from the editor's desk

Announcing the Successful Applicants to the 2021 Writers’ Development Program and Mid-Career Fellowship

In partnership with Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre and with the support of The Copyright Agency’s Cultural FundWesterly Magazine is proud to announce the 2021 participants in our Writers’ Development Program and Mid-Career Fellowship.

The Writers’ Development Program

Westerly‘s Writers’ Development Program began in 2016, supporting Western Australian writers with mentoring and publishing opportunities, and bringing their work to publication in Westerly. Every year we have been impressed by the standard of writing produced through the Program; we’ve also been delighted to see the success of past participants in continuing to launch their careers in the literary world.
This year, the Writers’ Development Program offers each of our three participants a $500 bursary for use in supporting their writing, mentoring with a respected WA writer/editor to produce new work for publication in Westerly, and a three-day writing retreat at KSP Writers’ Centre in Greenmount. The emerging writers will have the opportunity to make invaluable connections with other writers and industry professionals to help with their ongoing support and professional development. The writing they develop over the course of the mentorship will be published in print in issue 66.1, and a further reflection on the program will be published on our Editor’s Desk blog.

The 2021 Participants:

Adele Aria writes non-fiction, poetry, and literature and arts reviews, with occasional forays in short fiction, which explore concepts of identity, the politics of existence, and the ways in which we integrate personal and shared histories. Drawing on their lived experiences of complex trauma, disability and queerness, studies in human rights and professional experiences, Adele is a writer-activist. They have previously been published in international and Australian literary and academic publications on arts and culture, human rights, and the practice of empathy. A queer non-binary person of colour, Adele is grateful to be living and writing in Noongar Boodjar.

Adele has a Master of Business and a Master of Human Rights and is embarking on a PhD journey interrogating the way in which we understand and respond to family and domestic violence in Australia. They consider themselves a complicit migrant with much to learn about decolonising our ways of being and thinking, and integrating respectful learning from traditional custodians and the lands called home. With an enduring passion for the arts, as an artist, musician and writer, Adele hopes to engage in writing that provokes sharing and generous discourse for social change.

Since late 2019, when an Inclusion Matters fellowship with the Centre for Stories supported Adele in embracing writing as a preferred art form, Adele has also performed at literary events, including the Emerging Writers Festival. Alongside Emily Paull, Adele co-facilitates a regular writing workshop group and is developing a podcast with Nadia Ciccine where they will be celebrating the lives and contributions of women (including trans and intersex and non-binary femmes) around Australia. A defiantly optimistic intersectional feminist, Adele is determined to find ways to contribute to positive change and amplify the voices of those who are often marginalised, silenced and in other ways deprioritised.

Lisa Collyer is a mistress of reinvention. Her career has manifested as teacher, belly dancer and horticulturist. She is currently a full-time poet and casual educator. She has lived all over Australia, including Christmas Island, and abroad in Rome and Borneo. She is an advocate of native endemic plant species which are features of her poetry juxtaposed with remembrance and lament.

Lisa’s writing is visceral and confronting, referencing the trauma of family tragedy experienced during adolescence. Her father suffered a catastrophic motorbike accident which occurred simultaneously with the Ash Wednesday Bushfires. Lisa challenges the expectations upon women who are carers, and themes around displacement are regular guests in her poetry. Lisa is interested in the physical performance of femininity and the societal abjection of hair and the inherent gender and race implications. Her pithy observations about Australian identity are unashamedly suburban, working class and culturally diverse, giving homage to her roots. Essentially her poetry is memoir: nuanced meditations on the physicality of everyday encounters.

Lisa has been published in numerous anthologies including Poetry d’Amour, Wrong Way Go Back and New Writing. Her work has also been showcased in online journals, including Creatrix, Underground Writers and, notably, in Cordite Poetry Review. She has been a repeat guest storyteller for Barefaced Stories and a regular feature poet for Perth Poetry Club. She is a participant of The Four Centres Emerging Writers’ Program and a member of Voicebox Fremantle. She respectfully acknowledges First Nations’ Peoples as the custodians of this country and recognises that she is living on unceded land as a settler descendent. She currently resides and works on Whadjuk Nyoongar boodja in the northern suburbs with her husband and cat. She plays on the rivers and coastline on her stand-up paddle board and seeks inspiration from the arts.

And then one day, just over three years ago, Benjamin Mason listened to the other voice, and decided to become an artist. Although his heart was set—and still is—on writing a novel, his one rule was to say yes to everything. He signed up at open mic nights, sent off short stories to every man and his dog—rejected, rejected, rejected­—became an inaugural member of the South West’s finest sea shanty singing group, The Anchormen, founded the Bunbury Writer’s Group—who have produced Open Mic nights at Caf-fez and produced three books with a local publisher BookReality—and acted in a play. Home Invasion, his collection of short fiction, garnered a long-listing for the 2019 Fogarty Award. His short stories have been published, awarded and performed, including in Westerly, Overland and LitLive. He has won a couple of Slam competitions, as well as placing third in the WA leg of the Australian Poetry Slam, and performed at Bunbury and Perth Fringe Festivals. He has been a Fellow with KSP and a Writer-in-Residence with FAWWA.

And now Ben’s trying to say no, in order to concentrate on fiction. His themes focus on class, and what it means to be Australian in contemporary society, in both regional and urban environments. He is stoked to be a participant in Westerly’s Writers’ Development Program.

And he’s still trying to write a novel.

The Mid-Career Fellowship

Westerly has always been committed to supporting Western Australian writers throughout their careers, and we are absolutely delighted to announce that this year, in addition to the Writers’ Development Program, we are offering a $2000 Fellowship to two mid-career Western Australian writers who have already published at least one and no more than four full-length works or collections. This Fellowship will see the writers produce original, high-quality works of prose or poetry to be published in Westerly, both in print and online. The two successful writers will be featured in Westerly 66.1 and Westerly 66.2 respectively.

The 2021 Participants:

Maddie Godfrey is a writer, educator, editor, emotional feminist and the 2020 Kat Muscat Fellow. They live on Whadjuk Noongar land with a rescue cat named Sylvia.

At 25, they have achieved international acclaim as a performance poet and have been a poetry slam champion of Western Australia, Cambridge, Oxford and Hackney. Maddie has performed at The Sydney Opera House, The Royal Albert Hall, TedXWomen, St Paul’s Cathedral and Glastonbury Festival (2017). Maddie has also competed in The Woman Of The World Poetry Slam in Brooklyn, New York (2016) and Dallas, Texas (2017).

Maddie’s debut poetry collection, How To Be Held (Burning Eye Books, 2018), is a manifesto to tenderness. OUTinPerth wrote, ‘This is the kind of poetry we need right now: compassionate; inventive; inclusive; full of promise; full of hope’. Recently, Maddie’s writing has been published in Rabbit Poetry Journal, Going Down Swinging, Cordite Poetry Review and Scum Magazine. In 2020 Maddie won Red Room Poetry’s Shadow Catchers competition and their winning poem was virtually displayed at the Art Gallery of NSW.

In 2017, Maddie was a writer-in-residence at the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral in London, where they researched sacred buildings and unholy bodies. During that residency, Maddie wrote ‘Mary Wants To Sleep With The Painter But Pretends Otherwise’, which was highly commended in the 2017 Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition. 

In 2018–2019 Maddie worked with Propel Youth Arts WA as the Creative Coordinator of Youth Week WA. In 2019 they were an Associate Producer for Express Media’s ‘Making Tracks’ program. In late 2020, Maddie was awarded a writer-in-residence position by The National Trust of Western Australia. 

Currently, Maddie is completing a PhD, teaching creative writing at Curtin University, editing Voiceworks Magazine and drinking soy cappuccinos. More information available at www.maddiegodfrey.com.

Annabel Smith is the author of interactive digital novel/app The Ark, US bestseller Whisky Charlie Foxtrot, and A New Map of the Universe, which was shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Book Awards. Her short fiction and essays have been published in Southerly, WesterlyKill Your Darlings and the Review of Australian Fiction. She has also had countless rejections—some of which have made her cry—struggles with self-doubt and procrastination, and occasionally grapples with crippling envy over other writers’ successes. 

She has a PhD in Creative Writing and has delivered more than 40 workshops at writers’ centres, regional and metropolitan libraries, and festivals. As panellist and chair she has appeared at numerous national and international writers festivals. She is a mentor and short story competition judge, and a former member of the editorial board at Margaret River Press.

For the last five years, she’s been working on a speculative fiction take on a classic epic quest, featuring a monkey, a cocaine addict, an evil priestess and the mother of all tsunamis. She has neither an agent nor a publisher for this series and sometimes wonders if anyone except her brother will ever read it. She blogs about the challenges of the writing life, including the realities of earning a living as a writer, at annabelsmith.com.

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