Previous recipients of Queensland Writers Fellowships
Zenobia Frost, Museum of Dwellings
Zenobia Frost is a writer from Brisbane, Australia. Her work has appeared in Overland, Cordite, States of Poetry, Scum, Woolf Pack, and the Hunter Anthology of Contemporary Feminist Poetry. She was recently shortlisted for the inaugural Red Room Poetry Fellowship, while her first collection, Salt and Bone, was shortlisted for the 2013 Thomas Shapcott Prize and commended in the 2014 Anne Elder Awards.
Museum of Dwellings will be a full-length collection of vivid poems, supported by research at the John Oxley Library, documenting lost Brisbane landmarks and architectural quirks. The project includes production of a handmade printed artefact: a foldout zine serving as an uncanny Brisbane “tourism guide”. Museum of Dwellings focuses on the poetics of intimate urban space, with a particularly Queensland flavour.
It was the ambition and design of Zenobia Frost’s proposed poetry collection Museum of Dwellings that impressed the judges. The collection aims to examine some of the most pressing concerns in our relationship with space and place in the 21st Century, including psychogeography, travel, urban development and displacement, and this with a very Queensland focus. Frost’s poetry is both elegant and philosophically sophisticated and the panel agreed she is likely to produce a work of lasting significance.
Linda Neil, People Are Kind
Linda Neil is an Australian writer, songwriter and documentary producer, and the author of two non-fiction books, Learning How to Breathe (UQP, 2009), and the travel memoir All Is Given: A Memoir in Songs (UQP, 2016). She has a PhD in creative writing and has taught creative writing and cultural studies at the University of Queensland. She was a Griffith Review Fellow in 2017.
People Are Kind is a work of creative non-fiction that tells the story of how life changes following the diagnosis of a serious illness and how it is possible to discover and develop a community of support as a person adapts to a life of disability. It follows on from Linda Neil’s recently published book, All is Given, which is a book of interconnected stories of travel and music set in various parts of the world.
The variety and quality of Linda Neil’s previous writing in addition to the artistic vision of her proposed creative non-fiction work impressed the judges immensely. People Are Kind concerns a woman coming to terms with serious illness and re-calibrating her life. The work promises to be both stylistically inventive and philosophically provocative in its study of a compulsive traveller compelled to become stationary.
Mirandi Riwoe, A Gold Mountain Woman
Mirandi Riwoe’s debut novel, She Be Damned, was released in 2017 (Legend Press, UK; Pantera Press). Her novella The Fish Girl won Seizure’s Viva la Novella V and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize in 2018. She has been shortlisted for the Josephine Ulrick Short Story Prize, Overland’s Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize, and the Fish Short Story Prize. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies (QUT).
A Gold Mountain Woman is a literary novel set in Queensland in the Gold Rush period of the 19th century. The novel’s title A Gold Mountain Woman refers to the term ‘Gold Mountain man’ which signifies a person who has returned to China with riches from the goldfields of Australia and California. This is a story of exiles. Against the backdrop of real events—violent clashes, ‘roll-ups’, and the hardships faced by early settlers and miners of the time—the novel’s creative re-imagining of historical events will foster reflection upon contemporary anxieties about racism, nationalism and migration.
Mirandi Riwoe’s project, a historical novel concerning a particularly Chinese experience of the Queensland gold rush, stood out among entries due to the author’s exceptional prose style and storytelling ability. In her short career to date, Riwoe has proven herself a consummate narrative artist, one capable of telling Queensland stories from a unique perspective.
Trent Jamieson, The Stone Road
Trent Jamieson is the multi-award winning author of Day Boy, the Death Works series of novels, and the Nightbound Land duology.
Trent’s project, The Stone Road, works in balance with his Aurealis Award winning novel Day Boy. The Stone Road is a dark fantasy novel that builds on this Aurealis Award winning short story Cracks and is about the relationship between grandmothers, daughters and grandchildren. The Stone Road in the book is the road of the dead; and it is the dead and the weight of the past that dominates story. But, for all that, it is a hopeful novel lit by the fierce voice of its protagonist.
The judges were impressed by Jamieson’s past work in speculative fiction, and, even so, how much of a leap forward his proposed novel, The Stone Road, promises to be. Jamieson’s imagination is tremendous and his is a distinctive Australian, and Queensland voice, that deserves to be heard amongst the giants in his field.
Amanda O’Callaghan, The Turn
Amanda O’Callaghan was born in Brisbane. Her short stories and flash fiction have been published and won awards in Australia, UK, and Ireland. A former advertising executive, she holds a PhD in English from the University of Queensland.
Her project, The Turn, is a debut collection of powerful short stories based on ideas of deception and secrecy - from a young girl finding out about the murder of Aboriginal people on her grandparents’ Queensland property, to an English widow, snowed-in with a man who accidentally reveals a horrifying past - each piece will share themes of deception, secrecy and the unspeakable.
The judges were taken by the wonderful ideas for the individual stories in this prospective collection and by the sensual, impressionistic prose style. Amanda has the ability to devise poignant scenarios, such as the accidental discovery of a massacre of indigenous people on a familiar stretch of country, or the demands of religious fundamentalism on a relationship, and execute these with prose that ignores cliché and speaks to the poetic experience.
Pamela Rushby, Those Girls with Grit
Pamela Rushby has worked as an advertising copywriter, pre-school teacher, and producer of educational television. She now freelances as a writer for children and young adults. She has had over 200 books for children and young adults published, and has won awards for children's books and television documentaries.
In Pamela’s project, 16 year old Lizzie volunteers for the Australian Women’s Land Army in 1942. She expects to be picking sun-kissed peaches and bottle-feeding fluffy white lambs. While wearing flattering shorts. But life on the farm is hard – until Lizzie meets the other Land Army girls. Those Girls with Grit is a historical novel based on the experiences of women who worked in the AWLA in Queensland during World War 2.
Pamela Rushby’s proposal for a novelistic treatment of Australian ‘land girls’ evidenced the author’s consummate professionalism. The judges were confident the fellowship would help provide the reading public with a distinctive Queensland novel on a little known Australian experience, and that Rushby could fill the order to the highest quality.
Karen Foxlee, Lenny Spink and the Second Street Giant
(published as Lenny's Book of Everything, Allen & Unwin 2018)
Karen’s Fellowship project Lenny Spink and the Second Street Giant deals with the themes of growing up, family, love, the small miracles of life and being different. Her proposal to complete the manuscript and develop a complimentary online platform will build on the international success of this regional Queensland author. Karen is an elegant and talented writer of four novels including The Anatomy of Wings and The Midnight Dress.
Krissy Kneen, Holding Hands
Well-known for her exploration of sexuality, Krissy Kneen’s proposed literary novel Holding Hands represents an important shift in her writing and tonal development. Set against the backdrop of a supported care facility, this novel is a dramatic black comedy about communication, miscommunication and the expression of self through language. As a provocative the author of Affection and Eating My Grandmother, the fellowship will allow Krissy to explore the complexities of communication, disability, and passion on the margins.
Inga Simpson, Willowman
Sunshine Coast author of Mr Wigg and Nest, Inga’s project will see her complete her fourth novel Willowman, a cricket novel examining the entwined lives of a traditional batmaker and an exciting young batsman. Uniting Inga’s fascination with trees and cricket, this work takes an unexplored path, through woodwork and the willow tree, into a national sport by a skillful author on the rise.
Ellen Van Neerven, Days of Extinction
Ellen has quickly established herself as one of Australia's most exciting young writers. In 2013 she won the David Unaipon Award for a manuscript by an unpublished Indigenous writer. Heat and Light used mixed modes of fiction — the realist, alongside the speculative, alongside traditional indigenous storytelling. Ellen’s 2014 fellowship winning proposal for a new work of fiction, Days of Extinction, takes up this mix of modes again, this time to investigate the relationship between human civilization (past and present) and the land. The Judges unanimously ranked this application highly as an intriguing, high quality and decidedly viable project.
Sophie Overett, The Rabbits
Twenty-four year old writer Sophie Overett’s mounting successes in publication and literary competitions made her eligible for both Fellowship categories. The Rabbits is a novel about a family divided by loss and bound by love. Overett’s mature eye for detail accentuates the interplay between family, friends and lovers in crafted and sensuous writing that brings to life a sweltering Brisbane summer. As the story builds, magic enters into the familiar. The Judges congratulate Sophie, confident in her aim to finish and publish this promising work.
David Stavanger, MacKenzie Place and It’s Not Bad Luck
David’s projects offer the Queensland Writers Fellowships an opportunity to support a Shapcott Award winning-poet to develop two new projects of innovative and engaging poetry that will make a substantive contribution to the cultural life of Queenslanders. In one project, Stavanger will poetically map contemporary and historical Brisbane via its bus routes, resulting in a manuscript for potential publication by UQP. This project also includes a strong participatory element as the poet composes, shares, and performs poetry live on Brisbane buses. In a second project, Stavanger will write and develop his delightful, absurdist poetic works aimed at upper primary students. Stavanger’s projects have strong potential to develop new audiences for Queensland poetry, and will consolidate this poet’s publication career. The breadth of Stavanger’s appeal and the quality and innovation underpinning his work made this proposal stand out in a strong field of applicants.
Jack Vening, Lonesome Animals
(2014 Queensland Premier's Young Writers Fellowship)
Jack’s writing pulses with wit, energy, unpredictability, empathy and a wisdom writers twice his age would dream of possessing. There are beautiful worlds in his head and he has the writing craft and creativity to set them in ink so his increasingly grateful readers can see them, hear them, walk through them. His planned book of short fiction, Lonesome Animals, will be rooted in the landscapes of Queensland, telling stories of troubled boxers and wild animals and World War Two murders, while staying true to his great gift: an ability to explore and explain the human condition.
(published as One, Transit Lounge, 2016)
Patrick Holland grew up in outback Queensland, where he worked as a ringer. The Long Road of the Junkmailer was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book. His second novel, The Mary Smokes Boys (Transit Lounge, 2012), was longlisted for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award and his first collection of short stories, The Source of the Sound (Salt, 2010), won the 2010 Scott Prize, and his collection of travel essays, Riding the Trains in Japan: travels in the sacred and supermodern East (Transit Lounge, 2011) was shortlisted for the 2012 Queensland Literary Awards. His most recent work is The Darkest Little Room (Transit Lounge 2012).
Holland’'s project proposal of a literary novel about the final days of bushranger James Kenniff (1869-1940) will reveal little known facts about the mythological figure, including landmarks to his name throughout Queensland.
Kristina Olsson is an established Brisbane author. Her latest book, the memoir, Boy, Lost, recounts the theft of her mother’s first child. She is also the author of two novels, including the award-winning novel The China Garden, and the biography Kilroy Was Here. Her journalism and non-fiction appear in major newspapers, magazines and anthologies.
Olsson will be developing an extended piece of narrative non-fiction, which will trace a vacant block of land in Brisbane through modern times to European settlement, Indigenous occupation, and back again to the glaciers, to paint a portrait of how 'place' evolves, and how the past is always with us.
(published as The Tallow-Wife, FableCroft, 2017)
Angela Slatter is the only Australian to have won the prestigious British Fantasy Award. She is the author of three critically-acclaimed short story collections (one co-written), and over seventy individual short stories,reviews and articles published since 2006. She has a Masters (Research) and a PhD, both in Creative Writing. She is also a graduate of the Clarion South Bootcamp for Speculative Fiction Writers and the Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop.
Slatter's project proposal is a mosaic novel entitled The Tallow-Wife and Other Tales which uses fairytale elements as touchstones for original tales that experiment with discontinuous narrative. This innovative collection will also be digitally published.