Writers SA spearheads an ambitious new project, the Diversifying Australian Writing plan

As a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts’s latest grants and fellowships round, Writers SA will deliver a 15-month program of literary projects to diversify the national literary landscape and support marginalised and underrepresented writers, including Deaf writers, First Nations writers, LGBTQIA+ writers, geographically isolated writers, and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse writers.

Injecting $82,000 into the local writing community, the suite of projects will take place across Adelaide, regional and remote South Australia, and will be supported by and extending to national and international partnerships.

The program seeks to address the cultural homogeneity of literature and the arts and remove barriers for marginalised writers to access writing opportunities, and will help to invigorate South Australia with support for the state’s diverse creative community.

The Diversifying Australian Writing plan will see the not-for-profit literary organisation partner with writers and organisations across projects including:

  • A writers’ group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors
  • Artist fees for poetry performances at Soul Lounge, plus inbound and outbound interstate exchanges for poets of colour
  • A Deaf Storytellers project with mentoring between major SA writers and the Deaf writing community, with a public performance at Adelaide Writers Week
  • Quarterly LGBTQIA+ meet-ups for queer writers, plus artist fees for writers to appear at Feast Festival (Adelaide’s queer arts festival)
  • Fellowships for young SA writers under 35 at Varuna writers’ residence in the Blue Mountains, NSW, to attend the Varuna Writers Festival
  • International exchange for First Nations writers between SA and Canada through a partnership with BANFF Centre
  • International exchange for writers between SA and Malaysia with George Town Literary Festival.

The plan builds on Writers SA’s ongoing efforts over the last 12 months to engage with and promote under-represented voices, from July’s Context: Winter Writing Festival, to the establishment of a national First Nations Fellowship with HarperCollins imprint Harlequin and Flinders University, which announced its inaugural recipient last month in author Angie Martin.

“This is an urgent and vital initiative to agitate for a more representative literary culture in Australia,” says Writers SA director Jessica Alice. “I’m proud that we’re leading this in South Australia – to support the breadth of writers in our state by removing barriers to participation and promoting their contribution to the national literary sector and publishing industry.”

“Writers SA believes in writers being central to articulating the multiplcitity of Australian identity, and this project will support those whose voices we most need right now. I’m so thrilled to have the support of our community and peers, and to see what comes from these new national and international partnerships.”

Running from October 2019 to December 2020, the 15-month timeframe of the Diversifying Australian Writing plan has the potential for outcomes that will resonate for years to come.

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