Three years after the Writeability Program began in 2012, Writers Victoria applied for funding to bring writing workshops to disabled writers living in regional Victoria. Our connection with metropolitan writers was strong, but we knew that disabled writers living in rural areas could be doubly disadvantaged, both by their disability and by their remoteness from city-based services. Our plan was ambitious: three years to foster disabled writers groups in eight regional centres, bringing forums, workshops and guest writers to where the writers lived. We wanted to foster new connections and provide mentoring and teaching to writers where they lived. We also hoped to encourage writers groups to continue on after the formal program was complete, and that individual writers would take advantage of opportunities city writers took for granted.
The funding of Writeability Goes Regional and Online by Catalyst – the Australian Arts and Culture Fund made our dream of reaching out to disabled writers across Victoria a reality. The funding really did prove a catalyst for regional writers and storytellers to enhance their writing skills, meet up with other writers and bring their voices to the attention of a broader audience. So when it came time to put together an anthology which would showcase many of those regional voices, the title Catalyst seemed the obvious choice.
In this anthology you will find writers who hail from Gippsland, the Mallee, Gisborne, Northern and North East Victoria, and even border communities like Tocumwal in New South Wales, as well as several city-based writers with strong links to Writeability over the years. For many of these writers, WGRO was their first connection with Writeability, a connection, I’m sure you’ll agree, that has benefited our broader writing and reading community just as much as Writeability has supported and encouraged them.
Lyndel Caffrey, Writeability Program Manager