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Own Voices - Why Writing Matters Forum - Latrobe



Jessica Walton and Jessica Obersby




This free event at the Gippsland Performing Arts Centre is a forum for disabled writers in the Latrobe Valley and surrounds interested in joining the Writeability Goes Local Writers Group that will run at Traralgon Library between February and September 2024. It will also benefit anyone working with, caring for or supporting people with disability. Part one of the forum, Why Writing Matters, provides professional development on the Social Model of Disability and best practice language for support workers, carers, and organisations. After lunch, part two of the forum, Own Voices, explores how language, writing and telling our own stories helps transform ways of thinking about ourselves, disability and our community. It also introduces local mentor Jessica Obersby, who will facilitate the Writers Group, scheduled to run for eight sessions over the coming months. Writers with disability at all levels of experience are invited to attend.
Forum Presenter Jessica Walton collecting adjectives at a Why Writing Matters Forum



You can find details of how Covid-19 restrictions will affect the workshop here: https://writersvictoria.org.au/about-us/covid-19-information/. You are encouraged to wear a mask in the library space. If you are a close contact you should not attend the building. If you are a close contact of somebody with Covid-19, or have Covid-19 symptoms yourself, please do not attend; please contact [email protected] to let us know that you are unable to make it.

You Will Learn:

By bridging the gap between mainstream arts and disability communities, the Own Voices Forum will use writing to break down barriers to social inclusion and give people with disability the skills and opportunity to tell their stories their way. You will:

In our morning session, Why Writing Matters, you will:

Develop your understanding of disability

Examine the Social Model of Disability

Explore disability representation in literature 

Explore how  telling our own stories helps transform ways of thinking about ourselves, disability and our community

Look at ways to write about disability from your own, lived experience.

Take part in writing activities, including “A Letter to Myself” 

For support workers, carers and organisations, this forum provides:

Disability awareness training,

A deeper understanding of the importance of creativity and own voice stories for people with disability 


In  our afternoon session, Own Voices, you will:

Meet local mentor Jessica Obersby

Learn more about the Latrobe Writers Group for people with disability

Take part in a range of writing activities, including Warm Ups, Prompts and What I Wish I Could Tell  You, If I Only Knew How.

About the presenters:

Lyndel Caffrey is a writer based in Merribek. Lyndel’s poetry, memoir pieces, family stories and historical fiction have been recognised with various awards and fellowships, and published by Southerly, Poetrix, Griffith Review, Vignette Press and newmatilda.com. She is also a creative writing tutor, mentor, assessor and editor. Lyndel has a long association with Writers Victoria and Writeability.

Jessica Walton is a queer, disabled writer and speaker. They co-wrote an episode of Get Krack!n focused on disability, which aired on ABC in 2019. They are the author of graphic novel Stars In Their Eyes, with artwork by Aśka (Fremantle Press 2021) and Introducing Teddy, illustrated by Dougal MacPherson (Bloomsbury 2016). Jess also has two short stories for teens and kids published in Australian anthologies Funny Bones (Allen and Unwin 2019) and Meet Me at the Intersection (Fremantle Press 2018), as well as poetry in a few anthologies, magazines and journals.

About the local mentor:

Jessica Obersby is a local writer who is also Writeability Program Manager at Writers Victoria. She is an emerging writer who believes in the power of stories to change people’s lives. Her work in progress is YA speculative fiction, with that has a protagonist with mental illness. Jessica is a graduate of the RMIT Professional Writing and Editing degree and in 2019 was a recipient of a Writers Victoria Write-ability Fellowship​. She worked as local mentor for Writeability’s Moe Writers Group, which she continued to facilitate as a volunteer after the completion of the formal program. She recently graduated in Environmental Science at Federation University Gippsland, receiving the University Medal for her exceptional work. Rescued animals outnumber humans in her household 12 to two!

Cancellation Policy


32 Kay St
Gippsland Performing Arts Centre
Victoria 3844 Australia


Phone: 03 9917 8462
Email: [email protected]

Registration for this event ended on 29 January 2024 - 4:00
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