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ABR Behrouz Boochani Fellowship - Frequently Asked Questions

What is Australian Book Review?

Australian Book Review (ABR) is one of Australia’s leading cultural magazines. Created in 1961, it lapsed in 1974 and was revived in 1978. ABR is a fully independent non-profit organisation. Its primary aims are several: to foster high critical standards; to provide an outlet for fine new writing; and to contribute to the preservation of literary values and a full appreciation of Australia’s literary heritage. 

ABR publishes reviews, essays, commentaries, interviews, and new creative writing. It is available in print and online. ABR’s diverse programs include three prestigious international prizes, writers’ fellowships, themed issues, national events, cultural tours, and paid editorial internships.

What is the ABR Fellowship program?

ABR Fellowships are intended to reward outstanding Australian writers, to enhance ABR through the publication of long-form journalism, and to advance the magazine’s commitment to ideas and critical debate. The Fellows work closely with ABR staff, especially the Editor, Peter Rose.

Who is Behrouz Boochani?

This Fellowship honours the immense artistry, courage and moral leadership of Behrouz Boochani, an Iranian-Kurdish poet, journalist, memoirist, film producer and human rights activist who has been held on Manus Island since 2013. Behrouz Boochani’s memoir, No Friend But the Mountains (Picador, 2018, translated by Omid Tofighian) won the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature and Victorian, plus the New South Wales Premiers’ Literary Awards.

Who can apply for the 2019 ABR Behrouz Boochani Fellowship?

This Fellowship is open to English-speaking writers around the world. Any writer with a publication record is eligible. ABR staff and Board members are ineligible, as are staff, board members, and PhD students at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness. Contributors to ABR are encouraged to apply.  

What is the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness?

The Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness was established at the Melbourne Law School in February 2018 as a result of the generous support of Peter and Ruth McMullin.  The Centre undertakes research, teaching and engagement activities aimed at reducing statelessness and protecting the rights of stateless people in Australia, the Asia Pacific region, and as appropriate more broadly.  Learn more about the work of the Centre at

Are the Fellowships themed?

Some are, some aren’t. The ABR Behrouz Boochani Fellowship is. We look for applications about any aspect of refugees, statelessness or human rights.

Is this a purely academic Fellowship?

Not at all. We welcome applications from a broad range of writers: journalists, commentators, scholars, activists, creative writers, etc. ABR is not an academic journal. We seek engaging, creative non-fiction journalism of the kind you will find in The New Yorker or the London Review of Books. Links to essays by past Fellows can be found here.

Are you looking for finished articles from applicants?

No. We seek cogent proposals for non-fiction articles to be developed over the course of the Fellowship, in collaboration with the Editor. Unlike the Calibre Essay Prize, the Fellowship program is not for finished works.

How much are the Fellowships worth?

The Fellow will receive a total of $10,000, payable thus: $4,000 on announcement of the Fellowship; and two further payments on $3,000 on publication of the final two contributions to the magazine.

I don’t know anything about ABR. May I still apply?

Applicants must demonstrate familiarity with the magazine and must persuade the panel that their articles would complement other writings in ABR and win us new readers. Applications who do not refer to the magazine in their applications, or who don’t demonstrate awareness of ABR’s needs and directions, are unlikely to be successful.

Is it possible to write the article with a friend or colleague?

No. Single-author works only.

How do I apply?

Applicants must read the guidelines of the Fellowship for which they are interested in applying and send us a succinct but comprehensive proposal (three pages maximum), plus a CV of no more than three pages and two short writing samples. Please nominate two professional/literary referees (names, email addresses and phone numbers only). Note that we are looking for proposals – not finished articles or chapters. Applications must be received by the closing date of the relevant Fellowship. There is no application fee. Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their proposals with the Editor before submitting them: (03) 9699 8822 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. NB applications  for the ABR Behrouz Boochani Fellowship are now closed.

How are Fellows selected?

The Fellowship will be awarded by Australian Book Review on the advice of a committee including Peter Rose, the Editor of ABR, and Professor Michelle Foster, Director of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at the University of Melbourne, and author J.M. Coetzee. Shortlisted applicants will attend an interview in person or via Skype. No correspondence will be entered into once the decision has been announced. ABR reserves the right not to award the Fellowship.

Are the ABR Fellows expected to complete their projects at the ABR office in Melbourne?

No. Most of the editorial contact is via email or the telephone. Some meetings may be desirable during the course of the Fellowship. These are important collaborative partnerships between the magazine and the Fellows.

What kind of editorial support do Fellows enjoy?

ABR Fellows enjoy a special status at the magazine – as our senior contributors. The Fellow will work with the Editor closely throughout the Fellowship. We edit promptly, closely, and respectfully. ABR is committed to presenting the Fellow’s work with the utmost finesse. The Editor is always available to discuss the project, to respond to ideas, and to read drafts. Peter Rose edits the articles in consultation with the Fellows, and each article is then proofread by at least three editors.

Are there opportunities for discussions with other writers or experts in the field?

We encourage Fellows to lead roundtable discussions with colleagues and specialists at a formative stage in the Fellowship. These can be held at the Centre on Statelessness in Melbourne. ABR assists with the organisation of these roundtables. Fellows usually chair these gatherings, which have been most fruitful in the past. The Fellow is also encouraged to participate in other events at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, including attending the monthly seminar series where relevant.

Where are the Fellowship articles published?

In the print and digital editions of ABR.

Would ABR Fellows be required to take part in the promotion of the published article?



If articles are syndicated in newspapers (with the Fellow’s permission), the Fellow and ABR will each receive 50%.

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