Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund awards three Fellowships for Australian writers

October 12, 2023

Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund is delighted to announce this year’s recipients of our three writing fellowships for a total of $170,000.

The Copyright Agency’s Fellowships provide timely and crucial financial support to authors to create new work for publication. The direct support to authors through the Cultural Fund, which is the philanthropic arm of the Copyright Agency, is in addition to more than $100 million in copyright fees the Copyright Agency pays to publishers, writers, visual artists and surveyors every year, which makes a significant contribution to sustaining Australian storytelling.

Copyright Agency CEO Josephine Johnston says, “Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund continues to provide instrumental and focused support to assist writers, publishers, and visual artists to create new work. We are proud to play a part in sustaining Australia’s rich creative and cultural life.”

The Copyright Agency’s Author Fellowship and Fellowship for Non-Fiction Writing are two of Australia’s richest fellowships for writers, valued at $80,000 each. This year the Fellowships have been awarded to Chris Womersley, a fiction and short story author based in Melbourne, and Canberra-based writer, Patrick Mullins.

The Author Fellowship provides support to an established author to create a new work for publication and applications are assessed by a panel of independent peers from the writing sector.

Chris Womersley’s Fellowship project, The Empire, is a novel set in a version of 19th century Melbourne.

Chris says, “It’s a privilege to receive the Author Fellowship, receiving financial and verbal validation from a panel of industry peers for my project is the ultimate motivation. The Fellowship will allow me to step back from my day job and turn my energy and focus to the novel, without added monetary or administrative stress.”

Patrick Mullins, this year’s recipient of the Fellowship for Non-Fiction Writing, will use the grant to complete a work of narrative non-fiction, A Scandal of Rags and Syrup, exploring legal, political and cultural history and set in Sydney in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Patrick says, “The work I envisage for the project requires considerable research of archival documents, court and police records, parliamentary papers, press clippings, and observer accounts scattered through an array of memoirs, pamphlets, and books. Without the Fellowship, it would take years to make considerable progress. I’m so grateful to be provided with the means to bring this little-known piece of Australian modern history to life.”

Copyright Agency Frank Moorhouse Fellowship for Young Writers

Copyright Agency is also pleased to announce Scott Limbrick as the recipient of the inaugural Copyright Agency Frank Moorhouse Fellowship for Young Writers. Named in honour of the late Frank Moorhouse, recognising his outstanding contribution to Australian literature, the Fellowship, valued at $10,000, provides a genuine career development opportunity for a young fiction writer, aged between 18-35, who has not yet published a full-length work of fiction.

Scott will write the novel, Life in Theory, and will also receive an introduction and mentoring session with Frank Moorhouse’s publishers, Jane Palfreyman and Meredith Curnow.

Scott says, “I’m incredibly grateful for the Frank Moorhouse Fellowship for Young Writers, which in its focus on early career writers helps the sometimes daunting scope of a longer project feel more achievable. This encouragement and practical support will make a huge difference as I work on my first novel, and I’m so excited to have the time, confidence and feedback to fully explore and experiment with its possibilities.”

Copyright Agency donates to the Writers Benevolent Fund to honour Frank Moorhouse

In addition to the new Fellowship to benefit young writers, the Copyright Agency has also made a one-off donation to the Writers’ Benevolent Fund in Frank Moorhouse’s name, recognising his outstanding contribution to Australian Literature and also marking the crucial role he played in the establishment of the Copyright Agency. The Writers’ Benevolent Fund provides much-needed financial assistance to writers who are experiencing financial hardship.

Alongside the career-making Fellowships, Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund has announced the recipients of funding from its first round of funding for Australian organisations. An extremely competitive round resulted in support approved for 19 applicants amounting to $314,800.

Projects include University of Queensland PressFirst Nations Classics Series 2024 – new editions of award-winning titles by First Nations writers, with new introductions from contemporary First Nations writers. Other organisations awarded include Art Gallery of South Australia for artists’ commissions for the 2024 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, First Nations Australia Writers Network for its national industry roundtable, the Stella Prize Longlist and the Hedberg Writers-in-Residence Program at the University of Tasmania.

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Jane Morey or Ella Hartis at

About Copyright Agency

The Copyright Agency is an Australian not-for-profit organisation that represents 40,000 members across the publishing, media, visual arts and education sectors. Our mission is to provide simple ways for people to reproduce, store and share words, images and other creative content, in return for fair payment to creators.

About the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund

The Cultural Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Copyright Agency, providing support to individuals and organisations to run projects that will enrich Australia’s publishing and visual arts industries.

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