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Inside the Charles Perkins Centre Research and Education Hub

Creative writing fellowship addresses real world health challenges

6 December 2017

Australian creative writers of renown are invited to apply for a generous University of Sydney fellowship which provides a grant of $100,000 and other benefits to begin work on a project exploring issues around health. 

The University of Sydney’s multidisciplinary Charles Perkins Centre will again award a $100,000 grant and honorary appointment to an Australian writer in a creative genre – from fiction, poetry or performance, to creative non-fiction, digital media or screen.

The unique opportunity will support the successful applicant to begin work on a project related to the issues the Centre is dedicated to addressing, including health, wellbeing, food, ageing, social disadvantage and cultural identity.

The writer in residence will also receive working space at the Charles Perkins Centre research and education hub on the University’s Camperdown campus, full access to the University’s library and the opportunity to work with the Centre’s researchers, educators and clinicians.

“Thanks to the generosity of our donor and Patron Judy Harris, we are delighted to be able offer a fellowship to another writer in 2018,” said Professor Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre.

The global burden of the lifestyle diseases that the Charles Perkins Centre is committed to easing requires a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach, and it has been fascinating to see how our innovative research can intersect with the arts – with powerful and often emotional effect.
Professor Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre

“We welcome interest from Australia’s best writers to apply for this rare opportunity – and to help us bring awareness to issues around health in a creative way.”

Our past and current Writers in Residence

Inaugural fellow Charlotte Wood, the highly acclaimed Stella Prize-winning author of The Natural Way of Things, undertook her residency in 2016. She said her time in conversation with scientists and researchers – both in formal meetings or interviews and in serendipitous lunch-room chats – led to some crucial breakthroughs in her novel examining women and ageing. Still in progress, she expects to complete the novel in 2018.

In 2017 two acclaimed writers were appointed writers in residence of the Centre – novelist Mireille Juchau and playwright Alana Valentine.

Ms Juchau, author of the award-winning The World Without Us, said the residency has already propelled her work – which explores connections between maternity, biology, history and identity – in new directions.

“For a writer whose work is fed by ideas, the generous spirit of collaboration promoted at the Charles Perkins Centre offers limitless scope for thinking about what it is to be human,” she said.

“That the writer and the scientist share many techniques in their pursuit of different narratives is rarely acknowledged. But both undergo a process that involves experimentation, observation and a frequently obsessional love for small details.”

Ms Valentine said the residency allowed her to plug into a strong network of project nodes and scientific hubs that reach far beyond the city campus of the University.

“The Charles Perkins Centre is level after level of fresh stories and fascinating storytellers, and then there are all the regional hubs and international visitors. For a playwright this place is like a living library of possibilities – for both new insights and new work,” she said.

How to apply

Expressions of interest are now open until 10 February 2018, with the successful recipient to commence the fellowship from mid-2018.

More information about the fellowship and application details are available here.

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