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northerly may - june, 2013

The Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre


The poetry issue • Bellingen Writers Festival • All about agents

Degrees to help U pursue your passion Are you seeking a career in writing or the media? At Southern Cross University we have creative and inspirational courses designed to suit you, from our Associate Degree in Creative Writing, which can be completed in two years of full-time study, to our Bachelor of Media and Bachelor of Arts. You can also enjoy your study without compromising your lifestyle, by choosing to study full-time, part-time, on campus or by distance education. Explore our range of study options and discover how you can turn your passion into a rewarding career.

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26/10/12 8:49 AM

in this issue ... 02



A word from the Director


All about agents

Sophie Hamley


Poetry Slam

Poem by Luka Lesson 06

Dorrigo Writers Group

Iris Curteis


Community engagement

Eli Pietens


Hot boxes & alarm clocks

Helen Burns

northerly is the bi-monthly magazine of the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre. The Writers’ Centre is a resource and information base for writers and readers in the Northern Rivers region. We offer a year-round program of readings, workshops and writer visits as well as the annual production of the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival. The Centre is a non-profit, incorporated organisation receiving its core funding from Arts NSW. LOCATION Level 1 28 Jonson Street, Byron Bay POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 1846 Byron Bay NSW 2481 PHONE 02 6685 5115 FAX 02 6685 5166 EMAIL WEB

NRWC COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSON Chris Hanley VICE CHAIRPERSON Lynda Dean 10 Bellingen Writers Festival SECRETARY Russell Eldridge Jessie Cole TREASURER Cheryl Bourne 12 A novel approach: Kate Veitch MEMBERS Jesse Blackadder, Fay Burstin, Marele Day, Robert Hanson, Lynda Hawryluk, Brenda Shero, Adam Paula McDougall van Kempen 13 Feeding the muse LIFE MEMBERS: Jean Bedford, Jeni Caffin, Gayle Cue, Jill Eddington, Chris Hanley, John Jennifer St George Hertzberg, Fay Knight, Jennifer Regan, Cherrie 14 SCU writing showcase Sheldrick, Heather Wearne

15 Workshop report CONTACT Barbara Nathan EMAIL: PRINTING: Quality Plus Printers Ballina 16 Well versed: Kelly-lee Hickey MAIL OUT DATES: Magazines are sent in JANUARY, 17 Book review: Mullumbimby MARCH, MAY, JULY, SEPTEMBER and NOVEMBER Pip Morrissey ADVERTISING: 18 Kids’ page We welcome advertising by members and relevant organisations. A range of ad sizes are available. The ad Tristan Bancks booking deadline for each issue is the first week of the 19 From the reading chair month prior. Email Laurel Cohn The Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre presents northerly in good faith and accepts no responsibility for 20 Workshops any misinformation or problems arising from any 22 Opportunities & competitions misinformation. The views expressed by contributors and advertisers are not necessarily the views of the 24 Writers’ groups and member discounts management committee or staff. We reserve the right to edit articles with regard to length. Copyright of the contributed articles is maintained by the named author and northerly. Cover: Clockwise from top left: CJ Bowerbird, Miles Merrill, Luka Lesson and Kelly-lee Hickey

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Notice Board If you can’t hear the silence you are not listening to the words. A Sydney psychoanalyst will be exploring the creative mind in a talk in Byron Bay on Saturday 1 June, which will be free for members of the NRWC. Maurice Whelan, who has published a novel, poems, as well as various academic works, is interested in the mind of the writer and in the creativity that is necessary to live a life. The talk, entitled If you can’t hear the silence, you are not listening to the words, will explain how a creative mind is nourished and protected, and argue for the importance of silence, as well as full engagement with everyday emotional experiences. Whelan, whose resume includes experience as an Irish priest, a barman, and a steelworker, will draw on his own prose and poetry, and on two Irish writers: the poet Seamus Heaney, and the novelist John McGahern, in advancing his ideas. Date: Saturday, 1 June, at 3pm Location: Byron Bay Library Fee: Free with presentation of a current NRWC membership card, or a three-day ticket to the BBWF 2013. All others will pay $20. Contact: Call Tom Wilmot on 9417 5625 or email him at tom@ You can also call Dawn Cohen on 0403 953 221, after 24 May

Congratulations to... The selected Residential Mentorship participants Bronwyn Birdsall, Sweet Trouble – a Story of Sarajevo Sharon Dean, The Incredible Vanishing Banana Poet Russell Eldridge, Shame Mirandi Riwoe, Fragrance of Night and to... •

Emma Ashmere, whose short story Trick of the Eye has been published in a special music edition of the Ilura Press journal Etchings 11: Three Chords and the Truth.

Haiku – Autumn Ginko Cloudcatchers’ autumn ginko (haiku walk) will be held at Lake Ainsworth, Lennox Head on Thursday 9 May. Contact for details. Eleven poets attended the summer ginko held, in the aftermath of rainstorms, near the mouth of the Richmond River. Among the haiku from that day was: valentine’s day two crows share a fish head Norma Watts

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In Conversation Krissy Kneen and author Jesse Blackadder will be discussing Krissy’s new novel Steeplechase in a free event at the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre on Friday 10 May, 5.30pm For bookings and inquiries, contact the Writers’ Centre on 6685 5115 or email info@nrwc.

Pitching Session 2013


itch Perfect 2013 - at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival Pitch Perfect has now been the launchpad for at least six successful publications. Just ask the MCs for this year’s event, Jol and Kate Temple, whose second book is about to come out with ABC Books. If you have a completed manuscript that is ready to go and a publishing idea you think will appeal to publishers, then this year’s BBWF Pitch Perfect Competition could be just the break you’re looking for! The top six (6) submissions will be selected and those winners will be invited to pitch their book idea LIVE to a panel of publishers on Saturday, 3 August at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival. Each pitch will be limited to 5 minutes. A short pitching workshop to prepare successful applicants for this event will be arranged prior to the Festival. Deadline for submissions is 2pm on Wednesday 3 July, 2013. For further details and an application form go to

A word (well several) from the Director

Dear members, Wildly busy in the NRWC office, as one might expect at this time of year. We’re just a couple of weeks away from the Residential Mentorship (find the names of the selected mentees on the Notice Board) and we in the office congratulate those about to immerse themselves in their manuscripts with life jackets, expert tuition and resuscitation provided by the wonderful Marele Day. We’ve had a hectic schedule of workshops, with excellent skill development opportunities yet to happen over coming weeks. And then there’s the Festival. As you read this, we are a month away from announcing the full reveal of the program and there is a wealth of literature and big ideas and celebration of the human spirit to plunder. It is our pleasure to introduce our slam poets for the Festival: these spoken word performers travel widely and tour internationally. Having them all together for our program is truly fabulous. And here’s the thing; for the first time, the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival will hold an official heat of the Australian Poetry Slam. Yaaaaaay! The winner will travel to Sydney for the NSW finals at the end of the year. Just two

minutes to make your mark; look further in

the Pitching process above. And the good

the magazine for more information.

news here is that in 2013, we will stage the

We have two massively popular Australian

Pitch in the Lakehouse, outside the fenced

literary legends participating in the

perimeter of the BBWF, so that families and

program: Peter Carey and DBC Pierre. Both

supporters can come along and cheer for

are Booker Prize winners (Peter Carey twice),

your pitch without needing to purchase a

both live overseas and both are rarely seen

Festival Pass.

in Australia. We look forward to welcoming

And on that subject: we’re midway through

back MJ Hyland, whose second novel

our BBWF Early Bird sales of discounted

was shortlisted for the Booker and whose

3 day passes. Have you bought yours?

dense and precise writing style takes my

Confidentially, members get even bigger

breath away. Twenty of the participants are

discounts. Lastly, huge congratulations

Northern Rivers residents, several of them

to Carrie Tiffany, whose brilliant novel

joining the program for the very first time.

Mateship with Birds has just won the

To be honest, there were so many intensely

inaugural Stella Award . Now write!

interesting and compelling manuscripts offered this year that I could have happily programmed four Festivals and every time I said “yes” to one writer I sobbed “sadly, no” to another three. Grrrrr. Wonderful to see so many members filing in to the office to meet Lisa Walker and seek advice to develop their writing projects and inspire further drafts. Remember that Lisa is organising the Pitch Perfect component of the Festival, which is making its mark on Australian publishing with more writers being matched with potential publishers as we speak. Lisa has provided details of 5 - northerly magazine | may - june 2013

All About Agents By Sophie Hamley Literary agent, The Cameron Creswell Agency, and President of the Australian Literary Agents’ Association Just because most of Australia’s literary agents are in Sydney or Melbourne doesn’t mean that they only want to represent writers from those places. Australian stories come from all over the country and agents welcome submissions from writers in every state and territory. Yes, it’s nice if you can meet your agent in person but it’s not absolutely necessary – agents often have clients they never or rarely meet (but call or email on a regular basis). Even if you’re a writer who has no intention of setting foot in the city, we still want to hear from you. Hopefully the following information will help make us more approachable and also give you some tips on how to approach us. What do agents do? In simple terms, we manage the business of writing. But that really doesn’t describe all of what we do. We find new writers and place them with publishers; we manage careers, and career planning; we negotiate contracts; we give advice (about all sorts of things, not just writing, as often issues to do with ‘writing’ are not about writing at all). Some agents provide editorial support, giving feedback on manuscripts. Some manage foreign rights for their writers, so they try to place their work with agents and publishers overseas. There aren’t a lot of agents in Australia, so most of us don’t specialise (as some American agents do) – you’ll find that most agents handle a range of both fiction and non-fiction, and some will also look after children’s books. How should you approach an agent? As not all agents may represent the genre you’re writing in, it’s wise to submit only to an agent who would be likely to be interested in your work. You can find a list of agents on the website for the Australian Literary Agents Association (http://austlitagentsassoc.

6 - northerly magazine | may - june 2013 – this is not a list of all agents in the country as not everyone is a member of the association, but most agents are on it. It’s advisable to visit the websites of agents to whom you wish to submit, to read their submission guidelines and also to see who they represent, which should give you an indication of what they’re looking for. Many authors trip themselves up on this point: children’s writers, for example, send submissions to agents who don’t represent children’s books, and that submission is then a waste of the writer’s and the agent’s time. Many agents don’t represent sci fi or fantasy novels, so if you write in one of those genres, don’t waste your time by submitting to an agent who does not represent them. If the agent’s website does not give an indication of what they’re looking for – or they don’t have a website – contact them (via phone or email, whichever they indicate is their preference) to ask. Most importantly, when you are submitting, follow the submission guidelines. The fastest way to get rejected is to completely flout the guidelines. We don’t have guidelines because we want to annoy writers – we have them to make it easier to assess submissions (to compare apples with apples, if you will). We all receive a lot of submissions and having some rules makes the process more streamlined. NB: Agents – like publishers – may periodically close their submissions. This is due to the volume we receive and the fact that we have to look after our clients first. But it would be unusual for every single agent to be closed at the same time, so just submit to the ones who are open and keep checking the websites for the others.

What should you do before approaching an agent? Make sure your manuscript is as ready

as it can be. This doesn’t mean it should be ‘perfect’ – we don’t expect that it will be publication-ready – but it does mean it shouldn’t be a first draft. Too often writers will submit a manuscript when it’s not ready – and they actually know it’s not ready – and they’ll get rejected and then grow disheartened. Patience is indeed a virtue when it comes to submitting to agents (or publishers) so take your time with your work – don’t throw away everything you’ve done to date simply because you’ve been impatient. Are agents open to submissions from all parts of Australia? Absolutely — Australia is not just the eastern seaboard! We need stories from all over Australia in our culture, and having them published is a very good way to make that happen. I’m aware that for people who don’t live in a capital city it can sometimes seem as if the publishing industry is a long way away and doesn’t care about what’s happening in other parts of the country, but that’s not the case: we just sometimes forget to tell you that we are interested in your stories.

Some tips.... This is a potted version of advice I often give to writers. 1. Writing is a job – it is work, work, work. Successful writers know that they have to draft and often will not submit till draft five or six. And that’s with the awareness that they’ll probably have to do another draft once their agent or editor gives them feedback. If you don’t feel you’re able to draft and re-draft, writing may not be the gig for you. 2. The book publishing process is slow, and in order to succeed you will need to be very patient. Once your book is taken on by a publisher, you can then expect to wait at least a year till it hits the

nt Byron e magnifice th t a p u simply turn dy to roar. Champi.30pm, rea m 4 t la a S ry n a ra li ib Bay L ustra ur way to Byron ou’re on yo y e d th n t a a t t a a e e The Win this h ons On H state final. pete in the stival e m F ’ co rs to te ciry ri a e Sydn Bay W ion tours an champ li ra st u A imate worm hina Book yron ult udes the C ampion, B h cl C in d t m a la th S cuit ralian al, the Ubu yron Bay rary Festiv It’s the Aust B e , it L m l p a 5 n o st u nd Internati rday 3 Aug al in Bali a heat, Satu ders Festiv a e R & rs Write his slam is l ’ Festival. T Library rs ca te lo , ri W ch a y e e the the Sydn o minutes avels and ce With just tw by Word Tr the audien d e it te n n ig se s re h co-p rdsmit Festival. es, stospoken-wo ay Writers’ monologu B , n ip h ro y ip B h y, , with poetr with mind ey can do th r e v e want to te a ries...wh your all: w osen from it ch e re iv a g , s n e ted must Come o mic. Judg ork presen w ad to e ll mouth and h A . rs e ic re o o v o sc hear your , written ce. Top tw mposition by Miles the audien co d e n st w o o r H u y. o ! be of y al in Sydne onths. Fresh n a NSW Fin st twelve m s Australia la st e e u w. th g l in a w h ci it w h spe xt, visit w Merrill. Wit and conte d (2012), s ir le rb e ru r w e o h B For furt pions, CJ on om Slam Cham etryslam.c d Luka Less n a ) 0 1 0 (2 stralianpo u y a e k ic H e Kelly-le e your life! uld chang co (2011). t a th s te inu : Two m efore hand b st re te in register No need to


‘Measuring Life’ Ten dollars a pound ten kilos a weight twenty soldiers are buried 110 marry the the state 500 return in boxes 50 babies awake a tonne of civilians lost in a canyon of numbers and trade Afghanistan Boston they are not the same place more people crushed in one the others seen through a nicer frame some are reported clean like a hollywood fantasy others are brushed over like someone else’s foreign family but family, still, a family and as the dust settles on a construction site of death we all write our poems safely in our homes about how we would never be so hateful if the bombs were in our nests

shelves. A snap survey at a Romance Writers conference in the US– found that they had all written on average four manuscripts before getting published. 3. Fiction is always harder to place than non-fiction – not necessarily because publishers are publishing less fiction now, but because there are a lot more people trying to get published. To keep yourself sane, it helps to not have high expectations and it also helps to just keep writing. It helps distract you, for one thing, but it also shows agents that you are prepared to work – and that’s information that publishers want to know. 4. Sometimes you’ll need to accept that the manuscript you really, really want to see published just isn’t working, for whatever reason – perhaps the timing isn’t right; perhaps the writing isn’t as good as it should be. The wisdom of knowing when to put that manuscript in the bottom drawer is hard won but will stay with you forever – and after

you’ve relinquished your attachment to the bottom-drawer manuscript, you create space in your brain for new stories. 5. If you are serious about becoming a writer, don’t assume that your agent or editor or publisher should do everything for you. It’s your job to write a great hook and synopsis; it’s your job to convince an agent to take you on, because they then have to convince a publisher to take you on. If you approach an agent with the attitude that the agent would be lucky to have you – that you are the best unpublished writer in the world – then you’re probably 100% guaranteed to get knocked back. 7. The most important point of all for you in trying to become a published writer: read. Read in your genre, read outside your genre – just read. The best writers are those who read a lot. It also helps you to place yourself within the industry and the literary world in general.

they say the more things change the more they stay the same so I’ve been turning my clock backwards to see what tomorrow will bring I use the long arm of the clock to keep the politicians at bay while they use the numbers on the face for the dead that they don’t wish to name I keep the short arm of the clock like a dagger at my side so I am reminded that although it takes some bravery to write some of us need those knives to pin hope behind their eyes keep a fire in their stride and do everything they can to scratch their names in the dust and remind us they are alive ~ Luka Lesson

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About the Dorrigo Writers Group By Iris Curteis I’m an oral storyteller and writer. Shortly after I moved to Dorrigo in 2002, I started a group for storytelling and creative writing. We met in my living room and had a great time learning and telling traditional myths and folktales and stories we wrote ourselves. But when it came to telling stories to a live audience, most people bailed. The ones who stayed felt safer writing and the Dorrigo Writers Group was born. Now we meet in a local café that has changed hands and names four times over the years. Our Writers Table is the persisting feature and takes place once a fortnight for four hours. We workshop our writings, offer feedback and challenge each other on a regular basis. Critique is constructive; we cultivate strong opinions; our debates can get loud – mostly it’s laughter. We don’t impose word limits, which means longer pieces can be read in full. This creates a ‘big picture’ impression of a piece and what the writer is aiming for. The critique tends to focus on character and character development, plot dynamics, the flow of language, voice, etc., rather than getting bogged down in details the writer will pick up in the next redraft anyway. Not everyone reads at each Writers Table; we “carry” each other through word-droughts – we all know what it’s like – but everyone there is present as a writer, so our expectation is: everyone writes. Sometimes we do writing exercises – usually impromptu and a little crazy, like giving out the first line of a story: Peter Fallsworthy Smyth owned a red Ferrari; it never left the garage … Our writings and styles are diverse: travel writing, memoir, crime, ghost stories, magical realism, historical fiction, experimental writing, children’s stories and nature observations, to name some. 8 - northerly magazine | may - june 2013

Other regular events are our Annual Writers Readings and the publication of our Journal. The Journal appears three times a year. We print between 60 and 80 copies, which sell locally. We recently focused a Journal on creative people who had moved to Dorrigo; people’s stories are fascinating and can be deeply moving and inspiring. The Readings are public and part of our local cultural calendar. Regular publishing creates healthy commitments and builds skills in editing, simple publishing processes, and a strong connection to local community. Regular readings also create a healthy timeline and provide writers with opportunities to read their work to a live audience. This is a very different experience to publishing on paper. The Dorrigo Writers Group has no formal structure. We do not have a treasurer. Our cashbox lives under someone’s bed or is stored in someone’s wardrobe. We don’t have a secretary or chairperson. We carry responsibility for our group together and if something needs to be done someone will always volunteer. There is occasional arm-twisting. Our working together is based on trust. The personal stories we have shared with one another include narratives of childhood sexual abuse, the death of children, the murder of a close friend and rape. The group has had to develop a good immune system over time. If someone new asks to become part of the group, we invite them to a Writers Table and to share some of their work and give feedback on anything that is read. If everyone in the group is okay with this writer as a new member they are invited back. We welcome guest writers and offer guest writers a place in our Journal. We hold workshops at least once a year, which are open to the public.

I have a PhD in creative writing and I cover gothic writing and magical realism, Ian Irvine has held a workshop on fantasy fiction, Elizabeth Reapy introduced us to short story writing before she returned to Ireland and Marele Day, who will be in Dorrigo for the third time, offers great workshops on crime writing and creative writing in general. In July she will hold a Master Class on moving from rough idea to final draft . This year, as part of the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival, we hosted Café Readings around Bellingen. Our impulse was to bridge the gap between published and unpublished writers and to celebrate the art of the written word. The writers came from Sydney to Byron Shire; the Readings included a Young Writers Reading with writers aged between eight and seventeen; a reading of novel excerpts and poetry, and a reading of short stories, drabbles, travel writing and poems. We had a great time and will offer the same next year with an added focus on readers. In 2014 the Dorrigo Writers Group will also host the inaugural Grassroots Writers Group Corroboree. Our intended date is the ANZAC Day weekend, 26 – 27th April. The idea is to invite writers’ groups and writers from around the NRWC area. The organization and fine-tuning of the Corroboree will be a collaborative effort (invitations to participate and to share in-put will be issued soon). Our plan is to provide an energising and thoughtful weekend of workshops, discussions, skill sharing and resource pooling between regional writers groups and networking between writers. Our focus is on providing a time for regional writers, and people aspiring to write, to connect, to nourish their creative skills and ideas through writing, and to sustain their writing communities.

Community Engagement Congratulations to Eli Pietens for winning the Northern Rivers Social Development Council competition for Community Engagement activities, held to collect information from people about their experience of living in the Northern Rivers and their vision for the future of our region.

Sameside This green jewel, north of the south and south of north The longitudinal apex of a pregnant continent A place where many are born and more come to be reborn The first to receive the sun’s touch in the dawn. Lessons taught aeons ago need to be learned Words from a thousand years ago need to be heard Our world is in flux and yet we resist the change Change that would see us in the end remain the same and regain Thanks enough cannot be given to the elders of the old Who resided here with wisdom deep in the stories that they told Prophet prophit profit I’ll follow you no more Until you can show me that you will not sacrifice your sons, your daughters. Let us bloom, let us grow, let us think, let us know That the answer lies deep beneath the skin, inside us At the core of our being at the bones of who we are The heart that beats wildly, not the wound, nor the scar Don’t stain me, sustain me, I don’t want to leave my mark upon the world Insane is exponential growth or another election Consume as fast as a furnace blast Slow down some, it’s a journey, not a race to get further from the past. I love this place and it loves me From the ragged ranges to the sanguine sea Let’s put this zupzel in a natural order Not for us, not for me, but for our sons, for our daughters.

I wrote this poem with the thought of the north coast, my home, on my mind. I am a proud Aboriginal person and this heritage gives me a long, tangible connection to the land, both in body and spirit. This is not my country traditionally, however this does not lessen the respect I have for it and I believe this should be the same for all people who have come from different lands, whether from this country originally or from continents afar. My eyes see the intense beauty this place possesses. My ears hear the conversations of the country and the folks who live here. I am privileged to live with the country and among the people of the north coast. My concern for the future is the

relationship we have with the land, which is no doubt shared by many people of our area. Farmers and rural folk are just as concerned as environmentalists and conservationists when it comes to the health of the land. Both understand that without it we are no more. We need it. It does not need us. I often find that in conversation people love the same thing (in this case the country) yet often come to disagreement in regards to how it is cared for. Funny. If we get to the core of meaning we stand on the same side. The poem I wrote speaks of pregnancy and children. This is because I have children who are proud to be north coasters and Aboriginal.

I want my culture to be taken seriously by the people who are given the responsibility to make decisions for the future, for it is not our future: it is our childrens’. I want decisions, regardless what they concern, to be made with the thought ‘How will this affect my great great grandchildren? What will they think of me?” Their answers should be heard above that of the profit maker who does not consider further than the end of the financial year. 40,000 years and likely more – That’s sustainability. I think those old fellas had something right. It’s about time we listened.

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Hot Boxes and Alarm Clocks Helen Burns shares her thoughts on what time and space have to do with writing life. “Profound relationships are nurtured by time,” the anthropologist Keibo Oiwa said at Byron’s recent Economics of Happiness Conference. He was referring to people and nature but the same could be said of a writer and their writing. “Slow is beautiful,” Oiwa went on to say. Engaging this principle he founded an ecological group in Japan called The Sloth Club. Yes, I thought, when I heard this. How do I sign up? I have logged a few carbon footprints travelling back and forth to South India for the research of my second book. This is not the most environmentally friendly occupation but on the ground, as I immerse myself in the life of another culture and its language, my footprint, by necessity, is a slow one. An hour morphs into half a day and it really doesn’t matter. Trains may come and go like clockwork, but inside a temple the gods breathe very, very slowly – one year for us is just a day for them. No one seems particularly perturbed when a ritual due to finish at eleven pm continues until two or three in the morning. “God’s wish,” the priest says. And so it is, I take a laptop to this timeless continent, with the very best of intentions, and the gods deem otherwise. I rarely press the start button. Instead I take a deep breath and dive in to a sea of conch shells and cymbals, chariots and processions, surfacing whenever possible to scribble down notes. How does any writing project begin? It can be a phrase, a photo, a piece of music, even the flash of a face in a crowd. I carry this seed inside me for

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an incubation period of indefinite time. Ideas roam from my head to my belly and back again. I open my eyes in the morning and there they are staring me in the face. Eventually, more often as I walk the lighthouse trail at home, a sentence finds its way into the rhythm of my feet. By this time I have long forgotten the wisdom of all good writers: carry pen and paper wherever you go. Holding a newborn sentence in my head is as difficult as holding a bubble, but I know I cannot let it escape. I race to the car, speed home and the writing begins. From incubation to honeymoon. When the writing flows I do not need to eat or drink, my desk does not have to be tidy and the rev of the lawnmower next door is never a distraction. Time, mysteriously, ceases to exist, as a simmer of memories, insights and those notes I scribbled in another continent, transform into words moving about on a screen. Three in the afternoon suddenly turns into ten at night and I realise I have a bladder to empty and a very thirsty body. These creative spurts however are few and unsustainable. For every honeymoon hour of inspiration there are many days of grit – the unwrapping of an idea and the crafting of it. The more I write the more I love this stage. Words and their trajectories: sometimes messy or a bit cocky, too loose or too tight, weaving into narrative. I return to them over and over, usually an apprentice but if necessary the master, finger poised over Cut, Copy, Paste and, for those feisty ‘darlings’, Delete! Language, rhythm, a character’s voice, and all the bits of a developing jigsaw puzzle scattered about – on the floor, in my head and a muddle of files and folders on my computer – just waiting to be

pieced together. This is potentially overwhelming. Doubt creeps in. Discipline is a good solution. I live with my partner in an open plan one room house. He writes upstairs and I write downstairs. This works fine for the honeymoon but on those, get down to the bones of it, writing days, the slightest noise can veer me precariously close to cliff edge. I remember listening to an interview with Kim Scott, author of the wonderful, That Deadman Dance. He called his writing room the ‘hot box’ not because it is a hive of creativity but because the walls of his backyard shed are so thin he can only write there in the cool of early morning and evening. I was in discipline-devoid, self-made chaos mode when I heard this and juxtaposed his light hearted acceptance of a less than ideal situation against my post honeymoon vision of a proper writing room – a room with a real door, built in bookshelves, lots of light, a leafy view and my mother’s green velvet armchair to curl up in whenever I needed a book break. Procrastinating minds get good mileage from dreams such as these. It is very easy to substitute circumstance for lack of discipline. Either way, both sabotage the best of creative intentions as effectively as a great white shark in a school of fish. I escaped from the shark’s jaw the evening I listened to author, Ann Michaels, talk about her writing practice. As a mother of two young children her days were a juggle. Twelve years elapsed between her first novel, Fugitive Pieces, and The Winter Vault. During this period she wrote from 1am to 5am, sleeping a bit before and a bit after. Hearing this was a revelation: I could create my own room with an alarm clock. And then I remembered the sage words of a meditation teacher.

Sheltering in Alwar Tirunagiri’s ancient temple “The world in which we identify ourselves is asleep in the hours before dawn; you will find then, less agitation and less resistance. More space.” I experimented with 3am starts and they worked. Not only did I have a distraction free room in which to write, these early hours, empty of to and fro, this and that, meant my mind was also less cluttered and grasping. There was more room to dance and more room for the muse, if she so desired, to enter in. Predawn wakeups also work a charm when I have a deadline. A date in a diary has got to be one of the most effective motivators. And this is where my writing group comes in. We are a core group of four writers who have been meeting monthly, give or take a week, for over six years. We submit a chapter or two by email then meet a few days later to discuss our critiques. Deadlines and the mutual trust and support generated through our time together have been invaluable for my development as writer, particularly in the early days. Did I say early days? Each time I settle down at my desk I

Photo: Cristina Smith

am beginning again, whether I face a blank page or an eighty thousand word manuscript. There is always some level of anticipation, from trepidation to exhilaration and everything in between. If I try to pinpoint what it is exactly or, rather, where it is in my body, I arrive at a subtle but definite pool forming in the back of my neck, just below the skull. It’s a dark pool, at times a whirlpool, sometimes pulsing, sometimes still. My fingers might tingle – maybe they know where to go on the keyboard, maybe they don’t. On those don’t know days when my brain feels like scrambled eggs I know I have to walk. Movement is as integral to my writing as an ergonomic chair. When I am tussling with an idea or the germinating seed that refuses to show itself – some might call this ‘writer’s block’ but I would argue this too easy phrase is better expressed as ‘writer’s compost heap’ – I head for the bush track up to the lighthouse. As best I can, I switch my mind off. When this doesn’t work I try something else, a sort of antidote for the driver who has lost

her way. On a saddle of the hill between the ocean and the bay I turn my back to the sea. We are forever going forward. To where and propelled by what? I close my eyes and listen to the waves of the Pacific, their lap or roar, and I put my attention into the middle of that vast body of water behind me. It is as if my mind empties itself into the sea. I come back to that blank page or those eighty thousand words and yes … begin again.

Helen recently released her book, The Way of Stone and Stars, a Buddhist journey through northern Spain on the Camino pilgrimage route. It is available as an Amazon Kindle eBook or, by request through the author’s website as an ePub or Mobi.

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Bellingen Readers’ & Writers’ Festival By Jessie Cole When I drove into Bellingen for the Readers’ and Writers’ Festival it was so bright and sunny the unrelenting rain of the six weeks before seemed an impossibility. The town was hit by two separate floods in the month before the festival, the river rising up and up, swallowing parts of the place whole, but by the time I arrived it was back to its gentle scenic glory. Running parallel to Bellingen’s main street, the water glimmered quietly in the spaces between buildings, giving no hint of the drama of previous weeks. After settling in at the Lodge on the outskirts of town I drove down to the opening night Tastings in the Bellingen Memorial Hall. It’s a wonderful old building, all high ceilings and majestic space. Bellingen is a smallish country town and it

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was lovely to see a community building like this getting such good use. We were treated to readings by Cate Kennedy, Emily Ballou, Angela Meyer and Fiona Wirrer-George Oochunyung, as well a couple of quirky anecdotes from Drusilla Modjeska and David Marr. As an emerging writer it was pretty special to be thrown in amongst some of the Australian writers I most admire. Saturday saw more beautiful weather, not a cloud in sight! An eclectic program meant there was plenty to choose from. George Negus in conversation with David Marr about political leadership had the Memorial Hall packed, with many audience questions. The Mining session, Dangerous Activities: Mining and Nuclear Energy, with Paul Cleary, Sharyn Munro and Richard Broinowski provoked

similar audience passion. I had an afternoon panel with Mette Jakobsen and Romy Ash about how to get published in literary journals, and in a neat piece of synchronicity Mette and I both read a piece we’d written that grappled with mother and son dynamics, almost as though we’d been working on a joint project. That evening the Poetry Slam and the Literary Dinner with Gabrielle Lord were both full to the brim. Part of the Bellingen Festival’s special theme in 2013 was a celebration of women’s writing, and to the organisers’ credit there was a formidable array of women writers in attendance. Romy Ash, Cate Kennedy, Patti Miller and Carrie Tiffany were on hand Sunday morning to discuss this year’s inaugural Stella Prize, for which all four were

long-listed, and which Carrie Tiffany subsequently won. Sunday also saw the premier of a film produced by the BRWF, entitled Celebration of Women’s Stories, a half-hour film where footage of local women was mixed with home movie footage from over a hundred different sources. This Regional Arts Funded project was a particularly amazing achievement as the film-makers only had six weeks to create it, and – as festival organiser Brian Purcell explained – the day of filming was greatly hampered by coinciding with the beginnings of the floods. For a small festival Bellingen dishes up some innovative offerings. Both Rap in the Rapids and Paddle with a Poet provided a unique way to experience the links between writing and nature. Brian Purcell

described Rap in the Rapids as the festival highlight, stating – ‘After capsizing in a rapid, Darkwing Dubs performed his poetry while stomping around wet in the river and yelling his words to the unclouded sky – while three eagles circled overhead, one with a fish in its claws!’ And in what I suspect to be an Australian festival first, I sat on an all female panel about Single Parent Families in Fiction. Maybe a festival this dynamic could only end with a tremendous rainstorm, and so it was. Trapped under an awning in the main street, on the way to my final afternoon panel, the seconds ticked by. It was the type of rain we get in this part of the world: sudden and torrential, but somehow warm and all encompassing. In the end I made a run for it and turned

up a few minutes late, saturated and dripping. I detoured to the bathroom to sponge myself ineffectively with a paper towel. It was an awkward entrance. Taking up my place at the panel table, bedraggled and soaked through, I slipped off my sodden shoes, hoping against hope to pass muster as a serious writer. Looking into the audience I saw not a hint of apprehension or judgement. Just a room full of open faces, expectant and ready, and I thought – ‘Ah, this is Bellingen, where you can come as you are.’

Photos clockwise from top left: Full house, poet Elizabeth Routledge, Libby Gleeson, Gary Williams and Michael Jarrod, Bellingen Writers Group, Cate Kennedy and Annette Malfording.

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A Novel Approach By Paula McDougall Kate Veitch talks about her journey and experiences as a writer and the importance of multiple points of view to keep a narrative moving. With a spectacular view of Mount Chincogan and surrounded by lush rainforest, life on the NSW far north coast appears to agree with exMelbournian and international best selling author Kate Veitch. She moved to the Byron hinterland four years ago with publisher and editor Phillip Frazer, her friend of forty years and partner of ten, and they share their home with a recently adopted 14 year old border collie called Bodhi. After working as a book seller, Kate began her writing career in the mid ‘80s with ‘an enormous amount’ of book reviewing for various publications including Vogue magazine and the SMH. She also produced in-depth 45-minute programmes about women writers such as Elizabeth Jolly for Radio National. “After that I took on the job of Author Tours Co-ordinator for the National Book Council, so I had a lot to do with writers and books,” says Kate. “In short, I had no illusions of how hard writing is.” Yet in 2004, after a particularly challenging year in her personal life, Kate took an extended trip to Bali with the secret plan of writing a novel. “My marriage had ended, my Dad had developed severe dementia, and then my dog died,” Kate explains. “It had been pretty hellish, but endings are also an opportunity for new beginnings.” With year-old notes scribbled in a little exercise book she started work. The first draft of Listen (2006) was completed in five months. “That initial writing process was like pouring water out of a jug,” she says. “It was that easy. I had a dream run: I sent the manuscript off to three different agents; one loved it and recommended it to Penguin.” Writing her second novel Trust (2010) however, was a very different process, with a sense of expectation weighing on her ‘heavy as an elephant’. 14 - northerly magazine | may - june 2013

When it comes to the editing process and to critical response, Kate says “it helps to be robust. If you’re too tender about your work I think even constructive criticism could hurt like hell.” Luckily, her novels Listen and Trust have not only been popular here in Australia, as well as in the US and Germany, but have enjoyed very good reviews. “I have been incredibly fortunate in how my books have been received critically in the mainstream media,” she says. “But the thing that’s meant more to me even than nice reviews are the wonderful letters I’ve received from readers.” Not to say that all criticism has been positive, especially in online forums. Kate has learnt to handle this type of criticism by prioritising responses. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but you have to ask yourself, is this opinion coming from someone who is knowledgeable in the field or from an amateur? Online forums are full of anonymous amateur critics and a lot of what they say is – I’m sorry – idiotic. It’s just not worth responding to or engaging with.” Kate’s an enthusiastic and eclectic reader: she ‘worships’ Canadian writer Alice Munro’s short stories, and during a recent trip to Laos she ‘devoured’ all seven of Colin Cottrill’s ‘Dr Siri Paiboun’ crime novels, set there. She tries to read as much Australian fiction as she can, while getting her non-fiction mostly via the New Yorker, Granta and Griffith REVIEW—to which she also contributes essays. Kate cites crime writer Elmore Leonard as an influence. “When I started Listen, I thought that dialogue would be my greatest challenge so I took Elmore Leonard as my model,” she says. “Although I’m not a crime writer, I so admire the way he develops character and advances the plot through dialogue alone.” Well-written dialogue, she suggests, is one of the best tools for drawing a

reader into the narrative. “If you want your writing to flow, if you want the reader to be caught up in your story and be ‘whooshed’ along by it then consider dialogue to be your friend and work on making it authentic.” Alan Ball’s HBO series Six Feet Under was another influence. “A fantastic piece of ensemble work. Every member of that family was kind of ordinary and kind of nuts, and the script had every character’s life loop through each of the others,” says Kate. “And that’s exactly what I’ve set out to do in both my novels.” Though Kate says she is generally 'not a joiner', she’s been a member of the NRWC – 'an astonishing resource' – since moving to the area. Each year she volunteers her services as a session chair to the Writers’ Festival. Her advice to aspiring writers is to take advantage of the NRWC's range of workshops, perhaps join a local writers’ group, and above all to read, read, read, as widely as you can. “It doesn’t have to be great literature,” she says, “but figure out what it is you like and what makes it work and apply those techniques to your own narratives.”

Feeding the Muse by Jennifer St George Deadlines! I love them and hate them. Magnificent for motivation. Awful when they sneak up on you like some bad practical joke. I’ve just met the deadline for my third Destiny Romance book. It meant many early morning starts and late night edits. The final spell check has been run. All the last minute changes made. The End has been typed. And the story is now in the hands of my editor. To say my mood is one of elation is a massive understatement. But I’m also feeling emotionally wrung dry. My characters have stolen all my creative energy. It’s time to nourish the muse, recondition the spirit, fill the well. So I’ve granted myself a few days off. Ah bliss. Whenever I need a break, I love to travel. I gave the muse a massive feast recently by hiking the Tasmanian Overland Track. This 65kilometres, six day trek winds through places of extraordinary beauty. It’s a wonderful way to escape the everyday and top up that creative well. Now I love hiking, but camping and I go together like Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Collins. The Mr Darcy of this tale takes the form of Cradle Mountain Huts Walk. The company has been running guided walks for over twenty years and of course, they have huts. Huts mean hot meals, hot showers, warm cabins and chilled wine. All this delivered by young, fit guides who take care of everything. Food tastes oh, so much better when you’ve trekked at least 12 kilometres and someone else has cooked. There is some work involved in this hike. I had to carry my own clothes and personal items. My pack weighed about 7 kilos, which was manageable. If you wanted clean clothes you washed them each night in the shower for which you pumped your own water.

Each day was a delightful routine of waking to the sounds of the bush, which are very different from those of northern NSW. Here we are used to waking to a chorus of birds singing their hearts out at the crack of dawn. On the Overland Track there were very few birds, which seemed unnatural. A hot breakfast was on the table by the time I’d made it down the stairs from my twin-share room. A lovely array of food was laid out from which to make lunch. Then packs on for the all-day walk, usually between 7 and 12 kilometres. Upon arrival at the hut in the afternoon, one of the guides (we had two for the ten of us) had run ahead and cooked fresh scones or some other tasty treats which were washed down with freshly brewed coffee or tea. There were so many highlights, but for me the greatest experience was climbing Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa. It stands at 1,617 metres in the middle of the Cradle MountainLake St Clair National Park. Making it to the top does involve a lot of scrambling over huge boulders. The view is worth it even if you are little intimidated by the climb (will all those boulders slide further down the mountain as I climb up?!?). This three hour detour from the main track is not to be missed. From the top, a quarter of Tasmania is visible and not one man-made thing (well, there’s an old disused mining road to the east, but we ignored that). Our guides were lovely,

knowledgeable and did I mention fit? They were passionate about conservation and taught us lots of interesting ecological facts. We visited a myriad of beautiful waterfalls; explored a disused mine shaft featuring one lonely spider and lots of cave crickets (ugly little critters); held Fairy’s Aprons, sweet little purple flowers; splashed in freezing rivers and lakes; ambled through ancient rainforests and learned about the wonderful array of native fauna and flora. Around every bend was another incredible vista and the walk concluded with a boat ride across Australia’s deepest lake – Lake St Clair. Of course I, being a total snakea-phobe, was the only one to see a snake up way too close. I nearly stepped on it when I rounded the corner of our first hut at Barn Bluff. Our guide told me how lucky I was. I’d met Tigger, the highly toxic local Tiger snake. I suppose it is the year of the snake. By the end of the trip my creative cup runneth over. I now have a wonderful new setting for my next book and a nourished muse to guide me. Jennifer St George has two books – The Convenient Bride and Seducing the Secret Heiress , published with Penguin’s digital-romance imprint Destiny Romance. The Convenient Bride is also currently available from post offices around the country. Visit Jennifer at

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SCU Writing Showcase Automaton Woman 36 What machine music is this; the ticking, tapping, tempered funk of a heart removed, in rank syncopation. Ticking, tapping, turning wheels in the dark space, made bright again, filled with silent tempos and autocratic steam. What clockwork filth is this with too much burning brass, like trumpets, loud flugal trumpets, and the met-met-metronome mess of pseudo-symphonic crank. What machinated memory, wound melodious, is this little machine, almost alive; tear ducts removed for more grave-certain parts that will not cry, or talk, or walk, or tick-tock-tap-turn away.

Putuma –

to warm one’s hand by the fire then to squeeze gently the fingers of another person

To hold the hands of another – the warmth slips skin to skin, and there in the touch, worlds melt away, mingle, as the soft heat becomes words unspoken. by Leni Shilton

by Simon McCarthy

The Bride Wore White by Tessa Chudy The bride wore white. Just like her mother and her mother’s mother before her. Her entire life had been building up to this day. From the very first time somebody had asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up she knew. She wanted to get married. While other girls played with dolls and pulled each other’s hair. She planned the table arrangements for 16 - northerly magazine | may - june 2013

her reception. By fourteen she had started on the menu. After that came the bridesmaid’s attire and other such incidentals which had to be dealt with before she could get down to the really serious business of designing her wedding dress. White of course. Satin. But flowing with yards and yards of veil. She picked out a little church with thick shady

trees and rose gardens and a nice hall for the reception. She was set. She even found a man to marry her. She dressed him in a classic black suit and marched him down the aisle. Her day had arrived. Nothing as important as her wedding would ever happen to her again. There was no up from here. Only down.

Workshop Report Getting Out of Your Own Way with Jon Bauer by Barbara Nathan You’ve tried doing it under the deep shade of an umbrella at the beach, in amongst the sugar grains and coffee rings at your local café and even twitching uncomfortably amongst twigs and ants in the bush. Still it’s a challenge. Forced finally to stay home alone, the DVDs are rearranged alphabetically, the cockroach grit is swept from all your cupboards, and still your page remains empty. You are entering the lonely world of the writer… During introductions for Getting Out of Your Own Way, author Jon Bauer’s workshop in March, it seemed clear that deep down, each participant felt they were at fault for the challenges we all face as writers. However, as the day progressed we got to explore our own writing process and to better understand the subtle, but powerful obstacles we can put in our own way. None are insurmountable, but can you bear them? And can you live with the feelings… Writing is challenging. It’s a process of stripping away the layers until we’re naked bones. That’s scary. So what is it exactly that’s holding you back from sitting down and pouring words onto page? The answer is gobsmackingly simple of course… you are. Getting out of your own way, and ironically into the self, involved more than a pinch of trust. From the first exercise, finding that place of authenticity where we feel comfortable to be who we are, vulnerable and transparent, we moved deeper into our internal process of writing, the next two exercises providing an ear into the parallel universe of emotion that might accompany our writing – judgement, exhilaration, anxiety, depression… After taking

a look at what we’d written and the experience of writing it, we could ask, who is it that writes when you sit down to pour it all out? Is it a voice that sizzles with sarcasm and judgement, a Scrooge driving you on, pushing for perfection? Or perhaps your pen’s in the hands of a different aspect of your psyche, someone who’d rather be scribbling with crayons, than tackling the discipline and continuity needed to bring your work to completion. She may produce a wonderful first draft but she’s definitely going to sulk or bolt when that parent voice shows up demanding she produce a second! Using concepts many of us are familiar with from Transactional Analysis, the Parent, Child and Adult voices, we identified who was where in our writing and whether that was a useful place to be. The Child’s playfulness, when allowed free rein, may produce writing that’s fresh and colourful. The Parent’s critical eye can be a useful editor, but what’s also needed is the muscle and heart of an Adult voice, with the perspective to know that you’re doing ok. Many of us are afraid that basically we aren’t and that spending all those lonely hours with no-one but ourselves is just too much. We fear the feelings that get laid bare along with that blank page, or difficult paragraph… we may often feel we’re walking the crumbling edge of an abyss. Jon’s suggestion was to write from that place, rather than interfere with your authentic emotion. You need less willpower to write if you actually relax, allow what’s there and enjoy the process. Get into the routine of a regular writing practice. If writing is a habit or a discipline, you don’t have to choose to do it. If

you constantly leave writing ‘til the right moment, the laundry will win out nearly every time – your socks will be clean, but your mood will be dirty. Look at the way you approach your writing and maybe redesign it. Are you being cruel to yourself in what you’re asking in your writing practice? It there’s less bullying, you’ll need less will power to get to that page and stay there. With all this in mind, for me, writing has become a more friendly process.

Jon Bauer is the critically acclaimed author of Rocks in the Belly, which has been published in eight countries, longlisted for the Miles Franklin and shortlisted for the world’s richest literary prize, the Dublin IMPAC. His stories and journalism are published both here and abroad. Originally from England, but now an Australian citizen, Jon was granted the often sought after, but rarely granted Distinguished Talent Visa for people who are internationally recognised for exceptional and outstanding achievement in the arts.

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Well Versed: Kelly-lee Hickey The Pandemic I Infection The season started early; twelve admissions in six days. Statistics soar with smoke, ash billowing through the streets. Stories spread with handshakes loosely held, fragments of consolation. II Diagnosis In the far flung centres of crisis there are no emergency services. The news crossed the border before the forensics resolved which jurisdiction they would lie in. III Treatment In the chambers, fingers search for a culprit, we quarantine women behind barb wire. The small ward overflowing, we discharge the walking to the creek. We beg for a vaccine and restock our first aid kits. IV Fatality She arrives after midnight , leaves before morning, ‘the gate whisperer’ the head matron calls her. Seven years of slipping away, one day she finally falls. V Remission There is no cure. Nervously I finger my scars; eighteen years in remission, my recovery not yet complete. Some nights when the fever takes me I hallucinate infection. VI Immunity When your interstate guest arrives you realise you have become immune as over breakfast you lament the symptoms, discuss treatment option as you walk away from the woman with the bandage begging for change.

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Kelly-lee Hickey will be a guest at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival this year. Kelly-lee Hickey explores the intersections between identity, location and history through stark poetics, startling performance and creative community projects. The national winner of the 2010 Australian Poetry Slam, her acclaimed performances have toured across Australia and Asia, including Ubud Readers and Writers Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, Sydney Writers Festival and Bookworm Festival (China). Her poetry has been published in Australia, China and New Zealand, and after winning the 2011 Presspress Manuscript Award, her debut poetry collection Thicker than Water was launched at Wordstorm 2012. She collaborates extensively with other artists and communities, most recently producing the Stitch in Time textile storytelling project in Central Australia and the Love Letters to Inanimate Objects project in collaboration with textile artist Nick Shonkala. Her current work exploring memory, intimacy and human connection will see her working with communities in Suluwesi and Kangaroo Island in 2013, producing interactive installations to document and share memories between communities. ‘A true poet of Northern Australia’ – Bookworm Festival Beijing ‘Blunt beauty..defiant stanzas….her message connects immediately’ - Cordite Poetry Review

Book Review


Melissa Lucashenko Book review by Pip Morrissey If I had to describe this book in one word it would be ‘gutsy’. The main character is full of courage, determination and spirit and so are many of her counterparts, but the story too revolves around these traits. It’s written from an Indigenous Australian perspective and these are the very characteristics that have enabled Indigenous Australians to survive and continue fighting for their rights despite the enormous challenges they still face, in a town near you. If you’re a local and you think you know Mullumbimby well, I would challenge you to read this book and I feel confident that you will see the town from a very different perspective. It’s the story of a young Goorie woman who decides to take back and restore a little bit of Bundjalung country just outside town. Jo Breen is a single working mum trying to make ends meet with all the usual difficulties of bills and mortgage to pay, a teenager to raise and doing it on her own is hard work. She’s physically and mentally strong and independent and determined to make a stable home environment despite the misgivings of some of her friends and family, who support her nevertheless. Jo’s typical of a lot of young Indigenous people, caught between her ancestral heritage and modern Australia, uncertain of how to fit in, wanting to move forward and achieve things on her own terms but often thwarted by insidious prejudice and ignorance by white society of Indigenous world views. Jo feels a strong spiritual connection to country, gets angry about the way it is being abused and struggles to come to terms with the way things are and the path she must weave to get where she wants to be. She’s experienced a failed marriage and sees men as ‘trouble’ that she can do without but when she meets the charismatic Twoboy, her resolve gradually weakens. He and his brother are making a native title claim on an extensive area of land nearby and they are working through the exhaustive process requiring claimants to prove their connection to country. In this he is challenged by another local

Indigenous family group led by a domineering bully who ultimately gets his just deserts. Without giving too much more away about the plot, the issues of police brutality, colonisation and its consequences, humbugging and the familial connections between Indigenous locals, are all canvassed. The disconnect between divergent groups and their attitudes to each other in a small community and other highly relevant issues are ultimately resolved in some unexpected and surprising turns of events. Throughout the book, Bundjalung language is mixed with English, to give added meaning and authenticity and the author has helpfully given us a glossary of words and definitions so that we get the added benefit of experiencing the resonance of a very rhythmic almost musical language as well. If you’ve never had any connections with Indigenous people or taken the time to read or hear what they have to say about the effects of invasion, colonisation, dispossession, dispersal, institutionalisation, assimilation, integration and the general historiography of their marginalisation in Australian society, this book will give you some insight into where this history has taken them, how they have come to terms with it and where they intend to go from here. This is a narrative about the latest generation of Bundjalung people, their heritage, pride and perseverance, despite the odds, to take a stance for the sake of their children and their future by regaining a part of what is rightfully theirs. In doing so, they are also honouring their forebears, showing respect for their ancient culture and at the same time, forcing

belated reparation for the treatment of their ancestors and the overwhelming loss they suffered through colonial settlement of their lands. It’s an issue that is not just about land but also the deeply felt spirituality that is intrinsically connected with it, a strong emotional bond and sense of belonging. As the few remaining Elders pass away, it’s up to these young Goories to keep their culture and language alive. Mullumbimby is a book that helps to close the gap caused by the chronic lack of connection between black and white that persists in country towns throughout Australia, particularly in the south and east where Indigenous residents are low in numbers. If Mullumbimby or a place like it is your home town, you should read this book, even if for no other reason than because it’s about people with strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, legacies and aspirations, not too dissimilar from

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Kids’ page Digital Storytelling: Evolution, Not Revolution By Tristan Bancks

‘It’s Evolution, not Revolution – Book, Theatre, Radio, TV, Web, eBook, Virtual World. A story is still a story. The story has not changed that much since cave people.’ So says Mike Jones, screen media writer and producer, who recently presented the Northern Rivers Screenworks seminar, Transmedia Storyworlds. The content was down-to-earth and accessible for even the most paper-bound writer. Jones is a writer first, technologist second and he asked the question, ‘How do we build story worlds big enough for exploration across multiple media forms?’ He encouraged writers interested in this kind of storytelling to ‘think adaptation from the beginning’. He assured us that digital storytelling is simply about telling traditional stories with new tools. The session was just as relevant for authors as it was for filmmakers and game creators. I am an author of books for children, stories delivered, until now, mostly on paper. It is widely agreed that kids’ books on paper have a much longer life ahead of them than books for adults, yet I believe that it is essential for all writers to dip a toe in the river of digital innovation. Right now the opportunity is there for individual writers armed with nothing more than a laptop to make a valuable contribution to the future of reading and creative processes. In the spirit of this, I am experimenting with two new digital projects in June, one with Random House and one via my website. I have no assurance on the outcome but the process is sure to be valuable. The Random House project is

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a fairly straightforward proposition – a digital-only illustrated short story, Kids Stink, featuring Cliff Weekly, Australia’s angriest grandpa, and Tom Weekly from my earlier collection of short stories My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up. It will be a 2000-word eBook offered at around a dollar. This is not unusual in books for adults but eBooks are a much smaller portion of the Children’s reading pie. My hope is that kids will download the book to iPod Touch and squeeze some reading time in between games of Star Wars Angry Birds and Lego Batman. Use of the iPod Touch as a reading device may take some re-education, hence the concept of offering a low-cost short story. The second project, Earth, is an ambitious collaborative, narrative-driven digital story project for 9+ year-olds. It was recently awarded a fellowship by CAL and the WestWords Young People’s Literature Development Program. The story follows the exploits of Pip, a kid born inside the world’s largest and most extraordinary theme park, Earth, set on an island in the Pacific. The website will feature a one-minute book trailer, providing the story setup. Readers / users will then be left with a series of clues – photographs, ticket stubs, a key, a notebook, a diary and some old manuals in a virtual tin box. They must use the clues to help create the remainder of the story. Children & teens can contribute to the project by developing attractions for the theme park as well as characters and story twists. They can use text, illustration, images, maps, Google Lit Trips, music, video and other tools to build the world of Earth. They can share and

discuss their contributions on the website and earn rewards as Storytellers and Earthitects. A community will be built around the project through live talks and workshop sessions in schools and at literary festivals. Earth is being created in partnership with Ben Train, programmer on my free Story Scrapbook brainstorming app, which has had a successful beta release. Our intention with Earth is to provide an outlet for children’s imaginations and to further blur the line between the creator and consumer of stories. Two of my forward-thinking literary heroes are John Green and Neil Gaiman. Like them, I want to use the Web to make cool stuff with other humans. These experiments may not work, but they might just work in entirely unexpected ways and lead to new possibilities for connection and collaboration. It is no secret that we are at a pivotal moment for the publishing industry. There is great opportunity for individuals and publishers to experiment with digital narratives and contribute in a meaningful way to the future of literacy and the future of the book. On this journey, it is useful to remember Mike Jones’s assurance: ‘Whether told aurally, visually, textually or interactively, a story is still a human experience of plot, character and catharsis, a causal chain of events that conveys emotion.’ Evolution, not Revolution. Tristan Bancks will be appearing at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival this year. He blogs at Mike Jones blogs at

From the reading chair Jack of all trades Editor Laurel Cohn looks at the lengthening list of skills authors need these days. You want to write a book? Learn and hone the craft of writing. You want to publish a book? Learn and hone the craft of writing. And set up a blog and website. And build an online presence with x number of ‘friends’ and ‘followers’. And sharpen your marketing skills. And find a way to navigate the digital publishing landscape. And be prepared to invest considerable time and money. And consider self-publishing – even if you’re seeking a traditional publishing deal. And... What was that about self-publishing? Yes, it’s true. Self-publishing is now considered a legitimate ‘incubator for the traditional side of the industry’. So says a recent blog on the site, a forum set up by HarperCollins where writers can post their own work and comment on others’ submissions, and, I would assume, where HarperCollins editors keep an eye out for potential new authors. I came across the blog when I was suggesting the site to a friend who is an accomplished but as yet unpublished fiction writer (another one of those who came close to a contract with a major publisher, but not quite over the line). The blog, ‘Self Publishing as a Stepping Stone’, is quite illuminating about the changing dynamics of the industry: ‘Increasingly agents and publishers are understanding that there is more to publishing than what comes in to their office through old-style submissions. Given that many publishers are now providing less support in terms of discoverability, expecting authors to pull their weight where their own marketing is concerned – in time and in investment – authors who are creatively and dynamically involved with their own PR are very appealing.’ The piece goes on to say that agents too are encouraging authors to do their own PR, recognising that authors who have self-published are often more savvy about the commercial realities of publishing. The idea of writers playing an important role in marketing their books is nothing new. Marele Day was commissioned by the Australia Council back in 1993 to

cover just that topic in her book The art of self-promotion – successful promotion by writers. However, twenty years down the track, what we are witnessing is a significant shift in who is responsible for the financial risk that every publishing venture entails. Writers are now expected to invest a great deal of time, and often money, to hone and polish their manuscripts as well as build a public profile. Let’s face it, publishing is a form of gambling. Using the analogy of horse racing (about which I know very little), publishers and agents in the past were willing to take on a horse with potential, train it up, nurture it towards healthy odds and prepare it for the starting gate. Now publishers are increasingly wanting to go with the safe bet, picking up a well-trained horse as it enters the track with reasonable odds, ready to go. As one publisher said at the Brisbane Writers’ Festival last year, an author is more attractive to a publisher if they have at least 100 followers to their blog. Keeping in mind that in the US you have to have an agent to get a traditional publishing deal (whereas that is not the case in Australia), the Authonomy piece claims that ‘a few thousand sales will make you and your work a considerably more attractive prospect to an agent than if you just have your manuscript to hand.’ That sounds to me like wanting to wait until the race has started to see who is out front and looking good before making a decision. In this day and age of a gazillion people wanting to publish a book maybe this is a logical development in the industry. I think an extension to this will be an increasing number of writers deciding that if they can sell a few thousand copies, perhaps they don’t need a big publisher to swoop down and pick them up, perhaps they are doing okay on their own. We are already seeing more writers willing to consider self-publishing, even those who have had deals with traditional publishers in the past. Whether all this is good, bad, right or wrong is beside the point. It is what is happening in the publishing world and if

you want to be a player, you need to be prepared for it. But let’s not forget that it all comes back to having a good manuscript. So that first skill – ‘learn and hone the craft of writing’ – is still the primary one to develop. The blog entry ‘Self Publishing as a Stepping Stone’ can be found at http:// – scroll down to 25 March 2013. LAUREL COHN is an editor and mentor passionate about communication and the power of narrative to engage, inspire and challenge. Since the late 1980s she has been helping writers develop their stories and prepare their work for print and, more recently, online publication. She is also a popular workshop presenter. www.

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WORKSHOP WORKSHOPS The Insiders Guide to Digital Publishing with Anna Maguire

Moving Right Along with Laurel Cohn

When: Saturday 4 May, 10am - 4pm Where: SCU Room, Byron Community Centre Cost: $75 members / $95 non-members

When: Saturday 4 May, 10am - 4pm Where: Bellingen CWA Hall Cost: $75 members / $95 non-members

Join digital expert Anna Maguire as she explains how best to prepare your digital content and your various routes to self-publishing and selling your book. You’ll hear about the ebook market in Australia and internationally and work out what format suits your work. Find out who can convert your title and what are some of the paths to retail distribution. If you want to print your book, you will have a clearer understanding of who you can work with and what is important to consider. Find out what metadata is and why it’s important to understand it if you want your book to be discovered and purchased online. If you need to know how to fund your work we will cover a brief ‘Crowdfunding 101’ to introduce the concept. We will cover the various options to market your work and you’ll leave with comprehensive handouts and a clear path of the direction you should take.

Do your opening chapters entice the reader to keep turning the pages? Do they inspire curiosity? Whether fiction or non-fiction, book-length narratives need momentum to keep the reader engaged. And your opening chapters are crucial to securing interest from an agent or publisher, or competition judge. This workshop explores what it is that engages readers and how to deliver that narrative pull. We will look at the importance of story essence, the perspective of the reader, and specific tools and strategies you can use to tighten and trim your text. With a focus on the opening of your manuscript, drawing characters, scene-setting, establishing the hook and avoiding dead ends, this workshop will help you to differentiate between what you need and don’t need on the page in order to keep the reader moving right along.

Anna Maguire has worked in publishing and digital content for 25 years. Anna teaches authors about their digital publishing and crowdfunding options and trains publishing students. In October 2012 Anna published Crowdfund it! her first ebook with information on 38 platforms and a comprehensive ‘Tips for Crowdfunding Success’. Anna writes about crowdfunding and digital publishing developments.

Laurel Cohn is an editor passionate about communication and the power of narrative to engage, inspire and challenge. Laurel has been helping writers develop their stories and prepare their work for publication for over fifteen years. She spent five years with one of Australia’s top literary agents and four years as Consultant Editor to the NSW Writers’ Centre. She now works with writers, publishers, businesses and community organisations.

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WORKSHOPS WORKSHOPS Writing the Erotic with Krissy Kneen

Little School of Righting Words with Nette Hilton

When: Saturday 11 May, 10am - 4pm Where: SCU Room, Byron Community Centre Cost: $75 members / $95 non-members

When: Saturday 15 June, 10am - 4pm Where: SCU Room, Byron Community Centre Cost: $75 members / $95 non-members

Erotica has risen in popularity in recent months and yet even the best-selling erotic novels are criticised for their clunky prose and unsexy sex scenes. Join critically acclaimed writer of genuinely erotic literary sex, Krissy Kneen as she explores the art and craft of sex writing. Just how can you avoid winning the bad sex award whilst writing arousing and sensual prose? What exactly is the best word for it? And how can you avoid falling into clichéd? This one-day workshop introduces writers to the art of writing good sex. Why is it so hard to write a sex scene? Why is it so hard to get our characters in bed with each other? What are the words to avoid? How can you make the writing blend with your own natural style rather than standing out as something awkward on the page? We will look at examples of some of the best sex writing in the English language and find out what elevates this from the writing that seems stilted or cliche. Through a series of exercises we will look at our own representation of sex in fiction and how to refine our own work to make it simmer on the page. The workshop will help us to identify and challenge our sexual assumptions and prejudices and attempt to see sex writing from a fresh new perspective. We will look at transgression and explore exactly how far is too far? Participants will leave with some practical tips, an idea of pitfalls to avoid, some sex scenes of our own, and story ideas to kick start new erotic work, and a swag of further reading to help you see how others have approached the most sensitive regions of the literary canon.

This intensive one day workshop will produce the backbone of a manuscript which could be the next Booker Prize Winner. Words are like lovely, great big bouncy balls. You can play with them, bounce them, roll them, toss them, catch them, share them – they’re brilliant. And fun. But... after you tossed and caught and shared and bounced and, in desperation, sat upon them, where to from here? What if someone shows you a few rules? What if someone shows you some skills? What if someone gives you a purpose for playing with that ball? Does the fun stop? No... it’s only the beginning. So, like a soccer coach who brings rhyme and reason to ball play, Nette shares ways writers can use their words with intention. Participants will explore narrative structure, dialogue, characters and building tension. The workshop will also include writing essentials such as setting, conflict, storyboarding and revealing backstory. Nette will help you to identify the purpose of your chosen writing and to develop new skills and understanding about the way words work. Come and see how it’s done. If you’ve got a book in you Nette Hilton’s Little School of Righting Words will release it! This workshop is suitable for both beginner and emerging writers of fiction for children, young adults and adults.

Krissy Kneen is most well known for her erotic writing. She is the author of a little collection of erotic stories, Swallow the Sound (eatbooks), Affection: a Memoir of Love, Sex and Intimacy (Text Publishing), Triptych: an Erotic Adventure (Text Publishing) and the new literary fiction novel Steeplechase (Text Publishing). She has had short stories published on the USA’s premier erotic website and in the USA’s Best Women’s Erotica 2013. She has appeared on Jennifer Byrne Presents Erotica on the ABC and has often been described as Australia’s Anais Nin. To her credit her work has been too rude for Apple’s iBook site from which has been banned. She has also been banned in China and yet has been shortlisted for major Australian literary awards. Krissy works as a bookseller and events coordinator at Avid Reader and lives in Brisbane where she was one of the instigators and major forces behind the Queensland Literary Awards.

Nette Hilton is one of Australia’s leading authors of literature for children and young adults. Her work includes classics such as Proper Little Lady published in 1989 and The Web in 1992 all the way to The Innocents, long listed for a Prime Minister’s Awards in 2011. See:

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Food & Words: food writing with Barbara Sweeney When: Saturday 22 June, 10am - 4pm Where: SCU Room, Byron Community Centre Cost: $75 members / $95 non-members If you want to write food stories for magazines, newspapers or online, write a cookbook, raise the steaks on your blog (pun intended), or write fictional food scenes with as much sizzle as a sex scene, then this workshop is for you. It’s a day of discourse, tasting, and writing for those who relish food and words in equal measure. Food writing, an offspring of creative and professional writing forms, appears in many places and guises: recipe books and cookbooks, restaurant reviews, memoir, social history, travel stories, poetry and fiction. Like all good writing, food writing is about observing the details, creating a sense of place and telling the story. The best food writing engages the reader and keeps them enthralled to the very last lick. Some of the topics to be covered include: finding the story; avoiding food clichés; the craft of writing; different types and styles of food writing; food issues; and the food writing industry. You’ll participate in a sensory taste experience, have the opportunity to interview a food producer and carve out a meaty chunk of writing time. We plan for you to leave feeling excited and inspired about your own writing and food writing potential. Suggested reading: Toast, Nigel Slater; Plenty: Digressions on Food, Gay Bilson; How To Eat- Nigella Lawson; Food and Drink, The Guardian (; Lucky Peach (; The Art of Eating ( Barbara Sweeney writes about food for The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food and Country Style and is regional editor of The Good Food Guide. Last year she staged the inaugural Food & Words food writers’ festival in Sydney. She loves food and words in equal measure.


ISLOMANIA: LOVE, MADNESS AND MELONCHOLY ON ISLANDS The annual Idiom 23 Magazine writers’ workshop. North Keppel Island Environmental Education Centre May 17-19, 2013, Writer in Residence ~ Leni Shilton (NT) Workshop coordinator Dr Lynda Hawryluk, Southern Cross University $260 includes transport, meals & accommodation. T: 02 6620 3602 E: lynda. or All accommodation is shared. Workshops cater for writers of all genres and ability. NKIEEC’s vessel Gundoo Spirit departs from Rosslyn Bay Marina for North Keppel Island at 7.30am Friday and returns approx. 4pm on Sunday. Register online before May 13, 2013 at: MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL POETRY PRIZE Get your poems ready! The not-for-profit Montreal International Poetry Prize is offering $20,000 for one original, unpublished poem of no longer than 40 lines written in any English dialect. Online entries only. Entry fees vary. Please see for details. Selection & Judging: As editors of the Global Poetry Anthology, 10 poets from across the globe sort through submissions blindly (without seeing author names) and select poems for the collection. The prize judge then reads a blind copy of the manuscript of the anthology and selects the $20,000 poem. The 2013 Prize Judge is Don Paterson. History of the Competition: The Montreal Prize launched its first poetry competition in March 2011 and awarded $50,000 to Australian poet Mark Tredinnick. The 2011 Global Poetry Anthology is a solid collection that garnered positive reviews. It includes unknown voices alongside celebrated poets from around the world. Internationally acclaimed American artist Eric Fischl responded to one poem in the anthology with a watercolour painting. To find out more about the competition and more about who the 2013 editors are, please visit Closing date: 15 May SOME LIKE IT HOT Steam eReads “Some Like It Hot” Romantic Fiction Competition Open to romance fiction of 50,000+ words. First prize $1,500. No entry fee. For guidelines and further details, visit their website. Closing date: 31 May THE COWLEY LITERARY AWARD This short story competition comprises two sections, fiction and non-fiction. Open theme; max 4,000 words. Entry fee $20 per story; First prize $4,000; runner up $1,000. Entries open Jan 1 until June 30. Each month judges will select 2 finalists from each category, resulting in 12 stories per category, 24 finalists in all. Entries not selected in the month received will remain eligible in subsequent months. For details, visit: Closing date: 30 June THE AUSTRALIAN/VOGEL’S LITERARY AWARD 2014 The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award is one of Australia’s richest and the most prestigious award for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of thirtyfive. Offering publication by Allen & Unwin, with an advance against royalties plus prize money totalling $20,000, The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award has launched the careers of some of Australia’s most successful writers, including Tim Winton, Kate Grenville, Gillian Mears, Brian Castro, Mandy Sayer and Andrew McGahan. The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award winning authors have gone on to win or be shortlisted for other major awards, such as the Miles Franklin Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Booker Prize. Closing date: 31 May

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SD HARVEY SHORT STORY This is a crime writing award The winning story will be published in Scribe’s short story anthology, New Australian Stories 3, and an edited version published in The Sydney Morning Herald. The winner will be presented with their award at the Melbourne Writers Festival. Closing Date: 31 May ABR VOICELESS FELLOWSHIP •Animal Protection • Australian Book Review seeks applications for the ABR Voiceless Fellowship. We welcome proposals for a new article of 7000–8000 words on any aspect of animal protection. This article will be published in the print magazine and online. All published Australian writers are eligible to apply. This Fellowship – the ninth to be offered by ABR – is worth $5000. ABR gratefully acknowledges the support of Voiceless, the animal protection institute programs/abr-patrons-fellowship Closing Date: 31 May ABR ELIZABETH JOLLEY SHORT STORY PRIZE One of Australia’s most lucrative prizes for an original short story – is now open. The 2013 Jolley Prize is worth $5000 (first prize), with supplementary prizes of $2000 and $1000. It will be judged by Tony Birch (academic and author of the 2012 novel Blood), Maria Takolander (poet, critic and a past winner) and Terri-ann White (Director of UWA Publishing). ABR will publish the three shortlisted stories later this year in its special Fiction issue, and announce the winner at an award ceremony in Sydney that same month. Anyone is eligible to enter, as long as they are an Australian citizen or permanent resident ABR gratefully acknowledges Mr Ian Dickson’s generous support for the Jolley Prize. files/EJSSP_web_entry_form_2013.pdf Closing Date: 31 May MOTORBIKE LEGENDS A short story writing competition involving “ENTERTAINING or HUMOROUS or CRAZY” stories about motorcycles and/or their riders, be they fact or fiction.


We are offering $1000 cash prize for the best story submitted by 30th June this year. There is no entry fee, and full details can be seen at website Closing date: 30 June BRUCE DAWE NATIONAL POETRY PRIZE The Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize has been endowed by Bruce Dawe, one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary poets, as an annual $2000 award to encourage poets throughout Australia. The endowment is held in trust by the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, and administered by the Faculty of Arts. Bruce Dawe said the decision to endow the prize stemmed from a belief that all universities should encourage the practice of the arts within Australian society. It is hoped that this prize will encourage established and emerging Australian poets and recognise the important contribution they make to our culture. website: awards/bruce-dawe-prize Closing date: 30 June SCRIBBLERS 2013 Mandurah-Murray Writers Group This competition is now in its 16th year. It has no particular theme, and entries close (postmarked) 30th June 2013. Entry forms may be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to PO Box 580 MANDURAH WA 6210, downloaded from our website at, or by emailing Closing date: 30 June FINCH MEMOIR PRIZE 2014 Entries for the Finch Memoir Prize 2014 will open on 1 July 2013 and close at 5pm on 20 August 2013. The prize of $10,000 and publication is awarded by an independent panel of judges to the best unpublished life story or memoir submitted. The competition is open to previously published and unpublished writers as well as to agented writers. The entry form and terms and conditions are available here: Closing date: 20 August THE NEWCASTLE POETRY PRIZE Now in its 32nd year, the Newcastle Poetry Prize is one of Australia’s oldest and most important literary competitions. Largely

due to the generosity of Prize sponsor The University of Newcastle, over $20,000 in prize money is awarded: • First Prize: $12,000 • Second Prize: $5,000 • Third Prize: $1,000 • Local Award: $500 • Harri Jones Memorial Prize (Under 36): $250 The Newcastle Poetry Prize is open theme with a limit of 200 lines. Closing date: 7 June FAW EASTERN SUBURBS BRANCH 2013 Short Story Competition. Open theme. Maximum length 3,000 words. Unlimited entries, no entry form required, attach cover sheet with author details. Usual competition conditions apply. White A4 paper, no names on manuscript, double line spaced, and pages numbered please. Entry must not have won a monetary prize nor have been published as at the close date. Include SSAE for results and judge’s report. Entry fee $5 per entry. Make cheque/money order payable to Bondi Writers Group. First Prize $200. Second prize $100. Results will be published in Writers Voice. No manuscript to be returned and no assessment will be given. Entries to be sent to: Competition Convenor, Bondi Writers, P.O. Box 701, Bondi Junction NSW 1355. Closing date: 26 July THE MORNINGTON PENINSULA PRIZE 2013 Offered by the Fellowship of Australian Writers (Vic.) Peninsula Region A short story of up to 3,000 words: open theme and genre. First Prize $500, Second $200, Third $100, Highly Commended and Commended certificates. Entry Fee: $10.00 per story. All enquiries to be directed to: Competition Co-ordinator, FAW Mornington Peninsula Prize, PO Box 574, Mornington, Vic, 3931, or Closing date: 29 July CARMEL BIRD AWARD Open to short stories, this competition invites stories from the bottom of the world, 4000word limit. First prize: $500 and publication in Spineless Wonders annual anthology. $10 entry fee. For more information and entry guidelines, please visit their website. submissions/the-carmel-bird-award/ Closing date: 31 July

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WRITERS’ GROUPS „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„ „„

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Alstonville Plateau Writers Group. Meets 2nd Tuesday of the Month. 10am to 12pm. All genres welcome. Contact Christine 66288364 or Kerry 66285662. Ballina/Byron U3A Creative Writing Contact ph. Jan 0404 007 586. Meets at 12.00pm every second Wednesday, Fripp Oval Ballina. Bangalow Writers Group Contact Simone Hogan on 6629 1838 (email Simone; or James Hudson on 6628 5061. Meets 9.45am- 12.00pm, first Thursday of the month, Scout Hall, Bangalow. Bellingen Writers Group Contact David Breaden (president) on 02 6699 3888 or email Meets at Bellingen Golf Club on the fourth Monday of the month at 2.00pm. All welcome. Baywrite Theatre Inc. Contact Udo Moerig on 02 6680 9698 or go to www. Reading and comment on new scripts 1st Saturday each month. Workshopping of selected scripts 4th Tuesday each month. Casino Writers Group Contact Brian Costin 02 6624 2636 or email briancostin129@, meets 3rd Thursday of the month 4pm at the Casino Library. Cloudcatchers Contact Quendryth Young on 02 6628 3753 or email For haiku enthusiasts, a ginko (haiku walk) is undertaken according to group agreement. Coffs Harbour Writers Group Contact Lorraine Mouafi on 02 6653 3256 or email Meets 1st and 3rd Thursday of month, 10.30am–12.30pm. Coffs Harbour Memoir Writers Group Share your memoir writing for critiquing. Monthly meetings. 0409 824 803. Email Cru3a River Poets Contact Pauline Powell 02 6645 8715. Meets every Thursday at 10.30am, venue varies, mainly in Yamba. Email kitesway@ Dangerously Poetic writing circle. Meets second Thursday of every month 12.302.30pm, at the Brunswick Heads RSL Hall, Fawcett St. Contact Laura – 6680 1967 or visit Dorrigo Writers Group Contact Iris Curteis on 6657 5274, email an_lomall@ or Nell Hunter on 6657 4089. Meet every second Wednesday from 12.00pm - 4.00 pm Dunoon Writers Group Writers on the Block Contact Helga on 02 6620 2994 (w) or email: / Meets 2nd Tuesday of month, 6.30pm–8pm, at the Dunoon Sports Club. Federal Writers Group Contact Vicki Peterson on 02 6684 0093 or email ganden1@ Meets 3rd Saturday of month in Federal. FAW Port Macquarie–Hastings Regional Contact Bill Turner (President) on 02 6584 5342 or email Meets 1pm on last Saturday of month, Historic Museum, Clarence Street, Port Macquarie. Gold Coast Writers Association Contact 0431 443 385 or email Meets 3rd Saturday of month, 1.30pm for a 2.00pm start, at Fradgley Hall, Burleigh Heads Library, Park Avenue, Burleigh Heads, Qld. Kempsey Writers Group Contact Carma Eckersley on 02 6562 5227. Meets 1st Sunday of month at the Railway Hotel. Kyogle Writers Group Contact Brian Costin 02 6624 2636 or email briancostin129@, meets 1st Tuesday of the month 10:30am at the Kyogle Bowling Club. Lower Clarence Arts & Crafts Ferry Park Writers Group Contact Di Wood on 02 6645 8969 or email Meets 1st Thursday of month,10.00am–12.00pm. Memoir Writing Group Contact Diana Burstall on 02 6685 5387 or email diana. Meets every month at Sunrise Beach, Byron Bay. Mullum Writing Group Contact Lisa MacKenzie on 02 6684 4387 ah or email Meets fortnightly on Tuesdays, 7.30pm. Nambucca Valley Writers Group Contact 02 6568 9648, or email au. Meets 4th Saturday of month, 1.30pm, Nambucca. Poets and Writers on the Tweed Meet weekly in the Tweed Heads Library, Tuesdays 1.30pm to 3.00pm. Poets, novelists, playwrights, short story writers all welcome. Fun group meets for discussion, support and constructive criticism. Free membership. Phone Lorraine 07 55909395 or Ken 02 66742898. Taree–Manning River Scribblers Contact Bob Winston on 02 6553 2829 or email Meets 2nd Wednesday of month, 9.00am–11.30am in Taree. Call first to check venue. UKI Writers meet last Sunday of most months to share and encourage our literary endeavours. Contact Elspeth on 0266797029 or email WordsFlow Writing Group Contact Rosemary Nissen-Wade 02 6676 0874, Pam Moore 02 6676 1417. Meets Fridays in school term, 1.00pm–3.30 pm, Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre, 12a Elizabeth St, Pottsville Beach. Visit

NORTHERN RIVERS WRITERS’ CENTRE 2013 MEMBERSHIP DISCOUNTS BOOK WAREHOUSE 107-109 Keen Street Lismore 02 6621 4204 BOOK WAREHOUSE 26 Harbour Drive Coffs Harbour 02 6651 9077 BOOK WAREHOUSE Shop 6 Ballina Fair Ballina 02 6686 0917 BOOK WAREHOUSE 70 Prince Street Grafton 02 6642 6355 BOOK WAREHOUSE Settlement City Port Macquarie 02 6584 9788 BOOK WAREHOUSE Yamba Fair, Treelands Drive Yamba 02 6646 8662 BYRON BAY LONGBOARDS 1/89 Jonson Street Byron Bay 02 6685 5244 CLIX COMPUTER CENTRE 3/3 Marvel Street Byron Bay 02 6680 9166 COLLINS BOOK SELLERS Unit 3. 9 Lawson Street Byron Bay 02 6685 7820 CO-OP BOOKSHOP Southern Cross University Lismore 02 6621 4484 CO-OP BOOKSHOP Coffs Harbour Education Campus, Hogbin Drive Coffs Harbour 02 6659 3225 DOLPHIN OFFICE CHOICE Cnr Fletcher & Marvel Streets Byron Bay 02 6685 7097 DRAGONWICK PUBLISHING 02 6624 1933 EARTH CAR RENTALS 18 Fletcher Street Byron Bay 02 6685 7472 EBOOKS NEED EDITORS 15% discount to NRWC members Call 02 6689 5897 for further details HUMBLE PIES Pacific Highway Billinudgel 02 6680 1082 KEEN STREET COMMUNICATIONS 50 Bulmers Rd Hogarth Range 02 6664 7361 MARY RYAN’S BOOKSTORE Shop 5, 21 -25 Fletcher Street Byron Bay 02 6685 8183 NORPA PO Box 225 Lismore 02 6621 5600 PAGES BOOKSHOP Park Beach Plaza Coffs Harbour 02 6652 2588 THE BOOKSHOP MULLUMBIMBY 39 Burringbar Street Mullumbimby 02 6684 1413 THERE’S ALWAYS MORE HAIRDRESSING Shop 5, 14 Middleton Byron Bay 02 6680 7922

CAWI Headquarters and Op Shop Shop 4-5/19, Booyun Street, Brunsick Heads NSW 2483 Ph: 0488 415 444 or 02 6685 1444 (op-shop, Mon-Fri,10am-5pm) 0458 461 935 (fostering and adoptions – 12-4pm Mon-Sat) Email:


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