FAQs 2018

May Gibbs Children Literature Trust Applications for Creative Time Residential Fellowships 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the eligibility criteria to make an application?


To be eligible to apply for a 2018 fellowship you must have had at least one title for children or young adults published by a trade publisher.


We regret that for 2018 fellowships, authors and illustrators whose titles are solely published through education publishers are not eligible. We also regret that self/indie-published authors and illustrators are not eligible to apply.


We are very aware that many authors/illustrators have created a fine body of work through these publishing avenues. We urge authors and illustrators in this position to consider investigating the annual Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship. Details of this will be available over the next few months under ‘Creative Time Fellowships, The Ian Wilson Memorial Fellowship’.


Does my proposed fellowship project have to take a particular form?


Fellowship projects can be a work of fiction or creative non-fiction, including graphic novels and poetry. Projects can be of varying lengths for a wide age range of readers under the age of 18 and can focus on the illustration or the words or both. Fellowships can be used for works at any stage from concept and research to final editing. Fellows can work on one project or several. 


I am an emerging children’s author/illustrator. Am I eligible to apply?


We don’t mind where you’re at in your career, however to be eligible for a fellowship you must be the author or illustrator of at least one work published by a trade publisher.


Please explain within your application why a fellowship would be valuable to you at this stage in your career.


Is there a fee to apply?




I have received a fellowship in the past. Can I apply for a second one?


Yes, after two years. In other words, people who undertook fellowships in 2015 can apply in the 2017 round for another fellowship in 2018.


I live overseas. Can I still apply?


Yes, as long as you are an Australian resident or citizen and understand that the Trust is not in a position to provide an international airfare. You will need to provide a strong rationale within your application for wanting to travel back to Australia for a fellowship.


What does the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust provide?


  • We provide rent-free accommodation for the duration of your 28-night fellowship
  • Where possible we support you with networking opportunities and professional contacts
  • We book and pay for your flights* to and from your nearest capital city. If you prefer to drive your own vehicle to and from your host city a petrol contribution equivalent to the lowest available cost of an economy return flight from and to the same places may be available, subject to board approval.


*Please note that the flight bookings include a standard luggage allowance of 23 kg. Any excess baggage is your own responsibility and can be pre-arranged and paid for using the booking reference supplied by the Fellowships Co-ordinator.


NB. If your fellowship research requires specific reference books, do feel free send a list to the Fellowships Co-ordinator well in advance of your fellowship, as it may be possible to source these from local libraries and save the weight in your luggage.


(See Book Sales below for further information, which might have an impact on your luggage.)


What kind of networking opportunities will be available to me?


Fellows are invited to meetings and events, both formally and informally, as they arise during fellowship dates.


Is there a per diem?


No, you’ll need to ensure that you have the resources to cope with a month away, as you’ll need to buy your own meals and organise any day-to-day transport you might need. The studio apartments are all self-catering. Our volunteers in each host city make sure that you are well looked after. For example, some basic food is provided to get you started and you will be met at the airport on arrival and returned there at the end of your fellowship.


Do I need to specify the dates of my fellowship as part of my application?


No, the actual scheduling of fellowships takes place over several conversations with the Fellowships Co-ordinator at the time of fellowships being offered and accepted. For 2018 fellowships these conversations will take place during September and October 2017.


Can I take my Fellowship in two halves IE two weeks each time?


We strongly prefer to organise fellowships in one block of time, which is one month. We allow fellowships taken in two halves only in exceptional circumstances. If this is relevant to your situation talk to the Fellowships Co-ordinator as soon as you can.


If the maximum number of nights per fellowship is 28, is there a minimum number of nights?


Yes, we specify a minimum of 26 nights because we want you to maximise the opportunity provided by creative time away from home.


Can I have my partner/family to stay during my residency?


Partners and family members are welcome to stay for a short time, such as a weekend, with you during your residency. The accommodation is not suitable for longer-term stays because it’s also your work space.


How do the May Gibbs Trust partnerships work?


Over the years we have evolved a range of formal and informal partnerships in a number of settings, including schools and libraries, which provide paid work opportunities to our fellows. Fees are based on Australian Society of Author rates.


Fellows taking on this work need some experience and co-construct a program of sessions (workshops, presentations or meet the author sessions) to a maximum of 15 sessions/hours, scheduled in collaboration with the host institution. This ensures that your own uninterrupted creative time can still be your priority. Taking on such work is a commitment made at the time of accepting a fellowship, however please also note that unless and until formal confirmation of work from one of our partners is made, we cannot guarantee paid work. For this reason, fellows must ensure that they are not relying on the prospect of paid work to resource their fellowship time.


Co-constructing the events with the host institution, often some time before the events, can be a simple or a considerably more complex process, depending on the partner’s requirements.


Other partners provide work that is more ad hoc and “one off” in nature.


Can I undertake paid work using contacts of my own?


Yes, unless you are undertaking work with a May Gibbs Trust partner (in which case your hours are already likely to be at the maximum amount) and as long as you keep your total contact sessions to a maximum of 15. You must ensure that your personal plans do not unduly interrupt your own creative time and that they are not likely to compete for audiences with the activities of any May Gibbs Trust events/partners involved in your host city.


Please discuss your plans with the Fellowships Co-ordinator well before devising your schedule and be aware that brokering/liaising with such contacts is not part of the Fellowships Co-ordinator’s role.


Child Safe Environments

The May Gibbs Trust is committed to providing child safe environments. You cannot undertake work with any of our partner organisations without a valid police check and/or working with children clearance.

The Fellowships Co-ordinator will need to make a copy of the original(s) of these documents before you can start your work.


Do I need to have an ABN?

If you intend to undertake paid work during your fellowship then yes, as we ask that you invoice the employer (schools, libraries and in some cases the Trust itself) directly for your work.


What about insurance?

We require you to have your own public liability insurance for work undertaken with the public during a Creative Time Residential Fellowship outside the May Gibbs Trust studios. We can recommend some user friendly and extremely cost effective cover. Contact the Fellowships Co-ordinator for further information.


If your fellowship consists purely of uninterrupted creative time, with no engagement with the public, insurance is not required.


What do you expect from me as a Fellow?


Fellows are required to:

  •  prioritise their fellowship project(s) during their stay
  • acknowledge the support of the MGCLT in any publication arising from the work undertaken or completed, in full or in part, during the fellowship, using the Trust’s logo (contact the Fellowships Coordinator) and an appropriate version of the following short acknowledgement:[Title] was conceived/developed/completed as part of a Creative Time Residential Fellowship provided by the May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust
  • contribute to the fellows’ journal which is kept in the studio apartment
  • complete a brief report about the fellowship within 8 weeks of its conclusion
  • if working with a Trust partner take on no more than 15 hours paid speaking, teaching and/or promotional employment during the fellowship
  • liaise with the Fellowships Co-ordinator prior to taking on any additional speaking, teaching and/or promotional work that has not been arranged by the MGCLTset fees at MGCLT rates for any additional speaking, teaching and/or promotional activities undertaken within the Fellowship
  • provide the Fellowships Co-ordinator with a copy of your police check/working with children clearance if involved in any work
  • liaise with the Fellowships Co-ordinator on suitable content for information provided to the media
  • speak without further payment at a MGCLT function organised by the local support committee.


What is the MGCLT function?


As part of all fellowships we ask that our fellows speak/present without further payment at what we describe as your “free event.” This is organised by the voluntary May Gibbs Trust support committee or partner committees in each host city. The function is essentially in your honour, but is also designed to promote you and the Trust and provide special experiences for our supporters.


Events vary in their formality or informality and may be literary lunches, dinners, partner functions, schools sessions a High Tea or a PD for teachers, devised to link your skills and interests with the interests of our stakeholders.  This is why we ask for information about the content and style of your presentations, even if you’re not looking for work.


Book Sales

We understand that the kinds of networking and special events we arrange may provide a context for the sale of your books. This is approved or not approved case by case by the Trust’s board through the local support committees and depends on the location of your fellowship. Some events enjoy formal support from a local bookshop, whose people donate their time to attend the event and supply books, whereas other events have less formal arrangements and actively invite you to supply your own books.


Please talk to the Fellowships Co-ordinator about this well in advance of your fellowship.