Meet Michelle Write
As an award winning Children’s Author Michelle is best known for her books that tackle sensitive, serious, sometimes sad stuff.
She is passionate about helping her young readers make sense of their world, especially children with parents/primary care givers who are experiencing mental health challenges.
Michelle also writes fictitious, funny, frivolous stuff – just because she can.
As a qualified Teacher and Workplace Trainer and Assessor Michelle enjoys giving talks and presentations about her role as a Children’s Author.
Her employment history is varied and includes several roles working with children – Teacher, Youth Worker, Afterschool Childcare Coordinator and a Deputy Matron in an English Boy’s Boarding School.
Michelle has published 11 children’s books for both the educational and trade market.
Mental Health Ambassador
As a Children’s Author, Michelle writes for a variety of ages and in different genres. Her area of expertise as a Mental Health Ambassador often finds her writing about mental ill health, a difficult topic many adults are reluctant to talk about with their children.
Experts in the field encourage parents to tell children the truth even in challenging circumstances. Conversations with children about difficult topics are important. They help children cope, be prepared and make sense of what they have been seeing, hearing and feeling. When a child doesn’t understand a situation they may worry, feel alone or misunderstand what is happening.
Michelle’s aim when she set out to write My Happy Sad Mummy and Together Things was two fold. Firstly, she wanted to help children better understand the often confusing world of living with a family member who has a mental health challenge. Secondly, she wanted to let parents know that it’s ok to be hesitant about tackling the topic of mental ill health with their children … every parent wants ‘to protect’ their child, but as already stated, research shows it is imperative that we talk to children about difficult topics that directly impact on them. It is Michelle’s hope her two picture books will give people the courage to try.
Additional information relevant to Michelle’s qualifications as a Mental Health Ambassador:
- My Happy Sad Mummy won the Australian Association of Family Therapy Twenty-ninth Annual Awards for Children’s picture books published in 2015.
- In 2019 and 2020 respectively, Michelle won two prestigious writing grants to assist her with the development and publication process of her current middle grade novel-in-progress Me and my mad mum which deals with mental ill health and complex trauma.
- Michelle works as a Mental Health Consumer Consultant for Families Where a Parent has a Mental Illness (FaPMI).
- Michelle is an active member of the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) where she participates in forums and similar that drive systematic change in the public mental health sector.
- Michelle is a qualified Teacher and Workplace Trainer and Assessor.
Further to her work as a Mental Health Ambassador Michelle has recently ventured out into the world of performance writing, including spoken word and short film. In particular, she wants to use the medium of performance writing to educate those in the wider community about what it means to be a mature age individual with lived/living experience of complex mental health realities in a manner that encourages embracing difference, tolerance and compassion.
Michelle is a proud member of Heidi Everett Productions and Schizy Inc, both founded by director Heidi Everett. Heidi has spent 15 years growing her business and giving people with complex mental health challenges unique opportunities to express themselves through the arts.
With the support of Heidi Michelle has performed spoken word pieces with a group of artists known as the Gnarly Writers, all of whom have complex mental health challenges and identify as mature age. She has performed at a number of writing festivals in Melbourne, including The Emerging Writers Festival, The Fringe and The Big Anxiety Fest.
Michelle has also had a short film she co-wrote and acted in screened
at the ACMI Theatre, Federation Square, Melbourne.
Her target audience is two-fold. Firstly, she educates the general public about her unique experiences within the public mental health system. Secondly, she advocates for others who may have had similar experiences as herself. That is, facing barriers to the arts because of one’s perceived ‘disabilities’. Negative stereotypes are still very much alive when it comes to the treatment of people with lived/living experience of complex mental health realities. As a creative, opportunities to have a voice that break down stereotypes is a huge driver of Michelle’s role as a Mental Health Ambassador.
It is Michelle’s hope that advocating for inclusiveness and an end to being marginalised will mean a more understanding and compassionate community. Being seen and heard is a wonderful way for Michelle to not only advocate for the above, it is also a way for her to demonstrate her skills through the arts, make an income and provide a sense of empowerment. Most importantly though, it has proven to be a very cathartic, healing process.
In 2007 Michelle won a writing mentorship funded by the Stonnington City Council (Victoria) in partnership with the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust. She was extremely fortunate to be mentored by multi-award winning Author/Illustrators Sally Rippin and Kevin Burgemeestre.
In 2011 Michelle placed second in the CYA Conference Writing and Illustration Competition for her junior fiction story, Our dog Olly.
In 2016 My Happy Sad Mummy won the Australian Association of Family Therapy Twenty-ninth Annual Awards for books published in 2015.
In 2018 Michelle won a Writers Victoria Writeability Fellowship. As part of this Fellowship she chose to be mentored by award-winning, critically acclaimed YA Author Shivaun Plozza. Under Shivaun’s guidance, Michelle developed the beginnings of her current middle grade novel in-progress, Me and my mad mum.
In 2019 Me and my mad mum was highly commended by Writers Victoria Publishability Judge and esteemed poet Andy Jackson.
Later that same year Michelle was awarded a May Gibbs Children’s Literature Creative Time Residential Fellowship to work on Me and my mad mum, an opportunity she will participate in for the entire month of September 2023.
Michelle was granted a 5-day Transmit Residency with Arts Access Victoria in April 2023. During the residency, she took part in a workshop led by Performer, Writer and Theatre-Maker, Andi Snelling, which focused on exploring aesthetic access. The aim of the workshop was to incorporate access into the design and composition of one’s art.
Most recently, Michelle was awarded a Cardinia Small Change Grant to develop a community spoken word event to be held in the Dandenongs in October 2023.