NEW TERRITORY: Adventures in arts writing

The ACT Writers Centre is excited to partner with the National Library of Australia, The Street Theatre and the Canberra Writers Festival on NEW TERRITORY: Adventures in arts writing. NEW TERRITORY is a program that is 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.

New Territory is currently closed for applications.

‘This program is important because it opens the dialogue between our artistic communities through great stories of art, community and collaboration. The rich voice of our city is one which writers and artists take great joy in sharing, and I know future participants will contribute immensely by interacting with and creating art across a range of formats. I encourage participants to apply and revel in our great artistic place’ – Sarah Mason, Executive Director, ACT Writers Centre

NEW TERRITORY provides an opportunity for two emerging ACT-region writers to attend events at the National Library of Australia and the ACT Writers Centre as well as creative development sessions, rehearsals and performances at The Street Theatre and then document/explore/critique the experience for the ACT Writers Centre’s Capital Letters blog. The program, which will run from June to December 2018, includes a mentorship with prominent ACT arts writer Sue Terry from the Whispering Gums blog.

‘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 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.

‘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

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 2018
  • 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 last year gave me new appreciation Australia’s literary landscape and the role of bloggers and critics in contributing to cultural conversations’ – Emma Gibson

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 (Sophie Mannix 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

How to apply:

  • submit a one-page letter 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, and Sue Terry
  • applications close 4pm on Friday 18 May 2018

Click here to apply now via Submittable

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 and Whispering Gums at

Key links:

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