WestWords offers a range of fellowships for writers nearing completion of a major work. Partnering with Copyright Agency Cultural Fund these fellowships provide writers in the final stages of completing their first major work a program of tailored mentorship and professional development.
WestWords Copyright Agency Emerging Writers Fellowship
Congratulations to this year’s CA WestWords Western Sydney Emerging Writers Fellow!
Paris Rosemont is an Asian-Australian poet whose poetry has appeared in various publications, including Verge Literary Journal, FemAsia Magazine, Red Room Poetry’s ‘Admissions’ anthology, Gems Zine and Heroines Anthology (vol.4.). Paris was longlisted for the Joyce Parkes Prize 2022 and is delighted to have won the Poetry Prize for the New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing 2022. Paris combines her love for poetry and theatre into the art of performance poetry. She has been a feature poet at Rhapsody Revue, West Side Poetry and the EnQueer Literary Festival 2022. Paris has also performed her original poetry at various events, including the Australian Poetry Slam Sydney Finals, New Annual Festival and Sydney Fringe Festival 2022. Paris has been a Living Stories Competition judge, WestWords Academian and writer-in-residence, as well as a Frontier Poetry scholarship recipient. She was awarded an Arts Access Australia mentorship, WestWords/Varuna Emerging Writers’ Residency and was named runner up for the Writing NSW x Varuna Fellowship 2022.
Blake Curran (he/him) is a queer writer living on Dharawal land, on the southwestern outskirts of Sydney, Australia. He is currently working on A Town Called Cancer, a horror novel set in outback NSW. It deals with themes of queer identity, grief, intergenerational trauma, chronic illness and demonic possession. Blake also regularly contributes reviews to Aurealis Magazine, and has been a judge for the Aurealis Awards twice before. Outside of writing, Blake works in the field of advertising and can often be caught crocheting, cross-stitching or baking in his spare-time. He goes for occasional road trips with his fiancé, and also shares opinions about books, TV shows and movies that no one asked for on his Instagram @blake_curran_writer
Samantha Lee is a writer and educator who writes both fiction and non-fiction. She was recently shortlisted in the WestWords/Ultimo Prize for her manuscript Bound. Samantha has completed two mentorships with Australian author, Kathryn Heyman, and from that was selected to attend the ‘Create Your Own Life’ Writers’ Retreat run by her and British writer, Jill Dawson. Samantha has been shortlisted for multiple Needle in the Hay flash fiction competitions and has been published on the SBS Voices website.
What are the Fellowships?
The 2022 CA WestWords Western Sydney Emerging Writers Fellowships offers 3 Fellowships of $4,000 each to emerging writers from the Greater Western Sydney region.
The Fellowships are open to emerging writers* working in genres including fiction, non-fiction, journalism, poetry and song lyrics, writing for performance, writing online or new media and other forms of creative writing. One of the Fellowships will be granted to an emerging writer specifically writing for children and/or young people. Illustrators with a demonstrated interest in the narrative through visual media may also apply. As part of your Fellowship, you will receive a tailored program of mentorship over a 6-9month period.
Previous recipients have included Peter Polites who worked on the manuscript for his debut novel Down the Hume (published 2017 by Hachette), Maryam Azam whose poetry collection will be published by Giramondo in 2018, Fiona Murphy whose book The Shape of Sound was published by Text in 2021.
Previous mentors from the past two years have included Maxine Beneba Clarke, Melina Marchetta, Judith Beveridge, Bryan Brown, Sara Knox and Walter Mason.
There are three parts to each Fellowship:
- Development of your work as a writer
- Mentorship opportunities
- Working with young people in Western Sydney
Applicants must be able to demonstrate a strong and/or recent connection to the Greater Western Sydney region.
- have been born and raised in Greater Western Sydney
- have lived in Greater Western Sydney for more than 2 years
- have worked in the region for a substantial length of time and within the past 5 years
* Emerging is defined as in the first five years of their practice as a writer.
The published works of our previous Fellows
2018 Fellow – Fiona Murphy – The Shape of Sound – Text Publishing 2021
“I feel so lucky to have been a WestWords Fellow. The financial support and mentoring gave me the time, skills and confidence to finish my manuscript about hearing loss. WestWords also helped me navigate the publishing process by providing industry contacts and advice. My debut memoir, The Shape of Sound is forthcoming from Text Publishing in 2021.”
Blending memoir with observations on the healthcare industry, The Shape of Sound is a story about the corrosive power of secrets, stigma and shame, and how deaf experiences and disability are shaped by economics, social policy, medicine and societal expectations.
Fellow – Peter Polites – Down the Hume – Hachette Australia 2017
Confronting and powerful novel from an exciting new voice
‘He touched my face. When his hand went along my bruised top lip and my almost broken nose, I winced from the pain. His fist went into a deep denim pocket. Pulled out a Syrinapx bottle, twisted the cap off and handed me two light blue pills.’
How did Bucky get here? A series of accidents. A tragic love for a violent man. An addiction to painkillers he can’t seem to kick. An unlikely friendship with an ageing patient.
Drugs, memories and the objects of his desire are colluding against Bucky. And when it hits him. Bam. A ton of bricks …
The shadowy places of Western Sydney can be lit up with the hope of love, but no streetlight can illuminate like obsession.
A novel of addiction, secrets and misplaced love, this is an Australian debut not to be missed.
2018 Fellow – Zaheda Ghani – Pomegranate & Fig – Hachette Australia 2022
The women arrive first, on an afternoon like any other, when Henna is safely enclosed behind her desk at school. They come to start a conversation that is both taboo and a normal part of life. A small, intimate group… precious stones decorate their necks and fingers, the sond, embroidery, on their pantaloons and translucent veils catches the afternoon light. Their eyebrows are groomed into elegant curves. They float on a cloud of perfume to Henna’s family home.’
A deeply moving novel about tradition, love, war and the sorrow & hope exile will bring.
Tracing the lives of three young people, Henna, her brother Hamid, and a man who will become her husband, Rahim, this lyrical and evocative story reveals the political entanglements and family dynamics that are heightened and shattered by conflict. Taking us from the streets of Herat in the 1970s, invaded by Soviet forces, to India in the 1980s and then to the suburbs of Sydney, Pomegranate & Fig vividly illuminates the disruption, displacement and tragedy that war unleashes.
Shortlisted for the Richell Prize, this is an unforgettable debut that heralds an exciting new Australian literary voice.
Fellow – Maryam Azam – The Hijab Files – Giramondo 2018
Maryam Azam’s debut collection takes the significance of the hijab as its focus of attention. Though shamed and angered by the prejudice towards Muslims the scarf arouses, Azam is also aware of its sensuality and allure, and the power and protection it offers. In ‘A Brief Guide to Hijab Fashion’, ‘Miss Khan Takes off her Hijab’, and ‘Places I’ve Prayed’, she reflects on the rich possibilities of the scarf, the moral values it embodies, and the commitment required to maintain these values in a secular society. In the second section, ‘Wallah Bros’, she examines the tensions young Muslims experience when negotiating the technology of modern dating. The poems in the final section, ‘The Piercing of this Place’, are alert to the presence of spiritual forces in the world, and open on to the larger dimensions of time and space, to mystery and the prospect of death.
Azam’s style is simple and direct, and informed with humour: it frames as it reveals, asserting the dignity of ritual and observance in everyday life.
2018 Fellow – Chloe Higgins – The Girls – Picador Australia 2019
In 2005, Chloe Higgins was seventeen years old. She and her mother, Rhonda, stayed home so that she could revise for her HSC exams while her two younger sisters, Carlie and Lisa, went skiing with their father. On the way back from their trip, their car veered off the highway, flipped on its side and burst into flames. Both her sisters were killed. Their father walked away from the accident with only minor injuries.
This book is about what happened next.
An astounding new voice whose work mines the slippery regions between grief, sex, love, parents and children. This book is a rare find.’ FELICITY CASTAGNA
‘An urgent, poetic and skinless howl of a book.’ LEE KOFMAN
2017 Fellow – Eda Gunaydin – Root & Branch – NewSouth 2022
“That there is no easy translation for ‘awkward’ in other languages suggests that I’m only myself in English. This feels like a loss, because I’d like to think of myself as Turkish, too. There is a Turkish saying that one’s home is not where one is born, but where one grows full – dogdugun yer degil, doydugun yer.”
Mixing the personal and political, Eda Gunaydin’s bold and innovative writing explores race, class, gender and violence, and Turkish diaspora. Equal parts piercing, tender, and funny, this book takes us from an overworked and underpaid café job in Western Sydney, the mother-daughter tradition of sharing a meal in the local kebab shop, to the legacies of family migration, and intergenerational trauma. Root and Branch seeks to unsettle neat descriptions of belonging and place. What are the legacies of migration, apart from loss? And how do we find comfort in where we are?
2017 Fellow – Joseph Chebatte – Entrenched – 42Handshake 2018
‘When four Australian soldiers capture a young boy spying on their position, tensions rise among them as they decide whether he’s helping the Taliban or simply playing’.
Entrenched explores the challenging question of morals and ethics and whether it’s okay to kill a child during wartime. It also touches on racial prejudices. Short and concise, it has a strong message that is relevant in today’s social climate.
The Fellowships are made possible by the generous support of the
WestWords Giramondo Emerging Writers Fellowship
WestWords Giramondo Emerging Writers Fellowship
The Giramondo Emerging Writers Fellowship is a new partnership between WestWords and Giramondo for an emerging writer from Western Sydney to work with the publishing house on a new work. In 2022 the inaugural fellow is Martyn Reyes.
Applications are currently closed. A new round will open in August 2022
2022 Inaugural Fellow
Martyn Reyes is emerging writer and audio maker born to Filipino migrants, living and working on Gadigal land. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Arts in Communication, majoring in Journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney. With a particular interest in creative non-fiction exploring socio-political themes, his work can be found in SBS Voices, Peril Magazine and Pencilled In to name a few.