On Writing

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

A portrait of Kathryn Heyman

2019 Summer School: Writing Your Way to the End: Plotting, Momentum and Re-Drafting

CJ: Your first memoir is coming out soon. Has the process of finding narrative structure or ‘plot' in your memoir been different to that of your novels?

A portrait of Lee Kofman, seated at a table next to a vase of flowers

Ahead of her Summer School Workshop: Writing the Body, Lee Kofman spoke honestly and openly about her sexuality, her relationships, and how both inform her writing. 

a portrait of Dave Drayton

2019 Summer School: Experimental Writing

NB: What first inspired you in the direction of experimental writing?

A portrait of Claire Gaskin

In this deep dive interview with Christy Tan, Claire Gaskin introduces her theories about language, becoming, and the sensory experience of poetry.

A portrait of Richard Holt

Richard Holt knows about making every word count. Ahead of his Summer School workshop on micro-fiction, he answered some of Nikki Bielinski's questions.

A portrait of Nicole Hayes, three-quarter length, leaning on a wall

'Show, don't tell', is a mantra of good writing, but what does that actually mean? How can you tell when you're telling, and how do you know when you're showing? Steph Downing asked Nicole Hayes to enlighten us.

a portrait of Thuy On

Dinithi Perera interviews Thuy On about criticism in the digital age, the art of reviewing, and and to whom the critic is responsible ahead of her Summer School workshop Reviewing and Literary Criticism.

When Lionel Shriver ignited public debate about cultural appropriation with her 2016 Brisbane Writers Festival opening address, ‘Fiction and Identity Politics’¹, followed by Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s swift rejoinder², I took it personally. Not in a white privilege, why-are-they-trying-to-stop-me-from-writing-whatever-I-want? kind of way, but in a way that made me pause and reflect on my own creative practice.

In recent times there have been numerous discussions on the complexities of writing non-white characters¹, but little attention has been given to the craft (and politics) of writing white characters, and representation of white characters in literature and on screen. To put this simply: most of us write white characters though it is difficult to find articles on the subject.

The idea for ‘The Bone Sparrow’ came to me years ago. We were watching the news and debating who would get up from the couch to fetch the chocolate from the kitchen. Our baby lay asleep in my arms. It was a warm night; I think it was summer. The windows were open and I complained about the mosquitos. I looked up at the television and saw a child, maybe a year older than my own, playing in the dirt and oblivious to the camera crew beyond the wire fence, the guards in the background, or the saddened, lost faces of the adults surrounding them. I remember thinking, imagine that.