Creative Industries


12 September 2019

QUT Creative Writing students recently had the opportunity of receiving insights from Australia’s most successful publishing house, Allen & Unwin, on what publishers want in a manuscript and how to break into the publishing industry. 

    From left, Allen & Unwin publisher Annette Barlow, QUT graduate and prize winner Erin Corstiaans and QUT Creative Writing lecturer Dr Rohan Wilson.

The invaluable advice was presented by experienced publisher, Annette Barlow, following the presentation of the 2018 Allen & Unwin Writers Prize. 

QUT graduate Erin Corstiaans was selected out of more than 100 entries for an excerpt from her memoir developed for her capstone subject in her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Creative and Professional Writing). 

The prize offers undergraduate creative writing students a study stipend as well as several hours of editorial assistance. 

Erin said she gained a lot from the prize, with the editorial critique giving her motivation to pursue her writing career. 

“It is a huge honour and I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” she said. 

“I feel a surge of confidence that I haven’t let go of.”

Erin’s story, Exceptional People with Admirable Qualities, is about a youthful misadventure breaking into a swimming pool and reflects on her time spent growing up in a small town. 

“It was about friendship and friendships that aren’t necessarily healthy and I guess there was a coming of age element in there as well, and being a young, influenceable female,” she said. 

Allen & Unwin publisher Annette Barlow, who provided in-depth editorial guidance for Erin, said reading the winning story was a pleasure. 

“I think she’s got a great future,” she said. 

“Erin is someone who writes in an interesting way and manages her material and those skills are going to transfer into anything she writes.”

Ms Barlow said supporting the prize and emerging writers was important for the publishing company.

“Allen & Unwin are really pleased to be able to be involved because encouraging writers is our life’s blood and something we’re passionate about,” she said. 

“I’m really hoping that having a conduit to real-life publishing helps them focus on what they want to do and how they want to achieve their goals.”

QUT Creative Writing lecturer Dr Rohan Wilson said it was “a huge prize” for aspiring writers to be able to have an in-depth discussion with a publisher about their work and possible avenues. 

“For a young writer, it’s great to work with someone like Annette, who has so much knowledge and experience. It’s a vote of confidence in your work,” he said. 

“It’s the next step in your career. It’s a real honour for students to win it.”

Entries for this year’s Allen and Unwin Writers Prize close on 30 september. 

QUT Creative Writing graduate and 2018 Allen & Unwin Writers Prize winner Erin Corstiaans.


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