New fiction supported by Arts NSW shortlisted for 2015 NSW Premier’s Literary Award
A collection of short stories written by Ceridwen Dovey with Arts NSW’s support is in the running for a 2015 NSW Premier’s Literary Award.
Arts NSW awarded Dovey the 2010 NSW Writer’s Fellowship to enable her to complete Only the Animals, now shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.
Dovey said the Fellowship gave her “the gift of time”; it enabled her to work a three-day-a-week day job to allow time for writing and to challenge doubts she had about the future of her career as she penned the book.
Only the Animals, published by Hamish Hamilton (the literary imprint of Penguin Ramdom House, Australia) in May 2014, is a collection of 10 stories told by animal narrators who have died in a human conflict of the past century. Each animal narrator pays tribute in some way to an author who has written imaginatively about animals during the same period.
“At the time, I felt a bit uncertain about the future of my writing career, and it felt like an indulgence to try to keep work time aside just for working on these stories,” Dovey said.
“The fellowship meant I could justify this decision to myself, at least, and support myself financially while slowly working away on the story collection.
“Each story was based on a lot of research – into the behaviour of the particular animal, the conflict in which it was caught up, and the author whose work on animals inspired the story – and the fellowship gave me the gift of time to read widely, think deeply and write guilt-free.
“Fiction projects like my collection of stories are written in solitude over a long period of time, and to receive a grant that covers living expenses so that you can survive through that time is invaluable.”
Dovey said that since the book was published, she’s begun to feel part of what she calls the “thriving local cultural scene”. She’s currently writing non-fiction for the New Yorker online and The Monthly, and working on a novel.
The NSW Premier’s Literary Awards are managed by the State Library of NSW in association with Arts NSW, with the support and sponsorship of Multicultural NSW, the University of Technology, Sydney and Sydney PEN.
The 2015 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards winners will be announced 18 May. Follow #PremiersLitAwards for related news and to learn of the winners as they are announced.
Published: 7 May 2015