Supporting emerging writers – it’s up to us

Looking out at my baby kale saplings quivering in the soil, these nascent meals, I am stirred to do what any overprotective parent would: anything in my capacity to bring them to adulthood, or at least to independent adolescence. My local organic nursery would shudder at the strategies I have implemented in this quest. But. It has to be done.

This is not to say emerging writers are babies in need of a chemical leg up to plump them for tomorrow’s dinner. They are, however, in need of care and space and patience in order to reach their artistic potential. In Ta-Nehisi Coates’ words, “The path is so tough, and you get beat up so much” learning to write, that few are able to persevere through the emerging stage of their careers and realise their latent abilities.

Any one of the artists or audience members at this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival could be our next Alexis Wright, Helen Garner, or Shaun Tan. But with the Australian Government withdrawing, in large, its financial support from the small and mid-sized organisations that provide the crucial building blocks for early-career artists, it’s left to us – readers, friends, and artists – to find ways of supporting emerging writers.

EWF provides not only a place for emerging writers to share the skills and knowledge crucial to their ripening, but time and space for networks to develop between writers, illustrators, editors, and publishers at the onset of this rough path.

EWF’s Pen Pal’s program is one way of investing in the future of Australian letters.

Ellena Savage is editor of The Lifted Brow. Her essays, criticism, fiction, and artist collaborations have been published and performed widely across Australian literary journals, periodicals, writers festivals, and art spaces.

Pen Pals Donor Program

Our philanthropic program Pen Pals directly supports writers at the Emerging Writers’ Festival. We pay all writers a $100 fee for any appearance, your donation will go towards sponsoring the appearance of a writer, a group of writers, or you could go as high as nurturing an entire literary movement.

Pen Pals:
$100 pays for an emerging writer to appear in the Festival
$200 pays for a writing collaboration to appear in the Festival
$500 pays for a group of writers to present their work in the Festival
$1,000 pays artist fees for an entire performance event in the Festival
$5,000 pays for Emerging Writers’ Festival to fulfill our programming commitments to a movement of writers

Donate Via PayPal

The very real difference your gift makes to a developing artist will be acknowledged on our website. As a Pen Pal you will also receive an invitation to the 2016 invite-only Artists’ Party, and special Pen Pal mail.

The Emerging Writers’ Festival exists due to the kindness and generosity of all our supporters, donations of all sizes assist us towards achieving our goals.

If you would like more information on how you can support the Emerging Writers’ Festival, please call Kate Callingham on (03) 9094 7877 or email us here.