On Writing

Writers, editors, agents, publishers and more share their thoughts, experiences and stories.

Living in a perpetually bustling metropolitan city is to be permanently surrounded by a swarm of distractions and stimuli that are both wonderful and overwhelming. As an emerging writer, I really appreciate living this place.

When sporting events are broadcast on national television here in the US, the producers usually go out into the host community the day before to get what is called B-roll – footage of the community to be shown as the program goes in and out of breaks, bucolic scene setters.

headshot of Emma Valente

Emma Valente’s THE RABBLE is performing Frankenstein at the Malthouse Theatre from March to April.

She spoke with John Back about the process of devised theatre-making and drawing all the pieces together for the stage.

headshot of Lee Kofman

Two years into struggling to write some coherent chapters for my memoir ‘The Dangerous Bride’, and feeling overwhelmed by all the thinking and research, I took several months’ break to reconsider whether I could actually do this.

headshot of Lee Kofman

Nine years ago I was awarded my first writing residency in Australia. At that time I was living at a crazy pace, juggling several jobs, studying for my MA and trying to write a novel. Oh, and I also had a husband to attend to. But here I was offered an oasis of two weeks amidst all my busyness – two weeks at Varuna, set in the gorgeous misty Blue Mountains with their spiderwebs and flowers, with no daily hassles (and no husband), just me and my novel.

Photo of Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe has been writing poetry since the age of 18 and continues to write poetry at the age of 80. He shares some of his wisdom with Sharona Lin ahead of his Month of Poetry workshop.

Chris is a Melbourne-born poet who has read and written all round the world. He also taught for many years. His latest books are ‘My Feet Are Hungry’ and the prose volume ‘Read It Again’.

headshot of Lee Kofman

My writing has always been grounded in a strong sense of place. Perhaps this is because places in my own life have been so contingent, so impermanent, that they often got transformed in my mind into mythology, and personal mythology is one of the most powerful drivers in writing that I know.

 “Where you from?” In the 16 years that I’ve been writing for publication I have had the opportunity to work with various editors. When I embarked on co-editing the anthology ‘Coming of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia’, I understood the process of editing a book, but I didn’t realise the way it would transform my view of the publishing industry. I would soon find out that there is a reason for the saying, Wait until you walk in someone else’s shoes.

“It takes a lot of milk to make a little cream,” says Catherine Deveny. The proverb gives an insight into her writing approach, that of letting everything out on to the page until she gets to the good stuff.

1. Please yourself

When me and my best mate Tama Pugsley set out to mountain-bike 1500 kilometres through the wilds of northern Mongolia from a small town called Mörön to a smaller (and scabbier) town also called Mörön, I wasn’t planning to write a book about it.