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Writeability Fellowships

Congratulations to our Writeability Fellows for 2023

Since 2013, thanks to the support of the Grace Marion Wilson Trust (2013-2022), Writers Victoria has recognised five outstanding writers with disability each year thanks to the Writeability Fellowship Program.

Our Writeability Fellowships support emerging writers with disability with tailored professional development support such as manuscript assessments, curated programs of workshops, and/or mentoring.

This year, due to funding restraints, we planned for two writers with disability to receive fellowship. We are very happy to announce that thanks to the generosity of Writeability alumna, Jessica Walton, we are offering a third fellowship. In offering her services as mentor, Jessica Walton said, “I’m so thrilled to be a mentor for this year’s Writeability Fellowships, as my own experience of being a Writeability Fellow back in 2017 was so positive. It made such a big difference to my confidence as a disabled writer.”

This year we received 39 applications. As we’ve come to expect, they were extremely varied in genre, style, topic and theme. The judges enjoyed reading Young Adult fiction, poetry, memoir, play scripts, screenplays, song lyrics, self-help, non-fiction, fantasy, horror and even Marxist Poetica! The judges would like to congratulate everyone who submitted to the Fellowships. We know it can be challenging to share such personal writing. The applications were of a very high calibre this year, and with fewer fellowships available, the final decisions were difficult.

Our 2023 Writeability Fellows are:

Grace Hall, for “Off Track”, a young adult novel exploring how physical pain changes a person’s world. Themes of queer self-discovery, sport culture in rural towns and the joy of redefining yourself run through Grace’s draft manuscript.  Our judges described Grace’s project as “Very timely. We are especially excited about the potential of Grace’s protagonist to help centre young people with disability and their experiences in Young Adult.” Grace says: “I want this project the emulate the strength and resilience of the disabled community and how platonic love is one of the most precious gifts a young person can hold.”

 Grace will be mentored by Jessica Walton, a poet, YA writer and Writeability alumna, who has generously donated her services to increase the number of fellowships this year.

Erin Scudder for “The Idea of California”, a book-length poetry manuscript exploring aesthetic, architectural language as a therapeutic response to trauma and chronic illness. Erin says, “I’ve set out to create a geometric, refined, sometimes stark, sometimes lyrical collection of meditations on the concept of haven and relief. Through the Writeability Fellowship, I hope to be guided towards publication by an experienced practitioner, and gain insight into how other chronically ill and/or disabled writers pursue their practice while concurrently managing impairments, energetic limitations, stigma, and the financial pressures associated with medical treatment.” Judges’ comments: “Erin’s work takes California, a place so many of us feel we know, but will never visit and makes it both unfamiliar and intensely intimate. Erin makes ordinary objects and settings – a swimming pool vacuum cleaner, an oyster shell, a flashbulb, place names and bus stops – extraordinary.” This is beautiful and considered work which we are delighted to support.”

Texta Queen for “This flower has a spine” a poetry collection on themes of family dysfunction, childhood alienation, otherness, trauma, grief, and relationships. Judges said: “Undoubtedly a project that is worthy of support. Texta’s poems are brightly coloured, confronting, lyrical, brutal and unswervingly honest.” Texta says: “Writing poetry has foremost been for me a healing tool to process trauma, shared mostly in intimate settings – I’m grateful for this fellowship, connecting me with an experienced writing mentor to provide support and guidance as I shape my writing to share with more of the world.”

Highly Commended:

  • Tim Loveday for his poetry collection  [e]state[ment] exploring “home[lessness] – class [warfare]– art– and love[lessness]”
  • Flick Anderson for their untitled experimental fiction exploring memory and time.
  • Finnlay Dall for “If the Body Fits”, a pulp sci-fi/horror anthology exploring themes of bodily autonomy
  • Thomas Irving for “Hurt People”. A screenplay in development, “Hurt People” is an Australian story about bad love.
  • Tayla Richardson for “The String that Goes Unseen”, a poetic memoir exploring fractured memories and the journey from able-bodied child to disabled adult.

Honorary Mentions:

  • Fredericka Arthur for “The Silver Vixen” a timely novel centring an elderly woman in aged care as protagonist and hero.
  • Antonio Baldassi for “Endure” a memoir exploring the desire to be ‘normal’ and the pain and conflict that comes with accepting yourself as disabled.

We thank all applicants and encourage them to continue to develop their writing projects, and to keep seeking opportunities for development and support. We have new online and face-to-face Writeability Goes local programs running in 2024, and we would love to see you there, as we continue to work hard to increase access and inclusion for all, and help remove some of the barriers that prevent people with disability from connecting with writing and publishing, and getting the professional development they need.

For more information about Writeability, see here.

Past Writeability Fellows

The 2022 Writeability Fellows are:

  • Emma Rennison
  • Maggie Scott
  • Juliet Sironi
  • Sarah Stivens
  • Dorian Sutton

The 2021 Writeability Fellows are:

  • Chim Sher Ting
  • Beau Windon
  •  Claire Capel-Stanley
  • Sarah Halfpenny
  • Steph Amir

The 2020 Writeability Fellows are:

  • David Maney
  • Tim Williams
  • Artemis Munoz
  • Christine Davey White
  • Binh Pham

In 2020, Writers Victoria offered an additional Regional Fellowship, and an additional Poetry Fellowship, provided through the generosity of an anonymous donor.

  • Poetry Fellow: Ruby Hillsmith
  • Regional Fellow: Janet Hildebrand

Three writers were also highly commended by the judges: Alana Schetzer, Michelle Revill and Fiorella Matos.

The 2019 Writeability Fellowships were awarded to:

  • Alex Creece
  • M. J. McArthur
  • Jessica Obersby
  • Leah Robertson
  • Paul Whitby

Three shortlisted writers were also highly commended by the judges – Erica Cervini; Arty Owens and Joanne Penney.

The 2018 Writeability Fellowships were awarded to:

  • Kathleen Humble
  • Michael Krockenberger
  • Anthony Riddell
  • Michelle Vasiliu, and
  • Jo Walters.

Three shortlisted writers were also highly commended by the judges – Louise Falconer, CB Mako and Olivia Muscat.

The 2017 Writeability Fellowships were awarded to:

  • Mary Borsellino
  • Sonia Marcon
  • Jarrod Marrinon
  • Fiona Murphy
  • Jessica Walton

A further two shortlisted writers were highly commended:  Maribel Steel and Michelle Vasiliu.

The 2016 Write-abiltiy Fellowships were awarded to:

The 2015 Writeability Fellowships were awarded to:

The 2014 Writeability Fellowships were awarded to:

  • Giovanni di Mase
  • Kate Morrell
  • Michelle Roger
  • Nicole Smith
  • Sarah Widdup

A further three shortlisted writers were highly commended: Naomi Snell, Tully Zygier and Veronica Fil.

The 2013 Writeability Fellowships were awarded to:

  • Carly Findlay
  • Heidi Everett
  • Jack Waghorn
  • Kate Hood
  • Robbie O’Brien

Writers Victoria acknowledges the generous support of the Grace Marion Wilson Trust for this program. Writeability is also made possible by the support of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

Writeability is also grateful for the previous support of the City of Melbourne, Perpetual Trustees, Copyright Agency Ltd, the Ian Potter Foundation, Perpetual, the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts and the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.

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