The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Photograph of cupcakes, each with the number 25 written on them in icing

When retired journalist Iola Mathews was trying to get back into writing in 2003, she called the National Trust to see if they had a room somewhere that she could write in.

“I started to think about a room outside the house,” Iola wrote in her 2009 memoir, ‘My Mother, My Writing and Me’. “Somewhere I could go each day like a regular job, a place with no phone and no interruptions. A room of one’s...

Cover of the Festivals edition of The Victorian Writer magazine, featuring an illustration of a hand throwing a ball

We are excited to be publishing three pieces selected from the Regional Members’ Writing Competition in the August edition of ‘The Victorian Writer’.

Lyn Chatham’s poem ‘Codrington’, which placed third, is published in this festival edition, along with highly commended members Mark Smith and Lucy Bowler. They are also rubbing shoulders with Kate Holden, Emily Bitto and Bethanie Blanchard.

Stay tuned for winner Harriet Gaffney’s piece ‘Recognition’, and Vicky Daddo’s ‘Run’ which placed second, in upcoming issues of the magazine.

Bev Roberts was the very first Coordinator of the Victorian Writers Centre. In celebration of the organisation’s 25th anniversary, Bev tells how the exciting story, “filled with drama, blood, sweat and tears”, all began.

Many of the members of Writers Victoria may be surprised to know that the organisation had quite radical beginnings in community arts, Bev says, specifically ‘community writing’ which emerged as a lively movement in Australia in the 1980s – influenced by the even livelier and more overtly political movement in Britain.

portrait of Robert O'Brien and his wife on their wedding day

Robert O’Brien was one of five writers with disability who received an inaugural Write-ability Fellowship in 2013.

Robert and his wife Jean were the first couple with cerebal palsy to be married in Victoria. At a time when even romance was frowned on for people in their situation, their commitment and determination paved the way for other couples in their community.

In this extract from Robert’s memoir, A Boot Full of Piss, he describes how they met and fell in love.

Black and white photo of Judith Rodriguez

Judith Rodriguez remembers the elegance of the Victorian Writers Centre’s first home in Tasma Terrace, which sat behind a high, iron fence in East Melbourne.

Judith became Chair of the organisation in 1993 (a post she held until 1996), just after the Centre moved to its next home at the Broom Factory in Fitzroy. The Broom Factory, she recalls, was much more built for purpose, and the start of Melbourne’s literary hub – with Express Media just down the hall.

Leisa Prowd was one of six emerging writers who showcased their work at the Write-ability Salon at EWF on Sunday 1 June, 2014.

Sue Penhall was “not much of a joiner” when her eldest son twisted her arm into helping out at Writers Victoria (then called the Victorian Writers Centre).

Kevin Brophy remembers visiting possible locations for Writers Victoria (then called the Victorian Writers’ Centre) along with founding Coordinator Bev Roberts when the idea to set up a state writers’ centre was first being discussed.

Chris Thompson’s introduction to Writers Victoria (then called the Victorian Writers’ Centre) took place in late 1990 when the organisation was located in Tasma Terrace in Parliament Place, East Melbourne.

Photo of Chris Wallace-Crabbe

Chris Wallace-Crabbe has been writing poetry since the age of 18 and continues to write poetry at the age of 80. He shares some of his wisdom with Sharona Lin ahead of his Month of Poetry workshop.

Chris is a Melbourne-born poet who has read and written all round the world. He also taught for many years. His latest books are ‘My Feet Are Hungry’ and the prose volume ‘Read It Again’.