The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

Writer Karina Ko has won the 2018 Deborah Cass Prize for emerging writers from migrant backgrounds for her manuscript extract ‘Things I used to Believe’.

Chosen from a shortlist of eight, ‘Things I Used to Believe’ was announced as the winner on 5 December at an event in Melbourne.

a portrait of Thuy On

Dinithi Perera interviews Thuy On about criticism in the digital age, the art of reviewing, and and to whom the critic is responsible ahead of her Summer School workshop Reviewing and Literary Criticism.

Sean O'Leary is wearing a dark blue top and using white earbuds

I have schizophrenia of the paranoid variety. I write about it quite a lot, both directly from my experience and not. The title story of my second short story collection was called ‘Walking’. It was about me walking out of the psych ward at The Alfred hospital going to my new accommodation at a boarding house in St Kilda. It was a scary day, given that the CAT team had intervened in my life six weeks earlier to put me in the ward. I didn’t go gently into the good night, but I went.

Vincent Silk stands in front of a cream brick wall. He has short brown hair, brown eyes and is wearing a black hoodie.

2016 Write-ability Fellowship recipient Vincent Silk recently published his novel ‘Sisters of No Mercy’. Diane McPherson interviewed Vincent about his writing and the role the Write-ability Fellowship played.

To help celebrate International Day of People With Disability​, Write-ability is proud to publish 2018 Write-ability Fellow Anthony Riddell’s “speculative non-fiction” work Days of love and E.F.T.P.O.S.

A  prolific writer, Anthony's work is some of the most wildly energetic, seemingly nonsensical writing you will ever read.  As former Write-ability Project Coordinator Harriet Gaffney said when assessing Anthony's fellowship application “it’s a bit like applying an electric current to your brain the way it makes your synapses spark!”

a photo of Carly Findlay. She has a red face and dark, curly hair, and is wearing a floral blouse

Australians with disability are invited to submit their work to ‘Growing Up Disabled in Australia’, to be published by Black Inc. in April 2020.

When Lionel Shriver ignited public debate about cultural appropriation with her 2016 Brisbane Writers Festival opening address, ‘Fiction and Identity Politics’¹, followed by Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s swift rejoinder², I took it personally. Not in a white privilege, why-are-they-trying-to-stop-me-from-writing-whatever-I-want? kind of way, but in a way that made me pause and reflect on my own creative practice.

In recent times there have been numerous discussions on the complexities of writing non-white characters¹, but little attention has been given to the craft (and politics) of writing white characters, and representation of white characters in literature and on screen. To put this simply: most of us write white characters though it is difficult to find articles on the subject.

The idea for ‘The Bone Sparrow’ came to me years ago. We were watching the news and debating who would get up from the couch to fetch the chocolate from the kitchen. Our baby lay asleep in my arms. It was a warm night; I think it was summer. The windows were open and I complained about the mosquitos. I looked up at the television and saw a child, maybe a year older than my own, playing in the dirt and oblivious to the camera crew beyond the wire fence, the guards in the background, or the saddened, lost faces of the adults surrounding them. I remember thinking, imagine that.

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