WSU-WW Writers in Residence program

The WestWords Writing Centre and The Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University are pleased to announce Kavita Bedford and Rawah Arja as the two Western Sydney Writers in Residence for 2020/21.

Funded by a grant from the Cultural Fund Copyright Agency Limited, these two emerging authors will have the opportunity to develop their professional skills and develop new work through a tailored program of activities with both organisations.

Due to COVID-19 disruptions, the residency will now take place virtually for three weeks from September to December. If possible early in 2021, two additional weeks of in-person activities will be held at a time that is mutually suited for the writers, Western Sydney University and WestWords.

WestWords Executive Director Michael Campbell says, “This project directly sits within WestWords’ staged support strategy aiming to strengthen career pathways for writers at critical points in their professional development not otherwise catered for.”

Not only will it strengthen the already robust links between our organisations but will also amplify the impact for Kavita and Rawah and their ongoing careers as they engage with the young people and emerging writers who participate in our programs.”

Kate Fagan, Director of the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University, says: “The Centre has a long-standing commitment to diverse literary voices from our region. During their time with us, both residents will be mentored by WSRC authors and by editorial staff from the Sydney Review of Books. They will teach into our creative writing programs, and will share creative work with new audiences via our seminar event series. We can’t wait to welcome both residents.”

During the residency, Kavita will be working on a memoir-style novel, a follow-up to her novel Friends & Dark Shapes (Text Publishing, Australia; forthcoming in 2021 with Europa Editions, USA). Rawah will be working on a collection of short stories reflecting her experiences in Punchbowl. Her debut YA novel, The F-Team (Giramondo Publishing), will be released in September 2020. You can see more of Rawah Arja’s work here and Kavita Bedford’s work here.

Congratulations to Kavita and Rawah

Kavita Bedford 

Kavita is a creative writer and editor based in Sydney, Australia. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Guernica, Griffith Review and is the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship for exploring migrant and refugee narratives. Her forthcoming novel will be published by Europa Editions (US) and Text Publishing (AUS) March 2021.



Rawah Arja

Rawah Arja has been shortlisted for the Charlotte Waring Barton Award CBCA NSW and has been signed for her debut YA novel by Giramondo Publishing. She is a part of the literary organisation Finishing School-a collective of women writers with strong connections to Western Sydney. Rawah’s work has featured in the Arab-Australian-Other anthology by Picador and the Sydney Design Festival. She was as a successful recipient of the WestWords Varuna Emerging Writers’ Residential Program at The Writers’ House in Katoomba and has featured at the Sydney’s Writer’s Festival and ABC Radio. Rawah participated in various panels at the Mudgee Readers’ Festival and is also a Youth Mentor, teaching creative writing at various schools and facilitating after school writing workshops with WestWords.

Program Partners

WestWords and the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University are pleased to offer two Western Sydney Writer in Residence positions for 2020, funded by a grant from the Copyright Agency Limited.

With COVID-19 disrupting all our daily and professional lives so too it has disrupted the plans for the proposed residencies. Consequently we looked to vary the timeline and schedule of activities to meet these extraordinary times.

Applications have now closed
Successful applicants will be notified by 19th June

The intent of the project is directly focused on giving early/midcareer writers (defined as at least one major single author publication with a recognised publisher) the opportunity to develop their professional skills and develop new work through a tailored program of activities. 

There will be two writers in virtual residence appointed for periods of three weeks each from September to December 2020. 

Then when situation returns to normal the residency will be in person at a time mutually convenient to the writers, Western Sydney University and WestWords. This residency will occur no later than the end of April 2021.

All other characteristics of the residency will remain the same:

  • Advertised nationally, and open to all Australian citizens, CALD and Indigenous writers will be encouraged to apply. 
  • Each resident attracts remuneration of $12,500. 
  • Applicants must demonstrate an affinity/interest in the diverse concerns and characteristics of WS. The writers will split their time between the Writing and Society Research Centre at WSU and WestWords (with outreach to multiple venues and campus across the region).
    • 55% of the writers’ time will devoted to their own projects and receiving personal mentorship by staff and other writers at WSU and WestWords.
    • 35% to mentoring young writers both at WSU and into WestWords’ schools’ engagement and affiliated writers’ projects.
    • 10% to community engagement through public readings and public events.
  • The residents will be given office space and library access at WSU and participate in Writing and Society events. At WSU the writers will receive mentorship and give mentorship to undergraduates in the creative writing major, work in seminars with students, make themselves available for consultation and lead a five week long undergraduate writing group. They will complete a commissioned essay for the Sydney Review of Books
  • At WestWords the writers will be asked to present masterclasses to school students across WS (min. x3 to min. 90 students), receive mentorship and mentor emerging writers and participate in public events.
    • This project directly sits within a staged support strategy aims to strengthen career pathways for writers at critical points in their professional development at junctures not otherwise catered for. This is done through robust links between organisations which amplify the impact of both.
  • The applications are being assessed by a panel of three judges including a representative from Writing and Society Research Centre, a representative from WestWords, an independent assessor 

Program Partners