On Writing

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

headshot of Bethanie Blanchard

Our interview with WV tutor and mentor Bethanie Blanchard, a freelance writer and critic based in Melbourne.

The jester has been around since ancient times. In the Middle Ages jesters used to amuse the aristocracy with their quick-witted, cutting humour. They had a privileged position that allowed them to insult and openly criticise the elite and their extravagant lifestyle (something that would surely have landed any other social commentator in a dungeon). Not only was this behaviour accepted; it was expected as part of their role, and it was respected, too. 

headshot of Alison Croggon

Alison Croggon is one of Australia’s best-known theatre critics, as well as a poet, playwright, fantasy novelist and librettist. She spoke with us about where she writes and what the life of a theatre reviewer is really like.

headshot of Lee Kofman

In some writers’ residencies, the duties of the resident writer may include appearing at local writers’ groups. In one such a group I attended, a writer read weekly from her novel-in-progress. On my first visit, she explained that the chapter she was reading introduces a pivotal plot twist where a protagonist reveals a shameful secret during a family dinner. However, it took two more weeks of reading instalments until we were finally let into the secret. Meantime, the dinner went on and on. For three weeks we listened to conversations about football and weather, and numerous requests to...

headshot of Lee Kofman

“Why do I write?” is a question I have asked myself more than once, particularly when I receive publishers’ rejections, or hear about some friend’s obscene corporate salary, or when I am paralyzed by fear before starting a new project, or lose faith in the work-in-progress I’ve been slaving over for some years, or when my pile of research notes reaches the height of Mount Everest – in absolute disproportion to the manuscript’s word count. In short, I often question my choice of dedicating my life to writing.

headshot of Benjamin Law

In the lead-up to his Life Writing and Memoir masterclass at Writers Victoria, we asked Benjamin Law about reading and writing memoir.

headshot of Kate Belle

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, as Tolstoy said in Anna Karenina, ‘There are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.’

Kate Belle, successful erotic fiction writer, believes that one person’s crude is another’s glory when it comes to writing about sex. We ask her what it’s like writing erotica, and – despite its recent boom in popularity – why so many people don’t respect it.

Photo of Hazel Edwards

Children's book author Hazel Edwards talks about the use of new media in writing for children.

Hazel writes quirky, thought-provoking fiction and fact for adults and children, across varied media. Known for ‘There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Cake’ and ‘Authorpreneurship’, Hazel’s 200 books have been translated into 10 languages.

Image of Green Mangoes

“Where you from?” asks the green mango vendor from behind his cart on the ramparts surrounding Galle fort.

“Australia,” I answer, but immediately feel the need to add, “but my parents are from here.”

In your memoir Too Afraid to Cry, the narrator doesn’t use her voice, she keeps silent about things. How did you find your voice as a person and as a writer?

As children, we were raised on a farm. We would be seen and not heard. We knew we were adopted, but we never really talked about it. So, for most of my life I guess I never really thought I had a voice, or a right to voice an opinion, and you just sort of dealt with things without saying anything and I think that was a bit of a rural, Australian tactic as well – that you just sort of copped it sweet.