2016 NSW Writer’s Fellow: Anwen Crawford

Anwen Crawford, NSW 2016 Writer’s Fellowship (Early Career) recipient. Photo by Marlaina Read.

In 2016, Anwen Crawford was awarded the NSW Writer’s Fellowship (Early Career) to further develop her literary talents.

As a result of the Writer’s Fellowship, Anwen was able to undertake self-directed research involving visits to literary collections in Australia and the United States to develop a book on popular music, and attend conferences and writers’ festivals to develop new literary and publishing networks. She also participated in a week-long residency at Varuna, the National Writers House in the Blue Mountains, to develop a book manuscript based on her research.

We caught up with Anwen to find out about her Fellowship experiences.

How did the idea for your Fellowship activities come about?

I knew when I applied for the Fellowship that I wanted to start work on a second, non-fiction book, though I must say that in the year since I’ve received the Fellowship, my sense of what that book will be has changed substantially. I knew that I wanted it to be a blend of essay, memoir and journalistic research, but the further I’ve pursued my ideas, the more I’ve moved towards something fragmentary and more formally unorthodox than I had first thought would be the case.

When applying for the Fellowship I was thinking about the kind of research trips that I wanted to undertake in order to work on this book, but I also thought about activities that would be of benefit to my professional development more generally, such as attending conferences.

How will this Fellowship impact your professional development?

The Fellowship has been extremely beneficial. I’ve been able to undertake research trips in the United States and Europe for subjects related to my manuscript, but I’ve also been able to do things like attend the American Writers & Publishers (AWP) conference in Washington D.C., which I found very inspiring. AWP happens annually and it’s a huge program, with hundreds of panels and thousands of attendees. I listened to several writers at AWP talk about their interest in cross-genre writing, and it gave me the confidence to pursue my own interest in cross-genre work more boldly, and more purposefully. In May, after I returned from the States, I signed a publishing contract with Giramondo, and I don’t think I would have been at that point if I hadn’t undertaken the activities that the Fellowship has allowed me to pursue.

You recently completed a residency at Varuna, the National Writers House, what were some of the benefits of undertaking this residency?  

Because I work as a freelance writer for a living, a residency was a welcome opportunity to clear the slate for a week and think about my book project, free of other short-term deadlines. It was also a chance to meet and talk with other writers, which inevitably leads you to reflect more closely upon your own work practice, and think about it in a new and productively critical light.

What other funding opportunities have you received that have supported your development throughout your career?

The Fellowship is the grant that I’ve received. But I was also very fortunate to be awarded the John Crampton Travelling Scholarship between 2008 and 2011, which allowed me to study for a Master of Fine Arts in Writing at Columbia University, New York.

In 2017, what are you most excited by?

Getting some more work done on my manuscript!

Anwen Crawford is a Sydney-based writer. She is the music critic for the Monthly, and her essays have appeared in publications including FriezeMeanjin, and the New Yorker. Her book, Live Through This, is published by Bloomsbury.


Applications are currently open for the NSW Writer’s Fellowship, please click here for more information. Applications close 21 August 2017.

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Published: 27 July 2017