Ramsey Campbell.

Geneve loves tales that unsettle, all things writerly, and B-grade action movies. If that sounds like you, check out her website at

Geneve is interested in mentoring flash, short, novella, novel or editing projects.

paulPAUL MANNERING is an award-winning New Zealand writer who relocated to Canberra, Australia, in 2019, where he now lives under an assumed identity as a functional adult.

Author of the Australian zombie series, Tankbread (also released as DEADLANDS) and Apocalypse Recon by Permuted Press. The award-winning speculative fiction comedy Drakeforth Series: Engines of Empathy, Pisces of Fate, Time Of Breath, and the forthcoming, Heroes of Heresy by IFWG Australia. Horror novels: Hell’s Teeth, EAT, and The Trench, and sci-Fi military novel Hard Corps published by Severed Press. And of course, numerous short stories in the horror genre.

Find the full catalogue on Amazon at

Paul is interested in mentoring flash, short, novella or novel prose.

danDAN RABARTS (Ngati Porou) is an award-winning author and editor, four-time recipient of Aotearoa’s Sir Julius Vogel Award and three-time winner of the Australian Shadows Award.

With Lee Murray, he co-wrote the crime-noir thriller series the Path of Ra  (Hounds of the UnderworldTeeth of the WolfBlood of the Sun) and co-edited the dark fiction anthologies Baby Teeth – Bite-sized Tales of Terror, and At The Edge.

His steampunk-grimdark-comic fantasy series Children of Bane starts with Brothers of the Knife and continues in Sons of the Curse, Sisters of Spindrift, and Daughters of Dust. Dan’s dark SFFH fiction has appeared in numerous venues worldwide, and he regularly narrates for some podcasts you might’ve heard of.

Dan is interested in mentoring flash, short, novella, novel or editing projects.

Deborah Sheldon 2020 extra smallDEBORAH SHELDON is an award-winning author from Melbourne, Australia. She writes short stories, novellas and novels across the darker spectrum of horror, crime and noir. Her award-nominated titles include the novels Body Farm Z, Contrition and Devil Dragon; the novella Thylacines; and collection Figments and Fragments: Dark Stories. She won the Australian Shadows ‘Best Collected Work’ Award for Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories, which was also long-listed for a Bram Stoker. As editor of Midnight Echo 14, she won the Australian Shadows ‘Best Edited Work’ Award. Her short fiction has been nominated for various Australian Shadows and Aurealis Awards, and included in ‘best of’ anthologies. Other credits include feature articles, non-fiction books, TV scripts and award-winning medical writing.

Deborah is interested in mentoring flash, short, novella or novel projects.

kaaron-warrenKAARON WARREN Shirley Jackson award-winner Kaaron Warren published her first short story in 1993 and has had fiction in print every year since. She was recently given the Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Award and was Guest of Honour at World Fantasy 2018, Stokercon 2019 and Geysercon 2019.

She has published five multi-award winning novels (Slights, Walking the Tree, Mistification, The Grief Hole and Tide of Stone) and seven short story collections. Her most recent books are the novella Into Bones Like Oil, the chapbook Tool Tales (with Ellen Datlow!), and the writing advice chapbook Capturing Ghosts.

Kaaron is interested in mentoring up to 10,000 words of flash, short, novella or novel projects.


The mentorship program has been a big part of some big things that have been happening. Getting mentored by Kaaron has been phenomenal. To have someone of her calibre pulling my work apart has been an absolute privilege, and more than that, by the end of the process to have her tell me that things I have written are good and most of what she’s read just needs tweaking… it makes it all worth it. I’ve been working on this story for around four years now, and in a few hours of Kaaron’s time, she’s set it on the path I’ve always wanted it to be on. And it’s now had written interest for adaptation from a producer that I suspect any horror writer in Australia would love to have interest from.” – Bernie Rutkay

“My AHWA mentorship with Greg Chapman was a rewarding and invaluable experience. Greg’s patience, encouragement, and advice helped me to develop one of my short stories into a novella.  As a writer, I often struggle with seeing the little problems with my work, however, Greg was able to shine a light on them, and guided me towards the right direction. He helped me understand my characters and the world in which they live. He dispelled those niggling thoughts of not feeling like a good enough writer and gave me confidence in my own ability. While I still have a long way to go with the novella, Greg’s assistance helped me figure out the bones of my story, and why I started writing it in the first place. I managed to write 21,000 words out of a planned 25,000! Highly recommended!” – Claire Fitzpatrick

“While I’ve taught writing courses before, the AHWA Mentorship Program has been my most satisfying experience. I enjoyed an intense, fun, and organic twelve-weeks with my mentee, the talented Geneve Flynn. Together, we dug into her stories, dissected them, and built them up again. Exploring and explaining the craft of writing in such detail reminded me why I can’t stop playing with words: it’s brain candy. I very much hope to participate in future programs.” – Deborah Sheldon

“The AHWA writing mentorship with Deborah Sheldon has been an invaluable experience. In ten years of studying writing and editing craft, I don’t think I’ve improved as swiftly or as markedly as during those four months of intensive learning. Deb helped me to see the gaps as well as the strengths in my writing and has helped me to approach my process from different angles, reviving my enthusiasm and confidence in becoming the writer I always dreamt I would be. Deb was an utter delight to work with, bringing humour, years of experience and a no-nonsense work ethic to this crazy profession. I highly recommend applying for an AHWA mentorship to any writer looking to raise their writing to the next level.” – Geneve Flynn

“It was a pleasure to work with Dominique Davidson, providing an AWHA mentorship of her middle grade manuscript, Resting Earth. Using Skype, email, and a system of manuscript annotation and line-editing, Dominque fully revised the work, and it is now ready to go out, with her query letter prepared, and a list of potential publishers for her to submit to established. Dominique was fully committed to the process and extremely hard working. She was highly professional in her approach, considering my critique with an open mind, checking out links and sites I suggested for further training, and implementing those new techniques in her narrative. Obviously, we both did a lot more than the 10-15 hours of work allocated by the program! The end result is a highly engaging, spooky little middle grade tale, slightly darker than a Goosebumps story and with a wonderfully creepy sense of place. I’m excited to watch Dominique’s writing career progress as a result of this AHWA mentorship jump-start. She thoroughly deserves every success.” – Lee Murray

“For me, the opportunity to be mentored by award-winning Australian author Kaaron Warren was worth every penny. For Kaaron to read my story, offer great feedback, tips, and encouragement, was simply priceless and has increased my confidence no end. I aim to complete the novel with Kaaron’s guidance at the forefront of my mind. Thanks Kaaron, and the AHWA for the opportunity!” ‒ Steve Dillon

“Participating in the 2017 AHWA Mentorship Program was a wonderful opportunity and I can’t thank the generosity of my Mentor, Lee Murray, enough. There are so many ways that the mentorship encouraged me and made me feel that I could write and my story was worthwhile. I would encourage anyone who wants to write to apply. I’d completed my Professional Writing Diploma, but my writing lacked polish and style. I was good but not great and not really sure how to go about improving my work to a publishable standard. The Mentorship Program provided an affordable alternative to embarking on another course and in retrospect provided me and my story with individual focused attention that no course can provide. The opportunity to workshop my creation, have an experienced writer read, comment, re-read and comment was invaluable. Lee’s advice and guidance was priceless. I rewrote much of my 20,000 words over the three-month period, but my story was all the stronger for this. Lee was amazing, she gently provided constructive comments which enabled me to progress and improve my writing and consequently the story. The experience was invaluable and will stand me in good stead for the future. I feel truly blessed to have had this experience.” – Dominique Davison

The AHWA’s Mentor Program has become the backbone of my writing career. I can attribute all my publication successes and my recent Australian Shadows Award win directly to the lessons I learned from my mentor. I joined the Program back in 2012, at a time when I was very much the novice—I’d dabbled in stories for years, but had only recently begun taking the craft seriously. I was, however, failing to complete work and struggling to find my voice as a writer. Joining the Mentor Program, I thought, would both force me to write to deadlines and allow me to maybe learn from one of the Australian horror élite. It was the best career decision I ever made. As with many new writers, I was afraid of failure—of my work being judged as tripe, of being exposed as an upstart who jokingly thought he had talent. I needn’t have worried. Kaaron Warren, one of the stalwarts of Australian Horror, was the most nurturing of mentors. She saw potential in my work and helped mould two of my short stories into pieces of which I am still immensely proud. My craft improved immeasurably in the short time I was with the Program. And as a result of the work we did, I achieved my first two story sales in the years following. My mentor taught me how to trust my instinct, listen to my inner voice and take chances with my stories. But most importantly, she showed me that I was capable. Without her, I think I would still be floundering in the quagmire of incomplete drafts and utterly lacking in self-confidence. If you want to write good horror, join the Mentor Program. If you want to make a lasting mark on the genre, join the Mentor Program. If you want to learn career changing lessons from the best authors in the industry, join the Mentor Program. And if all you want to do is finish a story and know that you can do it too, join the Mentor Program. ‒ Matthew Morrison, 2018 Shadows Award winner