On Writing

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

Sophie Cunningham headshot

You can't understand the present without thinking about the past, says tutor Sophie Cunnningham. Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talked to Sophie about finding points of connection with the present, to inform writing about history.

A portrait of Kate J Armstrong

Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talked to tutor Kate J Armstrong about her travels and how she's captured them in writing.

Amanda Apthorpe headshot

Finding time to write is a choice, says tutor Amanda Apthorpe. Ahead of her upcoming workshop, we talked to Amanda about how to take control of our writing lives.

Omar Musa headshot

Writing poetry involves a balance of the visceral and cerebral, content and style, says tutor Omar Musa. Ahead of his upcoming workshops, we talked to Omar about what he has learned from ten years of performing poetry.

Gabriella Coslovich is a Melbourne journalist with more than 20 years experience. Her first book 'Whiteley on Trial' is a hard hitting look at one of the biggest arts fraud cases Australia has ever seen.

For this column, I’ve been asked to write on the theme of ‘Do It Yourself’ in relation to self-publishing, which I have to admit is a tricky one for me as a literary agent. As an agent, my role entails finding publishers for our clients and managing the relationship between author and publisher once we do, in addition to contract negotiations, handling foreign publication rights and film and TV rights, and being our clients’ best advocate.

Earlier this year, one of my sisters dragged me along to a game show audition. After filling out a four-page questionnaire that asked such insightful questions as ‘What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?’, ‘Have you ever been caught out in a lie?’ and ‘Do you have an unusual bucket list item?’ (presumably so that they could be discussed and laughed at on national television) as well as what we did for a living, we were then grilled by a producer.

A good editor is a writer’s best friend. Naturally, the sight of red ink gives you palpitations at first, but once you contemplate the recommendations, inspiration strikes. You can’t wait to hit the keyboard. Your editor has shown you the way. Now your work can shine. That is, unless they happen to be a bad editor. Then you’re in trouble.

Alice Pung's new book for Black Inc.’s ‘Writers on Writers’ series explores the life and influence of Australia’s literary treasure, John Marsden.  As part of our Subscriberthon series, we talked to Alice about her writing process.

He’s rough when he steps into the kitchen, tie loose, bags under his eyes, hair shower-clean but skewiff. He sits at the little wooden table and she hands him a cup of coffee. He grunts thanks and takes a sip; it’s too hot, immediately burns him, but he doesn’t give any sign. She watches him across the table, takes a seat. He doesn’t look up. He keeps his eyes down on the catalogue in front of him, tedious stuff: milk is down, a special, two dollars for two litres.