New online Varuna Fellowships and Disability Arts Program in Katherine

The Northern Territory (NT) Government through Arts NT will partner with Varuna, the National Writers’ House, to present a new virtual 2020 Fellowship program open to applicants from Tuesday, 14 July 2020. Since 2017, Arts NT has partnered with Varuna to support local emerging or established NT writers to develop new work in creative writing through the Varuna Fellowship program. Responding to travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19, the program has been adapted to offer online fellowships in 2020. The Territory Government will contribute $16 000 towards the new Varuna Fellowship program, offering six virtual fellowships in 2020 and three residency fellowships in 2021 to NT writers. The virtual residency program will run from 30 November – 5 December 2020. Applications close on Friday, 31 August 2020. The fellowships will include a combination of online sessions with expert writing consultants including NT based Dr Leni Shilton, who was recently awarded best fiction book in the 2020 Chief Minister’s Awards. Successful writers will have access to professional networking and development opportunities facilitated by the NT Writers’ Centre including reading sessions with award-winning authors Alexis Wright (winner of the 2006 Miles Franklin Award) and Territory playwright Mary Anne Butler (winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and the Award for Drama). In 2019, the residency program supported two Alice Springs and two Darwin-based writers to develop a range of works, including:

  • Stark by Sam Carmody (Darwin) – his second fiction novel following his debut novel ‘The Windy Season’, Stark is about the threads that connect the history of violence, and the secrets that refuse to be buried.

  • The Trouble with Hopscotch by Mhairi Duncan (Darwin) – a series of 15 interlinking short stories that delve into the private struggles of everyday life of those living in a small community.

  • Interiority – a volume of poetry by Gretel Bull (Alice Springs) – a collection of poems that journey into the psyche of the poet and her encounters with the history, culture and landscape of Central Australia, amidst the ongoing throes of colonisation.

  • Funny Rabbit by Biddy O’Loughlin (Alice Springs) – a film script and web series set between Alice Springs and Adelaide about a sad rabbit that becomes a stand-up comedian.

Residencies will also be offered at Varuna from January-June 2021. The Residency fellowships will include a two-week residency at Varuna, allowing uninterrupted writing time, plus $1500 in funding to support individual expenses including travel, manuscript consultations, or accommodation in Sydney on the way through to the Blue Mountains. Through the NT Arts Grants Program, the Territory Government will also provide Step Out Community Access Services Incorporated (Step Out) $24 844 to deliver a Disability Arts program in partnership with Katherine Regional Arts in 2020-21. Step Out and Katherine Regional Arts will work together to deliver workshops over 42 weeks with two resulting exhibitions planned. A group exhibition showcasing all participants’ artworks will be held at the Katherine Cinema Foyer and a solo exhibition featuring Lajamanu artist Ms Amy Pitcher is planned to take place at the Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts and Culture Centre in 2021.

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