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June 2019 Newsletter

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Live Readings


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


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


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

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


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


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

Michael Ladd - 2020 judge Newcastle Poetry Prize

2020 Newcastle Poetry Prize

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The 2020 Newcastle Poetry Prize is now open for entries

Judges are Mike Ladd and Judith Beveridge

Sponsored by the University of Newcastle there is a $25,000 prize pool and a chance to be published in the 39th anthology 

Why not Purchase a past anthology and enjoy some excerpts from past finalists below.

Once Wild 2014 book cover NPP 2019 book cover for Soft Serve Coastline 2012 Book Cover

Always going home (a domestic cycle)
by Karina Quinn
Give (I cannot be separate)
It is almost unbearable, 
the nearness of these children. The feeling
that they are trying to swallow me.
I want more than anything to be 
out, and away, 
and at exactly the same time I cannot bear 
to leave them, so 
soft, so beaming beautiful 
shining like silver underwater shot 
by the sun. At exactly the same time 
I want them to climb back 
inside of me, and I into them, as if 
we could consume each other, as if 
our bodies have never been entirely 
separate. As if we are made of dough, 
and by pushing into each other, we will 
incorporate; we will mix. 
We will be made into a new thing full 
of air and yeast and warmth. The space 
between us elastic with give.
Excerpt from Hex
by Connor Strange 

The night is alive with dust
in harbour light. Gene Vincent’s son-
in-spirit, Ian Dury, is on the radio, kicking blues
from the word rhythm. I am doing my best
to keep from drowning in a maelstrom

of disorder. What is my name? Where are
the ones I have silenced with imagining?
Turn up the volume. I will not falter.
The night is coal-black and still.
Excerpt from The River Running Shallow
by Mark Tredinnick 

And at the bend a foretaste of the evening
Pools and wells, and I swim the scent of ages
Past, the learning way down deep in things,
And I feel a coolness like the dawn upon
My skin.
               The sky, meantime, premeditates
Some rain, which, as I turn, deigns to fall,
Desultory, a while, upon the descant
Chat of children after dinner, beyond
The hedge . . . 

And step by step my mind relents,
And night becomes a house where all I carry
Puts itself to bed—three children, tired 
Now of being every sound that heard them
In my head, and every way they were not
Here, but were the rehabilitated
Sense the river running shallow in deep
Banks made of where I found myself,
Accompanied each step by all I love.
Before they sleep my children read me this:
Grief is proof of love; it lets you walk
“The sweet music of your particular heart”
In step with all you thought you’d lost—but can’t.
Excerpt from A disco in the bush
by Adam Gibson
[Parnngurr, W.A. 9pm]

There’s a big mob
gathered in from Punmu
and Jigalong, east from Warakurna,
over from Kunawarratji and
up from Parnpajinya, here for the funeral,
having arrived in battered cars
that you can’t believe survived that road
and dust-sprayed Toyotas
that now sit like emperors
in the hot late-July sun.

The red dirt is rusted,
no shade beneath the trees with
all the lower branches
ripped off for firewood and
dogs fight amongst each other
as the service is conducted
on the red flat earth
in the centre of community.

Then night falls
and the kids emerge, creeping out
to the sound of music
pumping from DJ decks
in the community hall,
the new supply shop operator
spinning the tracks, he’s cool,
while torches are flashed
in the dusty darkness and
dozens of faces line the walls.

Feedback from our Grieve anthologies

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The Grieve competition is currently open for the 9th year and we are thrilled our sponsors have returned. We receive entries from all over Australia and we are always pleased to receive feedback from entrants who read the anthologies or have their work published in them… Here’s what they have to say:

Thank you for producing another wonderful, diverse and touching publication for those experiencing grief. I found some of the pieces very moving and it has been good to once more find myself not alone in my pain but in a fellowship of travellers on a journey. I think that is what Grieve does so well, it alleviates the sense of isolation we feel and comforts us when others are able to describe the all too familiar landscape of our own grief.

Linda Harding

I love seeing all the different ways people interpret or express grief. On a personal note, the little poem Shadow, Russ Talbot just nailed it for me. I took a sharp intake of breath and felt the impact when it ‘hit’. I think that’s the thing, we all feel it in different ways, but are unified with someone who can put it into the right words…

Melissa Willings

Reading this wonderful anthology it’s really hit home what a universal, even uniting, thing grief is – I’ve found it very moving. And I relate to so much of it.

Russ Talbot

At first glance it might seem/feel that an anthology on grief is not the place to find solace in 2020. I don’t know if it is my particular makeup, or my experiences with grief, PTSD and loss which make me feel better when I read about how badly other people have had it. But I feel better when I read this book. I take comfort from the many questions I see raised in the pages; we ask ourselves, could it, should it have been different? What do I do now with these feelings? Some of us, we turn them into words and put them on the page and the pages make a book and hopefully, the words in that book help someone else feel a bit better, or heard, or understood, or less alone in sadness.

Kate Olivieri

Self-Publishing Workshop with Graham Davidson

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The Self-Publishing workshop was held recently and well attended by members. Graham Davidson taught us various tips when publishing our work, such as to use Ingram Spark (digital printing) for words, but offset printing for photos, and to use cream paper as white paper is a give-away that the work is self-published. 

Graham also delved into the necessity of using an ISBN, the advantages of having your own website, print on demand vs offset printing,  and the use of InDesign to set out your work for printing. Specifics of cover files, the front matter, and details we need to include were also thoroughly covered. 

Finally, Graham went through the steps to take once we felt your books were ready for distribution – and gave us recommendations on bookstores, libraries and retailers to contact

Auslan Story Readings

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Hunter Writers Centre is proud to release readings of 6 children’s books written by Hunter region authors who are also long term members of Hunter Writers Centre. These stories are read in both Auslan and Signed English by: Darlene Thornton and Billie Mosman. This project was made possible by funding from Create NSW for COVID-recovery.

The 12 videos are published on the Hunter Writers Centre Youtube channel and have been promoted to the deaf community, deaf societies of Australia, schools for the hearing impaired, pre-school and primary schools around Australia, children’s writing related groups and associations, Auslan educators and the associated community.

We are delighted that these readings are an accessible resource for children who are deaf or hearing impaired, serve as useful resources for both the deaf and non-deaf community, and provide connectivity between deaf children and hearing children who sign. This project serves as a celebration of the long-standing HWC Children’s Writing Group, which has seen 6 members publish books, and helped HWC authors gain increased knowledge about deafness, Auslan and Signed English.

Here are the links to the Auslan readings                                

Garbage Guts                                                                                    

Big Beach BBQ                                 

Who is at the Zoo?                                  

No Baths Week                                                                             

There’s a Shark in the Loo                                                           

Isla’s Family Tree                                                            

and the Signed English readings:

Garbage Guts

Big Beach BBQ

Who is at the Zoo?

No Baths Week

There’s a Shark in the Loo 

Isla’s Family Tree