A travelling scholarship has made the writing and research dreams of an RMIT University lecturer and student come true.
Lecturer Jessica Wilkinson and student Ender Baskan have each received funding from a 2014 Marten Bequest travelling scholarship, enabling them to pursue their projects overseas.
Ms Wilkinson received her scholarship in the Poetry category, while Mr Baskan's was for Prose.
Ms Wilkinson, a lecturer in the Media and Communication, will travel to St Petersburg, Copenhagen, London, New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts, to research the subject of her next book: George Balanchine.
Her manuscript, Music Made Visible: a biography of George Balanchine, will be an experimental book-length poem on the life and work of the man described as the father of contemporary American dance.
"The Marten Bequest will enable me to do site-based and archival research, including visits to key European and American venues of historical and contemporary significance to Balanchine's life and experience," Ms Wilkinson said.
A more recently completed work by the RMIT lecturer, Marionette: A biography of Miss Marion Davies, was also shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize in this year's NSW Premier's Literary Awards.
Ms Wilkinson's poem Arrival Platform Humlet won the 2014 Peter Porter Poetry Prize, now in its tenth year.
Mr Baskan, a second year Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing student, will travel to Turkey to explore what it means to be Australian today through the themes of identity and migration, and his experiences of growing up as a child of Turkish migrants in Australia.
He will be in Turkey for the ANZAC Day Centenary in 2015 and will revisit the scene of the Gezi Park protests, in which Istanbul residents protested against development of the public space.
Mr Baskan will also complete a Writing Residency with Maumau Works, the first artist residency space in Istanbul.
He said the scholarship was the next step in fulfilling his dream to become a writer.
"I quit my full-time marketing job and walked out of the office with a grin," Mr Baskan said.
"I had decided I was going to be a writer. I didn't know how but I just decided nothing was going to stop me."
Mr Baskan said he was inspired by some of the great 20th century outsider writers such as Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, John Fante and Jack Kerouac.
"They all had migrant backgrounds and I felt an affinity with the vigour and emotion in their writing," he said.
"It took me a good six months before I decided to study at RMIT. I had heard good things about the professional writing course.
"Early on I realised that I had found my passion. The enthusiasm of my teachers and fellow students energised me and gave me a belief that yes, I was doing the right thing for me.
"My scholarship means that I'll be able to spend next year in Berlin and Istanbul researching and writing my next project which is a novel dealing with the experiences of the Turkish diaspora."
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