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The Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund

The Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund recognises the unique value of travel in the development of writing and literary careers.

In partnership with the Myer Foundation, the Travel Fund supports emerging, midcareer, and established Australian writers and literary sector workers in pursuing professional development opportunities. This includes writers, editors, agents, publishers, librarians, booksellers, employees and associates of literary organisations and journals, and other literary professionals currently living in Australia.

Applicants can apply for grants between $2,000 and $10,000. These grants support professional development through travel.

The Travel Fund was launched in 2017 and was named in honour of poet, novelist and short story writer Neilma Gantner (1922-2015).

Round 10 is now closed. Winners will be announced in early November.

The judges for Round 10 are: Writer and librarian Özge Sevindik-Alkan (VIC), writer and editor Jasmin McGaughey (QLD) and bookseller and advocate Jing Xuan Teo (VIC)

Round 9

The judges for round 9 were queercrip poet and historian Robin Eames, writer, editor, programmer, organiser and novice filmmaker Muhib Nabulsi, and writer, researcher and editor Roz Bellamy. The judges looked for applications that demonstrate how strategic travel opportunities would benefit the applicant’s writing practice, career development and/or the broader Australian literary sector.

Note: Due to unforeseen circumstances Elena MacDonald was unable to participate in the judging for Round 9 so Roz Bellamy joined Robin Eames and Muhib Nabulsi as the judges for Round 9.

Congratulations to the Round 9 recipients

  • Writer Brian Obiri-Asare (NSW) — awarded funding to travel to Ghana to undertake a residency and to engage in the study of West African theatrical form to further develop play-in-progress, Speak of the Devil
  • Writer, podcaster and content creator Aimee Chan (NSW) — awarded funding to tour literary exhibition, Juvenilia, to South Australia to reach a new audience of readers, educators and librarians
  • Collaborative team Amy McQuire and Matt Chun (NSW) — awarded for travel to Tanna, Vanuatu for research, co-writing and artmaking for collaborative picture book project on the enslavement of Pacific Islanders in colonial Australia, aka ‘Blackbirding’
  • Writer, academic and union organiser Jack Kirne (VIC) — awarded funding to travel to Sardinia, Italy for a writer’s residency as well as to complete revisions of unpublished novel manuscript
  • Writer and editor Stefan Sabatini (VIC) — awarded funding for travel to Ireland for research into novel set in contemporary Dublin
  • Poet, performer and facilitator Lorna Munro (NSW) — awarded funding to travel to and participate in Palestine Writes
  • Freelance writer and author Karen Wyld (SA) — awarded funding for travel to Western Australia to research archives and exhibitions, experience immersive site visits and a self-hosted writer’s retreat, as well as travel to Philadelphia, USA to attend Palestine Writes and participate in mentoring with Palestinian novelist Susan Abulhawa.

Feedback from the judges of Round 9

The judges wish to note that many strong applications narrowly missed out due to limited funding and wish to encourage everyone to apply again in future rounds. As such, the judges have provided general feedback, related to this round, to assist applicants seeking feedback:

“We found that the strongest applications strongly reflected on and were specific on the purpose of their selected travel location. These applicants tended to have ties to the local community of the location and the location was clearly connected to their proposed travel project. Strong applications also showed a sensitivity and due diligence when proposing projects related to sensitive and complex travel locations or subject matter. In general, the judges encourage future applicants to be as specific as possible when writing their applications and to have thoroughly done research into their proposed travel locations, subject matter and projects. We would like to thank everyone for their time and effort into applying and encourage everyone to continue pursuing their creative projects as well as to apply again to the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund.”

Previous recipients

Round 8

Daniel Ward, Katrina Trinh, André Dao, Eunice Andrada, Hasib Hourani, Simone Jordan, Eugen Bacon. Read the full announcement on our website here.

Round 7

Aimee Knight, Alison Gibbs, Eileen Herbert-Goodall, Jazz Money, Micaela Sahhar, Nicole Lee, Robert Wood, Sara Saleh, Susan Francis, Yen Pham.

Round 6

Amanda Anastasi, Madeleine Gray, Shakira Hussein, Miranda Luby, Brooke Maddison, Marjon Mossammaparast, Michael Ryan, Michelle Scott Tucker, Mark Smith, Annabel Stafford, Lowana Tudor-Smith, Kate Wild.

Round 5

Cate Kennedy, Evelyn Araluen and Jonathan Dunk, Fiona Hardy, Madelaine Dickie, Maria Takolander, Mirandi Riwoe, Robert Lukins, Ruhi Lee, Sara Saleh, Tamara Lazaroff. 

Round 4

Annabel Brady-Brown, Cher Tan, Ellen O’Brien, Fiona Murphy, Heather Dyer, Melanie Joosten, Oliver Reeson, Sara Mansour, Sista Zai Zanda, Susie Anderson, Yvette Holt. 

Round 3

Allison Colpoys, Cassandra Pybus, Christine Sun, Eleanor Limprecht, Josephine Wilson, Katherine Collette, Lauren Chater, Sam Twyford-Moore, Tom Holloway.

Round 2

Bruce Pascoe, Chris Andrews, Damon Young, Ellen van Neerven, Emma Viskic, Janine Mikosza, Jennifer Porter, Jessica Friedmann, Laura Woollett, Louis Klee, Melinda Smith, Rebecca Giggs, Sam Cooney.

Round 1

Alexandra Collier, Andrew Bovell, Arwen Summers, Bren MacDibble, Eda Gunaydin, Mark O’Flynn, Michael Earp, Michael Green, Robert Dessaix, Vanessa Russell.

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