On Writing

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

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.

Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton have their ‘Treehouse’, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, the ‘Illuminae Files’. Heck, even father daughter writing duo Tom and Meg Keneally share ‘The Monsarrat’ series. There are so many famous creative collaborations in Australian publishing, and fine examples of how some of our best and most creative minds have melded together to build incredible bookish worlds. But collaboration in publishing goes so far beyond just co-authors, or authors and illustrators and the final partnering we see on the cover.

Photo of James Cristina

James Cristina talks to Writers Victoria about his debut novel 'Antidote To A Curse'.

Emily O’Grady has won the 2018 Vogel Literary Award for her captivating first novel 'The Yellow House'. Each year, the prize of $20,000 and a publishing contract with Allen & Unwin is awarded to the best unpublished manuscript by an Australian writer under 35.

Regional writing groups and organisations in Victoria are able to apply for grants of $880 to subsidise literary activities in their area, thanks to the support of the Grace Marion Wilson Trust.

Applicants must be current regional members of Writers Victoria (in the non-profit organisation or regional writers’ group membership category), or Regional Ambassadors, and based in one of the 48 Local Government Authorities in Regional Victoria as listed on the Creative Victoria website.

Photo of Jay Kristoff

Writers Victoria intern Ellen O'Brien talks to Jay Kristoff on writing 'LIFEL1K3'