Literary critic Kerryn Goldsworthy once wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Of the many anthologies coming out of university writing programs, the annual UTS collection has always been the standout’.
The annual UTS Writers’ Anthology has been published for more than 30 years, almost from the start of the writing program. The first collections, such as Pink Cakes (1982) featuring writers from 1979–1980, and Live from the War Zone (1984) are now collectors’ items. Published in-house, these early anthologies have a much-loved, handmade feel to them. Now the Anthology is professionally published and distributed, yet nothing has changed about the passion of its editors, contributors or readers; nor about its importance in showcasing the UTS creative writing program.
Many student writers who first appeared in a UTS Anthology have gone on to make names for themselves as authors: Gillian Mears, Bernard Cohen, Jill Jones, MTC Cronin, David Astle and Arabella Edge are among them; more recent emerging and rising authors include Pam Newton, Clinton Caward, Julie Chevalier and Isabelle Li. The Anthology has also featured forewords from leading writers — James Bradley, Delia Falconer, Nam Le, Hannah Kent, Graeme Simsion — some of whom have been involved with the UTS creative writing program, and all of whom acknowledge the outstanding student talent featured each year.
Positions on the annual editorial committee are highly sought, and content is selected from up to 300 submissions. The committee edits, designs, proofreads, launches and publicises this book in six months (half the usual time it takes in the professional publishing world) and all this work is done on a volunteer basis.
The UTS Anthology Writing Prize is also part of this process, with the prize winning story, poem, article or script published, along with the runners-up.
Every year the Anthology is proudly launched at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, in an event that features readings from the book and the award of the Anthology prize.