The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

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As the Australian arts sector endures devastation wrought by COVID-19 and national organisations await today’s news of Four-Year Funding outcomes from the Australia Council for the Arts, representatives from state and national literary associations are calling for additional federal funding to the Australia Council, and a swift expansion of the Australian Lending Right Schemes (ELR/PLR) to digital formats.

Lance Richardson, the 2020 Hazel Rowley Fellow

"Under the current public health circumstances, and with great sadness, we have cancelled the Hazel Rowley memorial lecture, scheduled for Friday 20 March at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne,” announced Della Rowley, Hazel’s sister, today.

“At the annual lecture, we announce the Fellowship winner for the year, and it gives me great pleasure to announce Lance Richardson as the winner of the $15,000 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship for 2020. Lance has won for his proposed biography of writer, naturalist and Zen Buddhist, Peter Matthiessen.”

Writers Victoria is closely monitoring the unfolding coronavirus situation, with the health and safety of our writers, members, event and workshop attendees, and staff being our first priority. In light of the announcement by the State Library Victoria (where we are located) that it is closing to the public from Monday 16 March, and cancelling or postponing upcoming Library programs and events, the Writers Victoria Committee of Management has made the decision to postpone our AGM scheduled for Wed 25 March.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to the unfolding Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Write-ability Goes Local: Mornington Peninsula has been postponed until further notice. Once we are able to get this program organised at a future date, we will provide updates.


Writers Victoria, in collaboration with Mornington Peninsula Shire and Peninsula Writers Club, is delighted to announce an exciting new writing program for writers with disability funded by Mornington Peninsula Shire.

Please see our update regarding the 2020 AGM and Elections here.


Want the chance to meet other writers in the Writers Victoria community? To have a say in who runs your peak body? How about free wine and free books?

Whatever your motivation, Writers Victoria is delighted to welcome members to our Annual General Meeting for the 2019 Calendar Year, to be held on Wednesday 25 March 2020 at 6pm, at The Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.


Photo of Hazel Rowley outdoors

Nine Australian writers have been shortlisted for the 2020 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship worth $15,000. 

The Fellowship, now in its ninth year, attracted over 60 applications from biographers and memoir writers across Australia.

Award-winning author Simmone Howell has written books, plays, advertorials, manifestos, glossaries, blurbs, non-fiction articles, screenplays and this delightful letter to Writers Victoria, among other things. Simmone, who also teaches creative writing, co-founded the small press publishing collective Vandal Press.

Writers Victoria expresses its dismay at the Federal Government’s decision to abolish the Department of Communication and the Arts and incorporate it within the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (with no headline mention of Arts).

The decision to demote the Arts from its appointed department is a deeply concerning announcement for us, one which indicates that the cultural and creative activities of Australia are not, and will not be, a priority for the current government.

A smiling woman with shoulder length hair and blue eyes

Mary Borsellino has published work with a variety of micropress publishers in Australia and internationally. Her first foray into professional fiction writing was self-publishing a lurid YA novel at eighteen to supplement her babysitting income, and it kind of became a habit after that. Her website is


Early in my young adult fantasy novel Spare, a character is upset when a ballet has a tragic conclusion. Her friends aren’t especially understanding:

Janette Chen, 2019 winner of the Deborah Cass Prize, with Jean Bachoura, 2016 winner

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2019 Deborah Cass Prize for migrant writing is Janette Chen, for her story 'Wall of Men'.

The Deborah Cass Prize, now in its fifth year, awards $3000 plus a mentorship with an established writer and an introduction to a publisher to an unpublished writer who was born overseas or has at least one parent who was born overseas.