In Literary & Arts

Northern Territory Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Chansey Paech

Territory Writers Awarded Varuna Fellowships

Victor P Taffa

Writers from across the Northern Territory are being supported to take part in writing and professional development programs as part of a Territory Government-funded agreement.

“I congratulate the nine recipients of this funding and acknowledge the high quality of writing they have produced so far.” Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Chansey Paech said.

“Judges have also seen the merit of their work in awarding these fellowships.”

Varuna Fellowships will support six virtual fellowships this year and three residential fellowships next year.

Varuna is recognised as Australia’s pre-eminent institution for writing development, and is central to a thriving literary community. Each year, more than 150 writers participate in residencies and professional development programs at Varuna, with hundreds more readers and writers taking part in their workshop programs and literary events.

Virtual residency program will run in November 2020 and includes online sessions with Varuna writing consultant Dr. Carol Major and award-winning Northern Territory author and poet Dr. Leni Shilton.

Program has been adapted in response to COVID-19 to include six virtual residencies this year.

Virtual Fellowship recipients and their projects include:

  • A Loving Family Home by Shele Parker Black (Darwin) – this collection of poetry transforms tales of intolerance into poems of love.
  • Anything You Want by Julie U’Ren (Darwin) – a collection of short stories of Northern Australia where characters face moments of change often in isolation and are taken deep into the moment.
  • Kissing the Sky by Dani Powell (Alice Springs) – acclaimed animateur, author and poet, this work charts the journey of Aello and her son Sam back to the forest of her childhood where she recovers her lost relationship with the natural world.
  • Of Tropical Fruit and Death by Tisha Tejaya (Darwin) – a work of fiction exploring migrant and refugee stories of escape from South-East Asia and adapting to life in the final frontier of the Territory.
  • Running to Country by Meg Mooney (Alice Springs) – a memoir about love of country and wild places in changing times in the central Australian deserts. 
  • The One and Only, Enid Botton by Miranda Tetlow (Darwin) – an award-winning author of short fiction, this is Miranda’s first book for children.

Residential fellowships will take place from January to June 2021 and will include a two-week residency at Varuna in New South Wales. They allow uninterrupted writing time plus $1,500 to support individual expenses including travel and accommodation and manuscript consultations.

Residential Fellowship recipients and their projects include:

  • Tafaoga Mamao Epic Journeys by Léuli Eshragi (Alice Springs) – poems that chart fa?afafine belonging and global Indigenous struggles for decolonisation through reflecting and enacting beyond-human kinships and art making.
  • The Shores Between by A’Mhara McKey (Darwin) – the first novel from this award-winning author about a woman on the run who must walk the line between fact and folklore to find her missing brother before he is lost forever.
  • The Territory by Brian Obiri-Asare (Tennant Creek) – a collection of poetry where the black body is able to dream and celebrate the end of the denial of how lonely it is to live without black thought and black poetry.

Territory Government has provided $16,000 towards the fellowships that promote greater opportunities for Territorians to drive participation and achievement in culture and the arts and to build connections with the sector and the Territory community.


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