Writers Victoria is excited to announce our 2020 Write-ability Fellows. Since 2013, thanks to the support of the Grace Marion Wilson Trust, we have recognised five outstanding writers with disability annually as part of the Write-ability Fellowship Program.
This year, for the first time, we are awarding seven Write-ability Fellowships.
Five writers with disability will receive tailored support for their writing project in the form of mentoring, manuscript assessment and/or attendance at Writers Victoria workshops, funded by the Grace Marion Wilson Trust.
One writer will receive a Poetry Fellowship, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor.
And, in a year when so many writers are experiencing decreased opportunities and reduced income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are offering an additional fellowship expressly aimed at supporting regional writers with disability. For these writers, the barriers faced due to disability can be exacerbated by the distance they live from metropolitan centres. This one-off Regional Fellowship is being funded by Writers Victoria, as part of our objective to prioritise direct and timely support and opportunities for writers throughout Victoria during this difficult time.
This year, we received 23 applications for Write-ability Fellowships. Once again, entries varied tremendously in style and genre, including podcasting, crime fiction, playwriting, poetry, fan fiction, creative non-fiction, romance, screenwriting, fantasy and memoir. The quality of applications was high, with judge Amy Maddison saying “This was a beautiful project to be involved in, and it was a pleasure to read the wide array of unique and fascinating applications.”
This year's Grace Marion Wilson Write-ability Fellows are:
- David Maney for “Into the Fog”, a rural mystery novella/podcast project;
- Tim Williams for “Splint,” a screenplay for a very Australian outback road trip featuring Joey Strider, born with spina bifida, and his brother Mitch;
- Artemis Munoz for the play script “Death Wish” ,a naturalistic play exploring mortality, set in a heightened, fantastical world;
- Christine Davey White for her memoir in progress “Don’t Get Burned by the Holy Water”, that documents her childhood growing up disabled in a religious cult that engaged in faith healing practices;
- Binh Pham for “Duck Summer Memories”, a memoir in short stories that begins with the author’s childhood in wartime Vietnam;
- Our Poetry Fellow is Ruby Hillsmith, for “Pfizer’s Daughter”, a collection of poems exploring the intersections between disability and the natural environment;
- This year’s special Regional Fellow is Janet Hildebrand for “The Tide”, a rural crime novel set in Northern Victoria.
In addition, the following writers were Highly Commended by the judges:
- Alana Schetzer for “The Tudor Century”;
- Michelle Revill for “Untimely Blues”; and
- Fiorella Matos, for her untitled poetry collection.
The applications were assessed by three Writers Victoria staff. One of the judges, Lyndel Caffrey, said “in a very difficult year for everyone, when many disabled writers are more isolated than ever, the applicants showed extraordinary dedication and focus, and a determination to build their craft and bring their stories to the world. We thank them all for sharing their stories with us.”
We encourage all applicants to continue to develop their writing projects, and to keep seeking opportunities for development and support.