Iconic Duos: The Next Chapter Writers and Mentors
As applications opened for The Next Chapter’s second year, Wheeler Centre Director Michael Williams spoke with writers and mentors from the inaugural intake at the Sydney Writers Festival.
At the event, Evelyn Araluen, Tony Birch, Nayuka Gorrie, Alison Whittaker, Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen and Michele Lee discussed collaboration, constructive criticism and meaningful mentoring.
The Next Chapter is a scheme dedicated to uncovering and nurturing a new generation of writers by giving them time and space to craft a voice and a career. Ten outstanding emerging writers were chosen from across Australia, given $15,000 and matched with a mentor.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre.
Tony Birch is the author of Ghost River, which won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People.
Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio, and a regular guest at writers’ festivals. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.
Evelyn Araluen is a poet, educator and researcher working with Indigenous literatures at the University of Sydney. Her work has won the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize and a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship. Born, raised, and writing in Dharug country, she is a Bundjalung descendant.
Michele Lee is an Asian-Australian playwright and theatre-maker working across stage, audio and live art.
Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen is a Vietnamese-Australian writer and bookseller, and the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Feminist Writers Festival. She is a former Daily Life columnist, and has been featured in publications including Rookie, frankie, the Lifted Brow and Kill Your Darlings.
Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi multitasker from the floodplains of Gunnedah in NSW. Between 2017–2018, she was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School, where she was named the Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law.
Her debut poetry collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire, was awarded the State Library of Queensland’s black&write! Indigenous Writing Fellowship in 2015, and was published by Magabala Books in 2016. Her latest book, Blakwork, was published in 2018.
As a poet and essayist, her work has been published in the Sydney Review of Books, Seizure, Overland, Westerly, BuzzFeed, Griffith Review, the Lifted Brow, Meanjin and Archer.
Alison was the co-winner of the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize in 2017 for her poem, 'Many Girls White Linen'. Most recently, she was the Australian Indigenous Poet-In-Residence for the 2018 Queensland Poetry Festival.
‘I fucking love black women. I come from a strong line of black women.’
Nayuka Gorrie is a Kurnai/Gunai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri, and Yorta Yorta writer. Gorrie’s work explores black, queer and feminist politics. They wrote and performed in season three of Black Comedy. In 2018 they were named as a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter recipient, and are currently working on a book of essays.