The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Graphic of the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund with Myer and WV logos

With the recent travel restrictions and health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, Writers Victoria in consultation with the Myer Foundation have made the decision to postpone the current round of applications to the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund.

Writers Victoria Logo



As the Australian arts sector endures devastation wrought by COVID-19 and national organisations await today’s news of Four-Year Funding outcomes from the Australia Council for the Arts, representatives from state and national literary associations are calling for additional federal funding to the Australia Council, and a swift expansion of the Australian Lending Right Schemes (ELR/PLR) to digital formats.

Lance Richardson, the 2020 Hazel Rowley Fellow

"Under the current public health circumstances, and with great sadness, we have cancelled the Hazel Rowley memorial lecture, scheduled for Friday 20 March at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne,” announced Della Rowley, Hazel’s sister, today.

“At the annual lecture, we announce the Fellowship winner for the year, and it gives me great pleasure to announce Lance Richardson as the winner of the $15,000 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship for 2020. Lance has won for his proposed biography of writer, naturalist and Zen Buddhist, Peter Matthiessen.”

UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to the unfolding Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Write-ability Goes Local: Mornington Peninsula has been postponed until further notice. Once we are able to get this program organised at a future date, we will provide updates.


Writers Victoria, in collaboration with Mornington Peninsula Shire and Peninsula Writers Club, is delighted to announce an exciting new writing program for writers with disability funded by Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Photo of Hazel Rowley outdoors

Nine Australian writers have been shortlisted for the 2020 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship worth $15,000. 

The Fellowship, now in its ninth year, attracted over 60 applications from biographers and memoir writers across Australia.

Award-winning author Simmone Howell has written books, plays, advertorials, manifestos, glossaries, blurbs, non-fiction articles, screenplays and this delightful letter to Writers Victoria, among other things. Simmone, who also teaches creative writing, co-founded the small press publishing collective Vandal Press.

Janette Chen, 2019 winner of the Deborah Cass Prize, with Jean Bachoura, 2016 winner

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2019 Deborah Cass Prize for migrant writing is Janette Chen, for her story 'Wall of Men'.

The Deborah Cass Prize, now in its fifth year, awards $3000 plus a mentorship with an established writer and an introduction to a publisher to an unpublished writer who was born overseas or has at least one parent who was born overseas.

Andy Jackson is an award-winning poet and performer who writes about bodily difference. He lives in Castlemaine, Victoria, and his poetry has been published in many literary journals. He has performed in several festivals, including the Brisbane Writers Festival, Prakriti Poetry Festival in Chennai, India, Newcastle Young Writers Festival and Overload Poetry Festival, among others. Andy, who has also worked in cafes and libraries, has been a resident at Writers Victoria, the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre and Asialink.

Travel items on a map

Writers Victoria, with the support of The Myer Foundation, is delighted to announce the recipients of Round 5 of the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund.

We received 99 applications, requesting a total of $540,191 in grant money. This round's judges were writer Eugen Bacon, publisher Kirstie Innes-Will from Black Inc., and podcaster Astrid Edwards. They were impressed with the overall quality of the applications in what was a competitive round, awarding a total of $50,335 to 11 recipients across 10 grants.

When Leone Purdy of the Sale Write-ability writers group decided to self-publish her poetry book, not everything went to plan.

I was elated. My first book published – and it was lovely. I felt pride in myself; a feeling that was new to me.  Was this beautiful, softcover, book of quirky, idiosyncratic poems really mine? Working with a publishing service had all seemed so easy. I’d paid them to edit and review my manuscript. Where once it had been a jumbled mash of incoherent, long-winded and unrhythmical verse, it was now a polished poetry book.