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What We Do

Sitting under the umbrella of USC’s regional engagement activities and funded through the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), the CWEP is presented in regional high schools in the Wide Bay Burnett, Cooloola, and Moreton Bay regions. The program is delivered over a school term, through eight weekly workshops, for students between Grade 6 - Grade 11 (and occasionally Grade 12).

The CWEP teaching team work alongside aspiring young writers in their schools to cultivate their skills in the essential elements of story creation: character, setting, plot, structure, POV, dialogue, theme, and editing. During the CWEP, our young writers develop, write, and edit a short story for inclusion in an anthology, which is published and presented at their graduation/anthology launch in the last week of the program, replicating the university experience and the professional goal of most creative writers. 


The CWEP teaching team, Dr Maria Arena, Dr Eileen Goodall, and Shannon Horsfall, are practicing and published writers, who believe in the power of acknowledging and nurturing the potential for success in young creatives. By sharing their expertise, the CWEP teaching team hope to build aspiration for further education, while inspiring our storytellers of the future. 

Who We Are

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Dr Maria Arena has been presenting the Creative Writing Excellence Program for fifteen years. Maria is the author of three novels, Mira Falling, Sisterhood, and Shroudeaters, and she writes short realist, horror, science-fiction, and speculative fiction stories. Aside from the Creative Writing Excellence Program, Maria also teaches courses in grammar, biography and memoir writing, and speculative fiction at the University of Southern Queensland. Her short story, The Hut, was published in Bards and Sages Quarterly in September 2022.

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Dr Eileen Herbert-Goodall is Co-ordinator of the Creative Writing Excellence Program. She has had works of non-fiction and fiction published in various magazines, journals and anthologies. She is the author of a novella titled The Sherbrooke Brothers. Eileen is also a professional editor. She is the Membership Liaison Officer and Secretary for the Australasian Association of Writing Programs. To inquire about having a CWEP presenter visit your school, contact Eileen at

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Shannon Horsfall has an Honours Degree in Creative Writing at UniSC and is undertaking her PhD in creative writing. She is the award-winning author-illustrator of Was Not Me and Nomax - longlisted for the CBCA Awards - published by HarperCollins, and the illustrator of Dear Santa (Scholastic), My Unicorn Farts Glitter (Hachette), and Once I Munched a Mango (SLQ). She has published short stories, poetry, and flash fiction. Shannon teaches Creative Writing at UniSC and presents workshops at the Queensland Writers’ Centre and in schools across the state.

Dr Maria Arena

Dr Eileen Herbert-Goodall

Shannon Horsfall

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