from the editor's desk

Westerly Writers’ Development Program and Mid-Career Fellowship Participants 2023

Westerly Magazine is thrilled to announce the successful applicants for the seventh year of our Writers’ Development Program, and the third year of our Mid-Career Fellowship!

Both programs are offered in partnership with Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre and we would like to acknowledge the support of The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. We would also like to acknowledge all the writers who applied this year – selection for both programs was highly competitive, and we’re very grateful for the time and energy which went into the applications. There was some incredibly exciting work offered in this, and we are in awe of the literary talent coming out of our state. Thank you all, and we hope you all continue to submit to the Magazine.

The Writers’ Development Program

The Westerly Writers’ Development Program began in 2016, supporting emerging Western Australian writers with mentoring and publishing opportunities. This Program has now been offered and delivered on six occasions, and we have been delighted and impressed with the quality of the participants’ work featured each year in our print issues and on the Editor’s Desk. We have also loved seeing various past participants go on to further successes and publications! We’re equally excited to see what our seventh cohort might offer us.

The Program offers support to our three participants, aiding them in developing work for publication in Westerly. Each writer will receive mentorship, career development opportunities and a short residency at KSP Writers’ Centre. The emerging writers will also have the opportunity to make invaluable connections through networking and Westerly events. The writing produced during this program will be published all together in a feature in Westerly 68.2.

Introducing the 2023 participants…

Originally from India, Aditi Arun currently lives and writes on Whadjuk Nyoongar boodja. She is in her final year of a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at The University of Western Australia, majoring in Genetics and English & Literary Studies.

Taking inspiration from scientific idiom and Indian culture, Aditi’s poetry primarily explores identity and human history. She writes in a mix of English and her native tongue, Malayalam. Incorporating biological concepts such as phylogenetic trees and protein structures into the formatting of her work, she pays homage to our bodies and evolution. She also discusses how India still suffers the effects of colonisation decades after independence, while simultaneously praising its rich mythology and diverse beauty.

Aditi writes to attempt to figure out who she is and navigate her place in the world. For most of her life, she has struggled with the notion of ‘or’—science or arts, Indian or Australian, English or Malayalam. After writing her first poem in 2022, she started to accept the idea of ‘and’, realising she doesn’t have to be half a person. She hopes that whoever reads her work begins to embrace ‘and’, too. Aditi’s poems have appeared in Westerly and Damsel.

Ana Brawls is an emerging writer and librarian originally from Brazil. Her work explores family traditions, myths, belonging and the human condition. In April 2021 she was selected for the Writing Change, Writing Inclusion Mentoring Program with Centre for Stories in Perth and in early 2022 she was presented with the Writing Fellowship, also with Centre for Stories, to work on a manuscript of literary fiction.

Her poems and short stories have been published in Australia and abroad. ‘The Extinction of my Childhood’ was published in Australian Poetry Anthology vol. 9 in 2021.  And ‘My Son I Give You the Ocean’ appears in Portside Review issue 7. She also performed her poetry at the 2022 edition of the Perth Poetry Festival for the Multicultural Night.

The online literary journal Bangalore Review published her short stories ‘Who do you think you are?’ and ‘Creatures of the Crossinghave been published in the anthology Under the Paving Stones, the Beach. Ana also reviews books for Writing WA and Books+Publishing and was featured at Margaret River Writers Festival 2022 in conversation with author Rashida Murphy.

Kirwan Henry grew up in the South West where she discovered a love for Imagist Poetry in high school. It was while completing a Bachelor of Education in Perth that she decided to try creative writing classes. After being encouraged to submit her poetry for publication her poems were published in Blue Dog Australian Poetry, Heat, and The Best Australian Poetry anthology. It was not long after that life began getting in the way of writing. Work, travel and a growing family meant that all those ‘works in progress’ were left on the shelf for later.

Kirwan has decided to make writing a priority again. Recently, she has had poems published in Westerly and Best of Australian Poems 2022. The works in progress have been taken off the shelf and she is taking inspiration from all those memories that deserved to be written about long ago, as well as the everyday things around her.

She has very recently moved to Naarm/Melbourne with her husband and two children where she is fitting her work as a casual teacher around writing, instead of the other way around. She enjoys drinking coffee, gardening and having fun exploring a new city with her family (occasionally lost in thought in the passenger side of the car as she writes and her husband drives).

The opportunity to participate in the Writers’ Development Program has delighted Kirwan. She is looking forward to working with amazing people as she develops her skills as a poet.

The Mid-Career Fellowship

Beginning in 2019, Westerly’s Mid-Career Fellowship offers support to two mid-career writers by advancing their careers through featured publications. The Fellowship is an exciting opportunity for WA writers who have published at least one but no more than four full-length original works or collections.

Our two participants will be provided with a fellowship bursary of $2000, and the opportunity for a discounted residency with the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre. In return, each participant will craft a bespoke original prose work or poetic sequence, both of which will be published in Westerly 68.2, in print and online.

Introducing the 2023 Fellows…

Brooke Dunnell’s short fiction has been widely published in journals and anthologies, including Best Australian Stories, Meanjin, Westerly, The Big Issue fiction edition, New Australian Fiction 2021, and New Australian Stories 2. Her writing has been shortlisted in competitions including the Wells Festival of Literature 2021 Short Story Award, the Bridport Short Story Prize 2019, the Newcastle Short Story Award 2019, the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize 2017, Griffith Review’s The Novella Project IV, and the FAWWA Hadow/Stuart Short Story Competition 2013. Her themed short story collection Female(s and) Dogs was a 2020 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award finalist and later shortlisted for the 2021 Woollahra Digital Literary Award. Brooke’s first novel, The Glass House, won the Fogarty Literary Award in 2021 and was published by Fremantle Press in 2022, and she is working on her second full-length novel.

Brooke has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Western Australia and has facilitated workshops for the Peter Cowan Writers Centre, the Centre for Stories, Amana Living, the 2022 Australian Short Story Festival and the 2022 Big Sky Festival. She has also run short writing programs for the Fremantle Arts Centre, the Peter Cowan Writers Centre, and the Centre for Stories in collaboration with the Edmund Rice Centre. She has worked as a mentor for participants in the 2019–2020 Centre for Stories’ Inclusion Matters program and both iterations of the Four Centres Emerging Writers Program.

Brooke has also served as either the sole judge or as part of a judging panel for creative writing competitions including the WA Premier’s Book Awards, the Peter Carey Short Story Award, the 2017 Margaret River Press Short Story Competition, the 2017 Trudy Graham-Julie Lewis Award and the 2021 and 2022 Peter Cowan 600 Short Story Competitions. In 2022 she was part of the organising committee for the Australian Short Story Festival, held in Fremantle. She is also a current volunteer reader for the literary journal Overland.

Miriam Wei Wei Lo is a mixed-race mixed-place writer. Born in Canada in the early 1970s to a Chinese-Malaysian father and an Anglo-Australian mother, she grew up in Singapore and has lived in Australia since she was nineteen. She has an honours degree from The University of Western Australia and a PhD from The University of Queensland. She has always been interested in embodied female experience and her PhD culminated in a creative project that captured her grandmothers’ lives in poetic snapshots. Five Islands Press published this as Against Certain Capture in the New Poets 10 series in 2004. Against Certain Capture was highly commended in the Anne Elder award and went on to win the Western Australian Premier’s Prize for poetry. A second edition was released by Apothecary Archive in 2021.

After rocketing off to this great start, Miriam fell out of the sky (from a career point of view), opting to stay home to raise her three children. Together with her husband Michael, they moved to Margaret River where Miriam lived the life of a country pastor’s wife—an unpaid role that was both a privilege and a challenge. During this time, she had poems published in Westerly, The Australian, and Poetry International Web, as well as in influential anthologies including Over There: Poems from Singapore and Australia (2008), The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry (2009), Contemporary Asian Australian Poets (2013), and The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry (2017).

Miriam has a growing appreciation for both the possibilities of digital innovation and for the long-suppressed Indigenous peoples and cultures of this land. She is still interested in embodied female experience and writes from a faith perspective that remains open to finding common ground with others. Miriam is active in the local poetry community and is working concurrently on a few creative projects, including Autographs.


Congratulations to both our Fellows, and to our three participants in the Writers’ Development Program! We are so looking forward to working with you all!

share this

Join our mailing list