Current fellows: Leanne Hall and John Oldmeadow (Honorary)
YA novel: The celestial
The celestial is a YA novel about celebrity, politics, race, performance and identity in Melbourne on the eve of WWII.
Leanne's research for her novel will be set around the visit to Australia by Chinese-American Hollywood actress Anna May Wong, who arrived in Melbourne in June 1939 to perform in the Highlights from Hollywood revue at Tivoli Theatre. Wong performed sketches that traded on her fabled exoticism and Orientalist tropes, as well as monologues in support of Chinese Nationalist politics.
The celestial will explore the effects of Wong's visit on the local Chinese-Australian community, and in particular on a young performer, May. Through contact with Wong, and as the onset of WWII complicates international relations, May explores her cultural identity, race politics in Australia and the possibilities for performers of colour at this time.
Leanne Hall is an author of young adult and children's fiction. Her debut novel, This is shyness, won the 2009 Text Prize for Children's and Young Adult Writing, and was followed by a sequel, Queen of the night. Her novel for younger readers, Iris and the tiger, won the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature at the 2017 NSW Premier's Literary Awards.
Leanne has a Bachelor of Arts/Law (Hons) degree, and a Graduate Diploma in Publishing and Editing. She was an Asialink Artist in Residence at Peking University in 2013 and participated in Australian Writers Week in China in 2014.
John Oldmeadow (Honorary)
Article or monograph plus annotations: A history of the development of the Dromkeen Collection, referencing the Library's completed listing of the Dromkeen manuscripts collection at State Library Victoria
When State Library Victoria was gifted the Dromkeen Scholastic Collection of children's book artwork in 2012, the archive was accompanied by a manuscript collection encompassing a wide range of documents and other material. The story of the Dromkeen Collection, from Joyce and Court Oldmeadow's initial vision through the 40 years of its development, is contained within this raw material.
John's honorary fellowship project will articulate this story, referencing the manuscript listing and, where appropriate, adding notes to items within the Library's final listing. The project will detail the initiating role of Joyce and Court Oldmeadow, the further development by Kaye Keck, and the pivotal funding and support from Scholastic. The custodial changes from private philanthropy to corporate sponsorship and eventual gifting to the State Library will also be identified.
The impact of the Dromkeen Collection on the profile and remuneration of illustrators and authors of children's literature, the response by publishers both overseas and in Australia, and the enthusiastic support by so many people through the Friends of Dromkeen, are contained within these documents.
John Oldmeadow is currently retired, and previously taught at Maryborough Technical College and Wesley College. He worked for many years in the publishing and book trade, including for Scholastic, Oldmeadow Booksellers, William Collins, Angus & Robertson Publishers and Murdoch Magazines. His qualifications include a BA (Hons) (Monash), Dip Ed (La Trobe), B Ed (Melbourne) and M Div (Yale).