Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships 2017: Introducing the Fellows (round one)

Our Hot Desk Fellowships are back, supported by the Readings Foundation – with an additional Playwright Hot Desk Fellowship offered to an emerging female playwright, sponsored by the Just Pretending theatre group. 

Each winner will receive a desk of their own at the Wheeler Centre for two months, plus a $1000 stipend. Find out who's been selected, and read what the first intake of Fellows have to say about the projects they'll be working on.

Hot Desk graphic

The writers who’ll be participating in this year’s fellowship are: Ingrid Baring, Mandy Beaumont, Christopher Bryant, Alexandra Collier, Grace De Morgan, Koraly Dimitriadis, Elizabeth Flux, Mindy Gill, Ana Maria Gomides, Lou Heinrich, Jane Howard, Jordi Kerr, Tim McGuire, Omar Sakr, Bobuq Sayed, Mira Schlosberg, Angela Serrano, Mia Slater, Lorelei Vashti and Khalid Warsame. Samantha Hill is the recipient of the inaugural Playwright Hot Desk Fellowship.

Here’s a short introduction to the writers and projects for our first intake for the year. These writers will be undertaking their projects at the Wheeler Centre from Monday 1 May to Friday 7 July.


Mandy Beaumont, Here She Is (short stories)

I am currently writing a short story collection called Here She Is. This collection pays homage to women in place, exploring issues (domestic abuse, poverty, landscape, friendship) that hold, push, engage and move women in place. The main story in the collection is 9,000 words and pays direct homage to my auntie, to whom the collection is dedicated. This main story acts as a centerpiece; the origin of writing about women in place.  

Ana Maria Gomides, A Strange and Bitter Crop (semi-autobiographical fiction)

A suite of fictional/semi-autobiographical short stories centring on the experiences of the women in my family: specifically our intertwining histories of survival as Brazilian women of colour. The project will traverse the collective identity of Black womanhood, exploring themes of race, sexual abuse, violence, mental illness and intergenerational trauma.  

Omar Sakr, A Boy Unwoven (fiction)

I am planning to work on my novel-in-progress, A Boy Unwoven, which is both a multi-generational family saga and a queer coming of age story. This is the story of Amos Hassan, a boy born into a pool of both his mother and his father's blood; a boy birthed in tragedy. There is nothing extraordinary about growing up in the stifling suburbs, but there is something extraordinary about Amos Hassan, friend of spiders. They show him how to follow the thread of any fate he chooses, and once he sees what's in store, he begins to rewrite life itself.

Mira Schlosberg, Nice Jewish Boy (fiction)

I am writing a collection of microfiction that deals with gender, sexuality and spirituality – specifically the interaction of queer/trans identity with Jewish identity. It focuses on the idea of existing in the space between genders and between cultural and spiritual forms of Jewishness, as well as on the connections between religion and daily rituals of constructing identity (dressing, interacting with others, etc.). It also deals with the difficulties of reconciling gender with the physical body, of relating to Jewish identity despite loss of language and culture through assimilation, and of understanding the connections between cultural heritage and queer history.

Angela Serrano, Transcendental Ickiness (short stories)

Transcendental Ickiness is a short fiction collection about experiences of sublime sensory connection in unusual situations. The stories feature: an erotic attraction between an art model and a painter (the only people of colour in their life-drawing group); a Catholic vampire who wishes to make a confession at a Philippine heritage church; a contemplation on jealousy when a successful academic learns that her secret love has found a BDSM top; a young runaway from a complicated home who becomes an exotic dancer, then finds herself in a whirlwind romance with a lonely woman banker; and a psychoanalyst who suddenly bumps into an estranged former patient.

Khalid Warsame, Storm Season (fiction)

I am planning to write a novel. This novel will be called Storm Season. An unnamed young man receives a call in a moment of personal crisis. His father is dying and wants to reconnect with him before he dies. He flies to Melbourne to be with his father. They haven't spoken in eight years. Back in Brisbane, his relationship with his wife is deteriorating, but slowly. His world is darkening around the edges, but slowly. A chance encounter with an old flame brings things to a head.

Samantha Hill, orphan/circus/ghost/blog  (theatre)

A magical realist play for 12–16 year olds, set in a futuristic world where mortality is fragile and young people work to earn their keep. Two sisters – famous teen bloggers – suddenly find themselves orphaned and taken in by the Lost Children’s Circus. Their thirst for investigation and reporting leads them on a mysterious path to find an imprisoned boy and a dead body. At its heart, the play is an allegory of Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, and encourages young people to question authority and stand up for what they believe to be right. 

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