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Ferris receives inaugural Meanjin InPlace residency

Literary journal Meanjin has announced Ella Ferris as the inaugural recipient of the Meanjin InPlace residency.

Ferris is a Taribelang writer, actor, theatre maker and poet, who now lives on Woi-Wurrung Country. She was published in Meanjin last year and she also has review work forthcoming with Broadsheet.

During the residency, Ferris will work on a memoir piece that Meanjin said ‘is not only deeply personal but also draws on place memory from a family experience near Garambi Baan on Laughing Waters Road’—the site of the residency. Ferris said that the work will explore how ‘it has taken a village of carers, NDIS caseworkers, therapists, family members and kind strangers’ to raise Ferris’s brother Gabriel, who was born with Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome. The piece will include reflection on a stay at Caitlin’s Retreat on Laughing Waters Road, where the family spent some time ‘caring for that home, nourishing ourselves off the land, taking up as much space as we needed, individually and as a family’.

‘Laughing Waters seems the perfect place to write this memoir,’ said Ferris. ‘I’ll have [the] opportunity to retrace my family’s steps from all those years ago, drawing on this specific memory and place to reflect on my experiences. As a First Nations person and carer to my brother—and a freelance artist—the chance to write in solitude, without cultural loads and pressures, is rare. I also want to take time to learn about Wurundjeri-Willam Country, so I can explore the intersections of my Aboriginality and experience as a carer.’

Meanjin editor Esther Anatolitis described the piece as ‘a beautiful confluence of story and place’. Anatolitis also thanked the residency’s selection panel, Winnie Dunn, Jinghua Qian and Christos Tsiolkas, as well as non-profit arts and cultural organisation InPlace, and Creative Australia, which provided funding for InPlace’s support of the residency program. ‘We’re thrilled for what will emerge from Ella’s stay,’ Anatolitis said, ‘and look forward to the residencies to come.’

Offered in partnership with InPlace, Meanjin’s new residencies will run in autumn and spring, with each resident to spend two weeks at the Garambi Baan/Laughing Waters Cultural Precinct, operated by InPlace. Residents will also receive a stipend of $5000 plus up to $5000 in additional funding to cover travel, car hire, childcare and any other costs associated with the two-week residency. During their stay, each resident will complete a work in any genre for publication in Meanjin.

This inaugural autumn residency was open to First Nations writers writing in language, either entirely or in part, and the resulting piece will be published in Meanjin in spring.

Photo credit: Lily Rachcoff.


Category: Awards Local news