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Malcolm Robertson Foundation to fund Next Chapter poet

The Malcolm Robertson Foundation will provide funding for an additional poetry place in the 2024 intake of the Wheeler Centre’s writing development program, The Next Chapter.

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The Wheeler Centre is thrilled to announce new funding of $30,000 from the Malcolm Robertson Foundation to generously support the Centre’s landmark writing development program, The Next Chapter.

The funding will specifically support Australian poets and poetry, expanding the writing opportunities available for poets and contributing towards a vibrant national community of poets and their work.

As a result of this generous support, The Next Chapter will now offer an additional place in the 2024 intake of writers, welcoming five recipients, rather than the previously announced four who have been generously supported by the Australia Council. Each of the five participants will receive a stipend of $15,000 and a handpicked mentor to work with closely over the course of 12 months to bring their writing to life, connecting them with peers, publishers and readers. Participants also receive the opportunity to attend a residency at Varuna, The Writer’s House in Katoomba, New South Wales and to attend the 2024 Sydney Writers’ Festival.

In addition to the expanded intake, the grant includes a $5000 cash stipend for a Next Chapter alumni to work on their second poetry manuscript. This stipend will offer much-needed financial support, providing the recipient with dedicated time and space to focus on their writing.

CEO of the Wheeler Centre, Caro Llewellyn, said the funding demonstrates the Malcolm Robertson Foundation’s commitment to supporting an exciting new poet and helping to amplify their voice through this tailored and highly effective program.

‘The Next Chapter has a proven track record of supporting writers to successful publication – this donation allows us to continue nurturing diverse Australian literary talent and promoting literary excellence,’ she said.

Poet and 2021 Next Chapter recipient Anne-Marie Te Whiu recently signed a publishing contract for her debut poetry collection, which was developed during her time in The Next Chapter. Te Whiu says the program was a ‘significant factor’ in her literary success.

‘The Next Chapter provided me with a culturally robust space to stretch and play with the poetic form – to allow each poem the time and space needed to breathe their way onto the page,’ she said.

‘The 12 months I participated in The Next Chapter opened the path to focus on my writing, opportunities to participate in events at the Wheeler Centre, as well as do a Varuna Writers Residency, engage closely with the writing community and especially the other amazing writers in the cohort, and a chance to work closely with my brilliant mentor, Natalie Harkin, who was profoundly supportive in helping me shape my ideas.’

Poet and participant in the 2020 Next Chapter program Hasib Hourani also welcomed the funding announcement, noting that poetry is among the writing genres that generate the lowest rates of pay in literary journals, and the lowest advances from publishing houses.

‘For poets especially, living as a writer is untenable,’ he said. ‘We cannot rely on publication alone to sustain a practice, so schemes like The Next Chapter are vital to our survival. Being awarded The Next Chapter was the first time that poetry alleviated my cost of living and I believe it is the duty of Australian literature to continue supporting poets through grants and fellowships such as these.’



The Next Chapter is currently open for submissions for the 2024 intake. This year, The Next Chapter will be judged by award-winning writers Maxine Beneba Clarke, Bruce Pascoe and Maria Tumarkin. Applications are open until 30 June 2023.

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