Writers Victoria has a history of supporting writers who face barriers in the development of their writing careers, such as regional writers, writers with disability, LGBTIQA+ writers and writers from culturally and linguistically diverse communities – including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers. We are also actively working to strengthen young people’s literary engagement and expression through our workshops for younger writers.
We value the contribution of Victoria’s diverse* writers and recognise the intersectional difficulties many people face in accessing opportunities for their own professional development, inspiration and engagement.
Our D-Writers initiatives aim to increase access and representation of diverse writers across our entire program: from our tutors, mentors and manuscripts assessors, to workshop participants and commissioned writers in The Victorian Writer magazine.
In 2019, thanks to an arts grant from the City of Melbourne, Writers Victoria provided two six-month, digital writer-in-residence and professional development programs for two Victorian writers who face significant barriers to participation in the writing community due to their primary role as carers: Nancy Langham-Hooper in metro Melbourne and Bel Woods in regional Victoria.
Previous D-Writer projects
In 2018, with support from the Loula Rodopoulos Sub-Fund of the Victorian Women's Trust, Writers Victoria supported a digital residency by Mexican-born writer Gabriella Munoz, who faced intersecting barriers to participation in the literary industry.
Also in 2018, in partnership with Pencilled In, Writers Victoria supported Asian Australian writers with bursaries and paid writing commissions.
Beginning in 2017, thanks to a donation, Writers Victoria ran a series of professional development opportunities for women writers of colour and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. These include paid commissions, bursaries to attend a range of Writers Victoria courses, and a free training of trainers session for established writers on Running Writing Workshops, the latter with additional support from Mascara Literary Review.
In 2016, following a partnership on the Chinese-Australian Writers Festival, we launched the Directory of Chinese-Australian Writers (thanks to the Australia Council for the Arts).
In 2015, projects included a new D-Writers China initiative to provide skills development, profile and commission opportunities for contemporary Chinese-Australian writers in Victoria (thanks to the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and the Melbourne City of Literature Office).
In 2014, Writers Victoria and the Koorie Heritage Trust launched our Indigenous Writing Intensive. This unique model combined a day of Cultural Awareness Training with a day of skills development with Aboriginal author Anita Heiss. Bruce Pascoe and Jane Harrison have also tutored as part of this annual intensive, in 2016 and 2017 respectively (thanks to the Australia Council for the Arts)
In his author talk on Indigenous Places, Tony Birch spoke about writing place or setting from an Indigenous perspective, which was widely distributed as a video podcast and his thoughts on whether non-Indigenous authors should write about Indigenous characters.
In 2013, our You, Your Story and the World: Writing the Refugee Experience project was a collaboration between Writers Victoria and the Ecumenical Migration Centre made possible thanks to the generous support of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. The project included free workshops with Robert Hillman for writers from refugee and new arrival backgrounds and resulted in the production of a series of postcards and memes.
Writers Victoria ran a mentorship program for writers from non-English speaking backgrounds in order to support and promote the diversity that forms the fabric of our writing and our broader community. The CALD Mentorship Program was supported by the Grace Marion Wilson Trust.
And a group of multicultural and bilingual writers undertook a residency at Mooramong in Skipton thanks to a partnership between Writers Victoria and the National Trust (Victoria).
D-Writers also continues to publish new work by writers from diverse cultural backgrounds on the Writers Victoria website and in The Victorian Writer magazine.
*Writers Victoria recognises that using the term ‘diverse’ can be problematic. We use this term not to centre whiteness but to recognise and celebrate the plurality of the Victorian writing community.