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Writers SA and the State Library of South Australia are pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural SA Literary Fellowships program which supports professional writers living in South Australia.

The five recipients selected from a shortlist of South Australian writers are:

  • First Nations Fellowship – Karen Wyld
  • Mid-Career Fellowship – Katerina Bryant and Walter Marsh
  • Emerging Fellowship – Gemma Parker and Sarah Pearce

Winners of the 2023 SA Literary Fellowships
(L to R) State Library of South Australia Director Geoff Strempel, Katerina Bryant, Sarah Pearce, Gemma Parker, Walter Marsh, Karen Wyld and Writers SA CEO Jessica Alice.

The five annual creative writing fellowships include a cash prize ($10,000 for First Nations and Mid-Career Fellowships and $3,000 for emerging writers), up to three months’ residency with a desk at the State Library of South Australia and access to the Library’s collections.

Presented by Writers SA and the State Library of South Australia, the fellowship program is jointly funded by Creative Australia (Australia Council for the Arts), Arts South Australia and the Libraries Board of South Australia.

Writers SA CEO Jessica Alice said,

“We offer our warmest congratulations to the inaugural SA Literary Fellowship recipients.

“We are delighted to offer this fantastic new opportunity, encouraging the original and imaginative use of the Library’s spaces and collections to develop their literary works.

“We have no doubt this talented group of writers will produce the next great books from South Australia and build on the tremendous legacy of the state.”

State Library of South Australia Director Geoff Strempel said,

“As the largest public research library in the state, we look forward to welcoming the five outstanding writers to the State Library of South Australia to develop new literary works and access our diverse collections.

“We wish to thank all those who submitted their work to the program this year. The quality of writing, and breadth of ideas submitted was of an extremely high standard.”

Arts Minister Andrea Michaels said,

“Congratulations to the five talented South Australian writers selected for the SA Literary Fellowships. Literature plays a significant role in culture and the creative industries, and we look forward to reading your brilliant books in the years to come."

Fellowship recipients' intended literary works

First Nations Fellowship – Karen Wyld
Award-winning author Karen Wyld will draw on inspiration from South Australian coastal locations and personal memories to develop a collection of short story, narrative non-fiction and poetry that explores the relationship with local beaches and seas. Karen will access the State Library’s Maritime collection – using diaries, maps, photographs and paintings as part of her research.

Mid-Career Fellowship – Walter Marsh
Journalist Walter Marsh will be working on the untitled follow-up to his 2023 debut Young Rupert: the making of the Murdoch empire. A work of narrative non-fiction combining history and contemporary reportage, it will draw heavily on the State Library’s reference, newspaper, and archival collections.

Mid-Career Fellowship – Katerina Byrant
Writer Katerina Byrant’s narrative non-fiction manuscript Queen Pawn follows her personal journey of being a chess champion and explores women in chess with a particular focus on the first South Australian Woman Chess Champion Evelyn Koshnitsky. Katerina will utilise the Koshnitsky Chess Collection at the State Library to influence her literary works.

Emerging Fellowship – Gemma Parker
Poet and essayist Gemma Parker will create a fragmentary narrative around the topic of 'Spider Mother' – drawing on the State Library’s archival collections that best resonates with and enhances her primary themes, from biographical details to family history and newspaper articles.

Emerging Fellowship – Sarah Pearce
Poet and researcher Sarah Pearce will draw on the State Library’s rich resources and use established techniques of found poetry to produce a new collection of ecopoetry.

The successful fellowship recipients will commence their fellowship at the State Library of South Australia in 2024.


Lisa Reichstein
0481 238 560 or

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