The Copyright Agency has awarded its inaugural $40,000 Author Fellowship to Mark Henshaw. The announcement was made at the Australian Society of Authors Congress dinner on Friday, 11 September 2015.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Henshaw chose a career as a curator at the National Gallery over the penurious writer’s life, despite his first novel, Out of the Line of Fire being a success in 1988.

He returned to writing with his second novel, The Snow Kimono, published by Text last year and winning the NSW Premier’s Award for fiction, and has almost finished another, Myxomatosis. He says the fellowship will enable him to write full time while his son finishes school. Mr Henshaw will use his Copyright Agency Author Fellowship to complete work on his latest novel, The Missing, which is an existential thriller set both in France and Australia, about one man’s tenuous hold on his life and identity.

The Copyright Agency Fellowships were established to mark the agency’s 40th anniversary in 2014, honouring the courage and imagination of the author, publisher and copyright lawyer founders that came together in 1974 to stand up for creators.

The inaugural Author Fellowship was targeted specifically at mid- to late-career authors, as the Copyright Agency is aware that there are many prizes and awards available for new and emerging talent, and less opportunities for financial support for authors further along in their careers, where support is still needed.

The judging panel of Brian Johns AO (chair), Malcolm Knox and Geordie Williamson were tasked with assessing the applications, many of which were strong contenders to the winning entry. Applicants included authors from many genres and the judges had robust discussion before settling on their decision, which was unanimous.

The panel was “particularly excited by the extract of the novel for which [Henshaw] is seeking funding”. Brian Johns described Henshaw as “a powerful talent we want to survive, nurture and grow”.

Mr Henshaw (below right) is pictured with the Copyright Agency’s CEO, Adam Suckling, at the Australian Society of Authors’ Congress after receiving his award.

Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling (left) with author Mark Henshaw