Recipient of the Creative Writing Fellowship

We are pleased to announce that Dr Ashley Haywood is the recipient of the Library’s Creative Writing Fellowship. She has chosen poet and lecturer Associate Professor Bronwyn Lea to be her mentor. 

The Fellowship is offered with the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and library donors.

Dr Ashley Haywood

Ashely is an emerging writer, researcher and poet, with work published and performed in Australia and overseas. She recently received her PhD in Creative Research on semiotics and creativity. She also holds two First-Class Honours degrees in Creative Writing and Biological Sciences. Ashley’s interests often move in the art-science nexus.

Dr Haywood will draw upon material in the Fryer Library’s Dorothy Hill Collection for a book of poems entitled Portraits. Her poems will explore the geography, geology, and ecology of Australian landscapes. Geologist Dorothy Hill AC, CBE, FAA, FRS (1907-1997) was Australia’s first female professor.

We caught up with Ashley to ask her about her writing and the project she will be working on during the fellowship. 

What attracted you to use Dorothy Hill’s collection?

Before I discovered the Fryer Library’s Dorothy Hill Collection, I felt that my project had urgency, but I was unsure of its direction. Among many things, Professor Dorothy Hill was interested in the water basins of the Palaeozoic Era, and the movement of these ancient water-bodies over time. She was interested in the coral fauna of this era, and their provinces in regions that happen to be many of the landscapes that I am writing-with for my project. I found direction. As the poet-narrator traverses landscapes specific to Eastern Australia—such as grassy tablelands, arid earth-scapes, salt lakes, crops and cattle stations—she is folded into the loops and flows of their ecological and geological systems, and drawn into their paleo-geographical and -ontological pasts. She thinks with seed heads, fossils, outcrops, water bodies in the time of Gondwana. Dorothy Hill’s collected papers will inspire and enrich my ability to think in deep time, and deploy fossil emissaries to the present and imagined futures.

How long have you been writing poetry?

I recall writing poetic fragments as a teenager, but these, I hope, are all lost by now. Following my science degree, I spent a year as scientific researcher, and many hours alone in a physical containment lab, where I began to write and draw again while looking after cells and parasites. This was the beginning of my side-step into the arts. For my PhD in Creative Research (2015) on signs, minds and creativity, I was interested in how to write like painting, and my investigations led to writing experimental prose poems, which formed part of my thesis. Since my PhD, I have been experimenting with other forms of poetry, in particular free verse that makes use of the whole page. 

Science and poetry is an interesting mix, how do you see those two areas working together in your project?

I think science and art work incredibly well together to communicate knowledge. I also have a background in biological sciences, which often seems to drive my creative pursuits into an art-science nexus. My project is Anthropocene-aware, and poetry is one of my methods of research. My project is about response-ability in this Age of Loneliness upon us, and poetry is my way of understanding and responding to ecological uncertainty and loss. I am interested in writing-with and thinking-with the ecological and geological systems of Australian landscapes, and I will be using the Dorothy Hill Collection for inspiration. As I begin working more closely with Hill’s collected papers, I expect to engage with fields of science such as biology, palaeontology and geology. Aside from informing my work, scientific language can also be very poetic, for example: coralliferous, hexacorals, polyps, meta-sediments, Archaeocyatha (extinct, sessile reef-builders).

What does the fellowship allow you to do that you wouldn’t have been able to do without it?

As an emerging poet, being awarded the fellowship is deeply encouraging, fuelling confidence in my project and future practise. With the practical support of the fellowship—and I thank the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and UQ Library donors for their support—I will be able to dedicate the time and effort required to research, write and complete my project, a book of poems, by the end of 2018. I will also have the privilege of being mentored throughout the fellowship year by highly accomplished poet Associate Professor. Bronwyn Lea, and will be given the opportunity to show my manuscript to editors at The University of Queensland Press.

What would you like to say to the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and Library donors for this opportunity?

I am enormously grateful for this opportunity, and your support, which will enable me to dedicate the time and effort required to complete my manuscript, a book of poems inspired by the Fryer Library’s Dorothy Hill Collection.

University of Queensland Library Creative Writing Fellowship 

The Creative Writing Fellowship provides an emerging Australian author with the opportunity to develop a new work of creative writing, drawing on the special collections of The University of Queensland's Fryer Library as inspiration for a novel, play, collection of short stories, book of poems, novella or associated creative work.

The 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.

 

Last updated:
11 December 2017