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Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund opens

Applications are now open for the inaugural Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund.

The new national professional development opportunity for Australian literary professionals has been made possible by the generous support of The Myer Foundation.

Named in honour of writer Neilma Sidney (1922-2015), the travel fund recognises the unique value of travel in the development of new writing and literary careers.

The travel fund that bears her name will give small grants of between $2,000-$10,000 to Australian writers and literary sector workers to undertake strategic travel opportunities for the benefit of their own writing practice or career development, or for the broader Australian literary sector.

The Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund will invest in Australian writers and writing, and position Australian storytelling within an international context.

A total of $300,000 in travel grants will be distributed to the sector over the next three years.

Judges for the first round will include author Toni Jordan, Robert Watkins from Hachette and Warren Bonnet from Embiggen Books in Melbourne. Applications will close at 10am on 21 August 2017.

You can find more information and details of how to apply on this website, or read below for some of the more frequently asked questions about the fund. Writers Victoria will also be holding an online Q&A event to answer any fund and application questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be based in Australia to apply?

Yes, this opportunity is open to Australian citizens and permanent residents currently living in Australia.

Do I have to be based in Victoria?

No, this is a national opportunity.

What do you mean by ‘literary professionals’?

Anyone with a direct connection to Australia’s literary sector is able to apply. This includes writers working in any style or genre, including (but not limited to) fiction or non-fiction writers, journalists, script writers, poets, memoirists, short story writers, aural storytellers or people who write for performance. It also includes editors, agents, publishers, librarians, booksellers and staff members of literary organisations.

What do you mean by ‘emerging or established’?

This opportunity is not for beginners or those at the very start of their literary careers. You should be able to demonstrate a publication history and/or several years’ employment or professional engagement within the literary sector. Am I emerging?

Can I apply for national or international travel?

You can apply for either (or both).

Can I apply to do research for my book?

Yes. You will need to demonstrate why the research requires travel and how you will use the time.

Can I apply to attend a writers’ festival / book fair / book launch / publisher meetings?

Yes, travel activities can include attendance at these sorts of activities. However, the focus of the travel should be on professional/creative development rather than marketing or the replacement of usual business costs. For example, if a publisher always sends someone to a certain international book fair, then that would be seen as part of their usual business.

Can I apply to attend the Bite the Big Apple Tour (or similar)?

Yes, you can apply for international professional development tours. However, as we are likely to receive many applications for exactly the same opportunity, you will need to demonstrate how your application will differ from the others, and how it will specifically benefit your writing, career and/or the broader literary sector.

Can more than one person apply?

Yes, you can apply for more than one person to travel if you’re working on a collaborative project. However, you can’t apply for the costs of friends or family members travelling with you.

When can the travel activity take place?

Activities must to be undertaken within a year of confirmation. For Round 1, that’s likely to be at the between October 2017 and September 2018. You may want to consider applying for activity that takes place after November 2017 to give you at least a month to coordinate your travel. You can’t apply for activities that have already taken place.

Can I apply for access / interpreter / support worker costs?

Yes, if you identify as a person with disability, you can include access costs in your budget.

Can I apply to work with an Aboriginal writer or community / tell an Aboriginal story?

Applications from First Nations writers or literary sector professionals are strongly encouraged. Applications from non-First Nations writers or literary sector professionals should follow the Australia Council’s Protocols for producing Indigenous Australian Writing.

What are my chances?

We have up to $50,000 to grant in Round 1. This means we will probably be able to make between 5 and 20 grants (depending on the size of the grant requests). As this is the first round, we can’t tell you about the probability of success. But we are expecting a large number of entries. There will be five more rounds over the next three years.

Future Rounds?

We anticipate Round 2 to close February 2018 and Round 3 to close August 2018.

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