2019 MRC Writers Residents

Congratulations to the 2019 Melbourne Recital Centre Writers’ Residency recipients: Kiara Lindsay, Xanthea O’Connor, Caitlin McGregor and mentor Adalya Nash Hussein. These writers will produce works in response to Melbourne Recital Centre’s concerts and presentations for publication on the Soundescapes website and participate in an event as part of the 2019 Emerging Writers’ Festival.


Kiara Lindsay

Kiara Lindsay is a poet with a background in classical cello. She is interested in verse narrative and art criticism as kindling for further art-making. 

Who are three artists who inspire you? 

  • Eileen Myles
  • Alok Vaid-Menon
  • Dorothy Porter

Tell us about your writing style: 

I mostly write poetic narrative, either nonfiction or imagined. I write down what I can’t say aloud.

What role does music play in your life? 

I most commonly listen to one album per week on repeat. In those seven days, I repeatedly transform and find countless ways to get inside it. I don’t easily find that elsewhere.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently? 

Heat and Light by Elen van Neerven


Xanthea O’Connor

Xanthea O’Connor is a musician and writer with a background in music journalism, band management and radio. She’s currently interested in the possibilities of incorporating field recordings into her essays and criticism.

Who are the artists who inspire you?

Fiona Apple, Mei Saraswati and Miranda July

Tell us about your writing style

My essays are cathartic to write and often something I wish I’d read when I was younger. I’m experimenting with blending music and sound into my writing, with the intent of making it a more immersive experience for the reader and myself.

What role does music play in your life?

Music is my longest enduring friend. The kind of friend that has caused me some of the most intense grief and greatest joy, but I wouldn’t know where I’d be without it.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstien


Caitlin McGregor

Caitlin McGregor is an essayist. She is interested in the essay as a potential site for intimacy and honesty and not quite knowing what you’re getting at but writing towards it anyway.

Who are three artists that inspire you?

Annie Dillard, Claudia Rankine, Georgia Maq

Tell us about your writing style:

I try to write as lucidly as I can about things I don’t fully understand. I like to take curiosity as my starting point—I write to scratch itches.

What role does music play in your life?

I like music, all kinds, and I listen to it a lot. I’m not a musician myself, which I regret—although I have been trying to teach myself to play the guitar. I was excited recently when I earned some blisters from practising chords.

One of my favourite things is when I’m watching live music and I catch this particular look musicians sometimes exchange with each other as they’re playing—in The Children’s Bach I think Helen Garner refers to it as a ‘smile of tender complicity’. There’s a fascinating introversion/intimacy dynamic in music that makes me envious of musicians.

Currently my favourite song is one my son made up when he was two, about chicken and chips. I sometimes sing Phoebe Bridgers songs to my cats.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

Axiomatic by Maria Tumarkin


Adalya Nash Hussein (Mentor)

Adalya Nash Hussein is a writer, editor, educator, and trained violinist. Her work has appeared in Voiceworks, The Lifted Brow, Going Down Swinging and The Suburban Review.

Who are three artists that inspire you? (any discipline, however writers and musicians preferred).

Jia Tolentino, Parul Seghal and Joanna Newsom.

Tell us about your writing style:

I mostly write essays that blend memoir with images, sound, poetry, hypertext and/or impractical amounts of research.

What role does music play in your life?

I am constantly awed by how overwhelmingly music manifests in the body, as both a listener and a performer. Those moments of sudden joy as something somehow syncs up with your organs, while you’re on stage or while you’re chopping onions, are always very good.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
Severance by Ling Ma and Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli.

What are you most excited for as a mentor for the 2019 residency? What are your goals for the program? 

I love getting to talk about music with other writers, to see how our thoughts and interactions with the two mediums intersect and diverge, but I’m mostly just really excited to see the work these incredible writers produce.