Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund Awards Two Writers Fellowships

Cultural Fund

The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund today awarded two life-changing Writers Fellowships, valued at $80,000 each, to support Australian writers at the top of their field to create new and important works.

The Cultural Fund’s Author Fellowship and Non-Fiction Writing Fellowship are two of Australia’s richest and significant grants for writers. This year, they have been awarded to novelist and Walkley Award-winning journalist, Robert Drewe, and award-wining non-fiction writer, Anna Krien.

Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling says, “The Cultural Fund Fellowships for fiction and non-fiction total $160,000 and provide crucial financial support to Australian authors at a time when funding and financial security is at a premium.

“The Fellowships support our seasoned writers to create new and ground-breaking work on important topics that enrich our lives and contribute to Australia’s literary landscape by tapping into uniquely Australian narratives and new perspectives on Australian life .

“The calibre of this year’s applicants was outstanding, reflecting the extraordinary writing talent we have in this country.”

This year’s Fellowships are:

  • Author Fellowship: Robert Drewe, to write a novel Nimblefoot, which is based on Australia’s first international sporting hero of “pedestrianism” (walking matches). It follows his wild endeavours, which included becoming a jockey and winning the Melbourne Cup riding the coincidently named Nimblefoot in 1870.
  • Fellowship for Non-Fiction Writing: Melbourne writer and journalist Anna Krien for The Long Goodbye: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which will be published in 2022. Krien wrote a Quarterly Essay in 2017 on The Great Barrier Reef, and her Fellowship project is an extension of that essay, investigating the science, economics, energy policy and players involved in the reef’s challenges.

The Fellowships are assessed by independent peers from the writing and publishing sector. The Author Fellowship was assessed by author Tegan Bennett Daylight, reviewer and literary critic Stephen Romei and Rachel Bin Salleh, publisher, Magabala Books. The Non-Fiction Fellowship was assessed by writers Paul Daley, Jane Rawson and Nam Le.

Author Fellowship recipient Robert Drewe has published eight novels, including The Drowner, which won the Premier’s Literary Prize in every state, the Australian Book of the Year Prize, and was voted one of the 10 best international novels of the decade. He has also produced short stories and memoirs that have won state, national and international prizes, some of which have been adapted for film, television radio and theatre.

The panel was impressed by the quality of Drewe’s writing: a powerful and vital voice informs his proposed novel, in which the story and characterisation were distinctive, exciting and properly original.

Drewe says, “The fellowship means a huge deal to me and my writing. With its encouragement I can complete the big imaginative novel – one set all around Australia — that has gripped me for the past five years.”

The recipient of the Fellowship for Non-Fiction Writing, Anna Krien, says it reinforces the importance of her work in tackling climate change and reporting on the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

“The Great Barrier Reef is a vast system of reefs and it’s a big job to take in all of the stories. This fellowship will enable me to gather those stories to create a work of real excellence and importantly, cut through the noise surrounding this remarkable system of reefs and the extraordinary diversity of life it supports.”

In awarding the Fellowship for Non-Fiction writing to Anna Krien, the peer panel was particularly impressed with the scope and breadth of her important and timely project and the urgency of its telling through her honest questioning style.

The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund Author and Non-Fiction Fellowships are renowned for enjoying significant success. Melissa Lucashenko’s Too Much Lip, which was written during her Fellowship in 2017, went on to the win the prestigious 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Jeff Sparrow will release his 2018 fellowship project Crimes Against Nature in November this year, and 2017 winner Kathryn Heyman’s memoir Fury was published by Allen & Unwin in May to critical acclaim. Non-fiction works including Bernadette Brennan’s Gillian Mears: Dancing to a Minor Key, James Bradley’s Deep Water and Krissy Kneen’s With This Body are all set to publish in 2022.

The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund Fellowships provide unprecedented financial support to authors. This is in addition to more than $115 million in copyright licence fees the Copyright Agency pays to publishers, writers, visual artists and surveyors every year, which makes a significant contribution to sustaining Australian storytelling.

Please see our website for more information on Copyright Agency’s Fellowships.

Media enquiries

Jane Morey                                                                
morey media
m: 0416 097 678
e: jane@moreymedia.com.au

About the Copyright Agency and Cultural Fund

The Copyright Agency is an Australian not-for-profit organisation that has been standing up for creators for more than 40 years. We enable the reuse of copyright-protected words and images in return for fair payment to creators.

The Cultural Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Copyright Agency, contributing meaningfully to a wide range of Australian cultural, educational and artistic programs and creators. Through its support it fosters greater understanding and engagement of national culture both locally and internationally.

Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund is a long-time supporter of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, providing $5,000 to each of the finalists and granting more than half a million dollars to this premier Australian literary prize since 2004.