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Charles Perkins Centre Writers in Residence at the Sydney Writers' Festival

26 April 2022
Judy Harris Writer in Residence Fellows appearing at SWF
Two of the Judy Harris Writer in Residence Fellows at the Charles Perkins Centre are appearing at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival at Carriageworks. Alumna Charlotte Wood and current fellow Sarah Holland-Batt are appearing at events across the week-long festival celebrating all forms of writing.

The Charles Perkins Centre’s first Writer in Residence, Charlotte Wood (2016) and our current Writer in Residence, Sarah Holland-Batt (2021) are both appearing across a number of events at this year’s Sydney Writer’s Festival (16–22 May 2022). Their events cover topics from ageing, and what it means to live creatively, to the poet as ‘unacknowledged legislator’.

The Judy Harris Writer in Residence Fellowship at the Charles Perkins Centre is generously supported by University of Sydney alumna and patron, Judy Harris, and has so far welcomed six of Australia’s finest creative writers, working across genres and producing work in response to our world-leading research.

Since its establishment in 2016, the Charles Perkins Centre has been welcoming Australia’s creative writers to its community to explore issues relating to health. The writers reside in the Charles Perkins Centre, embedded within our academic community. They collaborate on key research themes, responding creatively to the research program and translating findings to a wider audience. 

“It’s fantastic to see ‘our’ Writers in Residence featuring at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, sharing their work and knowledge,” said Professor Stephen J Simpson AC, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre.

“Charlotte’s Luminous Solution has been a particular favourite read over the past year with its insightful investigation of what it means to be an artist.

The intersection of creativity and living well and how the collaborative process enriches our understanding of all facets of life cannot be underplayed. It is one of the distinctive approaches of our work and we’re eternally grateful to Judy Harris for supporting us in facilitating this initiative. We are very proud of our continuing and unique engagement with our Australian writing community
Professor Stephen J Simpson AC, Academic Director, Charles Perkins Centre

“Equally, I’m looking forward to Sarah Holland-Batt’s author talk on ageing – one of the Charles Perkins Centre’s areas of research focus – and hearing about Sarah’s direct experience of the aged care system and her testimony at the Royal Commission.

“The intersection of creativity and living well and how the collaborative process enriches our understanding of all facets of life cannot be underplayed. It is one of the distinctive approaches of our work and we’re eternally grateful to Judy Harris for supporting us in facilitating this initiative. We are very proud of our continuing and unique engagement with our Australian writing community.”

The Charles Perkins Centre celebrates its first decade this year, having been established in 2012. The six writers in residence to date – Charlotte Wood, Mireille Juchau, Alana Valentine, Emily Maguire, Tracy Sorensen and Sarah Holland-Batt – have gone on to produce numerous works, directly and indirectly inspired by their time at the Charles Perkins Centre.


Charlotte Wood and Sarah Holland-Batt’s events at the Sydney Writers’ Festival 16-22 May 2022:

Amanda Lohrey & Charlotte Wood | Conversation

Two of Australia’s most acclaimed writers, Amanda Lohrey (appearing live via video) and Charlotte Wood, come together for a conversation about their most recent books, their incredible bodies of work and creative lives at large. Amanda’s Miles Franklin–winning novel, The Labyrinth, and Charlotte’s bestselling work of non-fiction, The Luminous Solution: Creativity, Resilience and the Inner Life, each offer essential and illuminating insights into the hope, redemption and restoration to be found in art and creation. They appear in conversation with Ailsa Piper.

12–1pm | Saturday 21 May 2022 | $25 bookings

Sarah Holland-Batt On Our Denial of Aging | Author Talk

As the aged care crisis intensifies, it is critical we consider where society’s denial of aging and death stem from. Renowned Australian poet, editor and critic Sarah Holland-Batt (The Jaguar and Fishing for Lightning) became an advocate for aged care reform after testifying at the Royal Commission about her father’s adverse experiences. In this lecture, she unpacks why we are so reluctant to imagine what it means to get old and the harmful consequences this holds for older Australians today and our future selves.

3:15–3:45pm | Thursday 19 May | Free, no booking required

The Unacknowledged Legislators | Performance

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world,” Percy Bysshe Shelley once mused. His famous epithet resonates today as readers turn to a new generation of poets who are bringing rhyme and reason to bear on thorny ideas and urgent emotions in uncertain times. In this special event, the poets behind some of the year’s most thought-provoking and stirring works read and perform from their works. Featuring Eunice Andrada (TAKE CARE), Tony Birch (Whisper Songs), Maxine Beneba Clarke (How Decent Folk Behave), Sarah Holland-Batt (The Jaguar and Fishing for Lightning), Jazz Money (how to make a basket), Omar Musa (Killernova) and Sara M Saleh, with host Declan Fry.

4–5pm | Sunday 22 May 2022 | $30 bookings

Coffee & Headlines with The Monthly | Panel

Editor of The Monthly Nick Feik unravels the day’s headlines with Sarah Holland Batt (Fishing for Lightning and The Jaguar), Gina Rushton (The Most Important Job in the World) and Louisa Lim (Indelible City).

8:30–9:15am | Sunday 22 May | Free, no booking required