Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships 2018: 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 Fellow receives 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: Asiel Adan Sanchez, Amanda Anastasi, Rachel Ang, Alistair Baldwin, Candy Bowers, Shu-Ling Chua, Georgina Harriss, Triana Hernandez, Jamie Lau, Magan Magan, Melissa Manning, Laura Jean McKay, Leah Jing McIntosh, Fiona Murphy, Thuy On, Stephen Pham, Harry Reid, Ella Skilbeck-Porter, Christian Taylor and Jem Tyley-MillerRa Chapman is the recipient of the 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 30 April to Friday 6 July.


Photograph of Amanda Anastasi

Amanda Anastasi
2042 (poetry)

I’m currently working on my second full poetry book entitled 2042, an entirely futuristic, research-based collection that will hold up a mirror to a much-changed social landscape, as well as the results of our individual and collective procrastination on climate action.

Poetically envisaging a future year in time, the poems span the socio-political, the personal, and the domestic events and observations impacting everyday Melbourne life. The inevitable changes in our ecosystem, combined with the increasing isolation and altered interactions of the technological age, will be brought into our living rooms, relationships and dinner tables.


Photograph of Ra Chapman

Ra Chapman
K-Box (theatre) 

K-Box draws on my own experience as an inter-country adoptee, and my work and research with Korean-Australian adoptee networks, to tell a story of how a young woman finds herself inside and outside of a culture, stuck in between two worlds.

The play delves into the uncomfortable questions currently being asked by adoptees and people of colour in Australia and around the world – how race and identity is constructed, how racism become internalised, how inclusion can exclude parts of us, and how hard it is to address the elephant in the room with the people you love.


Photograph of Triana Hernandez

Triana Hernandez
Neo-Colonial Rock & Liberated Electronica: Past and Present Narratives in Australian Music (music journalism)

This book compiles a series of in-depth interviews and creative non-fiction essays that speak about Australia's socio-cultural music history. This book ultimately seeks to present the reader with the current shifts within Australia's musical landscape as hip hop, electronic music and R'n'B rises and rock becomes an archaic genre worldwide. No matter how much the local industry tries to cling on to the past, there are big changes coming. 

The work I would like to do during the Hot Desk Fellowship includes formalising the outline of the interviews and book publication details; organising, conducting and transcribing the first batch of interviews; and commencing drafts of the essays.


Photograph of Leah Jing McIntosh

Leah Jing McIntosh
From Below (essay collection)

From Below is a collection of essays, which consider life as a ‘mixed-race’ person in the twenty-first century.

The first piece, ‘A Ghost, Pixelated’, circles around unexpectedly meeting my dead grandfather for the first time.

The collection will consider the impossibility of a cohesive self in the age of the internet, whilst tearing at concepts of death, family, gender and liminality.


Photograph of Laura Jean McKay

Laura Jean McKay
The Animals in That Country (speculative literary fiction)

The Animals in That Country is a novel manuscript that follows Jean Bennett – zoo guide, secret drinker, grandma – through a world where humans and other animals can talk to each other.

The novel is in its last stages of development, and needs a dedicated period to get it to a final, publishable point.

The Hot Desk Fellowship will involve an intense period of reworking and editing the second half of this manuscript.


Photograph of Thuy On

Thuy On 
Turbulence (poetry) 

For two decades I have written about other peoples' words, through book criticism and literary journalism. I have always tried to be as objective as possible. This suite of poems is a stark departure for me because they are intensely personal and this time the subject matter is my own life.

Turbulence will be a suite of loosely arranged and themed poems. I am looking to untangle the messiness of relationships, particularly in a post-marriage landscape. So the poems will explore, but will not be limited to, topics that cover loss, separation and renewal; (on-line) dating; sex, longing, rejection and desire.


Photograph of Harry Reid

Harry Reid
six gay bushrangers (poetry)

I will be working on a collection of poems titled six gay bushrangers. It is a mix of personal and historical poetry exploring the colonial mythos of Australia, investigating poetry’s ability to unsettle these narratives.

These poems look at both forgotten histories and the present, each informing the other to create new understandings and mythologies.

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