The Next Chapter recipients announced at the National Young Writers’ Festival

AAR Wheeler Centre The Next Chapter Recipients 2018The 2018 Recipients of The Next Chapter writers’ scheme have been announced at this year’s National Young Writers’ Festival (NYWF) in Newcastle.

NYWF is the country’s largest gathering of young and innovative writers working in both new and traditional forms including zines, comics, blogging, screenwriting, poetry, spoken word, hip hop, journalism, autobiography, comedy, songwriting and prose. The festival presents ‘writing’ in its broadest sense through panels, discussions, workshops, launches, performances, readings, installations and more.

Presented by the Wheeler Centre with support from the Aesop Foundation, The Next Chapter is about giving new writers from all backgrounds the time and space to craft a voice and a career. It’s about investing in a new generation of writers who will reflect the diversity of Australian identities and experiences.

The recipients have been carefully selected by a panel of judges, including journalist, columnist, screenwriter and author Benjamin Law; award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke; Yugambeh writer and poet Ellen van Neerven and bestselling author Christos Tsiolkas along with the Wheeler Centre’s Head of Publishing Sophie Black and the Wheeler Centre’s Director, Michael Williams.

“The standard of submissions to The Next Chapter has been phenomenally high and we have been impressed and knocked out by the astonishing, challenging and riveting writing we have read,” said the Judges.

“It has been an honour to judge this award, and it has also been a great responsibility … The experience has confirmed for us all that the more voices that appear in Australian writing and the more experiences and truths that are recounted, the more thrilling will be the future of our literature.”

Each recipient will receive $15,000 to develop their work. The Wheeler Centre will match them with a mentor to work closely with them on bringing their writing to life, connecting them with peers, publishers and readers. If they find publication, the Wheeler Centre will work with the successful publisher to support getting the books into the hands of the readers who’ll love them.

The recipients will also participate in a three-day intensive writers’ retreat at Varuna, The Writers House in Katoomba, New South Wales. The judges have also selected four highly commended recipients who will each receive $500 and membership to their local writers’ centre.

Things are a little bit at fever pitch at the Wheeler Centre. We couldn’t be more excited about the Next Chapter,” said Wheeler Centre Director Michael Williams. “We’re extremely proud of this scheme and overwhelmed by the response to it from around the country.”

“And it hasn’t even started yet! After a national call out, months of consultation and public meetings, listening to writers’ groups and community organisations from Perth to Penrith, Darwin to Dandenong, a submissions process that attracted 1100 entries, and an exhaustive judging process to winnow down the selection, we’re finally ready to announce the inaugural recipients.”

“Money, time, the support of peers and the guidance of mentors, freedom to play and experiment: this is a scheme aimed at transforming the creative lives of ten extraordinary writers. Ten names that will be adorning your bookshelves for years to come. Your future favourite writers are well on their way. And we can’t wait to introduce you to them.”

The Next Chapter 2018 Recipients:
• Evelyn Araluen, poetry (Windsor Downs, NSW)
• Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, memoir (Brunswick East, VIC)
• Jean Bachoura, memoir (Taylors Lakes, VIC)
• Ennis Cehic, short fiction(St Kilda, VIC)
• Nayuka Gorrie, non-fiction (South Lismore, NSW)
• Lian Low, young adult speculative fiction (Footscray, VIC)
• Yamiko Marama, memoir (St Kilda West, VIC)
• Ara Sarafian, comic fiction (Kew, VIC)
• Adrian Stanley, young adult fiction (Mount Compass, SA)
• Adam Thompson, short fiction (Trevallyn, TAS)

Highly Commended:
• Mehdi Habibi, short fiction (Sydney, NSW)
• Fiona Murphy, memoir (North Melbourne, VIC)
• Bobuq Sayed, fiction (Brunswick East, VIC)
• Adut Wol Akec, poetry (Tarneit, VIC)

For more information, visit: www.wheelercentre.com for details.

Image: L-R (Top): Evelyn Araluen, Jean Bachoura, Ennis Cehic, Nayuka Gorrie, Lian Low; L-R (Bottom): Yamiko Marama, Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, Ara Sarafian, Adrian Stanley, Adam Thompson

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