In exciting news, I’ve been shortlisted for the 2021 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship, worth $15,000. The shortlisting is for a project I’ve been quietly working on for a while – I’m (ghost) writing a memoir for Aaron Fa’Aoso, Torres Strait Islander actor, film and television writer, director and producer. You can read more about my newest project here. And stay tuned, there is even more exciting news to come!

The Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship was established by the family and friends of Hazel Rowley, one of the world’s leading biographers, to commemorate her life and writing legacy following her death in 2011. Hazel left behind a legacy of great writing, a passion for words and for exploring the lives of exceptional men and women.

“The [2021] shortlist reflects an exciting and diverse range of subjects both contemporary and historic, including artists, filmmakers, actors and writers,” said Della Rowley, Hazel’s sister. “This year, more than any other, it is vital to support writers. Given the impact of COVID-19, priority has been given to writers researching and writing within Australia. 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of my sister’s death and the establishment of the Fellowship in her name. We are proud of the writers and proposals we have been able to support over the last decade, many of which have resulted in publication.”

The Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship is an important one, targeted at non-fiction life writers with a work-in-progress, and providing funds to assist with travel and research, in my case to Cairns and to the Torres Strait. I was also lucky enough to be shortlisted for the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship in 2012, and that validation provided a huge boost to my confidence at a time when I was an unpublished writer with merely an idea for an interesting project.

This year, the other shortlisted writers are:

  • Jillian Graham for a biography of Australian composer and Arts activist Margaret Sutherland.
  • Amanda Lourie writing on AW Howitt, English-born Australian anthropologist and explorer.
  • Jo Oliver for a biography of Australian modernist artist Adelaide Perry.
  • Sheila Ngoc Pham writing about Anne Spencer Parry, Australian science fiction writer and psychotherapist.
  • Kate Rice for a biography of Australian mother and daughter Marian Dunn and Marian Marcus Clarke.
  • Mandy Sayer for her proposal on the McDonagh sisters, Australia’s first female filmmakers.

My hearty congratulations to all the shortlistees, and my grateful thanks to the Hazel Rowley Literary Fund and to Writers Victoria.