This Breath Commission

Through the No Limits Program, Writers SA is calling all regional storytellers aged 12-29 to express interest in a new commission. Selected writers will be paid to write a short piece in any form of their choosing (poetry, song, comic page, short story, diary entry etc) responding to the last two years in a creative way.

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This Breath is a creative response to a moment in time—this moment in time—by young people living in regional South Australia.

An opportunity to reflect and to capture what has been for many a difficult time to breathe—whether it was mass bushfires, #blacklivesmatter, COVID or the ongoing climate crisis, the past two years will continue to shape the future of young people for decades to come.

This Breath will commission nine regional South Australians aged 12-29 to respond to this moment in time through poetry, short stories, memoir, essays, comics and other written forms and present the outcomes back at regional showcases and other events in 2022.


Nine writers will be selected from this expression of interest. Expressions of interest are due 5th December 2021. Writers will be notified of the outcome via email on the 10th December 2021.

Selected writers will:

  • be paid a fee of $250-$500 (depending on final word count) for their completed written response.
  • have six weeks to draft, polish and submit their final piece of writing (final pieces of writing are due 30th January 2022).
  • receive written feedback to improve their draft from an allocated mentor and Writers SA Regional Coordinators.
  • have access to a closed virtual group to share their work in progress and connect with other This Breath Writers.

Writers SA will:

  • match selected writers with a suitable mentor to provide feedback on their draft.
  • provide moral support and additional feedback to all selected writers throughout the drafting process.
  • work with selected writers to showcase and celebrate the final pieces of writing created at Writers SA and/or partner events in 2022.
  • pay selected writers the agreed commission fee on completion of their creative response.

Selection Criteria:

  1. Writers must be aged 12-29 on 10th December 2021.
  2. Writers must currently live in a regional, remote or rural location in South Australia.
  3. This is a commission for a new piece of writing to be developed in January 2022.
  4. We are looking for a range of ages, experience levels, locations and backgrounds.
  5. We are looking for a range of responses and themes, you do not need to stick to the “big themes” mentioned above. Please see our FAQ below for ideas.
  6. The final written piece must be between 250 – 900 words, or equivalent (for poetry, songs, scripts and graphic storytelling etc). Writers SA will negotiate exact length and fee with all selected writers.

If you have any questions or need help completing this form, please contact Statewide Regional Manager Alysha Herrmann via [email protected]


What is a writing commission?



an instruction, command, or role given to a person or group.


order or authorize the production of (something).

Commissioning a writer means paying the writer an agreed fee (payment) to complete an agreed piece of writing, often to a theme or set of criteria. In the context of This Breath – we (Writers SA) will pay you (selected young regional writers) to write about your experience of the last two years. 

Does my writing for This Breath have to be based on real life? 

We are asking selected writers to creatively respond to the brief, but that doesn’t mean your writing has to be non-fiction or your own real life. Fictional responses are fine, for example you could write a science fiction story set 100years from now that explores the impact of climate change, or you could write a comic book about two aliens visiting your town and being taught to wear masks during COVID. You also don’t need to only engage with the “big things” we’ve mentioned (like COVID, last year’s fires etc), you could also share a smaller, more local story from the past two years. This Breath is about documenting and exploring young people’s perspective people perspective and experience of what life is/has been like in 2020 and 2021, so however you want to explore that is perfectly valid. 

Do I need to be an experienced or published writer? 

Absolutely not. We are looking for a mix of ages, locations, backgrounds and experience and would love to hear from experienced and new writers within the age range. Each selected writer will be matched with a mentor to receive feedback during your drafting process in January, and the Writers SA Regional Team will also read your draft and provide feedback to help you develop your skills and write the very best version of your idea. 

What do you mean by 250-900 words or equivalent?

The word count is based on a short story or essay format. Poems, comic pages and other storytelling formats use a lower word for the same amount of effort. We will negotiate the final fee and word count based on the idea you want to develop. 

What will happen to my written piece after it’s finished?

You will submit your final written piece to Writers SA on 30th January 2022. The Writers SA Regional Team will then be in touch with you to discuss ideas for presenting and sharing your piece at Writers SA and/or partner events in 2022. Depending on the form of your final piece this could include reading the work at an event, presenting it within an exhibition or turning it into other formats (for example printing a comic page into a large format for an empty shop window, or audio-recording a poem to share on social media). Some pieces may also be suitable to submit for competitions or journals like Voiceworks. The Regional Team will work with you to find the best ways to showcase you and your work.

I still have questions or I’m feeling a bit unsure about my ideas, who can I talk to?

You can contact any of the Writers SA Regional Team to ask more questions or get some feedback on your ideas before you submit an expression of interest. More about the Regional Team and their contact details can be found here. 

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