The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Earlier this year we ran a few surveys to find out how we can better serve the Victorian writing community. We heard back from 118 members, 90 non-members and 87 former members.

Of our members, two thirds live in Melbourne and the remaining third lives in regional Victoria. 16% identified as writers with a disability and 7% write in a language other than English, including Italian, Thai, Chinese, Greek and Dutch.

The survey highlighted what’s important to our members.

headshot of Lee Kofman

My husband, a doctor, jokes that whenever his patients say “Can I be honest with you?” he wonders what was the point of their visit in the first place if they didn’t intend to be honest. The same applies to writers, you’d think. What can be the point of writing without honesty?

headshot of Beverly Almeida

A preview of the work of Beverly Almeida, a participant in the 2013 Writers Victoria mentorship program for writers from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Judith Sackville O’Donnell stood outside the art gallery, waiting. She had received a phone call from a man who claimed to be a producer wanting to make a docudrama of her book, 'The First Fagin: The True Story of Ikey Solomon'.

headshot of Lee Kofman

“What is the most necessary thing for a writer?” I often ask in my writing classes. “A publishing contract,” an occasional smartass might reply. Mostly, though, I get sound answers: a voice, a good ear for dialogue, a compelling narrative. Yet this is not what I am after. I try another tact: “Painters have colours, dancers have their bodies. What are our basic tools?” But every time I am met with a silence that possibly reflects our cultural focus on the macro: goals and their accomplishment.

Writers Victoria is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Competition and recipients of the Glenfern Fellowships.

headshot of Sean McMullen

Writing is a solitary occupation, but professionals are not as isolated as beginners. They are kept company by emails from their agents and publishers, royalty cheques, advance payments, fan mail, reviews and awards. This gives them lots of encouragement, yet they were all once beginners with only rejection slips for company. Assuming that, like professionals, you love to write, what can you do to keep your morale up while still unknown?

a picture of Bronwyn Lovell speaking passionately into a microphone, presumably at a slam poetry event

I always got really nervous before I went up on stage at poetry slams.

It took me a long time to memorise poems and, once I had, I could still let that nervousness get to me and I’d drop a line or two in the spotlight, or go blank.

I think neither the factual or fictional form of cinema can really claim to be more invested in the telling of truth than the other. Often filmmakers in both camps aspire in one way or another to do just that: tell the truth. For some filmmakers it is the point of filmmaking.

headshot of Lee Kofman

All serious writers I know can name literary influences that have shaped their emotional landscapes, linguistic sensibilities, writing themes, literary tastes and perhaps even worldviews.