The Parramatta Laureate in Literature: Call for Applications

As the central river city of Sydney, Parramatta is the home of the Dharug Peoples who have continuously cared for culture and Country for more than 60,000 years through song, dance, knowledge sharing and storytelling. The City of Parramatta continues to innovate and thrive from this foundation of culture, welcoming people to our city from across the nation and the globe. Parramatta is a future-focused city that celebrates the community’s many cultures through award-winning initiatives, festivals and venues.

The City of Parramatta is a growing and dynamic region that is developing rapidly as one of Australia’s major economic, cultural and educational centres. To tell a story of this transformation, the City of Parramatta, together with program partners the Sydney Review of Books (SRB) and the Writing and Society Research Centre (WSRC) at Western Sydney University, are calling for applications for the inaugural Parramatta Laureate in Literature.

The Laureateship recognises the unique and vital work of writers as contributors to narratives of place – through storying, remembering histories, and shaping a creative vision for our shared future. This is an exciting new opportunity to put literature at the heart of cultural conversations and art practice within the Parramatta region.

The Laureate will be a highly regarded writer who has made an outstanding contribution to literature, is actively making new work, and ideally has connections to the Parramatta region. The Laureate will produce a literary work of significance prompted by the vision and aspirations of a suite of refreshed Parramatta City Strategies, while advocating strongly for literature by publicly engaging with a diverse range of people, and inspiring current and future readers and writers.

The Laureate will be engaged by City of Parramatta and the SRB/WSRC after applications are reviewed by a Parramatta Laureate in Literature Advisory Panel. The panel will include representatives from First Nations and local communities, the Sydney Review of Books/WSRC, City of Parramatta and the local arts sector.

The Parramatta Laureate in Literature’s role includes writing significant and publishable new literary work in response to any stories, places, environments and/or communities linked to the City’s five strategies: the Environmental Sustainability Strategy, the Social Sustainability Strategy, the Cultural Strategy, the Economic Development Strategy and the Smart City and Innovation Strategy. The Laureate will be supported by editors and writers from the SRB/WSRC, with cultural mentorship as appropriate. Applicants will be asked in their application to comment on their connections with the Parramatta region and experience in public engagement, and to give evidence for their publication achievements.

The inaugural Parramatta Laureate in Literature will be awarded $50,000 from the time of appointment in late 2023 to program completion in December 2024. Applications close on 31 October 2023.

To apply for the Parramatta Laureateship in Literature, please first download and read the Information Sheet below, which includes details about the Laureateship, selection criteria, application process and cultural guidance. First Nations authors and Writers of Colour are welcome and encouraged to apply.

Read the Information Sheet here.

Applications can be made here via the SRB’s Submittable portal.

Dr Melinda Jewell
Coordinator, Sydney Review of Books
Writing and Society Research Centre, Western Sydney University

Published September 18, 2023