Mentorship Program


The AHWA Mentor Program will open for applications from Friday 21st  April 2023. The program provides the opportunity to work closely with one of 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 Wednesday 31st May 2023. To apply, fill in the Application Form at the end of this page, but please read this entire page first. The form includes information on submission requirements and the program fee for successful applicants ($175.00).

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


The AHWA Mentor Program 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 short story, critiquing existing work, or publishing, depending on the available mentors in the program. 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 available are listed at the end of this page.

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 Program


The program 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.  The AHWA uses member funds to add a further $125 to this in order to pay the mentor an honorarium of $300 for their time and effort. 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 program during the open period.
  • Mentees can apply for the AHWA Mentor Program by filling in an application form and 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 program has limited places, and not all applications will be successful. Applicants are encouraged to reapply in the following years’ programs.
  • 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 program.

Midway check-in

The program 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 program’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 program, please contact the convenor at


All 2023 Mentor details are below. Read through as you will be asked for your preference of mentor.

Then fill in this form to apply.

2023 Mentors

Baxter_PhotoALAN BAXTER has been a thirteen-time finalist in the Aurealis Awards, an eight-time finalist in the Australian Shadows Awards and a ten-time finalist in the Ditmar Awards. From those shortlistings he won the 2021 Aurealis Award for Best Collection for The Gulp, the 2014 Australian Shadows Award for Best Short Story (“Shadows of the Lonely Dead”), the 2015 Australian Shadows Paul Haines Award For Long Fiction (“In Vaulted Halls Entombed”), the 2016 Australian Shadows Award for Best Collection (Crow Shine), and the 2019 Australian Shadows Award for Best Collection (Served Cold). He is also a past winner of the AHWA Short Story Competition (“It’s Always the Children Who Suffer”). Alan’s first collection, Crow Shine, also made the preliminary ballot for the 2016 Bram Stoker Award (TM) for Best Collection, and The Gulp made the preliminary ballot for the 2021 Bram Stoker Award (TM) for Best Collection. Alan’s 2015 Australian Shadows Paul Haines Award-winning story, “In Vaulted Halls Entombed”, was adapted for Season 3 of the Netflix Original Series, LOVE DEATH +ROBOTS.

Read extracts from his novels and novellas, and find free short stories at his website – – or find him on Twitter @AlanBaxter and Facebook, and feel free to tell him what you think. About anything.

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

PaulMannering-1PAUL MANNERING is the author of over a dozen novels, with several more in development with various publishers. He is the executive director and co-founder of BrokenSea Audio Productions, an international group that has been producing full cast audio drama for podcast for over 10 years.

Paul is the editor of FAT ZOMBIE, the anthology of unlikely survivors of the apocalypse for Permuted Press. He was the lead editor on the 13th issue of Midnight Echo, the magazine of the AHWA. He has written and edited hundreds of audio drama scripts, short stories and the occasional paper on project management.


Twitter @paul_mannering

Area of mentoring: Novel/Novella, Short/Flash fiction, editing. Anything in the speculative fiction range. Horror, sci-fi, weird fantasy. Cosmic horror, zombies, supernatural, body horror, psychological thrillers, you write it, he’ll be there.

Deborah Sheldon 2020 extra smallDEBORAH SHELDON is a multi-award-winning author, anthology editor, script editor and medical writer from Melbourne, Australia, who writes across the darker spectrum of horror, crime and noir. Her published fiction includes poetry, drabbles, flash, short stories, novelettes, novellas and novels. Her latest titles are Liminal Spaces: Horror Stories, and Man-Beast. Deb’s fiction has received numerous award nominations, and her collection Perfect Little Stitches and Other Stories won an Australian Shadows Award. As editor, her anthologies include the award-winning Midnight Echo 14, the multi-award-winning Spawn, and the recently-released Killer Creatures Down Under. Other credits comprise feature articles, TV scripts, medical writing, and stage plays.

Deb is interested in mentoring novella or novel projects and would like to help writers who lack confidence and need a cheerleader.

Warren_PhotoKAARON WARREN Shirley Jackson award-winner Kaaron Warren has published five novels and seven short story collections. She’s sold over 200 short stories to publications big and small around the world and has appeared in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best anthologies. Her novel “The Grief Hole” won all three Australian genre awards. She has lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Fiji and Canberra and her most recent novella is “Bitters”, from Cemetery Dance. She won the inaugural AsylumFest Ghost Story Telling Competition in 2022.

You can find her at

Twitter: @kaaronwarren

Insta: Kaaron_Warren

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

Ashley-Smith_PhotoJ. ASHLEY-SMITH is a British–Australian author of dark fiction and co-host of the Let The Cat In podcast. His first book, The Attic Tragedy, won the Shirley Jackson Award. Other stories have won the Ditmar Award, Australian Shadows Award and Aurealis Award. He lives with his wife and two sons beneath an ominous mountain in the suburbs of North Canberra, gathering moth dust, tormented by the desolation of telegraph wires. You can find him at, performing amazing experiments in electronic communication with the dead.

Preference is for short fiction up to novelette / short novella length, but will consider longer novellas and novels (at a stretch) if the project is right.

I’m particularly interested in character-led/character-rich stories, and real-world settings with speculative/supernatural elements. I’m open to most genres, but particularly quiet horror and weird fiction. Not interested in hard sci-fi or extreme horror.

I’m interested in helping mentees bring characters to life, making stories tight and compelling, and keeping the heart of the story (and characters) in focus to build emotional resonance. I’m interested in story structure, finding the voice of your story, building reader interest and engagement with story dynamics, and connecting with the deepest, most hidden parts of yourself to generate meaningful ideas.

In terms of the mentor/mentee relationship, I’d like to connect with mentees who have a clear idea of what they want to improve or get out of the mentorship, and to work closely with them to achieve that.

Chapman_PhotoGREG CHAPMAN Two-time international Bram Stoker Award-nominee®*, Greg Chapman is a horror author and artist based in Brisbane. Greg is the author of several novels, novellas and short stories, including his award-nominated debut novel, Hollow House and collections, Vaudeville and Other Nightmares (Specul8 Publishing) and This Sublime Darkness and Other Dark Stories (Things in the Well Publications). He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, (McFarland & Company) written by authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, won the Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel category at the Bram Stoker Awards® in 2013. He was also the President of the Australasian Horror Writers Association from 2017-2020.

He feels that short fiction is an area that emerging authors could benefit from – how to take an idea to  publication, and would like to mentor in this area.

Shane-Walsh-Smith-headshot-855x1024-1SHANE WALSH-SMITH is an award-winning Australian graphic novelist and screenwriter who works across a broad spectrum of genre fiction. His books (written under his pen name Shane W Smith) have been shortlisted for awards a total of seven times, including twice for the fan-favourite Undad. His TV scripts placed in more than fifty contests from 2020-2022, including nine wins. Shane has a Bachelor degree in Creative Writing, and might be the only person in the world to get a comic published in a refereed academic journal. You can follow his writing misadventures on social media or at

He’s worked across a range of creative media, including graphic novels, and TV/feature screenwriting, and love working with genre projects – not just horror, but a wide range of speculative fiction. As a writer and a consumer, he gravitates towards horror with a strong subtext, whether the creature/killer/scare represents everyday challenges faced by everyday people. He loves drawing out theme and meaning from writing, and would love to assist a writer to bring their chosen theme to the fore in their writing.

Shane is interested in mentoring someone in screenwriting (short, feature, and television).

eugen bacon - casual-1EUGEN BACON is an African Australian author of several novels, prose poetry and fiction collections. She’s a 2022 World Fantasy Award finalist, and was announced in the honour list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships for ‘doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction’. Her short story release Danged Black Thing received a 2021 Otherwise Award honour as a ‘sharp collection of Afro-Surrealist work’. Recent books: Mage of Fools (novel), Chasing Whispers (short stories) and An Earnest Blackness (essays). Eugen has two novels, a novella and three anthologies (ed) out in 2023, including Serengotti, a novel, and the US release of Danged Black Thing. Visit her website at and Twitter feed at @EugenBacon

Eugen would like to mentor in poetry (incl. prose poetry), editing, and short/flash fiction. She is especially interested in working with cultural or other diversity, engaging with whichever form of difference, but all are welcome! The right mentor/mentee relationship is one of partnership and mutual respect.

shayneSHAYNE ARMSTRONG is an award-winning Queensland screenwriter and script consultant. With his screenwriting partner, SP Krause, Shayne has the written feature films ACOLYTES, BAIT 3D and Universal/Blumhouse Pictures’ THE DARKNESS. Several of his projects are currently in development including the crime thriller THE HOARD with Golden Gate Pictures (UK), SUBMERGED with producer Michael Robertson (BLACK WATER, THE REEF), the supernatural thriller THEO: A HAUNTING and the revenge thriller HARD COVER, both with producer Kristian Moliere (THE BABADOOK, WAKE IN FRIGHT) and the supernatural horror film ENCIRCLED for Gold Circle US/UK (SLITHER, SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE, PITCH PERFECT). He has won the John Hinde Award for Excellence in Science-Fiction Screenwriting twice. He is a highly experienced script editor as well as a script assessor and consultant for Screen Queensland and Screen Territory. Shayne also teaches screenwriting at several Queensland universities and film schools and is a Board Member and Queensland Chair of the Australian Writers Guild.

Shayne is interested in mentoring feature and/or short screenplays in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, crime, thriller or any hybrids of these.


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