New Program Helping WA Authors Bridge the Gap from Draft Manuscript to Published Novel
An exciting new initiative between Fremantle Press and four local writing centres, including the KSP Writers’ Centre, aims to improve the chances of Western Australian writers getting published. The Four Centres Emerging Writers Program is a series of workshops, mentorships and special events that provide opportunities for a select group of local writers to write, draft and prepare their debut manuscript for potential publication.
Over the next two years the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre (KSP) will work in collaboration with the Fellowship of Australian Writers WA (FAWWA), WA Poets Inc (WAPI) and the Peter Cowan Writers Centre (PCWC) to deliver the program. Some 30 emerging Western Australian authors across the four centres will develop their manuscripts while learning the ins and outs of the publishing process and the business of being a writer through a series of exclusive events with Fremantle Press.
KSP Writers’ Centre director Shannon Coyle said their management team had undertaken extensive research into what writers really wanted when deciding on KSP’s branch of activities as part of this program. ‘We were primarily guided by the writing sector review recommendations published by the WA state department of culture and the arts in 2017, which highlighted residency and mentoring opportunities as being the most beneficial for emerging writers. With this in mind, we are excited to launch the 1st Edition series which combines both.’
KSP has selected seven promising local authors for its 2019 program, and will accept an additional seven writers for the 2020 program through its 1st Edition Retreat and 1st Edition Fellowships. These programs are designed to support debut authors in developing their full first draft manuscript, and is managed by a newly hired administrator. At the end of 2020, it is hoped that some of these manuscripts will be contracted for publication, and expected that all participating authors will have a polished work ready to confidently pitch and submit to publishers.
The 2019 intake of KSP writers includes: Melanie Hall, Emily Sun, Emma Young, Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Tracey Gregory, Amanda Gardiner and Kelly Van Nelson. Selected by a panel of members from KSP's literary advisory committee, including Guy Salvidge, Melissa O'Shea, Nathan Hobby and Laurie Steed, these writers were praised for their engaging projects and unique, strong writing samples.
To support this program, KSP has been granted $16,000 each year over two years to fund an administrator salary, provide mentorships, subsidise residency rates, and purchase new software.
If this program is successful and well-received by the local writing community, KSP hopes to continue these initiatives beyond 2020 by gaining financial support from new funding bodies.
The current two-year pilot program is in response to the recent WA Writing Sector Review and is funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lotterywest.