Monday musings on Australian literature: Literary fellowships

In past Monday Musings I’ve written about Writers’ retreats and Writers’ development programs. Related to these are fellowships. They involve providing a writer with money and/or resources to enable them to develop a new work. Fellowships usually involve a significant amount of money, and tend to be granted for specific projects.

Australia Council Fellowships are offered across a wide range of arts practice. They are worth $80,000 and support “outstanding, established artists’ creative activity and professional development for a period of up to two years”. Applicants must be Australian practising artists, such as writers, dancers, musicians, and visual artists.

CAUL-ASA Fellowship is offered by the Council of Australian University Librarians and the Australian Society of Authors. As far as I can work out it was first offered in 2014. Its aim is to support creative projects that use one or more of the university libraries’ special collections. Although it’s jointly offered by the ASA, it is in fact open to Australian artists, authors, scholars and researchers. It offers $15,000 which can be used for “travel, accommodation or other project-related expenses”.  From what I can tell, the outcome doesn’t have to be a book.

Copyright Agency Author Fellowship was established in 2014 to mark the Agency’s 40th anniversary “honouring the courage and imagination of the author, publisher and copyright lawyer founders that came together in 1974 to stand up for creators”. The inaugural Author Fellowship was targeted at mid- to late-career authors, because the Agency believed there were many prizes and awards available for new and emerging talent, but fewer opportunities for financial support for authors further along in their careers. The inaugural award, worth $40,000 and announced in September, was given to Mark Henshaw to enable him to work on his third novel, Missing. (I recently reviewed Henshaw’s second novel, The snow kimono, which I understand had its origins in a story Henshaw wrote in 1990 while in Paris on an Arts Council Fellowship.)

Creative Arts Fellowship for Australian Writing is offered by the National Library of Australia, with the support of the Eva Kollsman and Ray Mathew Trust (which I’ve referred to before). It is open to established and emerging writers, working in any literary genre. It enables the writer to undertake an intensive period of creative development at the Library, using the the Library’s collections “as inspiration or to incorporate or transform sources into new creative work”. It includes $10,000 which can be used for travel, accommodation, project costs, as needed. I searched to find the names of past fellows but it looks like this is a new fellowship, one of several replacing the old Harold White and Japan fellowship schemes.

The Kit Denton Fellowship was established in 2007 by the Australian Writers Foundation and Zapruder’s Other Films (the company owned by Kit’s son Andrew Denton). This award offers $30,000 and aims “to promote courage, to champion bold and challenging ideas, and to reward talent and excellence in performance writing”. The winner must be “a writer who has shown courage in their work and demonstrated a willingness to challenge the status quo with their writing”. That sounds like Andrew Denton!  In 2011 it was relaunched as the Kit Denton Disfellowship “because winning it may mean that your nan disowns you, your neighbours shun you and the shock jocks call for you to be locked up”. There is a list of winners on Wikipedia, but only up to 2012. I hope it is still being offered.

Have you heard of any other literary fellowships that sound interesting? Or are you a writer who has benefited from one? What did it mean for you?

13 thoughts on “Monday musings on Australian literature: Literary fellowships

  1. The Hazel Rowley Fellowship was set up in her memory, and this year has been awarded to Caroline Baum to write a biography of Lucie Dreyfus (the wife? sister of? Dreyfus). It’s worth $10,000.

  2. I’ve benefited greatly from Australia Council fellowships, of which I’ve had several. One was at the very beginning, when I scarcely dared to call myself a writer, and it gave me confidence. Another was a two month residency administered, though not paid for, by the Australia Council, at Ledig House, a couple of hours out of New York. This was one of best things I ever did, and the memories are as fresh as yesterday!

    • Thanks Dorothy. Interesting to hear of these overseas opportunities – like Mark Henshaw in Paris, and I think Tim Winton’s The riders was the result of a fellowship to residency wasn’t it? “Administered, though not paid for” doesn’t sound wonderful, financially speaking, but it sounds like the experience was well worth it.

  3. Ledig House residencies are mostly funded, or were when I was there in 2005, by a millionaire real estate developer turned philanthropist. The Australia Council used to select one writer a year as the lucky recipient. (Don’t know if this has changed.) In my case, since I had a book coming out in the US, they generously provided some travel money for me. Long live philanthropy!

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