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Writing Fellows and competition winners announced

The recipients of the annual Glenfern Fellowships and emerging writers’ competition have been announced.

Glenfern Fellowships

The 2014 Glenfern Fellowships for Mid-Career and Established Writers (supported by the Readings Foundation) were awarded to Jennifer Down, Lee Kofman and Christian Ryan.

The 2014 Glenfern Fellowships for Emerging Writers (supported by the Grace Marion Wilson Trust) were awarded to Allison Browning, Matilda-Dixon-Smith and Shivaun Plozza.

The six fellows will be given three months’ free use of a writer’s studio within the National Trust property of Glenfern in East St Kilda.

The Glenfern Fellowships were judged by Melbourne writers Nicolas Brasch and Kalinda Ashton. “The standard of applications for both categories was extremely high,” the judges said. “Cross both categories, it was positive to see such diversity with applications from non-fiction writers and memoirists, playwrights and screenwriters, and people writing fiction for children, young adults and in the fantasy and crime genres.”

In reaching their decision, judges took into account not just quality of the submitted work and the applicants’ plans for use of the space, but also the need for diversity of projects. The six writers will take up residence at Glenfern from October.

Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Competition

Now in its sixth year, the Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Competition aims to support the next generation of Victorian writers.

In the non-fiction category, Sandra Todorov was awarded the $1000 first prize for ‘A woman must have money’, with Jen Squire winning second place for ‘Getting back together, again’. Kate Amesbury was awarded a high commendation for her story ‘A judge of good character’.

The non-fiction entries were judged by Melbourne writer (and Writers Victoria blogger in residence) Lee Kofman.

“I know the following sounds like a cliché,” Kofman said, “but it is also the simple truth – the entries this year were of a very high quality.” The winning essay is “a winning combination of intellectual integrity, thorough research, thematic importance, boldness, the balance between the so-called personal and political elements of the work, and above all – the wonderful voice of the writer. The music of the sentences moved me as much as their meaning.,” she said.

In the short fiction category, Else Fitzgerald was awarded the $1000 first prize for ‘River’, with Stephanie Wang winning second place for ‘This is What We Know’. Magdalena McGuirewas awarded a high commendation for her story ‘Polish Cooking for Beginners’

The short fiction category of the competition was judged by writer and critic Angela Meyer and Clare Renner from RMIT.

“It is never easy to choose a winning entry and we found the process particularly challenging with so many well-written stories, each differing in style, subject and intent,” the judges said.

“The storytelling took the reader from the Australian outback, through the underpasses of Melbourne and to countries as far away as Myanmar; retelling events and revealing truths about who we are and how we live our lives.”

The four winning stories will be published in the September/October double-edition of The Victorian Writer magazine.

Now an established part the Victorian literary calendar, the Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Competition has helped identify a new generation of Victoria’s writers and supported many of them into publishing and other opportunities. Last year’s short fiction winner, Michelle Wright, will be published in ‘Award Winning Australian Writing 2014’ by Melbourne Books later this year.

Kurt Vonnegut, in his advice to short story writers said ‘Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted’. None of the judges felt any time was wasted in reading the entries for these competitions.

Writers Victoria acknowledges the generous support of the Grace Marion Wilson Trust and the Readings Foundation for these programs.

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