New writer-in-residence program will nurture next generation of literary talent

A prestigious new writer-in-residence program at the University of Tasmania will support an established writer to produce a major piece while also helping to usher in our next generation of literary talent.

The Hedberg Writer-in-Residence Program begins in January next year and applications for 2021 are now open to writers living in Tasmania. The residency will be open to applicants from throughout Australia for the 2022 and 2023 program.

Dr Robert Clarke, the coordinator of the program and Head of English in the School of Humanities, said that over three years the program would enable three established writers to develop and share major new work and reach new audiences.

“It’s very exciting for us that this residency will also see them passing on skills and experiences to the University’s creative writing students, emerging Tasmanian authors and the broader Tasmanian creative community,” Dr Clarke said.

While the exact nature of the first writer-in-residence’s engagement with these groups will depend on COVID restrictions, “our aim is, through workshops and mentoring sessions, to give our young and upcoming writing students the time, space, and connections that will have a practical and lasting impact on their futures,” Dr Clarke said. Activity to stimulate creative conversations and writing activity will take place in both the north and south of the State.

Dr Clarke said creative writing students and staff at the University would benefit directly from access to experienced and high-profile authors, and the residencies would contribute to the expansion of the University’s popular and successful creative writing program.

“The Tasmanian public will also benefit from the connection and interactions with the writers-in-residence because they will be sharing insights and participating in events across the State. We are really pleased to be able to support our local literary culture in this way and hope that the relationships and influence of this program will benefit all parties for years to come.”

Again, depending on the COVID restrictions, it is hoped that some of the activity will take place in the University of Tasmania at the Hedberg, the new state-of-the-art cultural facility in the heart of Hobart’s creative precinct.

The inaugural recipient of the Hedberg Writer-in-Residence Program will be an established fiction or non-fiction writer currently living in Tasmania. Applications for the prize are now open.

In its second and third years, the prize will be open to established fiction or non-fiction writers from throughout Australia. Eligible writers will need to have had one substantial work published by a recognised publishing house.

The program will provide a stipend of $30,000 for the successful applicant. The project is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, and the College of Arts, Law and Education and the School of Humanities at the University of Tasmania.

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