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The Julia Darling Travel Fellowship

The Julia Darling Travel Fellowship supports a creative writer or writers for a period of travel and exists to remember the late writer Julia Darling. The fellowship is worth £2,000 and is supported by a wide range of Julia’s friends and family, including many leading writers.

At a glance

Announcing the winner of the Julia Darling Travel Fellowship 2019

We are delighted to announce that the Julia Darling Travel Fellowship 2019 has been awarded to Frances Byrnes, a writer and producer for radio, based in Sheffield.

Frances will be using the Julia Darling Travel Fellowship to visit Boston, USA, where the university archives hold the diaries, journals and records of Adele Astaire, the sister of Fred Astaire and his long-term dance partner until her marriage in 1932.


The Julia Darling Travel Fellowship can be used to fund travel in the UK or internationally, and is open to individuals or groups of writers.

Applicants must live in the North of England and may be novelists, poets or playwrights and should have at least one professionally produced or published work to their name.

Previous awardees

So far the award has supported four writers to undertake creative journeys to write and research new work. In 2018, he fellowship supported Caroline Hawkridge to return to Zimbabwe for the first time since she emigrated in 1966, aged nine. In 2017, Emma McGordon won the fellowship to research queer culture in San Francisco. In 2016, Michelle Green travelled to Hayling Island to work on a project, Hayling Island: Stories at Sea Level, that encompassed short stories, spoken word and digital mapping. In 2015, Chloe Daykin travelled to Norway to research her latest children’s novel, The Boy Who Hit Play.

A way to remember

The Julia Darling Travel Fellowship was founded in 2015 to mark the tenth anniversary of Julia Darling’s death.

Julia’s friends, family and writing peers crowd-funded the award to remember the writer whose wide-ranging work included the novels Crocodile Soup (1998) and The Taxi Driver’s Daughter (2003); poetry collections Sudden Collapses in Public Places (2003) and Apology for Absence (2004); and plays for stage and radio, Eating the Elephant (1996), Personal Belongings (2002) and Appointments (2005).

Julia Darling’s work encompassed a wide range of topics and forms from plays and novels to poetry and performance. She was an exceptional artist with a unique and humorous voice that engaged readers even when her work explored her declining health and ultimate death from cancer. Julia was also a kind and generous writer who went out of her way to support and encourage many other writers to develop their work and their creativity. The Julia Darling Travel Fellowship is inspired by Julia’s love of travel and by the appreciation that she had of writing away from home, whether that was at creative retreats in the wilderness or in rented houses at the seaside.

The Julia Darling Travel Fellowship is managed by New Writing North, but is purely crowd-funded. All donations contribute directly to the annual award fund. If you would like to donate, you can make a one-off donation at the JustGiving page.


Jackie Kay

“I love the fact that Julia who loved to travel so much herself, on and off trains and planes, is now helping others to fly. Here’s to all the journeys. Julia would be raising her glass!”


David Almond

”I’m delighted to support this great venture. Julia was a brilliant and bold writer. She was also a generous and inspirational woman who had a strong impact on the lives and work of those who knew her. She would have been delighted with this fellowship, which offers such a great opportunity for writers to produce new work.”


Lee Hall

“Julia was an huge inspiration to me and she was a beacon of good sense, humour, ambition and right mindedness – as well as being a fabulous person whom I adored – so I would very much like to help remember her and The Julia Darling Travel Fellowship seems a really great and creative way to do that.”


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