The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

When Leone Purdy of the Sale Write-ability writers group decided to self-publish her poetry book, not everything went to plan.

I was elated. My first book published – and it was lovely. I felt pride in myself; a feeling that was new to me.  Was this beautiful, softcover, book of quirky, idiosyncratic poems really mine? Working with a publishing service had all seemed so easy. I’d paid them to edit and review my manuscript. Where once it had been a jumbled mash of incoherent, long-winded and unrhythmical verse, it was now a polished poetry book.

Christos is the author of six books, including Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On (Ana Kokkinos, 1998). His second novel, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. For The Slap, his third book, he won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009 and the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal.

We asked Australia’s top authors, poets and illustrators – nominees for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards – why they chose their career, and their responses are as varied as their creations.

Meredith Lake, The Bible in Australia (Australian History):
Well, I became an historian – and found that it’s all about stories. But I’ve always loved reading, and even as a kid I was often making things with words.

We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2019 Deborah Cass Writing Prize.

After winning the Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Competition in 2014, Else volunteered at Writers Victoria, worked at the Emerging Writers Festival and studied creative writing at RMIT. Else has been published widely, including Visible Ink, Australian Book Review, The Suburban Review and Offset.  Her fiction has won or been shortlisted for awards such as the Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, the Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards, the Fair Australia Prize, the VU Overland Short Story Prize and the Margaret River Short Story Competition.

Day 1 – Writing time

Perhaps you've already written your quota for Day 1 (If so, amazing! It's Sunday!), but for those of us who haven't just yet, it's worth thinking a little about time and the timing of your writing. Will it be a set time every day? Or will it be when random opportunities arises?

Anna Spargo-Ryan is the Melbourne-based author of The Gulf and The Paper House, and winner of the 2016 Horne Prize for her essay ‘The Suicide Gene’. Her work has appeared in The Big IssueIslandKill Your DarlingsMeanjinGood Weekend, The Guardian, and many other places. She is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Deakin University and was awarded the 2017 Philip Brown History Award.

Above: The 2019 Dulcie Stone Writing Award Winners and Highly Commended writers. Left to right: Buffy Dee La Sun, Timothy Jong, Teagan Connor, Eliza Brodie, Ivan Estebeth, Grace Rose Turner and Adam Thrussell. Image courtesy of Paul Dunn.

Writers Victoria are proud of our association with VALiD and the Dulcie Stone Writing Awards for writers with intellectual disability. Now in its third year, the Awards are drawing out remarkable perspectives and vivid stories from writers who don’t sit around and wait quietly for their turn.

Above: The 2019 Dulcie Stone Writing Award Winners and Highly Commended writers. Left to right: Buffy Dee La Sun, Timothy Jong, Teagan Connor, Eliza Brodie, Ivan Estebeth, Grace Rose Turner and Adam Thrussell. Image courtesy of Paul Dunn.

Writers Victoria are proud of our association with VALiD and the Dulcie Stone Writing Awards for writers with intellectual disability. Now in its third year, the Awards are drawing out remarkable perspectives and vivid stories from writers who don’t sit around and wait quietly for their turn.

On the imperative and impossibility of writing animals in an age of extinction.