The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Kerry Loughrey performs on stage into a microphone, one arm flung into the air

Forty poets descended upon the stage of Trades Hall’s Bella Union bar to see whose poetry would reign supreme and claim the 2012 Doris Leadbetter Poetry Cup.

In the first round all forty competitors hammered out a poem in sixty seconds or less, and the ten best moved on to a final round where they each performed a poem in two minutes or less. While the night was hosted by MC Michelle Dabrowski, the three judges to impress were the esteemed Alicia Sometimes, Matt Hetherington and Sean M Whelan.

Writers Victoria congratulates the winner of the 2012 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Graeme Simsion took the gong for his manuscript, ‘The Rosie Project’.

Graeme was announced as the winner of the prize at the launch of ‘The Emerging Writer’ as part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival on 1 June. He receives a cash award of $15,000 as well as $1,000 worth of professional development support from Writers Victoria.

Drawing of Julia Arnold

On 14 March at the Wheeler Centre, Mary Hoban was announced as the winner of the inaugural Hazel Rowley Memorial Fellowship.

Mary’s project is a biography of Julia Arnold (nee Sorrel, 1826-1888). Julia lived through many important moments of early Tasmanian history at the same time as being connected and related to many important literary and political figures including grandsons Aldous and Julian Huxley and her father-in-law Thomas Arnold, famous headmaster of Rugby School.


Hugh Kiernan's very successful mentoring experience made possible by the Grace Marion Wilson Mentoring Project (Non-fiction).

"I know a fair bit about my own writing. I have published books and stories. I read with the aim of building my knowledge. I read a lot. I feel I have to write certain things because then they might come true. I write a lot. And I have these surprising urges to tell the truth. The problem is: I still can’t see the back of my own head. Damn it.

Photo of  Inez Baranay in front of a bookshelf

Inez Baranay, our Year of the Novel tutor, answers 10 quick questions about being a novelist, writing rooms and resembling the Red Queen.

Photo of Hazel Rowley in bushland

The Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship was established in 2011 to encourage Australian authors to attain a high standard of biography writing and to commemorate the life, ideas and writing of Hazel Rowley (1951–2011). Biography writers were invited to apply for a literary fellowship up to the value of $10,000.

Writers Victoria congratulates the shortlisted applicants: Patrick Allington, Martin Edmond, Mary Hoban, Anne Houen, Heather Long, Chris Pash, Loretta Smith, Michelle Scott Tucker and Sally Percival Wood.

The second round of Rosebank Fellowships were awarded in September to Laurie Steed, Lyndel Caffrey, Shannon Murdoch and Anne Elvey.

Shannon Murdoch will work on the first draft of a new full-length play Cut for Stone, set in the world of science and scientific discovery and focussing on the identity of failure and its relationship to success.

Photograph of a golden cup

Amidst the red velvety warmth of the beautiful Trades Hall Bella Union Bar, this year’s Doris Leadbetter Poetry Cup went off. In a good way. Forty poets braved the microphone with their poems condensed into 60 seconds (a feat and a half!).

Ten of these made it through to round two to perform a two-minute poem, trying to woo the fabulous judges – Peter Bakowski, Claire Gaskin and Lisa Gorton – with rehearsed renditions of their original poems.

The five winners of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award have been announced, including Patricia Cornelius who won the Louis Esson Prize for Drama for her play 'Do Not Go Gentle'.

After already receiving the Miles Franklin award, everyone will be reading Kim Scott’s 'The Deadman’s Dance', which was awarded the prize for the fiction category.

As we approach the middle of the year, and the air turns decidedly chilly, I thought I would write with some news. The chilly air may bear a whiff of change.

We have new members on the Committee of Management and a renewed partnership with the National Trust (Victoria) on the horizon; our first online course was launched to regional members (and sold-out!), and we are part of the new national writers’ organisation, Writing Australia. Next week we add to the ‘new’s with the first edition of our updated e-news (you’ll love it!).