Fremantle Press children’s authors Deb Fitzpatrick and Meg McKinlay are awarded Creative Time residential fellowships to work on their next books

Meg McKinlay and Deb Fitzpatrick are two of just five writers from around Australia to have secured a coveted May Gibbs Creative Time Residential Fellowship for 2020.

Both authors said they’re delighted to have been awarded the residency, which gives authors and illustrators a month to concentrate on creating a new work of literature.

Meg said, ‘I can’t think of a single thing a writer needs more than time. Unless it’s headspace. Or maybe distance – possibly even forced physical extraction – from the endless other tasks that compete for our attention, that seem to derail us so cunningly and consistently. Luckily, this fellowship offers all of these together. Honestly, just the words “Creative Time” make me want to weep with joy a little.

‘My enforced physical extraction will take place in Brisbane in October next year and I’ll be working on a new middle-grade novel and finally getting back to some poetry. Although it’s 12 months away, it feels like a lifeline already. Is it too early to start counting the days?’

Deb said, ‘I’m absolutely thrilled! My residency is for one month in Canberra. The value of that sort of time to write during this busy stage of my life can’t be overstated: it will be uninterrupted writing time and will allow me to really immerse myself in the project. I’m a very, very lucky writer indeed to have been successful this round.’

The May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust was established in 1999 to support creators of books for children.

Deb’s most recent book, The Spectacular Spencer Gray, was published in 2017, as was Meg’s latest with Fremantle Press, a palindromic book illustrated by Andrew Frazer titled Drawn Onward.

The Spectacular Spencer Gray by Deb Fitzpatrick and Drawn Onward by Meg McKinlay and Andrew Frazer are available from all good bookstores and on the Fremantle Press website.

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