On Writing

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

Planning next month’s Manuscript Assessor Conference (the first of its kind in Australia) has got me thinking about what is still an emergent field.

The first I heard of manuscript assessing was from a writerly friend of mine who told me not to bother getting one for the novel I’d just finished. Waste of money, she told me.

Cut forward a few years and I’m now a freelance manuscript assessor myself and I’ve got a pretty good idea about the misconceptions that still prevail.

headshot of Phillip Taylor

Phillip Taylor’s love of the Hawthorn Football Club took him on a journey from sportsblogger to published author.

Phillip is a Melbourne-born writer and long-time fan of Hawthorn Football Club. He was at the MCG in 1971 when the Hawks won the premiership and has now seen them play in 15 Grand Finals, winning 10 of them. He works in corporate communications, has a Masters in Communications and blogs about Hawthorn. His first book, ‘High on Hawthorn: The Road to the 2013 Premiership’, was published by Nero in 2014.

headshot of Lee Kofman

Some time ago I was approached by a writer asking me to mentor her. She was writing a novel set in seventeenth century Spain. I read the synopsis. The story – a young woman has to choose between her sexual desire and becoming a nun (this being the most viable pathway for a woman’s independence at that time) – interested me. The narrative had some original twists. I read several chapters and was impressed by the poetry of the prose. Still, the book wasn’t working.

The problem was the protagonist. She left me cold.

The recipients of the annual Glenfern Fellowships and emerging writers’ competition.

The 2014 Glenfern Fellowships for Mid-Career and Established Writers (supported by the Readings Foundation) were awarded to Jennifer Down, Lee Kofman and Christian Ryan.

The 2014 Glenfern Fellowships for Emerging Writers (supported by the Grace Marion Wilson Trust) were awarded to Allison Browning, Matilda-Dixon-Smith and Shivaun Plozza.

headshot of Julien Leyre

Co-director of the Marco Polo Festival of Digital Literature Julien Leyre shares his thoughts on Chinese readers and online writing. In August 2016, Julien will be presenting a half-day seminar on Reading and Writing Across Languages, as well as a half-day All-You-Can-Translate Workshop. Both sessions are presented as a part of the ...

headshot of Bernard Caleo

Graphic Novelist Bernard Caleo talks comics and graphic novels, influences and illustrations with Brendan Paholski. Bernard is teaching a workshop on Introduction to Graphic Novels this Summer School.

Bernard has been making comics since the early 1990s, in collaboration (‘The False Impressionists’ with Tolley, ‘Café Ghetto’ with John Murphy), solo (‘Flâneur’, ‘Mongrel’) and as an editor (the ‘Tango’ anthology). In 2012 he made a feature documentary ‘Graphic Novels! Melbourne!’ with filmmaker Daniel Hayward.

headshot of Katie Keys

Twitter poet Katie Keys shares some of her thoughts about digital writing through the form of tiny little poems themselves.

Katie is Melbourne-based poet, writer and arts manager. Her work has been published in anthologies, magazines and online in Australia and beyond. An advocate of online creative communities, Katie has tweeted a tiny little poem each day @tinylittlepoems for nearly five years. (She is also currently the Director of Writers Victoria).

When we learn a foreign language, it is usual for progress to be assessed in terms of four separate categories: reading, writing, listening and speaking. But in relation to mastering our native tongue, the distinction between these categories is given far less emphasis. 

Because some of my favourite philosophers are comedians, I often think of a line about how to know if you’re suited to being a comic, one that is amusingly relevant to the life of a writer too: “You have to like sitting on trains and have quite low self esteem.”

Remember school play night? All the bustle and the brimming nerves. The school hall lit up specially in the dark and the sound of activity within. Your parents forsaken at the door as you caught sight of your friends – everyone pink with excitement, suddenly so much to say, the glory of importantly pushing aside the curtain that separated mere humans from the Stars of the Stage. And afterwards, when everyone wanted to know you. You felt special, special, special.