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All About Women has partnered with Western Sydney-based literacy movement Sweatshop on an emerging writers mentorship program for women and non-binary First Nations, culturally and linguistically diverse writers. 

Applications for the mentorship are now closed.

Talks & Ideas | Mentorship Program

Writing is a tool to fight injustice: get involved!

All About Women hosts a new cohort of emerging writer mentees. Two writers will work on a short piece inspired by the themes of this year’s All About Women festival, under the guidance of Sweatshop judges/mentors Winnie Dunn and Randa Abdel-Fattah. Finished works will be published on Sydney Opera House’s website and amplified across our social media channels

The program is open to emerging writers from First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who have some record of publication but have not yet published a full-length work. For the first time, they will also read their creative writing pieces live on-stage in dialogue with Winnie and Randa.  This will be an exciting event to get to know the next generation of literary talent!

“The stories and experiences of culturally diverse women can help challenge and transform people’s negative opinions and prejudices”

Winnie Dunn

Recipients announced

We are excited to announce Yeena Kirkbright (Ashfield) and Ayeesha Ash (Marrickville) as the recipients of the All About Women of Colour Mentorship program, delivered in partnership with Western Sydney-based literacy Sweatshop. Lina Ali (North Parramatta) and Raqiya Ahmed (West Hoxton) were also awarded Highly Commended by the Judges. 

For the first time in the mentorship program, the winners, Kirkbright and Ash, will read their work live on-stage in conversation with Sweatshop mentors Winnie Dunn and Randa Abdel-Fattah at In Colour: A Dialogue with Rising Artists at All About Women on Sunday 13 March 2022.

Kirkbright and Ash will each receive:

  • $1,000 prize money;
  • Access to the All About Women festival;
  • Three rounds of feedback on their writing project and up to 25 hours of mentorship from Sweatshop affiliated mentors Winnie Dunn and Randa Abdel-Fattah; and
  • The opportunity to engage with speakers from the All About Women festival line-up.

As Highly Commended applicants, Lina Ali and Raqiya Ahmed will each receive up to 25 hours of editorial consultation with mentors Winnie Dunn and Randa Abdel-Fattah, an invitation to attend and be acknowledged at the All About Women event, In Colour: A Dialogue with Rising Artists, access to the All About Women festival and a gift pack of Sweatshop books valued at $200, as well as the opportunity to have a short work published on the Sydney Opera House website, for which they will be remunerated.

The finished works are inspired by the All About Women festival themes of: allyship, friendship, and our collective responsibility to our loved ones, our neighbours, our communities.

More about the winners

Yeena Kirkbright

Yeena is a Wiradjuri poet who grew up in Central West New South Wales. She is now blessed to live and work on Dharug and Gadigal lands here in Sydney. Her work has appeared in several literary journals, including Cordite Poetry Review, Overland and most recently in Australian Poetry’s Best of Australian Poems 2021. Her poem The Grief Tourist was awarded runner up in Overland literary journal’s 2021 Kuracca Prize for Australian Literature.

For the All About Women of Colour writing mentorship, Yeena is working on a series of poems celebrating the women in her family. In particular, she will reflect on the experiences of her Grandmother, who was from an inspiring and resilient generation of Aboriginal women.

Yeena Kirkbright, winner of the All About Women of Colour writing mentorship

Ayeesha Ash

Ayeesha is a proud Māori Grenadian interdisciplinary artist who seeks to spark social consciousness through her work. In 2015 she co-founded the highly acclaimed creative arts company Black Birds, of which she is now the Artistic Director. Black Birds was created as a response to the lack of representation & misrepresentation of Womxn of Colour in the Australian arts. With each project, creatives collaborate on works that dissect and document Black and Brown diasporic experiences in Australia. Black Birds is currently creating Seen, a television show inspired by their sold out stage play Brown Skin Girl. 

For the All About Women of Colour writing mentorship Ayeesha will be developing a short story which explores the breaking of a tether between two sisters and the grief that makes way for freedom. 

Ayeesha Ash, winner of the All About Women of Colour writing mentorship

Highly commended

Lina Ali 

Lina Ali, highly commended in the All About Women of Colour writing mentorship

Raqiya Ahmed 

Raqiya Ahmed, highly commended in the All About Women of Colour writing mentorship

More about the judges...

Winnie Dunn is the General Manager of Western Sydney based literacy movement, Sweatshop. She is a writer of Tongan descent from Mount Druitt and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Western Sydney University. Winnie’s work has been published in the Sydney Review of Books, Griffith Review, Meanjin, SBS Voices, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Southerly and Cordite. She is the editor of several critically acclaimed anthologies, and currently working on her debut novel as the recipient of a CAL Ignite grant.

Randa Abdel-Fattah is a Palestinian Egyptian Muslim author of 14 books, Palestine advocate and Islamophobia scholar. Randa is also a sociologist at Macquarie University researching race, activism, youth and the war on terror. Randa’s first picture storybook, 11 Words for Love, inspired by the Arabic language, is due for release in 2022. Her latest book, based on writing workshops and interviews with Muslim and non-Muslim youth, is Coming of Age in the War on Terror.

Catch the livestream

A selection of ten talks at All About Women will be livestreamed from our stages in 2023, meaning you can catch keynote talks from Bikini KillJennette McCurdyGrace Tame and so many more even if you can't make it to the House on the day.

Explore livestream program

There's so much more...


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All About Women has partnered with Western Sydney-based literacy movement Sweatshop on an emerging writers mentorship program for First Nations, culturally and linguistically diverse writers.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the All About Women of Colour Mentorship?

Building on the success of an inaugural mentorship for diverse emerging writers (part of Antidote Festival 2021), the Sydney Opera House has again partnered with Western Sydney-based literacy movement Sweatshop on an emerging writers mentorship program for First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse writers, hosted by All About Women festival in 2022. For this instalment of the year-round series of mentorship programs, two successful applicants will develop a creative writing project inspired by the themes of the Opera House’s All About Women festival. For the first time, the two successful recipients will also be invited to read their work live on-stage in dialogue with Sweatshop mentors at All About Women festival on Sunday 13 March 2022.

The Opera House will continue to partner with relevant organisations throughout the year that specialise in different areas of diversity and inclusion to deliver a variety of mentorship programs. 

Who can apply?

The All About Women of Colour program is open to women and non-binary emerging writers from First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who have some record of publication but have not yet published a full-length work.

Applicants must be Sydney residents and over the age of 18.

How can I apply and when do applications close?

Please apply at the following link. Applications for the 2022 program close at 11.59pm AEDT on Sunday 23 January 2022. 

Am I too old/young to apply? 

As long as you are over 18 years, you are neither too old or too young to participate in the program. 

If my application is successful, how will I be contacted?

We will endeavour to notify all applicants if their application has been successful or not after the closing date. If successful, applicants will be contacted via phone or email to discuss their creative writing project and the mentorship further.

Can I submit more than one application?

You may only submit one application.

Can I put in a late application?

Late applications will not be accepted. Applications for the program close at 11.59pm AEDT on Sunday 23 January 2022.

How will my application be assessed?

Applications will be assessed against a number of criteria, including the originality of ideas contained in the writing proposal, how well those ideas respond to the themes of the festival, and applicants’ writing potential based on their publication history and application. The judges are Winnie Dunn and Randa Abdel-Fattah.

How will the mentorship work?

Each successful applicant will be paired with one mentor who will provide up to 25 hours of mentorship online or in-person (Covid restrictions permitting). That mentor will provide three rounds of feedback on drafts of the writing project prior to submission to the Opera House for publication. The final deadline for submission of the final work is Tuesday 15 March 2022. Each participant will also be invited to share their work live on stage in dialogue with the judges/mentors in a dedicated event at All About Women – In Colour: A Dialogue with Rising Artists and engage with some speakers from the All About Women festival line-up.

Who do I contact if I have any questions about my application?

If you have any questions about completing your application, please email

Terms & Conditions


1. Information on how to apply to the All About Women of Colour Mentorship (“the Program”) forms part of these Terms and Conditions of entry. Submission of an application is deemed acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.

2. The Program organiser is the Sydney Opera House Trust, Bennelong Point, Sydney NSW 2000 (ABN 69 712 101 035), (+612) 9250 7111 (‘Sydney Opera House’, ‘us’, ‘we’).

3. Entry is open to women and non-binary citizens and permanent residents of Australia over the age of eighteen who currently reside in Sydney. Employees of the Sydney Opera House and their immediate families are not eligible to enter.

4. The application entry period commences on Wednesday 15 December 2021 and will close on Sunday 23 January 2022 at 11:59pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).

5. Applicants must be from a First Nations or culturally diverse background. Cultural diversity is defined in this context as “people who speak a language other than English and people with culturally and linguistically diverse ancestries”.

6.  Applicants must not have had a full-length work of fiction or narrative non-fiction professionally published or accepted for publication in print or digital formats. If you have had short works published in print or online you are eligible to apply.

7. To apply for acceptance into the Program you must complete and submit the online application form located at and a 500-word maximum writing project proposal in accordance with the specified conditions. Some applicants may be invited to give more information or have discussions about their past work.

8. You may submit an application for entry into the 2022 Program only once. The Sydney Opera House reserves the right to disqualify any incomplete or automated applications.

9. The decision of the judges in selecting the successful applicant/s is final. The judges will not enter into any correspondence and no individual feedback will be provided to applicants.

10. Successful applicants will be selected for their suitability to the Program and the Sydney Opera House’s values. Up to two successful applicants may be notified at any time from 24 January – 10 February 2022. The Sydney Opera House may (in its absolute discretion) elect not to choose any successful applicants, choose fewer or more than two successful applicants. The successful applicant(s) will be contacted using the contact details provided in their application.

11. If we cannot contact you (or you do not respond during the notification period), you elect not to continue as an applicant, or do not sign the Program Letter of Acceptance (the terms of which are set out below) you cannot be included in the Program.

12. Applications and supporting work must be in English.

The Program

13. Each successful applicant (“Participant”) will receive (a) $1,000 payable in 2 equal instalments – $500 at the commencement of the Program and $500 on submission of the final writing project; and (b) a 1 person pass to the 2022 All About Women festival (where this proceeds in 2022). You agree to provide SOHT with all reasonable assistance required to make these instalments. This pass is non-transferrable and not redeemable for cash.

14. Each Participant will be paired with a suitably experienced writer from Sweatshop, for up to 25 hours across a period of two months for the mentorship.  The mentorship will also include presentation coaching ahead of the All About Women event. Sweatshop is a literacy movement based in Western Sydney which is devoted to empowering culturally and linguistically diverse communities through reading, writing and critical thinking. Sweatshop provides research, training, mentoring and employment opportunities for emerging and established writers and arts practitioners from Indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds. The mentorship will be delivered online and in person, depending on the availability and preference of the mentor and Participant. The Sydney Opera House will attempt to provide the same mentor for the duration of the Program, but cannot guarantee their availability.

15. Each Participant must prepare and submit a final writing project comprising a work of fiction of no less than 1000 words.

16. The work submitted by the Participant at the conclusion of the mentorship (being no later than Tuesday 15 March 2022) must be original and cannot have been previously published in print or digital formats or be currently submitted for publication. If, after submission, the work is the winner of any other prize, or is accepted for publication, or self-published, you must notify the Sydney Opera House in writing immediately, and your work may be deemed ineligible for publication and you may be withdrawn from the Program.

17. SOHT may invite each Participant to attend and speak at an All About Women in-conversation event – In Colour: A Dialogue with Rising Artists with Sweatshop mentors currently scheduled for 13 March 2022. Participants will present their submitted work of fiction and publicly speak about their work at the Event, subject to the execution of a separate agreement.

18. If you are a successful applicant you agree to provide reasonable assistance to the Sydney Opera House and Sweatshop to promote the Program.

19. Participants grant the Sydney Opera House a non-exclusive, irrevocable, unlimited right to publish the work resulting from the mentorship on the Sydney Opera House website, including edited excerpts. The Sydney Opera House does not guarantee publication of the Participant’s work.

20. Copyright in any work you submit remains with you, but the Sydney Opera House reserves the right to use successful applicants’ submitted work to promote the mentorship Program.

21. In case of an emergency the Sydney Opera House will use the contact details supplied by you when entering the Program.

22. The personal information Participants provide when applying for the Program will be used by the Sydney Opera House to conduct the Program. Your personal information will be used and stored in accordance with the Sydney Opera House Customer Privacy Statement. For more information about the Sydney Opera House’s Privacy Policy, including how to request access to personal information can be found on the Sydney Opera House’s website at: