The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Back in July 2012 a group of disparate strangers gathered at Writers Victoria to start a six-month novel-writing course taught by award-winning author Carrie Tiffany. We were to varying degrees anxious and excited, waiting for the first words from our teacher. Carrie’s unhurried and considered teaching cultivated our skills and knowledge, inspiring us to develop something more meaningful.

As the daughter of a writer, I know all too well what a writing life is like – full of impressive highs and lows, years of determination and grit, the monotony of writing, writing, writing and the constant fear of failure. Readers’ letters inspire joy and make a writer remember why they do this job. Royalty payments! Short-listings! Awards! And then, bad reviews. Goodreads. Slow sales.

I was twelve when I first held in my shaking hands an envelope postmarked from a writing competition I had entered. I can still remember unfolding the letter to see those words I have coveted ever since:

Dear Kate,

Congratulations!

‘When another writer in another house is not free, no writer is free.’ – Orhan Pamuk

Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton have their ‘Treehouse’, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, the ‘Illuminae Files’. Heck, even father daughter writing duo Tom and Meg Keneally share ‘The Monsarrat’ series. There are so many famous creative collaborations in Australian publishing, and fine examples of how some of our best and most creative minds have melded together to build incredible bookish worlds. But collaboration in publishing goes so far beyond just co-authors, or authors and illustrators and the final partnering we see on the cover.

Celebrated YA authors Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood spoke to Writers Victoria about collaborating on their latest novel, 'Take Three Girls'.

Reporting on a spate of police deaths in custody or a nation’s attachment to the death penalty, and writing poetry, blog posts or social media comments – these are some of the radical activities which triggered harassment, violence, and incarceration for women on PEN International’s imprisoned writers list

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff are the biggest thing in Australian literature right now. Together, they have written the ‘Illuminae Files’ series, a brilliant, ground-breaking piece of science fiction for young adults. The first two books, ‘Illuminae’ and ‘Gemina’ were critically-acclaimed international bestsellers; the third, ‘Obsidio’, which has just been published in Australia, is set to be likewise. The Garret Podcast’s Nic Brasch spoke to Amie and Jay about their unique working partnership.

CS Pacat writes about the development of her graphic novel series, 'FENCE', and in particular, her relationship with artist Johanna the Mad.

Collaboration – between marginalised creators and concerned publishing professionals – is at the heart of all grassroots movements that aim to eradicate the kinds of systemic biases that keep people from Indigenous and diverse backgrounds (including people of colour, people living with physical, physiological or neurological difference and people who identify as LGBTIQA) from telling their own stories, in their own words and pictures.