Residencies: acceptances & applications

Some great news! I have been accepted into the Eramboo Artist Environment in Terrey Hills, NSW – that is on the North Shore of Sydney and not far from the Central Coast where I grew up. I will be spending two weeks working on my novel The Ozone Cafe which was an art deco building that disappeared from the shores of Broken Bay in the nineties. My novel traces its construction, to three separate owners and then to the cafe’s demise through council corruption.
So this writing residency/retreat will take place in the last week of March & first week in April.

In other news I’m applying to US artist retreats. Actually, they call them colonies. In my research and discovering an American writer by the name of Alexis Grant there are several more to think about than just Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony. The US collective is known as VCCA, and one colony that calls itself an “international working retreat for visual artists, writers, and composers is situated in the rolling foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.” The program offers fellowships between two weeks and two months long, and it’s located about a three-hour drive from Washington, D.C.
Another is The Hambidge Center located in Georgia, where each artist has their own studio in the woods, VCCA residents all live in the same building.

The Percentages of Acceptance in the U.S.
Yaddo accepts about 22 percent of applicants, and VCCA’s acceptance rate is only slightly higher, 37 percent, according to the Alliance for Artists Communities. (Compare that to the less-prestigious but equally worthwhile Hambidge, which has a 76 percent acceptance rate, the AAC reports.) So, as Alexis Grant advises – apply to the more realistic colony, as she calls it a “safety” colony, one with a higher acceptance rate and where you double your chances. MacDowell is the hardest with a low success rate. They’re into high-profile artists.

Alexis Grant states, ‘Yaddo rejected me. I don’t often blog about rejections, because it can sound like whining and doesn’t really benefit anyone. But I’m telling you about Yaddo because sharing only success paints an inaccurate picture of the writer’s life, particularly one like me who’s hopping from one genre (journalism) to another (memoir). It ain’t all pretty, and there are bumps and rejections along the way.

But facing rejection is normal. The key is to keep your head up, keep chugging and keep trying. And at some point, even that colony you thought would probably reject you will respond with an email saying YES.’


Publishing, Universities & Changes for Writers

Publishing, Universities & changes for Writers in today’s modern reality
Last week authors, poets, staff, academics and the media learnt about the closure of UWA Publishing. It has come as quite a shock to many as some writers that I know have been slated for publishing in 2020. The horror of this news is that nothing is safe, set in concrete or guaranteed. It seems to be the way of the world at the moment – you get fired from your job – too bad! You teach creative writing to a group, but the rents are so high you can’t make any money. Who wants to work for a pittance? The foundations that were once built are no longer sacrosanct, especially it seems with universities. They now have hidden agendas and to my mind this revolves around the proverbial “buck” and added to that is the hackneyed phrase “it’s all about power and control”.
I recently helped out with a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of ECU in relation to unrealistic architectural changes to Edith Cowan House, the original and precious replica that occupies Joondalup Campus. I did get one of those corporate-speak replies, however, and not because of my letter – all the issues have been roughly resolved. This took a big action by many, esp. the members, the board and previous employees who worked hard to save Peter Cowan’s library along with the historic tenants’ occupancy, per se, the Peter Cowan Writers Centre.
Past, present and future authors will have their work cut out for them if they are to save UWA Publishing. It also makes the rest of us stand up and take notice. Asking ourselves what if? What if my publisher closed. Where do I stand as a writer? What about my signed contract? All these questions come into play. So you feel for everyone involved. It’s always been a hard, rocky road to publication, now it seems a chasm has opened up and there’s a deep hole. 😦
Here is a really good article about the Pros and Cons of Traditional Publishing. As well, there are other interesting articles, esp. the one about self-published works (eg. Amazon) making the writer more money!
Reference: grounds at UWA: My pictures of the 2019 Perth Writers Festival, Crawley.

Reading your Work Out Loud – Writers!

One of the most important things to do as a writer is to read your work out loud. No! not in your bedroom (although not a bad practice) but to a live audience. Whether this is at a Poetry Reading, a self-organised or invited reading through your State’s Network of Libraries/ Bookstores, reading in a workshop to your fellow writers or to a small writing group. As many new authors must do now, it seems that the current consensus is to be involved personally in promoting and selling your book(s) on video. I can manage blogs and various social media platforms, but producing a good video of me reading one of my poetry books or a future novel is daunting and rather out of my league. This begs the question: do you go to the expense of bringing in the professionals? Well, that’s okay if you can afford it.
I have over the years had plenty of practice reading, but this was mainly “poetry”. I think reading parts of a novel when I have a book launch will be challenging. I have one little trick, I record certain chapters on my mobile phone and listen to them while on my walk. It’s a great way to practise and also pick up any stumbling blocks in the text. And often I get new words if I listen to them incorrectly! It’s really weird when that happens.
I started my readings at university.
A university friend has just sent me a link to a reading of mine that I did back in 2009 at Edith Cowan University on YouTube. I thank her most sincerely as she has gone to a lot of trouble in editing her recording and I’m also very grateful. Grateful because I talk about commencing my novel The Ozone Cafe, so it has been 10 years in the making and still ongoing. Thanks, Frances! Here is the link to me reading poetry and talking about starting the novel from a poem titled The Ozone Cafe. Nothing gets wasted, folks!

Check it out here!

More Australian Writing Residencies

The more you research, the more writing residencies you find in Australia. It is a pity, however, that they are not all included on one website. Some go it alone, while others are registered under ResArtis. Failing that most retreats are in the middle of the woop woops, rural bush retreats, out of the way, and there is a reason because they provide the quietude any artist needs. The only problem is, often they are fairly inaccessible and you need a hire car or require help with a lift from your host.
One such Australian Residency Network exists under the banner of BREW. No, this is not a brewery or a pub crawl, it stands for Bush Retreats for Eco Writers. And there are 5 all told: Blue Bucket, Tamborine Mountain, Burrabungle, Plumwood Mountain and Pinchgut Creek.  The good news is they are nowhere near “Wolf Creek”. Note: Make sure to email some inquiries re accommodation. I always worry when they don’t show the internals. You may have to rough it and don’t forget the Aeroguard!

The Bush Retreats for Eco-Writers (BREW) network offers free 10-day residencies for writers, poets, students and artists who explore ecological themes. Initiated by eminent Australian environmental philosopher Professor Freya Mathews, the network currently has five sites, located on ecologically significant private properties in various parts of Australia.
With a view to fostering environmental culture in Australia, BREW warmly invites applications for residencies to undertake ecological writing, research or art projects at any one of it’s properties.
Innovative conservation projects are underway on several of the properties and, to support this work, these sites are also available as research sites to interested ecologists. Opportunities may exist to partner with local art centres and present in local schools.
Hosts offer basic self-catering accommodation. There is no charge, but residents may be asked to make a small contribution towards electricity and other costs. On some properties, residents can participate in conservation activities. Residents are asked to provide a short report on their stay to post on the BREW website for the benefit of other applicants.
More information can be found on BREW’s website.
You can also request an application form for a 10-day BREW residency, or to ask a question, via the online contact form.

Info from writingWA

Artist Residency: the application process



Eramboo is an artist residency in Terrey Hills. Situated near the Ku-ring-gai Chase on the North Shore of Sydney NSW, the retreat offers a live-in-residency for regional, interstate and international artists working in all media, writers, musicians, dance or performance artists. The live-in-residency space is available for one week or three months. Therefore, I have made an application to Eramboo for March 2020 (not far from Ettalong) and this would allow me the time and space to concentrate on my second novel The Ozone Café. I’m also hoping that because the setting of the novel is in the northern beaches (the Central Coast) that the residency board might be supportive since I would be in that locale and esp. being in the area would be beneficial to my project/novel.
Applications Process
While the residency website does not specify any deadline, there is the opportunity to upload all the necessary documents to assist your application. The main requirements are as follows:-
1. A current CV is essential
2. 2 industry references (I had an old poetry reference + only my novel acceptance – screenshots below)
3. For writers: 2 manuscripts, best to upload in .pdf. Artists up to 6 works (graphics).
4. Project Statement – need to outline why you prefer this residency.
5. Timeline – specify the time of year you require.(they may offer a different time)
6. Contact details
7. Emerging, Mid-Career or Established as an artist.
8. Add your social media links to your CV, such as blog, Facebook, Instagram.
9. No application fee with this residency
10. An acknowledgement receipt of your application follows.



Artists Residencies in Australia


Having previously posted about too few residencies in Australia, as well as discovering that Hill End Artist Residency in NSW is fairly inaccessible (need a car) and then sharing some of my thoughts and information in the comments section with another blogger, I went looking once again. ResArtis is a site that networks the world’s artist residencies. After spending 4 weeks at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland I applied for several European residencies beginning in 2014 and they have included The Arvon Foundation (The Hurst) in Shropshire, England. The ResArtis site now has various global sections including Oceania (Australia & NZ). One of the properties is called The Farm Margaret River. So, as I live in Perth this retreat would be ideal and not as expensive as travelling to Hill End or Varuna. It shows, however, that the residency is limited to applications for October – December, and hopefully after my email enquiry I will know if there are more options and a better time-frame in 2020. Fingers crossed as this retreat is only a four-hour drive and would be ideal for me around March 2020 sometime.
Other Australian residencies for Literature are Eramboo Artist in Residence program in Terrey Hills, Sydney NSW. The BigCi in Katoomba NSW – again a fairly long commute from Perth. Check out their website here.
The only other residency that I have heard more about is the Bundanon Trust in Illaroo, NSW. However, the deadline for 2020 closed in July 2019. Still worth investigating for upcoming years.




Artist Residency in NSW – Hill End



I’m writing this post verbatim as I think it’s a good idea to spread the word about artists’ retreats. There are very few sole “writing” places in Australia with only Varuna, Katoomba NSW being the most prominent. We need more of these secluded retreats as they afford artists/writers the time, space, and the much-needed concentration on one’s work. I’ve been lucky enough to attend Varuna, however, I have constantly looked out for other Australian “affordable” retreats because this time away from life’s many distractions is essential and what any artist/writer needs. One needs time, and peace and quiet to sink down, re-acquaint yourself with your project, your characters, what is happening in your plot and (I often ask myself this) are there gaps/parts of scenes left out?
A warning! It is out in the woop-woops, no public transport so it appears that you have to fly from Sydney to Bathurst, and then maybe get a taxi or a hire car. I’ll only worry about that if I am successful!
INFO  – from writingWA 
Visual artists, writers/curators,
musicians, new media/film/video artists are all encouraged to apply for residencies at Hill End.

Successful applicants spend 4 weeks living and working in either Haefligers Cottage or Murrays Cottage at Hill End.

The Hill End Artists in Residence Program is based in Haefligers Cottage and Murrays Cottage at Hill End, a small former gold mining town in New South Wales, Australia. It is situated in an upland valley 84km north west of Bathurst and 35km west of Sofala. The village is not accessible via public transport and it is just over 4 hours drive from the Sydney CBD.

Applications for the 2020 Hill End AIR Program close Thursday 31 October 2019.

To download application guidelines or to apply for about this opportunity, please visit Hill End’s website.