Bri Lee named New Writer-in-Residence


Bri Lee, author of the award-winning and bestselling memoir Eggshell Skull, has been announced as the 2020 Copyright Agency UTS New Writer-in-Residence.

“The significance of this opportunity to me is clear,” she says. “I can focus on doing precisely and exclusively the writing I want to for the entire rest of the year.”

Bri is a freelance writer, editor, speaker, academic and Copyright Agency member whose words have been published in The Guardian, Griffith Review, VAULT Art Magazine and more. Having moved from Brisbane to Sydney to invest in her writing career, she is “excited, honoured and a little shocked” to have received her fellowship.

The New Writer-in-Residence is supported by a partnership between the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and the UTS Creative Writing Program. It offers time, space and financial support to work on a manuscript, all of which are notoriously difficult to access for emerging and early career writers.

With two books (Eggshell Skull and the essay Beauty) under her belt, Bri will now turn to her third: a novel for which the foundational ideas and questions have been percolating since 2011.

“I would describe it as contemporary and ‘issues-based’,” she says. “There’s a lot of research in it.”

This will be Bri’s first foray into fiction, a “freeing” change following the publication of her memoir and essays (the sister essay to Beauty, titled Brains, is nearing completion). “Keeping the next work at the forefront of my mind helps me switch off the unhelpful noise and anxieties inherent in the writing process and profession,” she says.

Speaking to the value of opportunities for new writers, Bri says: “Grants and fellowships like the Copyright Agency UTS New Writer-in-Residence provide critical financial injections to the notoriously small pie of funding writers are offered by state and federal organisations.

“If you are passionate about your work then you need to be able to make it sustainable. This ‘starving artist’ mythos needs to go in the bin. Pretending money is separate to art only serves to benefit the people for whom money isn’t a problem, i.e. the privileged.”

As Writer-in-Residence, Bri – an advocate for young creators being strategic and communicative about finance – will be available for consultation with UTS Creative Writing students.

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has welcomed Bri to the university and looks forward to her contributions throughout the year.

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