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Program funding decision a boon for region’s emerging writers

By Ian Bushnell 23 January 2018 0

HARDCOPY Program Manager Nigel Featherstone and ACT Writers Centre Director Sarah Mason. Photo: Supplied.

A new funding package will help the region’s emerging writers make the mark, with The ACT Writers Centre receiving two years of funding (2018-2019) for its year-long HARDCOPY program from The Australia Council for the Arts.

The Centre said The Australia Council for the Arts had funded its Centre’s highly regarded program since 2014, but this is the first time it had committed to two years of support, totalling $100,000.

Centre Director Sarah Mason said each year 30 emerging writers were selected to participate in the HARDCOPY program, which involves coming to the ACT to attend a three-day manuscript development masterclass (May) and three days of presentations and panels about the publishing industry (September), before 10 participants were selected to meet prominent agents and publishers and receive industry-level feedback (November).

She said the combination of manuscript development, industry education, and agent/publisher feedback was considered unique in Australia, and the Australian publishing industry had embraced the program, meaning there are mutually beneficial outcomes for the participating writers and agents and publishers.

‘This is an exciting outcome for the ACT Writers Centre and we thank the Australia Council for the ongoing support of HARDCOPY and artsACT for supporting the ACT Writers Centre,” Miss Mason said.

“Having two years of funding will help us plan and grow the program and provide even more opportunities for emerging Australian writers.”

She said the funding would enable new initiatives in 2018 and 2019 including a digital version of the program to make it more accessible, and a scholarship for an Indigenous writer – a collaboration with First Nations Australia Writers’ Network.

“Not only does HARDCOPY develop emerging Australian writers but it has demonstrable benefits to our members and ACT-region writers and readers more generally,” Miss Mason said.
“Together with Key Arts Organisation funding from the ACT Government through artsACT, the Australia Council funding will significantly enhance our position as an arts organisation that
continues to build its commitment to support writers and their work. Through programs like HARDCOPY, the ACT Writers Centre is continuing to show that the ACT region is where great
writing happens.”

Minister for the Arts Gordon Ramsay congratulated the ACT Writers Centre, acknowledging the high level of quality writing and publishing that comes out of the ACT.

“Two years of funding from the Australia Council for HARDCOPY at the ACT Writers Centre is a wonderful recognition of the work being done by our fantastic local arts organisations,” Mr Ramsay said.
“This crucial funding will assist our local emerging writers to keep producing work of which the Canberra community can be proud.”

For more information about HARDCOPY go here.

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