The Writing Life

Information, inspiration and insights into the writing life

1. Something familiar: convincing ourselves we are not ‘something’ enough. As writers, before or after we put something to a page we are likely to question whether or not we’re close enough to the subject in order to fully capture it. In writing class, the most common question the class asks our lecturer is: can we write a place we’ve never been to, but know about, or a place we’ve spent minimal time in? Or, can we write a person we don’t fully live inside the shoes of but can empathise with?

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.

I went out looking for one this afternoon,
just after an uninspiring lunch of leftovers.
Sometimes I hear one singing or repeating
a single syllable but other times I catch sight
of a flash of colour or happen upon one
as it’s dozing. I even located one by scent.
You’re unlikely to find one if you wander
about hoping to find one but I do anyway.
Like us, their habitat is anywhere,
so I prowl with my net, my dart, combing
the You Never Know Department.
Rare ones behave like they want to be caught,

Toni approached Writers Victoria with her first manuscript and since then she has published several novels and has been widely published in newspapers and magazines. The international best-seller Addition was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award. Fall Girl was published internationally and has been optioned for film.

The weather may be getting colder, but the Melbourne literary scene is heating up. It is with great pleasure that we introduce our True Grit Mid-Year program, designed to complement the many Victorian festivals and events, and help you to meet your writing goals.

As a wonderful member of Writers Victoria, you are invited to attend our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 27 March, from 6–7PM.

The AGM will be held in the Workshop Space, on Level 4 of the Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale Street. This is a great opportunity to meet Writers Victoria staff members and our Board members.

You can also vote on the night to fill vacancies on our Committee of Management.

Eleanor Hogan smiling

On Monday 4 March, in front of a large audience at Adelaide Writers’ Week, author and academic Eleanor Hogan was announced as winner of the 2019 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship for her proposed biography of Ernestine Hill and Daisy Bates.

Trophy

Welcome to our monthly brag about our Writers Victoria community members who have won awards, been shortlisted or longlisted for writing prizes or received industry recognition.

Penguin Random House Australia is delighted to announce the shortlisted authors for the 2019 Penguin Literary Prize. Among the shortlist are:

It is early 2016 and, after being ‘on submission’ for eight months, my first book for young adults, ‘What the Woods Keep’, finally has a home with a publisher: Imprint, part of Macmillan in the US. ‘It takes about two years to launch a YA debut’, my agent warns me once we receive the interested publisher’s long-awaited formal offer. Responding to my numerous ‘is this really happening?’ follow-up queries, the agent assures me that this is indeed very much happening, and then reminds me for the thousandth time that ‘publishing is slow’.