Speculative fiction author Eugen Bacon to be 2024 Hedberg Writer-in-Residence

Award-winning African Australian speculative fiction author Eugen Bacon will be the 2024 Hedberg Writer-in-Residence.

Eugen has been awarded the $30,000 residency, which consists of a three-month stint in Hobart writing, working with students and taking part in community conversations.

She will use the time to progress work on a new novel, Crimson in Quietus (A Sauúti novel), a new kind of mystery where the investigator is not a detective but a sound magic scientist.

Author Eugen Bacon
2024 Hedberg Writer-in-Residence Eugen Bacon

The novel is set in an Africa-inspired world known as the Sauútiverse, based on the Swahili word ‘sauti’, which means voice or sound.

“This residency will help me crucially research and write my novel,” Eugen said.

“It will give me quiet time and space away from the everyday hubbub to craft a competitive story that engages with difference and makes a worthy contribution to Australian and worldwide literature.”

Speculative fiction takes in several genres, including fantasy, science fiction, horror and dystopian works.

Born in Tanzania and based in Melbourne, Eugen is the author of several novels and collections. She’s a British Fantasy Award winner, a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award finalist (for her most recent novel Serengotti), a Foreword Indies Award winner, and twice a World Fantasy Award finalist. Her work has appeared in some of the world’s best fantasy, science fiction and African literary magazines.

Eugen will arrive in Hobart in August to take up the residency, working on her novel, mentoring creative writing students and taking part in public discussions.

“In writing this black speculative novel, I hope to continue engaging with difference in cross-cultural worlds, climate action, social justice and developing culturally diverse and female characters as heroes,” she said.

2023 Hedberg Writer-in-Residence, selection committee member and the author of Daisy and Woolf Michelle Cahill said Eugen was an emerging multilingual global voice with an impressive publication record.

“This is a prestigious and absolutely marvellous program for established writers,” Ms Cahill said.

“The series of public-facing events and masterclasses Eugen delivers will be extremely enriching for students, researchers and for the writing and reading community at large.”

The Hedberg Writer-in-Residence program, now in its fourth year, is offered by the College of Arts, Law and Education and the School of Humanities, with support from the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund. It is open to established fiction or non-fiction writers, in all genres, who are resident in Australia.

Previous recipients also include Tasmanian author Robbie Arnott, who used the residency to work on his Age Book of the Year Limberlost and Gail Jones, whose recently released novel One Another was also written during her residency.

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