Peter Blazey 2022 Fellowship

Accomplished Bosnian-Australian writer, Dženana Vucic has been awarded the 2022 Peter Blazey Fellowship for her work A Teleology.  Dženana came to Australia as a refugee from the 1992-95 Bosnian War and much of her work focuses on identity, un/belonging and language.

Dženana Vucic

The Judges, Professor Ronan McDonald (Gerry Higgins Chair in Irish Studies, University of Melbourne), Associate Professor Maria Tumarkin (Creative writing, University of Melbourne), Magenta Sheridan (Editor, Going Down Swinging), and Jol Blazey (Representative of the Blazey family), were delighted to award the 2022 Fellowship to A Teleology:

"This formally inventive and ambitious entry draws on the author's childhood memories of the Bosnian war, coming to Australia as a refugee, and returning to Bosnia as an adult, to produce a strikingly original reflection on how we make sense of stories and ourselves. It braids personal memoir, detailed historical research and philosophical reflection in a moving work about the vagaries of memory, the complexities of identity and the vertigo of a family caught up in war. The writing is marked by exactitude and grace, bridging the gap between the personal and the political with compelling fidelity".

Upon receiving the Award, Ms Vucic who is currently studying for a PhD at the University of Glasgow said:

"I am incredibly humbled to receive the 2022 Peter Blazey FellowshipThe work is part memoir, describing my family's experience of the 1992-95 Bosnian War and our escape to so-called Australia, alongside my return to Bosnia as an adult. It is also, or tries to be, an exploration of un/belonging, memory, and constructions of identity, one that draws on scientific and historical research and philosophy in an attempt to understand the stories we tell about ourselves and how these stories shape who we become.

I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the donors, judges and support staff of the Peter Blazey Fellowship, whose belief in my work means more than the world to me. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities that this Fellowship will allow me, for the financial stability it provides while I pursue this project, and especially for the chance to travel to and around Bosnia to continue my research and writing".

The Peter Blazey Fellowship was established to honour the memory of Peter Blazey, journalist, author and gay activist.  It has been made available through the generosity of Clive Blazey and Tim Herbert, brother and partner of Peter Blazey.

Receiving special commendations this year were three exceptionally talented authors.

Tristen Harwood, Nana.  'Skilfully combines art criticism and historical research with the stories told to him by his Nana.  The territory covered in the writing is impressive, here is a writer with an extraordinary poetic eye'.

Jessica Kirkness, A Sense of You.  'Explores the lives of her deaf grandparents and her relationship with them.  Jessica's work is ethically framed and approached, masterfully balancing the fine line between representing others and speaking for them'.

Mykaela Saunders, Communing with Uncle Kev through the Archives.  'Mykaela's close relationship with her late uncle underpins this ambitious and probing reflection on the role of the archive in personal and communal storytelling.  The cut-through directness is exhilarating'.

Full citations and past winners can be found on the Faculty of Arts website.

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Charles Jackson