Writing Fellowship addresses real world health challenges

7 February 2023
Charles Perkins Centre seeking Expressions of Interest

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 working in a creative genre – from fiction, poetry or performance, to creative non-fiction, digital media or screen.

The unique opportunity supports 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 have a workspace at the Charles Perkins Centre on the University’s Camperdown campus, full access to the University’s library, and the opportunity to collaborate 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 2023,” said Professor Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre.

“The Fellowship has now welcomed six Writers in Residence, all of whom have produced significant works inspired by their residencies. The Charles Perkins Centre is committed to easing the burden of chronic disease, which requires a highly collaborative and multidisciplinary approach, and it has been fascinating to see how our innovative research can intersect with the arts – with powerful effect."

“We welcome interest from Australia’s finest writers to apply for this rare opportunity – and to help us bring awareness to issues around health in a creative way.”
Professor Stephen Simpson, Director, Charles Perkins Centre

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

Inaugural fellow Charlotte Wood, the highly acclaimed Stella Prize-winning author of The Natural Way of Things, undertook her residency in 2016. The Weekend, written as a result of the Fellowship, was launched in 2019 and won the Australian Book Industry Literary Awards Fiction Book of the Year in 2020. It has been adapted as a stage play and will run at the Belvoir St Theatre starting in August.

In 2017, two acclaimed writers were appointed to the residency – novelist Mireille Juchau and playwright Alana Valentine. Alana's play 'Made to Measure' debuted at the Seymour Centre in 2019. In 2018 the Fellowship was secured by Emily Maguire, whose resulting novel ‘Love Objects’ was published to universal acclaim in 2021. 

Tracy Sorensen, author of the acclaimed novel The Lucky Galah, completed her residency in 2019/20. 

“The generosity of the stipend over a year-long residency gave me the luxury -– and inspiration -– to be expansively creative,” she said. 

“As a non-scientist among scientists, I quickly learned that there are no stupid questions, and that the experts were more than willing to ’play’ in the creative garden with me when nudged. I reached new understandings about the human body - particularly systems biology - that became the foundation of my new novel, a cancer memoir narrated by the affected internal organs. This residency, both open-ended and enormously encouraging, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I urge fellow writers to apply.”

Sorensen’s The Vitals (Picador, 2023) will be launched at the Charles Perkins Centre in August.

Last year, the Fellowship welcomed its first poet, Sarah Holland-Batt. Holland-Batt is currently completing her residency and will publish work she began during the residency later this year. 

Expressions of interest are now open until 11:30 pm, Monday 27 February 23. 

More information about the fellowship and application details are available on the Charles Perkins Centre website here.

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