Write North Recipients Announced

25 January 2022 by Sam Smith

Three NSW writers selected for prestigious writers’ group residency with Charlotte Wood

Vanessa Berry, Belinda Castles and Beth Yahp have been announced as the recipients of the latest Write North Writers’ Group Residency program, valued at $30,000.The Residency is a career elevating opportunity for a group of mid-career and established NSW writers, made possible by the NSW Government and Byron Writers Festival. The 2021 Program was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions and will now take place in Byron Shire from 7 – 14 February 2022.

Byron Writers Festival Director Edwina Johnson said the Festival is proud to once again offer this extraordinary professional development opportunity to a group of talented NSW writers. “Previous recipients of the Write North Residency have described it as life changing. Byron Writers Festival is looking forward to welcoming Vanessa Berry, Belinda Castles and Beth Yahp to immerse themselves in this exceptional opportunity in the Northern Rivers,” said Ms Johnson.

The total $30,000 in-kind and cash value of the residency includes funding towards travel and accommodation in Byron Bay and up to $10,000 financial support for the group to continue their writing after the residency. The Residency provides the successful group with immersive mentorship from award-winning NSW author Charlotte Wood. More details about the recipients can be found below.

Create NSW offers opportunities for individuals and groups to receive support through other Fellowships and the Arts and Cultural Funding Program. See the Create NSW website for more information www.create.nsw.gov.au

2021 Write North Writers’ Group Residency recipients

Vanessa Berry
Vanessa Berry’s books and essays have won awards for experimental and nonfiction writing including the Mascara Avant Garde Literary Award and the Woollahra Digital Literature Award. Mirror Sydney was widely reviewed and accoladed, described by Louis Nowra as ‘a wonderful, unique book’, and Delia Falconer described it as ‘bringing parts of my lost city back to life’. Vanessa has been awarded writing fellowships including the State Library of NSW Visiting Writer and the Western Sydney Writer’s Fellowship.

Belinda Castles
Belinda Castles novels have won the Australian/Vogel’s and Asher Literary Awards and been longlisted for the Stella Prize and was a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist. Of Bluebottle, Gail Jones wrote: ‘Bluebottle is a tour de force, utterly assured, intricately designed and brilliantly imagined. This is a remarkable portrait of family anguish, gradually unfolded: engrossing, suspenseful and deeply moving.’

Beth Yahp
Beth Yahp’s novel, memoir and libretto have won or been shortlisted for national literary and performing arts awards, including the Victorian and NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature. Beth’s novel and stories have also been translated and/or published internationally. Mireille Juchau described Eat First, Talk Later as ‘delicate, nuanced, acute’. Beth was also a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist with my novel described as ‘a knock-out’ Sydney Morning Herald, ‘supremely intelligent and unforgettable’ (New Woman, UK) and ‘magnifique’ (Les Inrockuptible).

2021 Write North Writers’ Group Residency mentor

Charlotte Wood
Charlotte Wood is the author of six novels and three books of non-fiction. Her latest novel is the international bestseller The Weekend, which was the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2020, and was shortlisted for the 2020 Stella Prize and ALS Gold Medal, and the 2021 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

Her previous novel, The Natural Way of Things, won the 2016 Stella Prize, the Indie Book of the Year and Novel of the Year, and was joint winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction. Her non-fiction work includes The Luminous Solution (forthcoming 2021), a book about creativity, resilience and the inner life; The Writer’s Room, a collection of interviews with authors; and Love & Hunger, a memoir about cooking. Her features and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Literary Hub, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Saturday Paper among other publications. In 2019 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant services to literature and was named one of the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence.

She has an occasional podcast, The Writer’s Room with Charlotte Wood, in which she interviews authors, critics and other artists about the creative process.

Sam Smith