NEW TERRITORY: Adventures in arts writing

New Territory applications for 2019 are now CLOSED.

The ACT Writers Centre is excited to again partner with the National Library of Australia, The Street Theatre and the Canberra Writers Festival on NEW TERRITORY: adventures in arts writing. Now in its third year, NEW TERRITORY is a program that’s committed to developing a deeper conversation about the arts: why we make art, how do we engage in art, and to what end? We aim to develop the arts writers, thinkers and provocateurs of the future.

‘We’re thrilled to partner in this program directly supporting the professional development of the voices of the next generation of ACT-based arts-culture bloggers under the mentorship of the fabulous Sue Terry of Whispering Gums. This initiative directly addresses our desire to extend, deepen, and diversify  cultural conversation in our region around creative process, people, and projects and to extend connections between audiences, artists, and conversationalists through an approach embracing complexity, nuance, ambiguity and curiosity’ – Caroline Stacey, Artistic Director and CEO of The Street Theatre.

NEW TERRITORY provides an opportunity for two emerging ACT-region writers to attend events at the National Library of Australia, the Canberra Writers Festival and the ACT Writers Centre, as well as creative development sessions, rehearsals and performances at The Street Theatre. They then document/explore/critique the experience for the ACT Writers Centre’s Capital Letters blog. The program, which will run from April to November 2019, includes a mentorship with prominent ACT arts writer Sue Terry from the Whispering Gums blog.

NEW TERRITORY is aimed at emerging ACT-region writers who are interested in writing about the arts. ‘Emerging’ means those with less than 5 years of experience as an arts writer. The program is also open to podcasters and may also include an active social media presence/engagement.

What you will get out of the program:

  • access to events at the National Library of Australia
  • access to creative development sessions, rehearsals and performances at The Street Theatre
  • access to events at the Canberra Writers Festival 2019
  • mentorship with prominent ACT arts writer/blogger Sue Terry
  • an opportunity to build a portfolio of published work – please note that while in general your blog-post or podcast output will be up to you, there is an expectation that before the end of the year you will attend at least six events/performances and produce six pieces
  • an opportunity to share your arts writing journey with another emerging arts writer
  • networking opportunities through the ACT Writers Centre, the National Library of Australia, the Street Theatre, and the Canberra Writers Festival

‘Participating in NEW TERRITORY has given me the confidence to back myself in all elements of being a critic, from trusting my perspective on the work I am reviewing, to approaching contacts and promoting my work. The many aspects of the program – mentorship, the opportunity to build connections in the Canberra arts community, working with an editor to refine your work – are all valuable lessons to take into your future career’ – Amy Walters, program participant in 2018

How the program works:

  • the two selected writers will receive an induction to the National Library of Australia and The Street Theatre
  • then, each few weeks the two selected writers choose an event they would like to attend and pitch to the editor of Capital Letters (Claire Delahunty at the ACT Writers Centre) – in this way, the program emulates how freelance writers work professionally
  • once the parameters of the piece and timelines are accepted, the writer attends the event or show, writes/produces their piece and submits it to Capital Letters
  • once the piece is published and/or broadcast, the writer is free to publish it on her/his own blog as long as there is acknowledgement of the program and a link back to Capital Letters
  • throughout the program, the writers will meet with mentor Sue Terry, who will provide guidance, answer queries, provide general support as required
  • please note that the program’s participating partners will not exercise editorial control over the written work

‘This program last year was a great opportunity to get access to some of the most incredible literary events in Canberra, make valuable contacts in the Canberra writing scene and to get some great pointers on how to reach your audience from one of Australia’s most beloved litbloggers: Whispering Gums’Angharad Lodwick, program participant in 2017

How to apply:

Applications for 2019 are now closed

  • submit a one-page application that outlines your writing and/or podcasting experience, and what you would like to get out of the program;
  • attach a 2-page sample of your writing (providing a link to work also acceptable) or links to at least one completed podcast
  • the NEW TERRITORY writers will be chosen by the ACT Writers Centre in collaboration with the National Library of Australia, The Street Theatre, The Canberra Writers Festival, and Sue Terry
  • applications closed on 4pm on Friday 22 March 2019

About Sue Terry:

Sue Terry has been writing the Whispering Gums litblog since 2009. While her prime focus is Australian literature, she also blogs about books from elsewhere and, somewhat serendipitously, on an eclectic mix of cultural events including literary (of course), music, dance, film and gallery/museum exhibitions. Now retired, she was in her professional life a librarian-archivist at the National Library of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive. Visit Sue at Whispering Gums.

‘Mentoring NEW TERRITORY bloggers has been a joy. I’ve learnt from and been inspired by the ways in which each blogger has taken up the opportunities offered by the program to support their individual goals, while simultaneously contributing to the ACT’s wider cultural landscape’ – Sue Terry, NEW TERRITORY mentor

Key links:

For more information about NEW TERRITORY, please phone the ACT Writers Centre on 6262 9191 on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday or send an email to