Featured Writers

Short stories, features and poems from our writing community.

For this year’s International Day of People with Disability, Write-ability is featuring two very different storytellers, memoirist and 2019 Write-ability Fellow MJ McArthur and graphic artist Matt Robertson, one of the winners of this year’s Dulcie Stone Writing Awards.

Matt Robertson in the ArtGusto studio, pen in hand, creating "My Experience with Anxiety"

 

For this year’s International Day of People with Disability, Write-ability is featuring two very different storytellers, memoirist and 2019 Write-ability Fellow MJ McArthur and graphic artist Matt Robertson, one of the winners of this year’s Dulcie Stone Writing Awards.

 

We asked Australia’s top authors, poets and illustrators – nominees for the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards – why they chose their career, and their responses are as varied as their creations.

Meredith Lake, The Bible in Australia (Australian History):
Well, I became an historian – and found that it’s all about stories. But I’ve always loved reading, and even as a kid I was often making things with words.

Above: The 2019 Dulcie Stone Writing Award Winners and Highly Commended writers. Left to right: Buffy Dee La Sun, Timothy Jong, Teagan Connor, Eliza Brodie, Ivan Estebeth, Grace Rose Turner and Adam Thrussell. Image courtesy of Paul Dunn.

Writers Victoria are proud of our association with VALiD and the Dulcie Stone Writing Awards for writers with intellectual disability. Now in its third year, the Awards are drawing out remarkable perspectives and vivid stories from writers who don’t sit around and wait quietly for their turn.

The artistic protagonist is a familiar figure in young adult fiction – the performance poet overcoming trauma onstage, the fan-fic writer finding their own story offline, the photographer shooting shadows in laneways … Art in YA, as in life, is bound up in character identity and agency. Emily Gale spoke to Writers Vic about the role of the artist in her work.

I was driving through Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, alone and killing time. The main road was a stranger to me until it started whispering familiar thoughts, and I saw I was only blocks from my childhood home. One of them, at least. Dad worked in sales – we moved around. 

When my friend Catherine moved back to Norway from England, she missed the squirrels that would run along her back fence in Oxford: wary, trembling and unintentionally hilarious. Though she had grown up in ‘the Bible Belt of Norway’, she realised how much she had forgotten its ways. People tended to shiver, like squirrels, at her ideas and opinions. As she tried to both be her true self and behave like a local, she could feel the incomprehension and judgement directed towards her. It was that silent disapproval that finally led her to act out.

And they reached the back of the house, and the sun was getting a bit higher and the heat was coming up a bit and there was wind and some swirling around of the dust out in the paddocks and the galahs were taking a bit of a feed and he could see all this as they were walking along. The dust came up on to his boots and up on to her shoes too, and it kicked up as they walked, and the country looked dry all around, even up on the top of the hill where there were some sheep. And he saw all this as they walked.

She woke to find him turned away from her, breathing softly. His knees were pulled up tight to his chest, the sheet wrapped snug, up to his chin. The lines around his eyes had retreated, leaving the skin puffy and red. Spooning him, she nuzzled the back of his head and breathed in his soft closeness. Then slowly, so as not to wake him, she slid out of bed to make coffee.

‘The carpet could be pulled up,’ Barry says as he bounces on the carpet. The floorboards underneath make a painful squeak. They must be as arthritic as my knees.

‘Caro, I reckon the boards might be alright.’ His eyes are seriously intense.

I jerk my neck. Caro? Did he call me Caro? Do all real estate agents have this instant familiarity with their clients?

Bazza, the name’s Caroline, I correct him in my mind as I inhale the stale mustiness of the old house. Hmm, Mum used to walk around this house spraying magnolia air freshener. It could do with a spray now.