Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships 2019: Introducing the Fellows (round two)

Our Hot Desk Fellowships are supported by the Readings Foundation. Our first intake of writers have just finished up; today, our second intake of fellows begin their stint at the Wheeler Centre.

These fellowships, all of which include a $1000 stipend and a workspace at the Wheeler Centre for ten weeks, have been created simply to give emerging writers the space to write and create. Find out what the second intake of fellows have to say about the projects they'll be working on below.

Illustration of desks on an orange background

Writers selected for the second intake of Fellowships are: Millie Baylis, Bella Green, Shannan Lim, Gareth Morgan, Whitney Munroe, Sumudu Samarawickrama, Yen-Rong Wong and Rebecca Giggs

They'll be undertaking their work at the Wheeler Centre from Monday 8 July to Friday 13 September.


Photograph of Millie Baylis

Millie Baylis
Swimming Lessons / Rhubarb and Smoke (working title) (non-fiction)

Swimming Lessons is a collection of essays on living with invisible chronic illness. The essays will draw on my personal experience as well as art, memory, literature and research to consider chronic physical and mental illness – and the relationship between the two – while weaving threads of pain, disability, the act of caring, privilege, grief, healing and small joys. During the fellowship, I will further research the links between trauma and chronic illness while developing the title essay.

If time persists, I will also continue work on my first draft of Rhubarb and Smoke (working title) – an autobiographical novel about two siblings and their bond while growing up alongside each other through violence in the green Dandenong Ranges.


Photograph of Bella Green

Bella Green
Committed (non-fiction)

My project is Committed, a series of autobiographical comedic non-fiction essays. I write about sex work, but I'm more interested in the day-to-day stuff that happens in brothels and strip clubs than the sex itself. What happens in the room is rarely interesting - it's the bonds you have with other workers, the ridiculous conversations you have with men negotiating sex, the time the strip club DJ made you dance to 'Roxanne'.


Photograph of Shannan Lim

Shannan Lim
Nenek (play)

Nenek, which translates to ‘grandmother’ in English, is a horror-mystery written partly in the Malay and Minangkabau languages. Based on the hauntings that my sister and I experienced growing up, and my mother’s matriarchal culture, it is about two siblings who, over the course of one night with their grandmother, realise that there is more to her and their family than they know. Nenek continues from my previous work, Salty, which reimagines Southeast Asian folktales in contemporary Australia.


Photograph of Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan
when a punk becomes a spunk (poetry)

i will be editing a manuscript called when a punk becomes a spunk, a collection of poems about punks and spunks, bunks and junks, monks and hunks... family, place, song, games, snacks, guitars ....and more


Photograph of Whitney Munroe

Whitney Munroe
Blood Rings and Wattle Trees (poetry)

Blood Rings and Wattle Trees is a journey that unfolds through a narrative of poetry and illustrations that stems from my ancestors through time to the present. These stories live in my blood, impacting my reality as I continue to breathe life into the history of the past. Complemented by my own personal stories and perceptions, this collection of poetry explores themes of trauma, sexism, colonisation, and racism. 

Words create an opportunity for change, an opening, a shifting of mindsets and beliefs. Through Blood Rings and Wattle Trees, I strive to be a white voice who owns my history and my ancestry, and to encourage others to do the same.


Photograph of Sumudu Samarawickrama

Sumudu Samarawickrama
Mirkwood Tales (fiction)

The project is a collection of stories of refusal inspired by Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. I am playing with the fairy-tale and narratives of female-conditioning. There will be a scaffolding of intertexuality – white patriarchal supremacy is itself a text that women have to re-contextualise in order to live every day.  

Poetic influence is strong in my practice and I use poetry’s ability to break form to create form for the stories. I want to write them in such a way as to hide the frameworks employed, and for each story to fall into the unconscious in the way a good poem does. 


Photograph of Yen-Rong Wong

Yen-Rong Wong
I can't talk to my mother about sex (non-fiction)

The work I am planning to undertake during the Hot Desk Fellowship is a collection of braided essays that explore what it is like to navigate sex and relationships as a young Chinese-presenting woman in a Western society. It will discuss and interrogate many facets of sex and relationships, including the impacts of online dating, sex education, stereotypes I have encountered as an Asian woman, and the disturbing rise of the Asian Men's Rights Activist movement, while also considering the influence of my Chinese upbringing on such topics.


Photograph of Rebecca Giggs

Rebecca Giggs
Infrafauna (non-fiction)

During my Hot Desk Fellowship I will be undertaking preliminary work on a series of essays related to animals, conservation science and new networked technologies. The writing is focused on how our relationships with other species are shaped by remote surveillance, electronic popular culture, and online communities. I am working towards a book proposal, as well as shaping pitches for several long-form pieces. 

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