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Emerging Writers’ Incubator returns, calling out for a new wave of Australian storytellers

15 May 2023
Ansuya Nathan and Elena Carapetis, Emerging Writers' Incubator participants 2021 and 2022
Ansuya Nathan and Elena Carapetis, Emerging Writers’ Incubator participants 2021 and 2022

Applications are now open for the SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator, a nationwide initiative supporting the development of historically under-represented screenwriting talent in the Australian screen sector. In its third year in 2023, the initiative will be delivered in partnership with Screen Australia, the SAFC and other state agencies Screen NSW, Screen Queensland, Screen Tasmania, Screenwest and VicScreen, and with the assistance of the Australian Writers’ Guild.

Launched in 2021, the initiative was created to invest in the future of an increasingly inclusive screen sector and Australian storytelling, by providing a year of paid employment in a leading Australian production company for emerging writing talent reflecting backgrounds and experiences historically under-represented in the Australian industry. This includes First Nations peoples; people who are culturally and linguistically diverse; people who are Deaf, hard of hearing or with disability; people who are female or gender diverse; people who identify as LGBTQIA+; and people located in regional and remote areas.

This year, once again, six successful writers across Australia will join the teams of Australian production companies acclaimed for their delivery of Australian drama. Over a 12-month period, employed full-time, they will gain significant work experience further developing their skills, knowledge, and networks, working across the production companies’ slate of drama productions. They will also be supported by the Australian Writers’ Guild with access to creative and training workshops.

In 2023, the selected South Australian writer will be hosted by Emmy Award winning South Australian production company KOJO Studios, working alongside producers Linda Ujuk and Kate Butler.

Other production companies taking part in the initiative are Curio Pictures who will host a Western Australian writer; Endemol Shine Australia who will host a NSW-based writer; Kindling Pictures hosting a Victorian writer and TAP (Tony Ayres Productions) who will host a Tasmanian writer in their office in Melbourne, supported by Screen Tasmania.

Previous rounds of the program have seen South Australian writer Ansuya Nathan hosted by Closer Productions in 2021, and Elena Carapetis working alongside South Australian producer Lisa Scott at Highview Productions in 2022.

Julie Eckersley, Head of SBS Scripted said: “At SBS, we’re committed to bringing though a tidal wave of new and diverse voices to tell stories for our screen. Giving skills and opportunity to talent that reflects the wonderful richness of who we are as a country makes for fresh, dynamic, surprising and entertaining stories that more Australians can connect with. “The Emerging Writers’ Incubator is an exciting example of how we can come together as a sector and invest in genuine pathways and support careers. It is fabulous to see previous participants’ credits on shows, and with so much untapped talent out there I can’t wait to see what this year’s Incubator uncovers.”

Bobby Romia, Head of Development, Screen Australia said: “Screen Australia is excited to support the third year of the SBS Emerging Writers’ Incubator and uncover a new generation of screenwriting talent. With a year-long placement with top production companies up for grabs, this initiative is an exceptional launch pad for diverse and emerging voices across the country. I encourage emerging screenwriters with a unique story, voice and perspective to apply.”

Kate Croser, CEO of the SAFC said: “The SAFC is pleased to once again support the Emerging Writers’ Incubator, an exciting initiative which supports our aim to grow the capability and diversity of the South Australian screen sector through increasing the pool of credited key creatives in the state. In 2022, the SAFC facilitated a record 28 South Australian writers, directors and producers to gain their first above-the-line screen credit on a feature film or broadcast program, of which half came from a group underrepresented in the industry. We look forward to similar career success for the South Australian graduates of the Incubator – Ansuya Nathan, who worked with Closer Productions, and Elena Carapetis, currently working with Highview Productions – and look forward to welcoming another South Australian writer into the program in 2023 to work with South Australia’s Emmy award-winning KOJO Studios.”

The Emerging Writers’ Incubator is open for applications from Monday 15 May 2023 until 16 June 2023. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by late August 2023, with placements in host companies due to commence later this year.

Co-funded by SBS and Screen Australia, with participating state and territory screen agencies, the Emerging Writers’ Incubator initiative will support the careers of 18 emerging writers over the three years of the program, with six successful candidates partnered with production companies around Australia each year. In 2023, production companies applied to be involved as a host company, with each of the final six companies selected by the relevant state agency, Screen Australia, and SBS.

South Australian applicants can find out more and apply online at

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