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Monthly Archives

June 2019

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June 2019 Newsletter

By | News, Newsletter, Newsletters

Live Readings

 

microphone

New time, new space

Cash Prizes – $50, $100

We are thrilled to present our monthly live readings from July to November

at Newcastle Art Gallery

Join us July 2nd from 3pm

share your stories, poems, songs, scripts in response to James Drinkwater’s exhibition 

the sea calls me by name

 

HWC Workshops

July

Speculative Fiction Writing with Marianne de Pierres

Saturday 6th July, Wickham

de Pierres - author

Self Publishing – an online course
Nigel George is offering a half-price special to all HWC members for his new self-publishing course.
Visit the Indie Publishing Machine course page, select the Australian Version, and enter the code HWCJULY50 at the checkout to save yourself nearly $100.
You’d better hurry though – the discount is only available until the end of July!
 

person's hand holding an iphone showing rows of books

HWC Blog

Susan Francis , blogger, member of HWC

 

Thank you to our members who have blogged for us through March, April and May.

Read the following Literary topics

Speculative Fiction
- Our Spec Fic writers
Australian Literature 
- Susan Francis
Writing History 
- Christine Bramble
Crime Fiction 
- Megan Buxton

Graham Davidson, author

Christine Bramble - staff member and blogger

HWC Member News

 

HWC Member – Gail Hennessy

Gail’s book ‘The M Word’ is published by Girls on Key Press. It is available from the Poetry Portal Bookshop  

The M Word’ is a book of poetry that recalls my experience of postnatal psychosis and recovery. It was written to help break down the stigma associated with mental illness and provide hope for recovery.  It is available through the Poetry Portal of Girls on Key along with ‘Written on Water’.- Hennessy

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The M Word - memoir by Gail Hennessy

 

HWC Member and Board Chair – Adrienne Lindsay

Adrienne Lindsay is the chair of Hunter Writers Centre. She has recently launched her business Cloudberry Writing

She provides fundraising advice, editing services and professional writing services.

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Adrienne Lindsay, chair of HWC

 

HWC & Board Member, Wendy Haynes

Wendy was a founding member of Port Writers Inc. as both Treasurer and President. She is a copywriter and her website outlines the various services and advice she offers

Wendy Haynes - HWC Board member

Heart Open event

Heart Open

Hunter Writers Centre funds the artists of Heart Open – literature, dance, fashion, art

The Heart Open Event 2019 at the Hunter Innovation Festival was a great success

Writing Opportunities and Events

Odyssey House Victoria Annual Short Story Competition

1st prize $1000.

www.odyssey.org.au

Closes Friday November 1st

Max 1,500 words and follow the theme ‘Family’ and make reference to alcohol and other drugs

The money raised from this competition will go towards the work of Odyssey House, Victoria, offering a supportive drug-free environment for people and their families affected by problems associated with drugs, including alcohol. 

 

HWC Facebook Groups

Exclusive facebook writing groups:

Hunter Writers Centre – celebrating literature in the Hunter

The Story Hunters – our Spec Fic writers keeping in touch between meet ups

HWC Poets – where our poetry groups gather online

HWC Writing Groups

Attendance is free as part of your HWC Membership

Newcastle, Belmont, Teralba and more…

See the whole list in the Members Area

Applications Open for KSP’s 2020 Residency Program

The KSP Writers’ Centre in the beautiful Perth Hills region of Western Australia is calling for Australian and international writers to apply to its 2020 residency program. The program offers paid annual positions to Established, Emerging and Next Gen (under 25 years) writers. The residencies include a two-week block to develop a manuscript at the inspiring KSP property, which is the former home of notable Australian author, Katharine Susannah Prichard.

In addition to the salary and space to write, writers receive a welcome platter to share with co-resident writers, transport assistance, breakfast supplies, networking opportunities, promotion, CV credit, complimentary writing group sessions and access to a thriving literary community, library services, mentoring, social events, and heritage walking trails. As part of the residency, writers are asked to present a workshop on a topic of their specialty and perform readings at a literary dinner hosted in their honour. Deadlines are 30 June, 28 July, 25 August for the various categories. Visit the KSP website for eligibility, selection criteria and more details about the program: https://www.kspwriterscentre.com/residency-program

2019 Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program

CBCA NSW Branch is pleased to announce that entries are open for the 2019 Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program (AWMP), sponsored by Scholastic Australia. The aim of this national award is to foster the talent of an unpublished author of children’s literature.  In 2019 the AWMP is open to picture book and junior fiction manuscripts. The Winner of the AWMP will receive the Charlotte Waring Barton Award and a mentorship with Scholastic Australia, to include two three-hour mentoring sessions with an author selected by Scholastic Australia, and a one-hour mentoring session with each of the following Scholastic Australia employees: an editor, a marketing communications manager and a publisher.

Entries close on Wednesday 31 July 2019.

Authors whose careers have been launched by this award include the best-selling/award winning Michelle Cooper, Kirsty Eager, Jacqueline Harvey and Oliver Phommavanh

for love alone Christina Stead

Australian Literature Part 2

By | Australian Literature, News

Something Novel – Australian Novelists

In my mid-twenties I formed an attachment to an extremely astute young man: a poet who would invite me ice skating in Prince Alfred Park on Friday nights. Skating in the dark, beneath strings of fairy lights hung from the gum trees – there was nothing more magical. The swish of the blades cutting across the ice, the warmth of my hand held in his, it was all impossibly romantic. So, when the boy took pains to explain to me that he’d noticed every novel on my bookshelf was written by a woman, I experienced an epiphany of sorts. I remember trailing my finger along the spines: Stead, Lohrey and Lette. Ruth Park and Shirley Hazzard. Baynton and Bedford. Grenville and Franklin. There, too, the non-Australian fiction of Atkinson, the Brontes and French. Woolf, Lee and Lessing.

So when someone these days asks me that impossible question: what’s your favourite Australian novel, I make sure to mention Tim Winton. The lyrical descriptions of the Australian landscape discovered in Peter Temple’s crime fiction. Christopher Koch and the evocative picture he painted of Jakarta. I talk about Martin Boyd who has a favoured place stacked beside Peter Carey. There is Stow and Maitland and McGahan. These days my bookshelves hold a more even gender mix. But one thing still holds true; maybe a dirty secret of sorts? For an Australian novel to make it onto my top twenty, somewhere amongst the pages I like to recognise a reflection of a world I know or an individual who strikes a chord. I read Australian fiction to be assured I’m not the only player on the stage.

What’s your favourite Australian novel? I’m reluctant to alight on any one text because the range of Australian fiction is vast. The list is as long as our country is wide. And each work positively enunciates our poignant flaws. And I love that! Australian fiction informs so much about who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going. But, if pressed, I admit, it is to Christina Stead’s novel, For Love Alone, that I always return.

Written in 1944, I studied this broad, brown land of a book for my Masters degree, drawn by Stead’s particular understanding of what it means to be an Australian woman. The book was panned by any number of academics for its introspectiveness and realist style. Many preferred the magic realism of The Man Who Loved Children. But when I read this book for the first time, I fell in love with the determined and homely Teresa. The link formed between this character and Lawson’s The Drover’s Wife was due to the values held by both: a shared focus on getting on with things and a singular toughness; a determination to make sense of the world around them. Hazel Rowley wrote in her biography: ” . . . Stead’s earliest memories were all associated with a sense of rejection, which she attributed to her physical unattractiveness. In all her stories about her childhood, she is acutely conscious of personal appearance . . .” And this, of course, is another reason I am so captivated by the book.

Melbourne University Publishing reissued the novel in 2011 and maintain: For Love Alone is the story of the intelligent and determined Teresa Hawkins, who believes in passionate love and yearns to experience it . . . [Stead] superbly evoking life in Sydney and London in the 1930s. 

 Soon, in 2020, my own book will be published. Yet another story of a plain, single-minded Australian woman who gives up everything to travel overseas, following the love of her life. And despite the tragedies and the awful revelations my journey revealed, there is a pattern I like here, a pattern I have only recently identified by revisiting Stead’s work. Independent, brave, raw. A little gauche. The Australian female protagonist who travels far to discover herself. She is a reflection of the landscape from where she originates. A reflection of her nation’s blunt, unattractive prejudices. A protagonist decided to succeed.

Recognising that woman, recognising myself, makes For Love Alone one of my favourite Australian novels.

Susan Francis’ memoir is to be published by Allen and Unwin and will be available early next year. She discussed a brief part of this book on ABC Conversations. You can listen to that here:

https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/susan-francis-rpt/10467926

Susan has been published in various anthologies, most recently The Newcastle Short Story Award 2019. Her work has been short and long listed for competitions around Australia, including the E.J. Brady Award and the Margaret River competition. Susan has a Masters Degree in Australian Literature and a half finished PhD sitting in her garage. She is a former High School English teacher. Susan is currently working on her second book.

Susan Francis , blogger, member of HWC
book cover of Seven Little Australians

Australian Literature Part 1

By | Australian Literature, News

Pages of Us – Introduction 

Australian Literature. Does such a thing exist? That was the response from my Head Teacher at the UK school where I taught English. ‘Christina Stead . . .’ , I began to respond but, in the face of her hoots of incredulity, I stopped. Any feelings of inadequacy I may have been experiencing, in the face of teaching the English canon to the English, did not require further reinforcement.

Smarting as I was, my passion and my curiosity for our national literature never dimmed. To this day, I still become excited introducing Garner or Harrison or Winton to the students I tutor. My words speed up, my hands fly in front of my face because it is ‘us’. Us on the page. Us in the images. Us in the colloquial. ‘So what?’ they ask me. So what?

Growing up as a teenager in the 1970s in Newcastle was an uneasy time for me. Overweight and still wearing the cat’s eye glasses on trend at the time (there were no other options) my fit on the wide sandy plains of Nobby’s Beach was not organic. I don’t think I ever ‘fitted’. But I did find acceptance of myself in the books I read. There, between the pages, existed other plain girls, other girls who liked to read and found it difficult to make friends. I discovered my ‘unfitted self’ amongst the personalities and, therefore, I was. I was George in The Famous Five, I was Judy from Seven Little Australians, Laura from The Getting of Wisdom and Jo from Little Women. While these novels were chosen from various western cultures, the point is, through the reflection of my own character in those texts, I determined I wasn’t the only one who preferred a library to a netball court. And this of course is not an uncommon experience.

I draw the same analogy about our sunburnt nation. Our identity developed from and alongside the literature that reflected our unique environment, our vernacular and our irrepressible character. Charles Harpur, our first genuine Australian poet, who lived for more than a decade in the Hunter Valley, is renowned for being the earliest writer creating images inspired by the Australian landscape. John Miller writes he was ‘the only poet of the time who achieves an original Australian voice’. While other poets imagined nymphs and the green rolling hills of the old country, Harpur deliberately wrote what he saw.

The other legend to whom I believe we owe so much is Henry Lawson. Perhaps now out of fashion, he is undoubtedly the poet who, for me, best tries to capture the spirit of the early settlers. His beautiful and profound depiction of the resilient drover’s wife, who alone ‘rode nineteen miles for assistance, carrying [her] dead child’, still quietens the 21st century noise around me. Reading Lawson’s work reminds me of how tough it was in Australia not long ago and from where our empathy for the underdog originates. But more than that, these early Australian writers placed us on the page and provided every European Australian the opportunity to be. The magnificent aspect of reading is that, as F. Scott Fitzgerald says, ‘you discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.’ So, for a country as isolated as we are, our own literature is profoundly important.

Of course I cannot finish without stating that the mirror Australian literature holds up for me is different to the First Australians’ experience or the experience of those living with a disability or the LGBTQIA experience. And I do not attempt to represent that experience. But I can begin to hope that, for all Australians, our literature starts to reflect more varied experiences because accepting oneself partly requires recognising oneself on the page.

Identity is linked inextricably to Australian literature.

Susan Francis , blogger, member of HWC

Susan Francis’ memoir is to be published by Allen and Unwin and will be available early next year. She discussed a brief part of this book on ABC Conversations. You an listen to that here:  https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/conversations/susan-francis-rpt/10467926

Susan has been published in various anthologies, most recently The Newcastle Short Story Award 2019. Her work has been short and long listed for competitions around Australia, including the E.J. Brady Award and the Margaret River competition. Susan has a Masters Degree in Australian Literature and a half finished PhD sitting in her garage. She is a former High School English teacher. Susan is currently working on her second book.