A personal sort of patronage

Friday, December 12, 2014
By: 
Lou Bortolin

Photo of writers Michael Shelton and Emilie Collyer with patron Lou Bortolin wearing nametags
Michael Shelton, Emilie Collyer and Lou Bortolin

History has its share of plays, books and speeches that are constantly being referred to. Words that make a difference.

As sometimes happens in life an opportunity presented itself. That of becoming a patron to a writer. It had never occurred to me that I was able to contribute to the written word.

On Friday 21st November, I met my writer. Emilie Collyer and I had been in correspondence by email and she shared what she was up to and I met her at the 25th Anniversary Party of Writers Victoria. We spent a couple of hours talking about literature, books and the creative process in writing. Who would have thought: ME discussing literature?

Emilie has been shortlisted for numerous literary awards. She has just finished a big project as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival. Her play ‘Once Were Pirates’ had a good season as part of the Darebin Arts Speakeasy Fringe Program and was Highly Commended for the Melbourne Fringe Emerging Writer Award. She has also been offered a place in the Malthouse Theatre Besen Writers Program. You can find her on her website.

My sponsorship enables Emillie to become what is called a “Writer in Residence”. She is allocated a room for one month at at the Old Melbourne Gaol where she can concentrate on her writing.

It was also an opportunity to meet other writers. I spoke at length with a crime writer called Michael Shelford [who is also being supported by a Personal Patron and has previously been a Cells for Writers resident]. You can read more about his time in gaol on the Writers Victoria website.

It is not often that you get to meet the person that you are contributing to and it was a great evening.

My invitation is that if you see yourself making a difference in the world through the written or spoken word, consider becoming a patron. You will be guided by the staff at Writers Victoria in the selection of a writer that matches what you are up to in the world.

The unexpected outcomes of becoming a patron have been that I have joined a library and I have started reading again. The possibility of going back to school for further studies has also become available.

I acknowledge Mindy Leow (Committee of Management member of Writers Victoria) for creating the pathway to becoming a patron and to Kate Larsen (Director of Writers Victoria) for guiding me in the process of writer selection.

You can find more information about the Personal Patron program on the Writers Victoria website.