Mentorship delivers for first-time novelist

July 29, 2016

An author who completed a Copyright Agency-funded ASA mentorship in 2014 recently had her first novel published in Australia, the UK and the USA.

When she won her mentorship, Aoife Clifford, was an award-winning short-story writer with a second draft manuscript for a novel: All These Perfect Strangers.

Aoife says she couldn’t put a price on what her mentorship with leading crime writer Garry Disher was worth. “It was fantastic,” she says “and it came at the perfect time for me.”

“There was a lot of flexibility about how we used the 25 hours of the mentorship. We decided not to meet but to communicate by email.

“Garry was extremely generous and read my full manuscript through twice. The first time he took a global view of it, looking at the structure and clarity of the story.

All These Perfect Strangers is set in three time periods – the present, the past and the deep past. So it was a rather ambitious project. Garry gave me great insights into how to make it clearer to the reader about which time period they were in by flagging and signposting jumps in time in different ways.

“The second read was more of a forensic review of the finer details of the book. Garry was brilliant because he wanted to present options and possibilities to me, rather than solutions. We spent about eight or nine months working together and he definitely made it a better book.”

The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund has provided $285,000 for new Australian authors since 2009 through our funding of the Australian Society of Author’s annual mentorship program. The ASA’s program will be open for applications in October.