The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

It’s 3pm; scorching. I am in El Bruc, a village 50km outside of the Barcelona city centre and home to around 2000 Catalonians; an expanse of blue sky and a colony of self-possessed street cats. I photograph the ubiquitous independence ribbons and freshly spray-painted lettering on a rendered brick wall: Valtónyc. 3.5 anys de preso per cantar mort al borbo (3.5 years in prison for singing death to the Borbon monarchy).

Robert Watkins, Head of Literary at Hachette Australia, spoke to Emma Cayley about Own Voices, the current publishing climate and writing outside experience.

EC: Hachette Australia is one of the publishers leading the way in bringing Own Voices writing to a mainstream audience, certainly in Australia. How did this progressive shift happen?

English actor Daniel Day-Lewis once said: ‘A voice is such a deep, personal reflection of character.’¹ The only male actor in history to have won three Academy Awards for Best Actor, Day-Lewis is famous for his devotion to and research of his roles. While playing Christy Brown, the Irish painter who was born with cerebral palsy and was able to control only his left foot, the actor practically lived in a wheelchair on the set for weeks and crew members were required to spoon-feed him. He stayed so long in his wheelchair that he damaged two ribs.²

A portrait of AS Patric against a wall with graffiti on it

AS Patric answers five questions about the inherent power in the short story. 

Migrant Writing Growing Strong

Jonathan Green to present 2018 Deborah Cass Prize

 

The fourth annual Deborah Cass Prize for Writing, which goes to unpublished migrant writers, will be presented by literary editor and journalist Jonathan Green, on Wednesday 5 December.

The Prize received 91 entries from around Australia in 2018. The judges Christos Tsiolkas, Nyadol Nyuon and Tony Ayres will choose the winner from a shortlist of nine entries:

A photo of Sarah Madden lying on a squiggled hot pink couch on a mosaic floor. Sarah is wearing a black dress and has a bowler hat partial;ly covering her face

Ahead of the launch of her novella ‘Blue in the Red House’, Sarah Madden explores how genre labels can be hard to pin down – in life and in writing.

Genre is a funny old thing. You think you’re one thing, and then you’re another. I didn’t know what ‘Blue in the Red House’ was when I finished writing it; not really. I thought it was some odd fiction, a made-up string of weirdness straight from the depths of my imagination, and that was how it sat in my mind until I’d stepped away long enough to see what it really was.

A photograph of Jessica Obersby. Jessica has short red hair and has a parrot sitting on her shoulder

Things I fear:

Being buried alive

The awful, breathless struggle of drowning

Losing the ones I love

Being late

That I will lose my job

That the planet will die due to climate change

That I am unlovable

That my anxiety will win

A photo of Inner Gippsland writing group members and Local Mentor Scot Gardner

The Inner Gippsland Write-ability Goes Regional and Online Writing Group recently finished its eight-month run under the program. Write-ability Project Assistant Alex Fairhill joined the group in Moe to celebrate the participants’ work, and hear about plans for the group to continue.

 

Round 3 of the Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund received 112 applications, requesting a total of $591,306.34 in grant money.

This round's judges were Emily Booth from Text Publishing, Indra Kurzeme from State Library of Victoria and author Eli Glasman. They were thrilled with the quality of the overall applications and awarded $48,288 to 9 applicants.

A photo of Micheline Lee

Ahead of her Disability Binaries in Writing workshop, presented as part of the Write-ability program, Micheline Lee spoke to Katy Hocking about overcoming fears and biases – both internal and external.