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News  •  28 June 2019


Write It Fellowship recipients 2019

Penguin Random House is thrilled to announce the recipients of the inaugural Write It Fellowship.

Write It is an annual fellowship program that aims to find, nurture and develop unpublished writers across all genres with a focus on under-represented sections of our community. We extend our congratulations to the four authors who have been successful and can’t wait to work with them on developing their projects. 

  • Napak Tilas by Annie McCann (fiction for young readers)
  • Portrait of a Childless Couple by K L Webber (historical fiction)
  • The Girl Who Couldn’t Drive by Ayesha Inoon (contemporary fiction)
  • The Spider and her Demons by sydney khoo (YA fantasy)

Jess Owen, Senior Editor in our Young Readers team, says: ‘The response we received from budding authors across Australia has been phenomenal and we’re delighted the fellowship has captured a wonderful cross-section of Australian voices.

‘We were blown away by the support for this initiative; from writing groups, booksellers and our PRH authors, the enthusiasm from the publishing industry has underscored the hope we hold for initiatives such as Write It.’

The aim of the fellowship is to engage with a new writing talent pool who have interesting and varied stories to tell. Write It aspires to find, nurture and develop unpublished voices across all genres (fiction and non-fiction for both adult and young reader age groups), focusing on writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, LGBTQ+, Indigenous or CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) writers, or writers with a disability.

PRH would like to send a big thank you to Writing NSW for their support of the fellowship. Recipients will attend the PRH Open House at the writing centre on July 26 to learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry. We wish all of the applicants the best of luck with their writing in the future.


Fellowship Authors

Napak Tilas by Annie McCann (fiction for young readers)

Manuscript Synopsis

Napak Tilas is an urban fantasy for young readers that delves into West Javanese legend, Indonesian culture and family history, while pairing elements of time travel and featuring a culturally diverse group of teens from the Western suburbs of Sydney.

Author Bio

Annie McCann has an undeniable passion for Australian children’s and YA books. She is the founder of a network of readers called Read3r’z Re-Vu and reviews the latest releases on her blog when she’s not writing. This story is very close to her heart as she wrote it to honour her Indonesian legends, her ancestors and to share her culture with a modern audience. ‘Napak Tilas’ is a Sundanese phrase which means ‘back to my roots’ and the protagonist, Aisha, sets off on an adventure to do exactly that.


Portrait of a Childless Couple by K L Webber (historical fiction)

Manuscript Synopsis
Set in post-WWI Australia, Vivian defies her family obligations and enters into an unusual marriage where she discovers the truth about her sexuality.

Author Bio

K.L. Webber is a Sydney-based writer who uses inspiration as an excuse for research. K.L. is passionate about writing, rock-climbing, art and photography, and was recently awarded an Honorable Mention in the international photography competition Monochrome Awards (2018). K.L. is a former volunteer researcher for nonprofit The Sydney Feminists, a current member of the Australian Society of Authors, and editor of the Adventuresses Club Press, a hobby imprint dedicated to popularizing the achievements of historic women in the fields of exploration and adventure.


The Girl Who Couldn’t Drive by Ayesha Inoon (contemporary fiction)

Manuscript Synopsis

Moving between scenes of a past in Sri Lanka that is rich in tradition and culture to present day life as a new immigrant in Australia, this is the story of Zia, a Muslim woman who learns to question the boundaries she grew up with and explore what her identity is in their absence. Having always done what was expected of her as a good daughter, wife and mother, previously content with her arranged marriage to her husband Rashid, Zia is conflicted when she begins to fall in love for the first time in her life. Amidst dealing with the grief of an unexpected loss and trying to navigate life in a new country, Zia finds the courage to learn new things and reinvent herself without sacrificing the values she believes in.

Author Bio

Ayesha Inoon is a Sri Lankan writer who currently lives in Canberra with her son and daughter and works in digital communication.


The Spider and her Demons by sydney khoo (YA fantasy)

Manuscript Synopsis

It’s not easy being a teenager. Zhi has to help Aunt Mei out at the restaurant, keep on top of her schoolwork, keep on top of her tutoring homework, do all her chores, and — oh, make sure no one finds out she’s half spider-demon.

Things get a bit complicated when she accidentally kills and eats a man in front of Dior Panne-Nix, most popular girl in school.

Turns out Dior’s a witch though, so it’ll probably be fine.

Author Bio

sydney khoo is a non-binary and queer writer, born in New South Wales, Australia to Malaysian-Chinese parents. Though typically located crying in Starbucks or tweeting in McDonald’s, they can occasionally be found writing creative essays and speculative fiction.

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