The Next Chapter is a scheme dedicated to uncovering and nurturing a new generation of writers by giving them time and space to craft a voice and a career. Ten outstanding emerging writers were chosen from across Australia, given $15,000 and matched with a mentor. As applications open for The Next Chapter’s second year, Wheeler Centre Director Michael Williams talks with writers and mentors from the inaugural intake. Evelyn Araluen, Tony Birch, Nayuka Gorrie, Alison Whittaker, Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen and Michele Lee discuss collaboration, constructive criticism and meaningful mentoring.

Presented with the Wheeler Centre.

Evelyn Araluen (Australian)

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Evelyn Araluen is a poet, educator and researcher working with Indigenous literatures at the University of Sydney. Her work has won the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, and a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship. Born, raised, and writing in Dharug country, she is a Bundjalung descendant.

Alison Whittaker (Australian)

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Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi poet, essayist and legal scholar. She is a Research Fellow at the Jumbunna Institute. In 2017-2018 Alison was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School where she was named Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law. Her second book Blakwork is a collection of poetry, essays and short stories.

Nayuka Gorrie (Australian)

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Nayuka Gorrie is a Gunai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta writer. Nayuka writes social commentary and television comedy.

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen (Australian)

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Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen is a Melbourne-based Vietnamese-Australian writer, editor and bookseller, the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Feminist Writers Festival and an inaugural recipient of the Wheeler Centre’s Next Chapter fellowship. She wrote a fortnightly column for Daily Life from 2015 to 2017, and a monthly fiction column for Scum throughout 2017. Her work has been featured in publications including Meanjin, The Saturday Paper, Kill Your Darlings, SBS Life, Rookie and Frankie.

Michele Lee (Australian)

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Michele is an Asian-Australian playwright and theatre-maker working across stage, live art and screen. Her work is largely narrative-focused, in comedy and drama and explores stories of women, otherness and found families. Current works-in-development include Single Ladies, How Do I Let You Die? , The Pussy Monologues, Squishy Taylor, Going Down the web series, and a commission for Monash University. Previous works include An Assistant's Notes for a Pandemic, Going Down, Rice, Off Centre , The Naked Self and Talon Salon. Rice won the 2016-17 Queensland Premier’s Drama Award, the 2018 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the 2018 Australian Writers’ Guild stage drama award and was shortlisted for the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Award, Nick Enright Prize. Going Down was shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Michele's memoir Banana Girl was published in 2013.

Tony Birch (Australian)

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Tony Birch is the author of Shadowboxing, Fathers Day, Blood, The Promise, Ghost River and Common People. His new novel, The White Girl will be released in June 2019.

Michael Williams (Australian)

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Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne. A sometime Radio National presenter, he remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked in publishing and as a presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR (on Breakfasters), as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, and has written extensively for The Guardian, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and elsewhere.