The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Eleanor Hogan smiling

On Monday 4 March, in front of a large audience at Adelaide Writers’ Week, author and academic Eleanor Hogan was announced as winner of the 2019 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship for her proposed biography of Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates.

It is early 2016 and, after being ‘on submission’ for eight months, my first book for young adults, ‘What the Woods Keep’, finally has a home with a publisher: Imprint, part of Macmillan in the US. ‘It takes about two years to launch a YA debut’, my agent warns me once we receive the interested publisher’s long-awaited formal offer. Responding to my numerous ‘is this really happening?’ follow-up queries, the agent assures me that this is indeed very much happening, and then reminds me for the thousandth time that ‘publishing is slow’.

 

I am a Palyku woman who comes from generations rich in story. Many of those stories were carried on the inside. Many had to be; for in a colonised land, it was not safe for Indigenous voices to speak. We had much taken from us, including our stories, which continue to be appropriated still. My work is given many labels, such as ‘young adult’, ‘speculative fiction’ and ‘literature’. But all these words come from Western story traditions. What do they mean to me, an Aboriginal writer?

When I tell people that I’ve written a verse novel they often look at me blankly and ask what that means exactly. I explain that it’s a novel written in verse, in poetry. According to the Australian Poetry Library, ‘A verse novel tells a long and complex story with many characters, much as a prose novel would, through the medium of narrative verse. The verse may be blank verse in the manner of Shakespeare, or free verse, or (less often) formal rhymed verse of any type.’

Nada Kirkwood, outgoing Committee of Management (CoM) member, reflects on the experience on being on the CoM, and offers advice to those intending to nominate ahead of this year's AGM.

Italian-born Mark Brandi graduated with a criminal justice degree and worked in the justice system before changing careers and becoming a writer. His debut novel Wimmera won the British Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger and was named Best Debut in the 2018 Australian Indie Book Awards. It was also shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction Book of the Year and the Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year.

Writers Victoria is delighted to announce Melbourne-based writer Nancy Langham-Hooper as the recipient of the first Only Connect Digital Writer Residency for Carers for 2019.

Nancy has lived in the USA, UK and Australia and holds a PhD in art history. She is the primary carer for a child with a disability.

Girls are funny. I say that because my female pals can lighten up even the heaviest of days. I say that because, when I teach and visit schools, I witness girls making each other laugh until they cry.

Before you are a debut author, you spend all your time hoping that you’ll become one – that all your toiling away, locked in a little room with your paper and pen, or your laptop, will finally produce a work of art that a publisher will read and think, ‘yes, we simply must to publish this’.

The recent increase in online mentoring and pitching events has opened new pathways for Australian writers to gain exposure to overseas industry contacts and expand their writing community. But, as with all opportunities, it’s important to ensure it’s right for you and your work.