Creative Writing Fellowship

This Fellowship is an exceptional opportunity for an emerging Australian author to develop a new work of creative writing. You will draw on the special collections of The University of Queensland's Fryer Library utilising rich primary sources as inspiration for your novel, play, collection of short stories, book of poems, narrative non-fiction, creative non-fiction, biographical work, novella or associated creative work.

The Creative Writing Fellowship is not being offered in 2023.

Explore the Fryer Library Collections

There are many stories waiting to be told within the special collections of The University of Queensland Fryer Library. These stories are inspired by items of beauty, curiosity and cultural significance that connect us to our history and inspire our imagination.

The extensive collections of published and manuscript material in the Fryer Library focus on Australian literature, History, Art and Architecture. We encourage you to visit the Fryer Library and explore the collections before applying.

To access Fryer Library material, book an appointment using our online system. Items in the Fryer Library collection may not be borrowed but are available for use in the FW Robinson Reading Room. Some collections may have to be ordered from off-site locations.

This Fellowship is offered with the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, an Australian not-for-profit organisation with an interest in supporting creativity, and library donors.


  • $25,000 to be awarded to one recipient.
  • Feedback and guidance on your project from your chosen mentor, an established Australian writer
  • A feedback session with the editorial team of The University of Queensland Press. They will consider the final manuscript for possible publication.
  • To be immersed in a higher education setting and receive support from Library staff, the School of Communication and Arts, and University of Queensland Press.


The University of Queensland Library reserves the right to not award the fellowship if they receive no suitable applications.

As a winner of the fellowship you:

  • will be based at the St Lucia campus of The University of Queensland for a negotiated period, with a maximum of twelve months.
  • will be available to take up the appointment during the Fellowship year.
  • will receive 75% of the funds allocated once the offer of the Fellowship has been accepted in writing. The final 25% will be received once the project has been submitted.
  • will produce blog posts to be submitted through the Library blog detailing the project and outcomes. 
  • will be asked to deliver a talk for students, staff and researchers on your project as part of the UQ School of Communication and Arts Seminar Series and/or Friends of the Library events program.
  • will submit a report (no more than 600 words) outlining the benefits of the Fellowship and providing feedback on the experience to the Fryer Librarian within three months of the completion of your project.
  • will provide the Fryer Librarian with a [digital] copy of your completed project within a mutually agreed timeframe following the completion of your visit. This will be stored in the University’s online repository, UQ eSpace (with restricted access subject to publishing). 


Email Mr Simon Farley, Fryer Librarian, about this award.  

Applicant eligibility

To be eligible for the award:

  • submit the application by the due date
  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • you must not have commercially published a full-length, single-authored print publication in any genre
  • demonstrate the relevance of your creative writing project to primary source materials held in the Fryer Library.

Supporting documents

  • An outline of the proposed creative writing project and its relevance to the collections that will be accessed at the Fryer Library, including a timeline for your project (no more than a 1000 words).
  • A sample of writing (no more than five pages).
  • A letter of support from a referee that demonstrates your commitment to creative writing.
  • A copy of your curriculum vitae.

Selection of award

For the selection of the recipient, the Fryer Librarian will establish a Selection Committee comprising:

  • Fryer Librarian or nominee, as Chair of the Committee; and
  • An academic staff member from the UQ School of Communication and Arts; and
  • A member of the publishing team from The University of Queensland Press.


All applicants will be notified via email once the decision has been made by the selection committee.

Print version

Award guidelines for applicants (PDF, 224 KB)

Meet our mentors

One of the most valuable parts of this fellowship is having access to a mentor of your choice.

Our mentors are leading Australian writers that can provide guidance to assist you throughout your project. They have valuable connections in the industry and life experience that can assist you on your journey to becoming an established writer.

You will be able to pick your top three choices from the list below.

Nick Earls

Nick EarlsNick Earls is the author of more than twenty books for adults, teenagers and children.

Two of his novels have been adapted into feature films and five into stage plays.

His books have won awards in Australia, the UK and US, and appeared on bestseller lists in those three countries.

He was UQ’s Alumnus of the Year in 2006, and in 2018 graduated with a creative writing PhD for a thesis incorporating his Wisdom Tree novella series and an essay on novella publishing in the twenty-first century.


David Burton

David BurtonDavid Burton is an award-winning writer from Brisbane, Queensland. He is the playwright of over thirty professionally produced theatrical works, including several pieces for the youth and education sector.

He continues to write theatre-in-education touring pieces of the Grin and Tonic Theatre Troupe.

David has a Bachelor in Theatre Arts from USQ and a Masters in Creative Industries (Creative Writing) from Queensland University of Technology (QUT). In 2014 his achievements were recognised by the University of Southern Queensland, and he was awarded Young Alumnus and Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. David is currently studying his doctorate with QUT, and is the recipient of the QUT Postgraduate Research Award.


Ross Clark 

Ross ClarkNow, in apparent retirement from secondary teaching (last century) and tertiary teaching (this century), Ross Clark spends his time writing poetry and songs. During the employed years, 7 volumes of his poetry and 2 chapbooks of his haiku were published, and he presented his work live on hundreds of occasions (including in USA and Japan).

Clark has won several major Australian poetry prizes, and has a modest international reputation as a haijin (haiku-poet). Alert walkers may encounter his words on the streets and trails of Brisbane. Meanwhile, several more books are lurking just offstage.

His words and voice may also be heard in the folk duo Daylight Moon and in the country band Rooster CLARK.


Sean Williams

Sean WilliamsSean Williams was born in the dry, flat lands of South Australia, where he still lives with his wife and family and a pet plastic fish.

He has been called many things in his time, including (somewhat ostentatiously) “the premier Australian speculative fiction writer of the age” (Aurealis), the “Emperor of Sci-Fi” (Adelaide Advertiser), the “Lord of the Genre” (Perth Writers’ Festival), and the “King of Chameleons” (Australian Book Review) for the diversity of his published output.

He has written over forty novels for readers of all ages, one hundred-plus short stories across numerous genres, the odd published poem, and even a sci-fi musical. In 2017, he visited Casey Station on an Antarctica Arts Fellowship.

Sean’s first mainstream novel, Impossible Music, will be published by Allen & Unwin in 2019.


John Birmingham

John BirminghamJohn Birmingham wrote features for magazines for a decade before publishing He Died With A Falafel In His Hand, working for Rolling Stone, Playboy and The Independent amongst others.

He won the National Award for Non-Fiction with Leviathan: The Unauthorised Biography of Sydney

He has written a book with valuable tips for aspiring writers, How to be a Writer. Between writing books, he contributes to a wide range of newspapers and magazines on topics as diverse as biotechnology and national security.

Before becoming a writer he began his working life as a research officer with the Defence Department's Office of Special Clearance and Records.


Professor Bronwyn Lea

Associate Professor Bronwyn Lea

Professor Bronwyn Lea is Head of UQ’s School of Communication and Arts. Her research interests include poetics, narratology, contemporary literature and gender studies.

She is the author of four books of poems: Flight Animals; The Wooden Cat and Other Poems; The Other Way Out; and The Deep North. Her poems are widely anthologised, appearing most recently in Thirty Australian Poets, Australian Poetry Since 1788, Sixty Classic Australian Poems, and The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry.

As a literary critic, she reviews poetry, fiction and non-fiction for several literary pages, and she has held appointments as poetry editor for UQP, the inaugural editor of Australian Poetry Journal and she is currently poetry editor for Meanjin.


Matt Condon

Matt CondonMatthew Condon is a prize-winning Australian novelist and journalist. Brisbane-born, he has lived in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

He was educated at The University of Queensland and undertook further studies at the Goethe Institute, Bremen, Germany.

Condon began his journalism career with the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1982 and subsequently worked for leading newspapers and journals including Brisbane's Courier-Mail, the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's Sunday Age.

Now the author of over 10 acclaimed books, his latest series, bestseller Three Crooked Kings, is based on unprecedented interviews with Terry Lewis and access to his personal papers, Three Crooked Kings is the missing piece in the puzzle of the story of Queensland's endemic generational corruption.


2022 Creative Writing Fellow

We are pleased to announce Jarad Bruinstroop as the Fryer Library’s Creative Writing Fellow for 2022.

Read the announcement




Previous recipients