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Tracy Sorensen named 2019 Judy Harris Writer in Residence

31 August 2019
Bathurst-based author of The Lucky Galah receives lucrative fellowship
The University of Sydney today announced Tracy Sorensen as the 2019 Judy Harris Writer in Residence at its Charles Perkins Centre.
Sorensen’s proposal shows a strikingly original idea born of lived experience together with a really expansive creative spirit and willingness to truly experiment with new literary forms.
Charlotte Wood, a member of this year’s judging panel.

Sorensen’s acclaimed debut novel The Lucky Galah has received numerous literary accolades, including a longlisting for this year’s Miles Franklin Award. She will use the residency to work on her next novel, the story of a woman’s advanced abdominal cancer as told from the point of view of her threatened and affected organs.

Made possible by University alumnus and donor Judy Harris, the residency includes a $100,000 grant and access to resources and staff at the Charles Perkins Centre. The centre’s research focuses on easing the burden of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and related conditions.

Chosen from a shortlist of accomplished Australian writers including James Bradley, Angela Betzien, Fiona Wright and Jane Gleeson-White, Sorensen will also draw on her own experience of as a peritoneal cancer patient in 2014.

“My interest in the world of my own guts was heightened - to the point of epiphany - during my treatment,” she said. Now free of the disease for five years, she has used the ensuing period to write.

Head and shoulders photo of Tracy Sorensen, with shrubbery featured in the background

2019 Judy Harris Writer in Residence Tracy Sorensen

Based in Bathurst, Sorensen will split her residency between the centre’s Sydney and Broken Hill campuses.

“Sorensen’s proposal shows a strikingly original idea born of lived experience together with a really expansive creative spirit and willingness to truly experiment with new literary forms,” said Charlotte Wood, the inaugural writer in residence and a member of this year’s judging panel.

The Judy Harris Writer in Residence fellowship was previously known as the Charles Perkins Centre Writer in Residence. Other former recipients are playwright Alana Valentine, Mireille Juchau and Emily Maguire.   

Charles Perkins Centre Academic Director Steve Simpson said Judy Harris’ ongoing generosity has created an invaluable link between the sciences and the arts.

“The program is hugely beneficial not just to the Fellows, but to our centre, to the field of Australian literature and to the future of this country’s healthcare,” he said.

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