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South Australia’s Ansuya Nathan announced for 2021 Emerging Writers’ Incubator initiative

28 September 2021
SA writer Ansuya Nathan, image supplied
SA writer Ansuya Nathan, image supplied

South Australian writer Ansuya Nathan is one of six screenwriting creatives from across Australia to have been selected as inaugural participants in the Emerging Writers’ Incubator, an initiative from SBS in partnership with Screen Australia and state and territory agencies including the SAFC, and with the assistance of the Australian Writers’ Guild.

The Emerging Writers’ Incubator is a nationwide program launched earlier this year to bring the industry together to support the ongoing development of underrepresented writing talent telling Australian fiction stories for the screen. The initiative provides significant work experience in drama production in leading Australian production companies for emerging writers from backgrounds and with lived experience currently underrepresented in the sector. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; people who are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; those who are Deaf or disabled; are female or trans/gender diverse; identify as LGBTQIA+; and people located in regional and remote areas.

The six successful candidates chosen this year will each be employed for 12 months in one of six award-winning production companies around the country, acclaimed for their delivery of Australian drama. The six host companies for 2021 were selected by SBS and Screen Australia.

The successful emerging writers selected for 2021, and the production companies they are working with, are:

Over the next 12 months, they will each gain valuable work experience, further developing their skills, knowledge, and networks, while 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, to further develop their skills.

South Australian writer Ansuya Nathan trained as an actor at NIDA, and has studied and worked in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Not particularly good at waiting around for acting gigs after drama school, she was company producer and co-Artistic Director of Tamarama Rock Surfers – the resident independent theatre company at the Old Fitzroy Theatre in Sydney. Her time developing new Australian work there, and the countless scripts she has read as an actor, has helped her cultivate an innate sense of story and structure, which she is now applying to the screen. Her interest as a creator lies in taking the familiar – genres, narrative styles and character tropes – and infusing it with her “otherness”, whether that be her Indian culture, female perspective, Australian sensibility, or all three. After many years away she is excited to be back on home turf and finally unpack her model minority leanings. 

Donna Chang, Commissioning Editor, SBS Scripted, said: “The Emerging Writers’ Incubator is a really special and important initiative which SBS is incredibly proud to be working with our partners in the sector to deliver. There is an extraordinary pool of writing talent across Australia who have uniquely Australian stories to share, and through this program we’re excited to be supporting the development of the next generation of distinctive writing voices and contributing to a more inclusive industry. Thank you to the award-winning production companies who are also joining us in this initiative, and congratulations to all of the candidates who took part in interviews during the competitive selection process, especially the successful writers – we look forward to going on this journey with them.” 

Melissa Lee Speyer, Development Executive, Screen Australia, said: “Screen Australia are dedicated to supporting emerging creatives as they enter the screen sector and we are incredibly proud to support these six writers as they embark on the next stage in their careers. We were blown away with the quality of writing amongst the applications we received and the strength of the national shortlist. It is a testament to the high level of undiscovered talent we have in Australia from our underrepresented communities. Along with SBS, our partners at the state and territory screen agencies and the Australian Writers’ Guild, we are sure the participants will gain invaluable experience working at some of the leading production companies in the country.”

Kate Croser, SAFC CEO, said: “The SAFC has been pleased to support this initiative as part of our ongoing commitment to grow and diversify the pool of credited South Australian key creatives. We congratulate South Australian writer Ansuya Nathan on being selected to work and collaborate with Adelaide’s award-winning Closer Productions.”

Susie Hamilton, Professional Development Manager, Australian Writers’ Guild, said: “It’s been a privilege to work with SBS, Screen Australia and our other state-based partners on this important initiative. The standard of writing talent we have seen through the selection process has been nothing short of extraordinary. We know that the successful writers and the participating production companies are going to reap enormous benefits from this program.”

The six successful writers for 2021 were selected by SBS, Screen Australia and state and territory agencies from a national shortlist from hundreds of applicants. South Australians Travis Akbar and Alies Christina Sluiter were among 17 writers to make the national shortlist.

Co-funded by SBS, Screen Australia with participating state and territory screen agencies, the Emerging Writers’ Incubator will continue in 2022 and 2023, with six successful candidates partnered with production companies around Australia each year. Over three years, the initiative will support the careers of 18 emerging writers, further contributing to diversity in the pool of professional talent in the sector.

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