The Manchester writer Michelle Green is the winner of the Julia Darling Travel Fellowship 2016.
Michelle Green is a British-Canadian writer who works in and around Manchester. She began writing spoken word poetry in 2001, with a focus on economy, working class experiences, and queer lives. Her work has been published in a number of anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Her debut poetry collection, Knee High Affairs, was published in 2005, followed by a critically acclaimed short story collection, Jebel Marra, in 2015.
The fellowship will allow Michelle to spend three weeks in Hayling Island, which lies off the south coast of England and which is the setting for a new collection of short stories. She describes the island, once a bustling seaside resort, as “a place of contradictions” and writes that “the shuttered seafront strip is now full of the ghosts of many past lives. I am drawn to its contrasts and resilience, as I know that’s often where interesting stories sit.”
Of being awarded the Julia Darling Travel Fellowship 2016, Michelle Green said:
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been selected for this fellowship, particularly knowing that it exists to honour a writer who, among many other things, produced scathing, funny, full-hearted work about something so human, something I’m learning myself – how to be a whole person in a brittle body.”
Florrie Darling, Julia Darling’s daughter and one of the founders of the Julia Darling Travel Fellowship, said:
“It might not be the obvious choice of destination for a travel prize but Julia would have loved the idea of taking an ordinary working class seaside town as your inspiration. We set up the Travel Fellowship to celebrate Julia by supporting other writers to develop their work and creativity and we liked that Michelle’s application had something of Julia’s quirky spirit and determination”.
Claire Malcolm, chief executive of New Writing North, said:
“Michelle is the perfect writer with the perfect project for the fellowship this year. Although we don’t usually encourage our northern writers to move South we are happy to support Michelle to undertake a short visit to develop ideas to fuel her work. Julia would have liked the idea of a residency in a British seaside location. The fellowship is there to support writers to go wherever they need to go to develop their ideas”.