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Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowships 2018: Introducing the Fellows (round three)

Read Monday, 17 Sep 2018

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

Each fellow receives a desk of their own at the Wheeler Centre for ten weeks, plus a $1000 stipend. Learn about the projects they’ll be working on.

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Writers selected for the third intake of Fellowships are: Rachel Ang, Alistair Baldwin, Shu-Ling Chua, Georgina Harriss, Fiona Murphy, Ella Skilbeck-Porter and Jem Tyley-Miller

They’ll be undertaking their work at the Wheeler Centre from Monday 17 September to Friday 23 November.

Photograph of Rachel Ang

Rachel Ang
A Dream Diary (comic)

I get up each morning and write down what I have dreamed, or what thoughts came first to me, and create a comic from those ideas. In this format, the absurd grammar of dreams connects small fragments into a longer ambiguous narrative. This has resulted in a surprising, weird body of work which illuminated (to myself) a lot of my key interests and themes. It has created an interesting space for lucid, public dreaming.

Photograph of Alistair Baldwin

Alistair Baldwin
Invalid Memoir (essay collection)

Invalid Memoir is a collection of personal essays and autobiographical stories that are only 30%-ish grounded in reality – taking auto-fictive license with the truth to explore and satirise disability representation, the entertainment industry, the ‘inspiring’ memoir and my tips for monetising muscular dystrophy through the personal-essay-industrial-complex.

Essentially it’s a lot of made-up BS but I still get to be the main character. 

Photograph of Shu-Ling Chua

Shu-Ling Chua
self upon self upon self (essay collection)

To ‘grow up’ is to come to terms with the curse, charm and contradictions of performing femaleness. Part memoir, part cultural criticism, self upon self upon self is an intimate collection of essays on coming of age as a young Asian-Australian woman and the process of becoming.

Exploring the intersection between life and art, these essays intermingle aspects of my life, interests and development, while attempting to reconcile multiple identities: daughter, lover, friend and artist. I will draw on a range of texts, such as the work of Eileen Chang, Jenny Zhang, Durga Chew-Bose, Han Kang and Sylvia Plath, and personal lived experience to explore depictions of womanhood, the female gaze, and intersections between cultural, gender and sexual identities.

Photograph of Georgina Harriss

Georgina Harriss
Sauce (play)

The world’s biggest fast-food franchise has rebooted a limited edition dipping sauce, all because of an obscure joke in an adult cartoon. Sauce follows the Monday morning spent in line by die-hard fans, elderly regulars, bored employees and the outlet’s panicked franchise manager. Violence simmers beneath the waiting. These fans will reclaim the sauce of their past lives no matter how many innocent, minimum wage employees stand in their way. 

A fictionalised exploration of the Rick and Morty Szechuan sauce debacle, this absurdist play explores why, in a world defined by insecurity and consumerism, a nostalgic novelty sauce could drive people to violence.

Photograph of Fiona Murphy

Fiona Murphy
The Shape of Sound (essay collection)

I didn’t know I was deaf until I was told. For the next 20 years I made sure no one found out. The Shape of Sound is a collection of essays about me learning how to be Deaf. During the Hot Desk Fellowship, I’ll be working on an essay about stigma and Australia’s history of ableism. 

Photograph of Ella Skilbeck-Porter

Ella Skilbeck-Porter
Presquillisibles (poetry)

The title of my collection arrives from Hélène Cixous, and means ‘almost illegible’. I plan to use this as the driver to explore and make works of visual poetry, utilising text, image and typographical layout.  

The works will be experimental and playful, and will also explore translation and mistranslation. I wish to use this collection to explore the space just before creation, and spaces in-between, and to see what emerges.  

I’m also currently working on several translation projects and a concrete poetry chapbook on swimming laps at the pool. 

Photograph of Jem Tyley-Miller

Jem Tyley-Miller
Afterglow (crime thriller)

Afterglow is a crime thriller detailing the plight of Sarah Urquhart, a mother who drowns off Victoria’s Surf Coast while her young son is taken. When death wipes Sarah’s memory, she is plagued by feelings she has forgotten something important and, returning to Earth as a ghost, she becomes obsessed with rediscovering how and why she was killed.

During the fellowship I hope to push the sixth draft of this novel manuscript beyond that which is expected of a crime story. The change from overlooking the valley in regional Victoria – where I usually write – to the Wheeler Centre will give me a fresh perspective on the challenges of my work. I plan to use the ten weeks to incorporate feedback given by professionals and readers, to take the manuscript to a publishable standard. I can’t wait to transport people to the rugged Victorian coastline, to permit them to inhabit a town so bereft with loss that they ask themselves, ‘If my child were in danger, would death have the courage to stand in the way of me getting them to safety?’

Find out more about our Hot Desk Fellowship programme here.

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