Foundation for Australian Literary Studies News & Events MEDIA RELEASE: First FALS writing residency announces attendees

First FALS writing residency announces attendees

Monday 11th April 2022

The six successful applicants for the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies’ (FALS) writing residency have been announced as Claire Corbett, Stacy Gougoulis, Eliza Henry-Jones, Jock Serong, Maria Takolander and Jessica White.

The ‘Writing at the Reef’ Residency, sponsored by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, will be a collaboration of arts and sciences, focusing on the unique asset of the Great Barrier Reef and foster writing that includes traditional owner perspectives, notions of place, the environment, the reef or issues of climate change.

The six successful writers were chosen from a field of more than 70 applicants and selected based on their proposed project’s relevance to the residency’s themes, identification of the benefit the residency would give their project, and literary merit. All genres of literature were considered.

The judging panel said they were overwhelmed with the quality and variety of applicants.

“We wish to thank every single person who applied, for putting their heart and soul into this residency,” they said. “We were particularly delighted with the applicants’ passion for the environment and the themes of the residency: traditional-owner perspectives, place-based writing, climate change, the environment, and dialogue between the sciences and the arts.”

Chair of FALS and CEO of AIMS Dr Paul Hardisty said he was impressed with the passion the applicants showed for the themes of the residency.

“As a creative writer myself, I was personally moved by the fervour with which so many writers and artists of all levels demonstrated their enthusiasm for this unique place-based residency,” he said. “It is clear that writers of all kinds are keen to apply their talents to making the story of our precious Great Barrier Reef known at a time that is more urgent than ever.”

The residency will be held at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville from June 11 – 17.

About the successful applicants:

Image of Claire Corbett

Claire Corbett writes fiction and creative non-fiction. Her first novel, When We Have Wings (Allen &Unwin), was shortlisted for the 2012 Barbara Jefferis Award and shortlisted for the 2012 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction and published overseas.  Watch Over Me, her second novel, was published by A&U in 2017. She teaches Creative Writing at UTS, is Deputy Chair of the Board of Varuna, the National Writers’ House, and is fiction editor of Overland literary Journal. This year she has also been awarded a Lockie Fellowship by the University of Melbourne for her third novel, The Aquarium.

Claire is especially excited about the Writing at the Reef residency because the subject matter of The Aquarium is vitally concerned with the state of the oceans. Being at the research station and learning from the marine scientists there is a once in a lifetime opportunity to breathe this research and knowledge about the oceans and particularly the Reef into the book. She aims to redraft the book while on the residency.

Image of Stacy Gougoulis

Stacy is an illustrator, radio presenter and comics maker living and working on the lands of the Wurundjeri people in Victoria. His comic works have appeared across ABC platforms as well as in comics anthologies by kuš! and Fantagraphics. He is currently working on his debut graphic novel.

I hope to have time to draw directly from nature and take a rare week to focus solely on the writing of my first graphic novel. It's going to be a long and difficult process so I'm excited to be around other writers with so much experience. I also fear that I will annoy the scientists so much with my questions that they won't want to open it up again.

Image of Eliza Henry-Jones

Eliza is an author and PhD candidate at Deakin University. She has published four novels, which have been shortlisted for awards such as the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, QLD Literary Awards and NSW Premier's Literary Awards. Her articles, essays and short fiction have been published widely and her fifth novel, Salt and Skin will be out in August with Ultimo Press. She lives on a flower farm in Wurundjeri Country.

During the residency I'll be researching and working on a new novel that draws on oceanic folklore to examine the critical intersection of place, humanity and climate change. Witnessing the cutting edge research being undertaken at the AIMS facility as well as immersing myself in the surrounding environment will be absolutely invaluable.

Image of Jock Serong

Jock Serong is the author of five novels across multiple genres. He is the founding editor of Great Ocean Quarterly and a longstanding senior features writer for Surfing World magazine. His work also appears in The Monthly, The Guardian and other major media. Jock currently serves on the board of The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas.

I hope to interrupt and interrogate as many scientists as I can, to learn more about our tropical seas, about the reef and about what we are doing to understand the human effects upon it.

Image of Maria Tokolander

Maria Takolander is a prize-winning fiction writer and poet. Her most recent book of poems, Trigger Warning (UQP), won the 2022 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Her short-story collection, The Double (Text), was a finalist in the Melbourne Prize for Literature in 2015. Her words can also be found in bronze plaques in the Geelong CBD and at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

I am working on a dystopian climate-change novel partly set on Australia’s northern coast. A key question for me is: what will the Great Barrier Reef look like, and how will its forms of life function in a climate-changed future? It is a question I hope to have answered during my residency.

Image of Jessica White

Jessica White is the award-winning author of the novels A Curious Intimacy and Entitlement, and a hybrid memoir about deafness, Hearing Maud. Jessica has received funding from Arts Queensland and the Australia Council for the Arts and has undertaken residencies in Australia, Italy and Germany. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of South Australia.

On the residency, Jessica will be working on her novel about climate change, sea creatures, love and adaptation.

Contact: Marg Naylor

Foundation for Australian Literary Studies

0428 585877