Many thanks to all of the Writers Victoria members who joined us for the 29th Annual General Meeting last week.
At the meeting Nicolas Brasch, Chair of the Committee of Management, outlined some of the key governance activities for 2017, including:
- The recruitment of and transition to a new director following the resignation of Kate Larsen. While this was a lengthy process, it resulted in the appointment of outstanding candidate Angela Savage in September.
- Taking steps towards changing the legal structure of Writers Victoria so that the organisation can become a company limited by guarantee. (More information will be sent to members soon and there will be a Special General Meeting mid-year to vote on the proposal.)
- The recruitment of a new Patron following Noel Turnbull’s resignation at the end of the year. Noel was thanked for many years of service and strategic advice. Christos Tsiolkas was welcomed into the role in December.
Highlights of the year included the continued growth of our workshop program, regional activities, and initiatives for diverse writers, including Write-Ability, Write-ability Goes Online and Regional and a new grant from the Loula Rodopoulos Sub-Fund of the Victorian Women’s Trust that enables us to offer a Digital Residency to a Victorian woman writer in 2018. Thanks to a donation, we also launched a new initiative for Women Writers of Colour and offered eight writers bursaries and magazine commissions in 2017, with the 2018 program to include a workshop on teaching for established writers.
Our fundraiser event in December was another highlight, featuring Andy and Jill Griffiths who spoke to an audience of all ages about their unique creative partnership. Write-Ability Fellow Jess Walton also spoke at the event, adressing the importance of own voices and diverse characters in literature.
Over the course of 2017, thousands of writers found a place for themselves and their work in our program, publications, literary services and community. As a major employer of Australian writers and sector experts, we were privileged to work alongside 227 talented tutors, writers, mentors and manuscript assessors in 2017.
Treasurer Victor Sekulov noted that Writers Victoria continued on its solid financial performance from 2016 into this financial year as revenues continued to grow and operational activity was well managed. The change of senior management in 2017 resulted in minimal disruption and the smooth transition saw Writers Victoria perform above our budget expectations.
The members returned Nicolas Brasch, Peter Hill and Victor Sekulov to the Committee of Management. There were 13 nominations for three vacancies, suggesting the organisation is in good health with an engaged membership.
Former Director Joel Becker was awarded Life Membership for his role in the establishment of the Wheeler Centre while Director of Writers Victoria, and his advocacy for Writers Victoria’s ongoing interests within the Wheeler Centre.
Our work in 2017 was also made possible by the support and passion of our members and the hard work and dedication of the extraordinary Writers Victoria staff team, volunteers and interns. Our thanks go out to you all.