On Writing

Writers, editors, agents, publishers and more share their thoughts, experiences and stories.

The short story enables writers to focus on the particular, the initimate, and the fleeting, says Roanna Gonsalves. Ahead of her workshop in October, Amelia Theodorakis asked Roanna about storytelling cultures, literary selfies, power and self-representation.

A portrait Vikki Petraitis

Everyone likes a gritty true crime story. So where do you start if you want to write one? After 25 years of crime writing, best-selling author Vikki Petraitis shows us the hidden underbelly of real crime writing.

Ahead of her September workshop How to Write and Sell True Crime, Vikki gives us a hint of what it takes to write a great story – choosing a captivating story, navigating the tricky territory of real crime writing and why women crime writers are coming out on top!

An image of an open notebook and a person writing

A creative writing PhD looks pretty good on paper. A research adventure into a topic you find fascinating, mentoring from expert supervisors, immersion in a creative community and in some cases a scholarship to go with it, all with the aim of adding something new to the literary landscape.

But is it right for you?

PhD island can be a lonely one. You’ll be spending several years at the precipice of a research project that only you can complete. Just you, your laptop, your Endnote library and your over-full brain.

a portrait of Leanne Hall

The line between fantasy and reality can be fertile ground for writers. Ahead of her workshop, we spoke to Leanne Hall about seeing magic in everyday life, responding to strangeness and getting in touch with your inner weirdo.

A portrait of Nick Gadd standing

There’s an idea that the suburbs are banal, but Nick Gadd believes that there are seeds for stories everywhere in the shopping malls, bus stops, street signs and pavements we encounter everyday. Ahead of his workshop in Prahran, we spoke to Nick to find out how he stays curious about the suburbs. 

A portrait of Ellen van Neerven

The editing process is about more than just proofreading. Ahead of her September workshop on Editing and Enhancing Your Work, we asked Ellen van Neerven how she goes about tackling the editing process and what writers can do to make their work appealing to publishers.

Five years ago I would never have expected to be working full-time in publishing, let alone supporting two amazing agents at Australia’s largest literary agency. Every day is different and as an assistant you get to see the nuts and bolts of publishing – from reading first drafts and giving editorial feedback to being privy to overseas rights and film deals and the nitty gritty of contract negotiation and royalty statements. I feel really lucky to do the work I do and be paid for it, which means I can genuinely look forward to going to work every day.

With the pace of journalism increasing, it can be tempting to rush the writing process. But for Michael Green, journalist and producer of ‘Behind the Wire’ and the multi-awardwinning ‘The Messenger’ podcast, the most compelling stories come from taking a careful, considered approach to interviewing and writing, empowering your subjects and putting ethics at the heart of your work.

The tendency to look overseas for great literary works is hardly new. The notion of ‘cultural cringe’ (coined by AA Phillips¹ in 1950) describes an Australian assumption that ‘the domestic cultural product will be worse than the imported article’. We suppose it’s being done better internationally, and look to international markets as arbiters of taste. We measure our own successes against international works – both in terms of sales and reception – and maintain the baseline assumption that international work represents the highest level of achievement.

Professor Megan Davis recently presented the 2018 Human Rights Oration, ‘Towards a Treaty’, organised by the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.