Award-winning short story writer Michelle Wright has been awarded the inaugural Templeberg Residential Writing Fellowship by Writers Victoria and Templeberg Villa this month.
The one-month Fellowship will send Wright, whose parents migrated from Sri Lanka to Australia in the early 1960s, to Galle, in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka, before the end of this year.
Wright has researched Sri Lanka’s history for several years but has not been back there since 1992. She will use her time there to work on a series of short stories based in the country. Two of the stories are set in and around Galle.
One of these short stories, “Keeping Tabs”, was shortlisted for The Age Short Story Award in 2011. Wright went on to win The Age Short Story Award in 2012 with “Maggot”.
“My time spent at Templeberg will not only allow me to continue writing these short stories, but to visit several places which serve as settings and to interview key experts in the traditional arts and crafts carried out by several of the characters,” Wright said.
“I’m so thrilled and honoured to have been chosen. It’ll be such an incredible opportunity to really have some serious time to give to my writing,” she said.
The residency attracted high-quality applications from writers from all over Australia.
“We were delighted to see such a high calibre of applications,“ said owner of Templeberg Villa Christopher Shields. "We believe Michelle is an ideal first Fellow and will be an inspiration for other writers in Australia and Sri Lanka. We will continue to grow the Fellowship and hope to see many more aspiring applicants next year.”
Fellowship judge Royston Ellis said, “It was my knowledge of living and writing in Sri Lanka for 33 years that made me believe Michelle Wright would be the best to benefit usefully from the Fellowship and would find the Templeberg characters and location ideal for developing her stories.”