The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Marie Alafaci demystifies the manuscript assessment process.

Moreno Giovannoni, winner of the inaugural Deborah Cass Prize, reflects on how it helped him develop his debut novel.

Sara Bannister has been writing for years. But, she asks, can she call herself an emerging writer yet?

 

There’s a particular type of magical thinking employed by short story writers. This story will find a home in the magazine of my dreams. My lack of profile, the number of submissions they receive, networks and nepotism – all irrelevant. Quality will win out. This story will not languish in my Submittable list or in a slush pile. This one will be longlisted, shortlisted, then win the prize. I might be offered a publishing deal, like the woman who wrote ‘Cat Person’, the one who was published in 'The New Yorker'.

Getting published

When I was eighteen, I joined a troupe of amateur actors. My first (and only) performance was a pastorela, a play representing the birth of Jesus. I played the role of the angel who guided Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem and accompanied them during their first days as parents. We rehearsed for a month. I didn’t have many lines but needed to position myself at the centre of the stage with my arms spread wide, showing off my shimmering wings. The lighting technicians would illuminate the wings, casting golden light on the nativity scene.

– Runner-up of the 2018 Grace Marion Wilson Prize for Fiction –

Kate Mildenhall interviews debut author Katherine Collette about her new novel (and subject of ‘The First Time’ podcast), ‘The Helpline’.

 

 

Kate Cantrell unpicks the unstable and always changing nature of the markers: early, emerging and established.

What makes a successful mentorship? Mentor (and author) Kathryn Heyman and mentee (and author) Michelle Johnston share their experiences.

Ahead of her next Memoir workshop, Sarah Vincent writes about how to manage bitterness, anger and hurt in memoir writing. 

Years ago I did a workshop on memoir writing with the great memoir writer and teacher Patti Miller. Her workshop was full of terrific advice, but one thing she said in particular has stuck with me …

“There are two things readers of memoir will not put up with: bitterness and self-pity,” she said.