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Mentorship Program for Diverse Emerging Writers

Antidote is partnering with Western Sydney-based literacy movement Sweatshop on an emerging writers mentorship program for First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse writers.

Applications for the 2021 program have now closed.

Talks & Ideas | Mentorship Program

New mentorship opportunity for diverse emerging writers

Two writers will work on a short piece of fiction or non-fiction (1000-1500 words) inspired by the themes of this year’s Antidote festival, under the guidance of Sweatshop affiliated mentors and with support from the Sydney Opera House. Finished works will be published on Sydney Opera House’s website and amplified across our social media channels (2 million+ followers). 

Successful applicants will receive $1,000, an Antidote festival pass, three rounds of feedback on their writing project and up to 25 hours of mentorship from Sweatshop affiliated mentors. They will also have an opportunity to engage with some speakers from the Antidote festival line-up.

The program is open to emerging writers from First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who have some record of publication but have not yet published a full-length work.

“We cannot begin to talk about freedom and justice in any culture unless we are talking about mass-based literacy movements. Because degrees of literacy so often determine how we see what we see.” 
bell hooks

Recipients announced

We are excited to announce Joyce Chew and Patricia Arcilla as the two recipients of the inaugural Mentorship for Diverse Emerging Writers in partnership with Sweatshop. In response to the incredibly high calibre and diversity of applications, the judges also Highly Commended Adrian Mouhajer and Tiffany Fong. They will each receive two hours of editorial consultation with mentors Winnie Dunn and Declan Fry, an Antidote digital festival pass and a gift pack of Sweatshop books, as well as the opportunity to have a short work to be published on the Sydney Opera House website. 

More about the winners...

Joyce Chew

Joyce Chew is a Sydney-based emerging writer born in Singapore. She was the recipient of the Overland VU Short Story Prize in 2019 and was a shortlisted for the Emerging Writers Festival’s Monash Prize in 2015. Her writing project will be a ficto-critical piece inspired by The Myth of the Fair Go panel, blending confessional fiction with recent histories of Asian Identity and the legacy of colonialism in Australia.

Joyce Chew wears a white t-shirt and looks at the camera side-on. Large bushes and trees are in the background

Patricia Arcilla

Patricia Arcilla is a Filipina-Australian writer living and working on Gadigal land.

She write about cities, culture, and the Filipinx diaspora, and her work has appeared in Kill Your Darlings, Jacobin, Overland, and more. She is an active member of Anakbayan Sydney. Her piece will be an essay inspired by the #StopAsianHate panel discussion, and highlight the need for a more nuanced understanding of Asian-Australian identity.


headshot of Adrian Mouhajer

Talks & Ideas

There’s a bomb in my closet – On being queer, Arab and Muslim 20 years after 9/11

Highly Commended in the Antidote and Sweatshop Mentorship Program for Diverse Emerging Writers, Adrian Mouhajer reflects on growing up queer and Muslim in a post-9/11 world.

Stop asian hate sign at protest

Talks & Ideas

Now you see us – On the shortcomings of #StopAsianHate

Recipient of the Antidote and Sweatshop Mentorship for Diverse Emerging Writers Patricia Arcilla writes about the “tidiness” of #StopAsianHate in the face of deeper systemic problems.

Family stand in front of opera house holding umbrellas

Talks & Ideas

Mother tongues and minor feelings

Recipient of the Antidote and Sweatshop Mentorship for Diverse Emerging Writers Joyce Chew on family, migration, language and the “glittering visage of the Australian ‘fair go’”.

Man holding pepe the frog poster

Talks & Ideas

Soul-searching with Pepe the Frog

Highly Commended in the Antidote and Sweatshop Mentorship for Diverse Emerging Writers, Tiffany Fong looks at the dangerous, cult-like appeal of the alt-right to a generation seeking community and meaning.

More about judge/mentor Declan Fry...

Born on Wongatha country in Kalgoorlie, Declan Fry has written for The Guardian, Saturday Paper, Overland, Australian Book Review, Liminal, Sydney Review of Books, Cordite, Kill Your Darlings, Westerly and elsewhere. His Meanjin essay Justice for Elijah or a Spiritual Dialogue With Ziggy Ramo, Dancing received the 2021 Peter Blazey Fellowship and he has been shortlisted for the Judith Wright Poetry Prize. He lives on unceded Wurundjeri country with his partner and their cat, Turnip.

More about judge/mentor Winnie Dunn...

Winnie Dunn is a writer of Tongan descent from Mount Druitt. She is the general manager of Sweatshop Literacy Movement and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Sydney University. Winnie’s work has been published in the Sydney Review of Books, The Saturday Paper, Griffith Review, Meanjin, SBS Voices, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Southerly and Cordite. She is the editor of several critically acclaimed anthologies, most notably Sweatshop Women, which is Australia’s first and only publication produced entirely by women of colour. Winnie is currently completing her debut novel as the recipient of a 2019 CAL Ignite Grant.

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Experience ANTIDOTE live on Stream

This year, Antidote will take place live on Stream, the new streaming service from Sydney Opera House. Watch a single talk, or settle in for a day of discussions on ideas, action and change with a Festival Pass.

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