IMG_3717.HEIC

The Stella Prize Partnership

Life at Springfield is proud to have partnered with The Stella Prize since 2020 to offer opportunities for their prize nominated authors. Springfield offers nominated authors sponsored residencies, and most of our writing retreats are run by Stella authors. 

While I was living overseas I had a life changing experience attending a Hedgebrook writing retreat. I say it was life changing because the experience of connecting with a group of women writers, sharing our writing dreams and supporting each other in creative workshop sessions led by the extraordinary Karen Joy Fowler, was so inspiring that a seed was planted that week, and later sprouted at Springfield .

 

I wanted to replicate the Hedgebrook experience back home in Australia and to create a community of women writers that would become an ongoing part of my life. When Karen Joy Fowler accepted my invitation to lead Springfield's first retreat I thought I’d gone to heaven. Her retreat at Springfield in March 2019 was so much more than I’d hoped for that it inspired me to continue the dream.

 

At first my idea was to partner with Hedgebrook, a women’s writing retreat on Whidbey Island in the US. With Gloria Steinem as their Chair and the motto  ‘women authoring change’ Hedgebrook struck a deep chord within me, echoing my own passions in my undergraduate studies in feminist political philosophy. Women’s voices are still underrepresented in most aspects of life and in my experience women’s writing retreats are a powerful opportunity to raise our voices. Karen Joy Fowler is a member of Hedgebrook's Creative Advisory Council and she was so delighted with our retreat that she suggested that I consider partnering with them to run retreats at Springfield. 

 

Then, while investigating that option I was introduced to Paula McLean who was on the Board of The Stella Prize. When she told me the story of The Stella Prize, I had a lightbulb moment - why not partner with Stella instead? That was the beginning of what is now a three year long relationship with Stella. 

 

Springfield is honoured to support The Stella Prize authors who have stayed in residence and led retreats here. To be able to offer women the time and space to sink deeply into their work is a great pleasure, and to hear how their experience at Springfield has supported their work is simply a dream come true.

x Kinchem

Springfield Sponsored Residencies

Stella nominated authors who have attended Springfield-sponsored residencies or have run retreats at Springfield include:

Charlotte Wood
Stephanie Bishop

Inga Simpson

Jen Craig

Belinda Murrell

Joyce Morgan

Fiona Wright

Yumna Kassad

Emily Maguire

Gabrielle Carey

Mireille Juchau

Margo Lanahan

Ceridwen Dovey

S.L. Lim

Intan Paramaditha

Jessie Tu

Nardi Simpson

Cath Moore

Jamie Marina Lau

Mirandi Riwoe

Jess Hill 
Belinda Castles

Bri Lee

S.J Norman

Anwen Crawford

On Life at Springfield 

By Yumna Kassab

 

When people ask about the structure of my book Australiana, I tell them it is an ecosystem. In science, an ecosystem is a space that takes into account the relationship between the living and non-living factors. Living factors may be human, animal or vegetation. As for the non-living factors, they might be the sunlight, water, temperature and pH.

 As artists, it is useful to think of the spaces around us as ecosystems, that some are more conducive to inspired moments than others. To my eyes, Springfield is an ecosystem that allows for the flourishing of ideas and creativity. It is a whole support system that surrounds a writer with a sense of expansion and possibility. Perhaps it is the sunlight here, the green spaces, perhaps it is the vegie patch. It could be the considered and holistic approach Kinchem and Peter have for Springfield that helps shift thinking patterns so an idea can grow into light. Or maybe at Springfield there is an older magical element - impossible to pin down - that has allowed my ideas to thrive. Whatever mysterious combination of factors it may be, my spells of creativity here brought Australiana to its final published form.