The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Erina Reddan

Pitching Bootcamp

CC: You won the Holding Redlich pitching competition awarded by the South Pacific Association of Film and Television. As an author you’ve appeared on Bert Newton's 'Good Morning Australia' and Margaret Throsby's 'Desert Island Disks', as well as being extensively profiled in all major newspapers. To what, in broad terms, do you attribute your success?

Ellena Savage

Shaping an Essay Collection

CC: Congratulations on your forthcoming essay collection 'Blueberries'. Can you tell us a little bit about the ideas that shaped the collection?

Regional writing groups, literary organisations and arts organisations in Victoria are able to apply for grants of $880 to subsidise literary activities in their area, thanks to the support of the Grace Marion Wilson Trust.

The 2018 Annual General Meeting was held on 27 March.

The Chair, Director and Treasurer all presented their reports on 2018 activity, which can be viewed in the annual report. In addition, four members were elected to the Committee of Management: Donata Carrazza and Noe Harsel, both existing Committee members, and we welcome Bryan Keon-Cohen and Amy Maddison, who are joining us for the first time. Thanks to Andrew Bush and Sarah Jensen for also standing for election.

Mary Hoban smiling

Writers Victoria and the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship are delighted to announce that Mary Hoban's biography 'An Unconventional Wife: The Life of Julia Sorell Arnold' has just been published by Scribe. The book was launched by Ellen Koshland on 3 April at Avenue Bookstore, Melbourne, and is now available in bookshops.

On writing place so your reader will go anywhere with you.

Let us sing our praise of the bitter lie,
Dismiss the stolen children’s cry.
Favour fallacies and fairy tales, 
Worship thieves blown in by hearty gales. 

Let us sing our praise of the bitter lie, 
Deny bloodshed under deathly skies. 
Reject sovereign clans of noble grace, 
Elect foolish pawns of a ‘higher race’. 

Let us sing our praise of the bitter lie, 
Watch glibly as democracy dies. 
The traumatic scars of colonial lore, 
Weep on now and forevermore.

I have been told on more than one occasion that I write about place and landscape beautifully, that my visceral writing about Australia helps my readers feel like they are travelling in those places. It’s challenging to unpack how I do it, though, as I am not aware of learning or consciously studying how to write places. You can imagine, I am sure, how hard it is to explain something I was not aware of ever knowing.

I recently wrote a book called ‘Blue Lake: Finding Dudley Flats and the West Melbourne Swamp’. The book centres on telling the fragmentary history of a large blind spot in the west of Melbourne. The site, which takes in the entire area between the city’s CBD and Footscray, was once a lush wetland but has since become a labyrinth of industrialised discontinuity that has no particular name. European settlement reduced it to a muddy swamp, dredged it to make the city’s docks and ports, and infilled it with refuse.