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

Read Monday, 10 Jul 2017

Our Hot Desk Fellowships are designed to give writers space and time to complete their projects. The programme is 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 second intake of Fellows have to say about the projects they’ll be working on.

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The writers who’ll be participating in this year’s fellowship are: Ingrid BaringMandy BeaumontChristopher BryantAlexandra CollierGrace De MorganKoraly DimitriadisElizabeth FluxMindy GillAna Maria GomidesLou HeinrichJane HowardJordi KerrTim McGuireOmar SakrBobuq SayedMira SchlosbergAngela SerranoMia SlaterLorelei Vashti and Khalid WarsameSamantha 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 10 July to Friday 15 September.

Christopher Bryant, Accidents Happen (non-fiction)

Accidents Happen is a collection of narrative non-fiction essays I’m in the process of writing after a near-death car accident, and resulting acquired brain injury. Overall, the project explores the post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and dissociation that I dealt and continue to deal with, the recontextualisation of my life after being diagnosed as having a disability post-accident, and my problems with addiction that lead me to the accident during my time at NIDA in 2014.

Koraly Dimitriadis, Divided Island (fiction)

When she was young, Ella didn’t understand the consequences of not only her actions, but those of her parents, who clung to the old ways of their homeland like fearing death. Now a 40-year-old artist, Ella keeps returning to her parents’ homeland, the divided island of Cyprus. Ella is searching for something, but she doesn’t know what. Could it be because her first love, the only man she’s ever really loved, also lives in Cyprus?

From the smoky strobe lights of Melbourne’s Metro nightclub to the windsurfing aqua-blue waters of Cyprus, Divided Island screams with the rage of the children of migrants, where culture kept you fenced in to Melbourne’s northern suburbs, and love was the only way out.

Elizabeth Flux, 10 Deaths (essays)

My project is a book of essays focusing on the lives and deaths of ten people who had an impact on me. Death is a topic often tackled by writers, but the kind most often presented are the ‘big’ ones – the sort that knock the wind out of you; that have immediate and visible impact. I want to push beyond this. I will tap into my medical background and Eurasian heritage to explore the cultural impact, ripple effect and different manifestations of grief – with the goal of creating a resource that shows there is no ‘right’ way to react to death. 

Lou Heinrich, Beyond Purity (non-fiction) 

My long-form essay is called Beyond Purity, and will explore how the Christian Church’s doctrine of women has impacted women’s sexuality. There will be a specific focus on the emphasis on women’s virginity – beyond abstinence culture in the US, I want to examine an Australian-specific context. Through interviews, research, and first-person narrative, it will be an outsider’s look at a closed community, and will explore that which is taboo for many people. It will be written for a secular audience, and it will be inclusive of diverse voices. It will not assume heterosexuality of its interviewees nor its readers.

Jordi Kerr, The World Around You (YA fiction)

The World Around You is a contemporary young adult fiction about the challenges of being a same-sex attracted, gender diverse young person living in a regional area. The book explores queer identities, authenticity in the face of social norms, and activism as a method of social change. Sixteen-year-old Lucy is a model student and friend … until city-queer Ursula arrives. Ursula shows Lucy how liberating the queer world can be, and supports her questioning her gender identity. They embark on a campaign to change the world, but Lucy must learn how to change the status quo without changing herself.

Tim McGuire, The Seven Year Farm (historical fiction)

The novel is a fictional account of Australia’s first government-sanctioned emu farm, established in 1976 in Wiluna, Western Australia, in response to an unprecedented interest in emu farming. The industry would boom (and eventually bust) in a sudden, national rush to capitalise on the bird, but not before the government determined its viability by commissioning Applied Ecology to run a pilot farm. My novel will observe this farm over seven years, through its inception, management and eventual handing over to local indigenous communities in 1981.

Mia Slater, The Goldfish Newspaper Poems (poetry)

The Goldfish Newspaper Poems will be my first chapbook-length collection of poems. The poems will be simple – almost childlike – in language, and will use the fish, the goldfish, the trout, the salmon, the whale to explore the space between the ordinary and the magical, the moments when they cross over. I would also like to illustrate my poems with line-drawings, if possible.

To find out more about the Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships, visit our project page.

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.