Helena Pastor is an author living in Armidale and her work will be judged against one other to take out the second year of the Varuna/New England Writers' Centre Fellowship.
In partnership with Varuna, The National Writers' House, the New England Writers' Centre announced the shortlist of finalists for the second year of the Varuna/New England Writers' Centre Fellowship.
Inaugurated in 2019 with the generous support of the Copyright Agency, the Fellowship is open to all writers, at any stage of their career, either currently living in the New England region or who have previously lived there for at least five years.
The 2020 Fellowship, to be taken up in 2021, will offer the winner a week's inspirational writing residency in the beautiful surroundings of Varuna, in the Blue Mountains, and include full board and accommodation at Varuna, funds towards travel, a one-on-one consultation with a Varuna expert and more. Shortlisted finalists will also receive two free workshops of their choice from NEWC's 2021 program.
One Fork, One Knife, One Life, by Helena Pastor is a memoir based around the wartime and migration experiences of the author's Dutch mother, and the relationship between mother and daughter, which was praised by the judges as lucidly, evocatively and accessibly written, with an honesty and understanding that reveals the complex layers of relationships.
Through memoir and fiction, Helen aims to encourage discussion around topics close to her heart including all stages of motherhood, the aftershocks of war and growing up in an immigrant family.
Her writing has attracted two ASA Mentorships, residencies at Varuna, Bundanon, Booranga and KSP Writers' Centres, and a 2020 Gunyah Artist Residency.
Helena's first book, Wild Boys: A Parent's Story of Tough Love(UQP, 2015), is an intimate insight into reconnecting troubled teenagers with their families and communities. She is also a songwriter and lyricist.
The other author to make the two-person shortlist is Jax Bakewell from Scone for her novel Bronte - a historical novel praised by the judges as having an original approach to narrating the life of the Bronte sisters, based on considerable research and with an impressive development of period-specific dialogue.
Born and bred in Sydney, Jax has called the New England region home for most of her adult life. Her shortlisted entry, Bronte, in its first draft was a screenplay which Jax spent over two years developing, and she is enjoying adapting it as a novel.
Jax has had short stories and articles published and is also a keen musician and songwriter. She collaborated with Damien Leith (Australian Idol Winner) in 2019 to write charity song 'Our Shout This Christmas' to raise money for drought impacted farmers as well as working as Script Editor on 'Just Ruby' the movie Damien wrote with his wife, Eileen Stapleton (in production).
Both shortlisted works will now proceed to the next stage of judging, with assessors from Varuna selecting the final winner, and an announcement to be made on December 10.