The WestWords Accelerator is a brand new WestWords program, launching in 2024, with the proud support of City of Parramatta Council. 

The WestWords Accelerator aims to support three writers at the critical juncture of their development; the final draft before publication.

If you live and/or work in the Parramatta City LGA, have a fully completed manuscript (fiction or non-fiction), and are seeking mentorship and guidance to structure and shape that major work to the point of submission to agents and publishers: this is the program for you.

WestWords is here to accelerate your manuscript towards publication.

 In May 2024, WestWords were honoured to be able to announce the three recipients of the new WestWords Accelerator program, with the proud support of City of Parramatta Council.

Congratulations Jelena Curic, Munira Tabassum Ahmed and Kennedy Estephan

Please see below for their full bios, and details on the program. 

Three applicants will be selected for the WestWords Accelerator
Successful applicants will:

  • Receive 8 months of tailored mentorship from established authors/editors chosen by WestWords to match the requirements of the manuscript and the writer


  • Receive practical pathway assistance to trade publication


  • Become a WestWords Writer-In-Residence in Parramatta, with access to the WestWords Centre for Writing quiet writing spaces

  • Join the Accelerator collective, with peer-to-peer support and manuscript feedback, with the guidance of WestWords


  • Receive promotion of work and author profile through WestWords online and live readings and podcast interviews


  • Receive writing workshop and facilitator employment opportunities


  • Receive membership into the WestWords Academy

Jelena Curic is the resident diva of the Croatian Community in Sydney, singing most weekends in Croatian, English and Italian. The last 40 years have been spent performing throughout Australia. There were numerous Television performances; Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Midday Show with Kerri Anne, Morning Show with Bert Newton, Club Buggery with HG and Roy, Channel V with Molly Meldrum. Jelena is a 2023 Westwords Alumni participating in readings and being a part of the end of year showcase where she was an MC and organiser. Publications of her short stories can be found in Westwords Bad Western Sydney Anthology, and Living Stories The Other City, where she was one of the regional winners. Her work was also published in 2023 Short Stories Unlimited Leaving Home Anthology and was short-listed for the Born Writers Award 2023.

Having studied creative writing at university and completed a first draft course at the Writers Studio, she submitted Pero’s Song to the WestWords Accelerator. This manuscript is a literary work of fiction, that follows Pero, a Croatian immigrant living in the western suburbs of Sydney. The story follows Pero as he is compelled to return to his homeland for the first time and face the reason for his escape from Yugoslavia – his estranged father. Pero must travel across Yugoslavia and confront the truth of both their pasts. For Jelena, growing up in the City of Parramatta in the 80’s has had a strong influence on her writing. Coming from a migrant background, being a first-generation Australian, and living in a working/lower middle-class area, she now works to challenge the expectations of her community by choosing to be creative and be a professional singer. Her love of storytelling comes from the stories told to her by her parents; from the stories told verbally through memories, songs and gossip. 

Munira Tabassum Ahmed, at 18, is a rising star in Western Sydney poetry and literary scene. A recipient of the 2023 WestWords-Varuna Emerging Writers’ Residency and the 2023 Faber Writing Scholarship, she was also the 2022 Kat Muscat Fellow, a Youth Ambassador for Red Room Poetry, and a medalist at the 2022 National Youth Poetry Slam. Her work has been published in Best of Australian Poems 2021, Meanjin, Australian Poetry Journal, Liminal, Runway Journal, The Lifted Brow, Cordite, and elsewhere. Munira entered the WestWords Accelerator with her first full-length manuscript The Clinging Thing. This story asks what do we owe to the women who came before us? A work of literary fiction, this work traces the convergent lives of the women around the main character, while unrealities, dreams, and recollections interrogate the duty of a matrilineal line. A writer and student in Parramatta, Munira has completed her drafts of The Clinging Thing at the City of Parramatta Library between her studies.

Kennedy Estephan was born in North Lebanon but raised and for the most part educated in Beirut. He migrated to Australia in 1987 where he completed his tertiary studies, with his first teaching practicum performed in the Parramatta area. He has been working as a full-time science teacher since 1989. This is pertinent to the manuscript he submitted to the WestWords Accelerator. His manuscript, Whispers, a work of literary fiction, is set in the yard outside the astronomers’ living quarters and span no more than an hour in real-time. The work explores the themes of workaholism after a failed marriage, homophobia, and the dangers of falling in love while on the rebound. Being of Lebanese Maronite descent, Kennedy identifies Parramatta as the cultural centre for his friends, family and community. Much of Kennedy’s writing and research has been conducted at The City of Parramatta Library, and prose performed at the WestWords Centre for Writing in the heart of Parramatta. A WestWords-Varuna Emerging Writers’ Resident in 2023, Kennedy is also a winner and finalist in many short-story competitions, with his work appearing in literary magazines, anthologies, online websites and local community-radio broadcasts. These include ZineWest, WestWords BAD Western Sydney Anthology, The Living Stories The Other City Anthology. 

Applicants must:


  • Be 18+ years in age
  • Have a completed draft of a manuscript that is between 65k-90k words
  • The manuscript must be a work of fiction or non-fiction for an adult audience (poetry manuscripts, children’s and YA are excluded). All genres welcome
  • Have a connection to Parramatta City LGA (ie, have lived in for more than 2 years, have worked in the region for a substantial length of time within the past 5 years, or have been born and raised) Exemption may be given in the circumstances of recently arrived migrants/refugees
  • Be an Australian citizen, or persons holding permanent residence visas. Exemption may be given in the circumstances of recently arrived migrants/refugees
  • Not have the manuscript under consideration at another trade publisher 
  • Pay the $35 application administration fee 
  • If successful, applicants must be willing to, and able to (the best of their ability) make themselves available for WestWords Accelerator opportunities, public and online engagements, freelance employment, and meet reporting and manuscript feedback responsibilities, in order to have their manuscript publisher ready by completion of the program (December 2024) 


What to submit to the Accelerator portal:


  • Entire manuscript (65k-90k words) in a word or pdf format. 12pt font, new times roman, double spaced
  • 500 word author bio (third person) 
  • 600 word manuscript synopsis (including genre and word count)
  • 600 word project statement outlining the status of the project (what draft it is up to, how long it has been in development, why you are driven to work on this project, and how you plan to use the next 8 months of the Accelerator if successful)
  • 200 word statement outlining your connection to Parramatta City LGA, or your exemption status




  • This program seeks to replace our retired WestWords Fellowship program. This program is aimed to engage writers at their final steps of manuscript development
  • Successful applications will be assessed and judged on manuscript merit, at the discretion of the WestWords staff
  • While trade publication cannot be guaranteed, the WestWords Accelerator has been developed with real-world publication pathways in mind. Every step of the way, WestWords will work with the writer to access industry connections and opportunities for trade publication on completion of the 8-month mentorship
  • All creative, copy, and moral rights are retained by the writer throughout the submission and Accelerator process. Submissions of the full manuscript are received by a secure server, accessed only by WestWords staff
  • Time expectations of public and online engagements associated with the Accelerator are estimated to at 6 hours per month. (This is not including reading, feedback and writing time expectations). Applicants should be ready and able to offer dedicated time to their manuscript and the Accelerator upon acceptance, through till completion of the program (December 2024)


If you have any questions, please email


For 2024, applications will open March 1st.
Application close April 2nd (COB).