UQ Creative Writing Fellowship 2024

22 January 2024

The Centre for Critical and Creative Writing (CCCW) are delighted to announce that the winner of their inaugural UQ Creative Writing Fellowship is Melanie Myers. Sponsored by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, the fellowship offers $20 000 for an early career writer to spend a year immersed in the Fryer Library researching and drafting a major new creative work. UQP Madonna Duffy was on the selection panel, as was Simon Farley from the UQ Fryer Library. The fellow is also paired with a mentor in the field of their choice to provide guidance and feedback on the research-based writing as it unfolds over the year. 


Melanie's project is a full-length play based on the complex relationship between author Xavier Herbert and his editor Beatrice Davis over a 12- year period from 1949 to 1961: the time it took to write, edit and publish Soldiers’ Women – Herbert’s next major work after his acclaimed bestselling novel Capricornia (1938). The play will be based on letters between Herbert and Davis held in the Fryer Library as part of the Sadie and Xavier Herbert Collection. Melanie states, "I want the play to engage with questions about the value of Australian literature and art more broadly, and what it takes to have a thriving national literary culture that fosters authors to write Australian stories. Though the play is situated within Australia’s literary milieu of 1950s and 60s – itself a period of significant turmoil within the publishing industry – these are questions with contemporary relevance, especially when we consider that Australian authors earn on average $18,200 a year."

Melanie has nominated leading Australian dramaturg Saffron Benner as her mentor, and the pair will pick up the cudgels in January 2024 and work together over the year to produced a polished performance-ready draft of the play. The fellowship will culminate in December 2024 with a public reading of some of Melanie's writing, to be held in the Writers Studio in the School of Communication and Arts' Michie Building. Those interested in following Melanie's experiences over the terms of the fellowship will be able to read her blog posts, which will be posted regularly on the CCCW's website (https://writing.centre.uq.edu.au/)