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Writing fellowships deepen Asia-Pacific cultural links

RMIT University students

A new fellowship program is supporting cultural immersion in the Asia-Pacific for established and emerging Australian writers.

Supported by  and theRMIT University Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, the WrICE (Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange) program will this month bring together five inaugural fellows with six outstanding writers from the across the region for a workshop and public events in Penang and Singapore. 

Associate Professor David Carlin, co-director of the WrICE program and the nonfictionLab in RMIT’s School of Media and Communication, said the initiative aimed to foster deeper connections between Australian and Asian writers.

“Reciprocal cultural exchange and cultural immersion open up new and distinctive ways of looking at the world – an essential quality for writers in any genre,” he said.

The inaugural WrICE fellows are:

• Award-winning novelist Melissa Lucashenko (Established Writer Fellowship)

• Poet and writer Maxine Beneba Clarke (Early Career Writer Fellowship)

• RMIT writing students and graduates Jennifer Down, Amarlie Foster and Harriet McKnight (Emerging Writer Fellowships)

Ms Beneba Clarke described the program as “a perfect combination of writing time and writing dialogue”.

Singaporean poet Alvin Pang, Singapore-based writer Robin Hemley, Malaysian writers Bernice Chauly and Eddin Khoo, Xu Xi (Hong Kong) and Laurel Fantauzzo (Philippines) will join the fellows at an intensive five-day workshop in Penang (12-17 February).

In Singapore, two public events will be held at the Arts House:

The New Nonfiction (18 February) will feature Alvin Pang, Robin Hemley and Xu Xi with WrICE fellows Melissa Lucashenko and Maxine Beneba Clarke engaging in a panel discussion on the creative vitality of contemporary nonfiction writing.

Essaying across cultures (19 February) will give members of the public a chance to explore the range of possibilities open to creative writers of nonfiction, through a workshop led by Associate Professor Carlin.

A workshop will also be held with students at The Writers’ Centre at Yale-NUS College, Singapore, as part of the inaugural WrICE program.

WrICE is coordinated by the nonfictionLab, with support from the Copyright Agency and partners including The Writers’ Centre at Yale-NUS College, Singapore.

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