Write-ability Goes Regional and Online is a three-year program to support aspiring writers with disability living in regional Victoria. The program has been rolled out alongside the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) across regional Victoria. Each of the eight NDIS regions are hosting (or have hosted) an Own Voices: Why Writing Matters forum and a series of eight monthly writing groups to help form connections with the writing community while developing skills development and industry knowledge.
The program began in Central Highlands followed by Loddon, Inner Gippsland, Outer Gippsland, Wimmera South West (formerly Western District) and Ovens Murray, Goulburn and Mallee.
Our Own Voices: Why Writing Matters Forum explores how writing and storytelling can help develop new ways of thinking about the self, disability, and community.
The forum was designed for people with disability and provided providing professional development for local councils, libraries, arts and disability organisations.
After each forum, Write-ability Goes Regional and Online continued with a series of facilitated writing groups for writers with disability. As well as workshops and author talks, the writers groups accessed live webinars that are archived on the Writers Victoria website.
The program is almost complete, with the Mallee Program in Mildura celebrating its final session in February 2020. We are currently accepting EOIs from Local Government Areas across Victoria interested in bringing this program to their district. Please email Lyndel or call (03)90947837.
Write-ability Goes Regional and Online was funded by the Australian government through the Department of Communication and the Arts’ Catalyst—Australian Arts and Culture Fund. Write-ability is also supported by the Grace Marion Wilson Trust.
The Three-Year Program
Ararat, Ballarat, Golden Plains, Hepburn, Moorabool and Pyrenees local government areas
Following the Own Voices: Why Writing matters in April 2017, the series of monthly writing groups ended in December 2017.
Alex Fairhill, who was the Central Highlands Local Mentor, has created a handy glossary of everything you need to know about writing which you can read here
Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Macedon Ranges and Mount Alexander local government areas
The Bendigo Write-ability group meets on the first Wednesday of each month from 11am to 1pm at the Bendigo Library. Email Diane for more information.
You can read group member Diane McPherson's interview with Write-ability fellow Vincent Silk here.
Write-ability Fellow Jo Walters was part of the original Bendigo Write-ability group - click here for her take on 'Monday Mornings'.
Bendigo Writeability member Eve Harris' memoir piece "Her Name is She" can be found here
Bendigo Writeability member Bev Amost published her poem 'Norm and the Crows' in our June 2018 Writeabilty newsletter
Bass Coast, Baw Baw, Latrobe and South Gippsland local government areas
The Moe writing group meets once a month on Wednesdays at the Moe Library from 11am to 1pm. Email Jess for more information.
Jessica Obersby is a 2019 Write-ability Fellow and member of the Moe writing group. You can read her article 'The Fear' here
East Gippsland and Wellington local government areas
The Sale Writeability Group are continuing as Wellington Writers. They meet on the third Thursday of the month from 11am to 1pm in Sale. Ex-local mentor Caitlin Punshon from the group says "We welcome emerging and established writers who identify as having a disability or as being a disability ally." For more information or to join, contact Caitlin at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find participant Leone Purdy's reflections on her journey to self-publication of her poetry book here
Wimmera South West
Corangamite, Glenelg, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Moyne, Northern Grampians, Southern Grampians, Warrnambool, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack local government areas
The Wimmera South West Writers Group met at the Horsham RSL between August 2018 and April 2019. The program is now completed.
Alpine, Benalla, Indigo, Mansfield, Towong, Wangaratta and Wodonga local government areas
The Ovens Murray Writers Group was held at the Wodonga Library between November 2018 and July 2019. Wodonga writer Chanel Geddes story, Lightbulb Man features in The Victorian Writer Dec-Jan2019
Greater Shepparton, Mitchell, Moira, Murrindindi and Strathbogie local government areas
The Gouburn writing group was held at Shepparton Library from 11am to 1pm on Wednesdays 17 April, 15 May, 19 June, 17 July, 21 August, 18 September, 16 October and 20 November 2019 .
Congratulations to Goulburn writing group members Ivan Estebeh (Winner) and Eliza Brodie (Highly Commended) in the Dulcie Stone Writing Awards 2019. You can listen to Ivan and Eliza talking about their writing with local mentor Chris Thompson, and hear their winning entries, on Vision Australia's Behind the Scenes podcast.
Buloke, Gannawarra, Mildura and Swan Hill local government areas
The Mallee writing group is meeting at the Alfred Deakin Centre from 10.30 to 12.30pm on Wednesdays 19 June, 17 July, 21 August, 18 September, 16 October, 20 November 2019 and 19 February 2019. You can join up to the Writing Group here or email Lyndel to receive more information .
How could a Writers Victoria membership benefit you?
Writers Victoria is a membership organisation. One of the benefits of being a Writers Victoria member is getting access to member-only activities and exclusive online content.
Writers Victoria membership also brings other benefits. You’ll get discounts on courses, information about competitions and opportunities, writing resources and inspiration through our weekly enews, ‘The Victorian Writer’ magazine and members-only sections of our website.
Membership will also connect you with more than 3,000 writers across Victoria and help you feel part of our state’s writing community.
We know that some people may find it hard to pay the membership fee. That’s why we offer a 30% discount on our annual regional membership, reducing the cost to $35 for Write-ability participants. We can discuss payment plans as well.
Speak to your local mentor for more info, or email Write-ability staff.