On Writing

Writers, editors, agents, publishers and more share their thoughts, experiences and stories.

From May to August 2020, Writers Victoria in partnership with VALID, posted regular writing prompt for writers with disability. With so many of us isolated at home, this was a chance for us to reflect on our experiences and share them with others through our writing.

Stories From Home  aims to encourage, recognise, share and showcase the stories, writing and experiences of people with disability in a time when Covid-19 has halted or reduced our normal work, social activities and support services.

With stage four restrictions underway, and so many of us isolated at home for the second time, this is another chance to reflect on our experiences and share our stories. Let’s get creative again with our August Stories from Home writing challenge.

Following the success of Stories from Home in May and June, Writers Victoria in partnership with VALID, is asking writers with disability to respond to the prompt 'I look out my window'.

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.

Writing may be a solitary pursuit, but it doesn’t follow that being a writer means resigning yourself to loneliness and isolation. Writing communities, large and small, exist in all kinds of forms, catering to all kinds of writers. Some communities develop organically.

A portrait of Anna Snoekstra

ERG: Can you talk a little about how you came to be a crime writer? Have you always been a fan of the genre?

AS: I’ve always loved suspenseful films. For a long time, I was infatuated with Film Noir, and loved trying to pick apart the ways tension was built and released in a story. I have always been a big reader, but was never really interested in crime novels. I think this is because I always saw them as very male and very conventional: a dead woman, a detective, a bad guy. It didn’t interest me.

Robert Watkins, Head of Literary at Hachette Australia, spoke to Emma Cayley about Own Voices, the current publishing climate and writing outside experience.

EC: Hachette Australia is one of the publishers leading the way in bringing Own Voices writing to a mainstream audience, certainly in Australia. How did this progressive shift happen?

Moreno Giovannoni, winner of the inaugural Deborah Cass Prize, reflects on how it helped him develop his debut novel.

Sara Bannister has been writing for years. But, she asks, can she call herself an emerging writer yet?

 

When I was eighteen, I joined a troupe of amateur actors. My first (and only) performance was a pastorela, a play representing the birth of Jesus. I played the role of the angel who guided Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem and accompanied them during their first days as parents. We rehearsed for a month. I didn’t have many lines but needed to position myself at the centre of the stage with my arms spread wide, showing off my shimmering wings. The lighting technicians would illuminate the wings, casting golden light on the nativity scene.

An image of an open notebook and a person writing

A creative writing PhD looks pretty good on paper. A research adventure into a topic you find fascinating, mentoring from expert supervisors, immersion in a creative community and in some cases a scholarship to go with it, all with the aim of adding something new to the literary landscape.

But is it right for you?

PhD island can be a lonely one. You’ll be spending several years at the precipice of a research project that only you can complete. Just you, your laptop, your Endnote library and your over-full brain.