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Our Patrons

Writers Victoria has several patrons who provide guidance for our strategic direction, and represent and advocate for the organisation and the interests of writers in Victoria and Australia.

Christos Tsiolkas

A photo of Christos Tsiolkas.

Writers Victoria Patron since 2017, Christos Tsiolkas is the author of ten books: Loaded (1995), Jump Cuts (with Sasha Soldatow, 1996), The Jesus Man (1999), The Devil’s Playground (2002), Dead Europe (2005), The Slap (2008), Barracuda (2013), Merciless Gods (2014), Damascus (2019), and 7 ½ (2021).

Loaded, about an alienated closet gay youth in Melbourne, was adapted as the feature film Head On in 1998 by director Ana Kokkinos, starring Alex Dimitriades. Dead Europe won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award, and Christos’ fourth novel, The Slap, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Prize, the 2009 ALS Gold Medal, the 2009 Nielsen BookData Booksellers’ Choice Award, the 2009 ABIA Book of the Year, and the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction in the 2009 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. The Slap has also been adapted into both an Australian and U.S. television miniseries. In 2020, Damascus won the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Fiction.

In addition to the numerous awards and recognitions for his books, in 2021 Christos received the prestigious Melbourne Prize for Literature, which honoured his “outstanding contribution to Australian literature and to cultural and intellectual life”.

Melanie Cheng

A photo of Melanie Cheng.

Writers Victoria patron since 2022, Melanie is a writer and general practitioner from Melbourne, published widely in both print and online. In 2021, Melanie was the health columnist for The Saturday Paper, and her non-fiction has appeared in The Guardian, The Age, The Weekend Australian, SBS Online, Meanjin, Overland, and the Griffith REVIEW, among others. Her short story collection, Australia Day, won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and went on to win the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her debut novel, Room for a Stranger, was shortlisted for the 2020 NSW Premier’s Multicultural Prize and longlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Award. Melanie contends that if Saul Bellow is right and “a writer is a reader moved to emulation” then she is moved by authors like Zadie Smith, Richard Yates, Alice Munro, Elizabeth Strout, Alice Pung and Christos Tsiolkas.

Andy Jackson

A photo of Andy Jackson

Writers Victoria patron since 2022, Andy Jackson is a poet preoccupied with difference and embodiment. He has featured at literary events and arts festivals across Australia, in Ireland, India and the USA. His first published book of poems, Among the Regulars, was shortlisted for the 2011 Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry, and his fourth collection, Music Our Bodies Can’t Hold, which consists of portrait poems of other people with Marfan Syndrome, was shortlisted for the 2020 John Bray Poetry Award.

Andy’s most recent poetry collection is Human Looking (Giramondo, 2021), which won the ALS Gold Medal, and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Poetry. These autobiographical and biographical poems speak with the voices of the disabled and disfigured, in myth, art, history and the present moment. They’re visceral and intimate, they comfort and discomfort at the same time – empathy for the other seems to falter, only to expand and deepen.

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