WestWords/Whitlam Institute Writer-in-Residence at the Female Orphan School
Now closed

Applications are now closed for the writer-in-residence at the Female Orphan School in Parramatta to research, develop, and write about the history of the building and the stories of the girls who arrived in the Female Orphan School in the early days of the colony. We were pleasantly overwhelmed with the level and quality of the Expressions of Interest. The applications are currently being assessed with a decision made in early 2021.

The Female Orphan School, the oldest three storey building in Australia, is one of the earliest examples of social policy in Australia, when the Governor of the time, Governor King, and the Reverend Samuel Marsden decided there should be a school for girls in the Colony where they would be ‘protected, and could learn to read and write and to gain employable skills’. But sadly, we don’t know enough about the personal stories of the girls and women who lived there. The writer-in-residence will research, develop, write about and expose the history of the building and its inhabitants.

This opportunity is specifically for a creative non-fiction or fiction writer or poet who will research and develop the stories of the inhabitants of the School for a contemporary audience.
The writer will receive $4,000 (ex GST)

To apply
Please email admin@westwords.com.au

with an EOI (max 5 pages inc CV) outlining:

  • a project idea
  • rationale
  • plan
  • expected outcomes (including potential pathways for mainstream/trade publication)
  • plus a CV max 2 pages

Applications open 16th Nov.
Applications close 13th Dec.

We understand that different ideas have different demands and people’s circumstances are different so she specific timing of the residency is negotiable but must be taken between mid-Feb and end May 2021. We are after strong submissions, not just those that fit within a specific short timeframe. Support and access to available research and documentation will be made available to the successful applicant.

We welcome submissions from non-Sydney residents and whilst there is no accommodation available onsite we do have provision for accommodation close by. Travel however would be the responsibility of the successful applicant.

The residency will require the writer to complete short writings developed from their research: these outcomes will be published, promoted and made available to the broader community. The writer will also complete a detailed report about the residency.

The writer-in-residence will also deliver a public presentation at The Whitlam Institute/The Female Orphan School outlining the discoveries made during the course of the residency and will read from the work created during the course of their residency.

Ultimately the aim of the residency is to provide the writer with substantive research material for further writing, and thereby provide an avenue for the stories of The Female Orphan School to be made available to the broader Australian community.

For further information about the Female Orphan School and the residency:

Enquiries: e admin@westwords.com.au, p 1800WestWords