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Newcastle Short Story Award book cover

December 2019 Newsletter

By | News, Newsletter, Newsletters

HWC Member Gillian at NAG live read 2019

Newcastle Art Gallery Live Reading
The last live reading of 2019 was held at Newcastle Art Gallery. Over 20 stories, poems, opinion pieces were heard amid a brilliant collection of landscapes.
Cash prizes were awarded to: Eve Gray, Phil Williams, John Dunn, Diana Pearce and Gillian Swain

Here are two works we heard on the day:


NOT ONLY A TREE             
Eve Gray                                            
in response to Bonsai nursery 
by Alexander McKenzie  
of the beloved
had a tree
to rest under
and contemplate,
to hang upon
and contemplate,
to plant and wander
through, meander,
and contemplate.

What is hidden 
is revealed
What is below
is above.
What is lost
is sometimes found.

You may never know
the answer,
but look,
if there is one
it should be here
between the seed
and top of the canopy.

It is about potential,
perhaps the seeming small
holds the complete 
whole miracle.

and perseverance
nurturing nature
and the goodness
of earth left
Resting in peace
Diana Pearce
in response to Summer Rain 
by Angus Nivison

I sit on the verandah
listen to rain’s timpani 
                       on the iron roof
its chorus in the downpipes
of overflowing tanks

breathe the dampness in the air
watch water cascade
like shafted light
a pale promise of relief

see the water become blood
as it scours the tree-dead 
of a distressed land



Creative Writing group HWC members

2020 Membership Gift Vouchers 
in time for Christmas
Email us for more information


Why not gift an HWC membership to a friend or family member for 2020? 
No landfill! Lasts for 12 months. The gift that keeps on giving.
Read all the benefits of a HWC Membership
HWC Member News
Thank you to our writing group facilitators for the wonderful task hosting HWC groups, welcoming new members and encouraging our writers. Thank you to the HWC Board who steer our vision and to Sue Polson and Helen Blackney, the volunteers working constantly behind the scenes to bring you all our programs and activities.
Jill Emberson, ABC Newcastle presenter
HWC lost one of our vibrant members last week. Jill Emberson asked HWC to help make a book from her Meet the Mob podcast series. Member-writers have created beautiful stories and poems during 2019. Local Aboriginal people and HWC Director met with Jill recently to finalise the editing process. We are sad that Jill did not live to see the final book but we continue with the next phase of the design, printing and launch in 2020. Vale Jill.
Emily S Smith Author of Childrens books
Member Emily S. Smith
has a picture book coming out with Larrikin House next year - her first book published by a traditional publishing house. The book is called 'Garbage Guts' - an environmental story about a garbage monster who is determined to have the ocean for himself. It personifies the North Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch and is aimed at 3-7 year olds. Illustrated by Heidi Cooper Smith.

In the past, Emily has self-published two picture books, 'Betty the Yeti's Disappointing Day' and 'Life Is Not Fair When You Are Just a Chair', with Graham Davidson as a part of the project Storytime Lane.
Katrina McKelvey author Member 
Katrina McKelvey
was commissioned in June this year by Macmillan Education to write four books for their Snappy Sounds reading project. They are being released May, 2020.

Phil WIlliams HWC member Live reading at Newcastle Art Gallery Speaker at July 2019 to a full audience and art works

Phil Williams' 
short story Lines of Steel was a finalist in the Newcastle Herald short story competition, and was published in the Newcastle Herald in January this year. His poem Goodbye Humans won a HWC-NAG ekphrastic award last month.

Claire Thomas authorMember Claire Thomas

As a result of being part of the HWC children’s writing group, I have improved my craft and formed networks by entering competitions and attending conferences. I attended the CYA conference in Brisbane earlier this year where I won the preschool picture book category with my manuscript, Secret Worlds.

I entered manuscripts in the CWA Scribbles awards. Manuscripts Moon Rise Sun Set; Not Another Unicorn Book and Adorn the Sky were all shortlisted. Moon Rise Sun Set was awarded Highly Commended in the final results. My next project is researching Margaret Olley for a new picture book manuscript.

Sharon Boyce author

Sharon Boyce 
received her first traditional publishing contract this year for her picture book There's A Shark In The Loo illustrated by Suzy Houghton. The contract is with Larrikin House and is due for release in 2020. Shortly afterwards she received a second contract from Larrikin House for another picture book to be released in 2021


Rebecca Trowbridge
Her two poems david is goliath and Dear E were published in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review in July. Her poetry and prose collection Bitter Matriarch was published in November.
Cover and illustrations from 'My Little Monster'
Member Kate Griffith My amazing mum took one of my children's picture book draft manuscripts and fully illustrated it herself then got it printed for my birthday. I was a little teary at seeing it in print I must say. I wrote this when I was 14 years old 

Magdalena Ball

Magdalena Ball 
interviewed Beth Spencer about her book High Wire Step on the Climactic Network

Nicole Sellers Spec Fic Part 3 blogger in May 2019

Member Nicole Sellers’ 
poems Ode to my Axial Skeleton and Sun Coat were published in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review in July.  Her poem Lady Firebrand Calls the Sea by Name won a HWC-NAG ekphrastic award in July. Her short story Safari Blonde was illustrated and published by Patchwork Raven in August Her poem Song for Cliodna was published in Three Drops from a Cauldron.


HWC Blog - our members Blogging
Lauren Hislop Blogger on Disability

Next year, our 2020 blogger will be social scientist 
and disability advocate
Lauren Hislop (L)

Lauren will blog about the challenges of seeking employment when you live with a disability

Lauren blogged for us in October
read her humourous, engaging pieces here:
Living with Disability
Meet the Newcastle Short Story Award judges Laura Elvery and Khalid Warsame

2020 Newcastle Short Story Award judges - Laura Elvery and Khalid Warsame

Newcastle Short Story Award Open Now

Accepting short stories up to 2000 words
$7800 in prizes

 Top works selected by our judges, 
Laura Elvery  and Khalid Warsame 
to be published in the 2020 Anthology
Learn more

NPP 2019 book cover for Soft Serve

2019 Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology 
and all our anthologies are available from our

Literary events and opportunities
Submissions close 27 January 2020 for the 
Writing NSW Kids and YA Festival 
(June 2020)
Learn more
book cover Butterflies book from Ash Island Hunter Wetlands
from Member Julia Brougham:
Butterflies and Bushland - is a book on sale for $25 in The Schoolmasters House on Ash Island Hexham and at MacLean's Booksellers Beaumont Street Hamilton
Survey: Arts and Culture in Newcastle
Have your say and help shape Newcastle's art and culture
Consultation closes 15th January 2020.  
Learn more here

Writing NSW Access for Regional Writers Grants

Round 2 of the regional writers' grants opens November 25. HWC can support your application. Members of HWC have been successful receipients of Writing NSW grants in the past.
Learn more
HWC Writing Groups
Attendance is free as part of your membership. 
There are vacancies in most of our groups especially: 
Belmont, Maitland and Teralba. 
Email us for more information or see the entire list of writing groups 
when you login to the Members Area
University of Newcastle NeW Space Building

October 2019 Newsletter

By | News, Newsletter, Newsletters

You’re invited !

Newcastle Poetry Prize Ceremony

A free event

Level 8, NeW Space

from 2pm Saturday 26th October

Program includes: 
Live Reading 
$25 000 Prize Pool awarded 
and the launch of the 2019 anthology

See the list of poets to be published 
in the 2019 anthology


Hear these poets (and many more) read their brilliant works at the live reading.

a notice stating there are free drinks at the NPP ceremony

University of Newcastle NeW Space Building

Level 8, NeW Space, UoN. What a view!
HWC Blog: October Blogger is member Lauren Hislop

Lauren Hislop Blogger on Disability

Living with Cerebral Palsy – Living with Disability

Excerpt from Blog 1: “People often express to me that they find me inspirational simply for completing ordinary tasks. I once attended a job interview, during which I was praised for getting to the venue ‘all by myself’.  I had no idea that catching a cab was so impressive. My notion of inspiring action involves reducing world hunger. Placing witticism aside, it’s frustrating that people have such small expectations of me due to my disability. As I ventured home, ‘all by myself’, I knew I wouldn’t be offered that position.

Miss last months posts? You can read about Nature Writing by Julia Brougham here.

HWC Member News

HWC Member Susan Francis will have her memoir ‘The Love That Remains’ published by Allen and Unwin on February 4, 2020. A third of the way through writing the book about finding her natural parents, Susan met her husband. He helped her find many of the missing pieces in her story, and they soon went to live in Spain together. One morning in Lisbon, her life and the subsequent manuscript took a very different path. You can listen to Susan’s interview with Richard Fidler from ABC’s ‘Conversations’ here.

HWC Member Kit Kelen was asked how he felt about being selected for the 2019 Newcastle Poetry Prize anthology. Watch the video to hear his poetic response! Will his poem ‘Hardanger’ win a prize from the $25,000 prize pool?

HWC Members Magdalena Ball and Ellen Shelley had poetry featured at It’s Raining Poetry in Adelaide. Poem #16 by Magdalena Ball: “It always comes back to the bird: simulating a tougher species, reaching an arm / with privilege’s casual grace, nudge of hip or smack, easiest with small eggs / or chicks, curved beaks, striped plumage, power of the pack, slogans, insults / often reflect the wielder, truncation, onomotopoetic mud this cuck.” View the location here.

Live Readings at Newcastle Art Gallery

Another successful live-reading was held Tuesday 1st October.

Next live reading: 3pm, Tuesday December 3rd
Bring your stories, poems, essays, rants, songs, scripts.
In response to the 'WISH YOU WERE HERE' exhibition.
Other Literary Events

Christos Tsiolkas is coming to Scone!

Saturday 16 November

The Patrick White Oration is a new, major event for the Scone Literary Festival and will feature Christos Tsiolkas – award-winning author, critic, essayist, playwright and screenwriter in Conversation with Festival Patron, Phillip Adams. The Oration also doubles as the launch event for the Festival’s 2020 Program with ‘hot’ ticket specials that night only for the March event.

Learn more here.

Author Talk: Peter Fox

Raymond Terrace Library

Thursday 31 October

Former Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox is a 36-year veteran of the NSW Police Force, during which time he investigated countless child sexual abuse cases in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. His book details some of the horrors that face our police every day, revealing cover ups, backlash and the lengths those in power will go to to avoid facing the the truth. Join him at Raymond Terrace Library this month– the event is free but bookings are essential: call 4988 0111.

More info here.

Tour and Taste at Macquariedale Organic Wines

November 2

Have you ever wanted to see what goes on behind the scenes at an Organic and Biodynamic winery and vineyard? Join the winemaker for a small group tour of Macquariedale’s vineyards and the winery.

In this tour you will learn how Macquariedale is using Organic and Biodynamic farming practices to grow grapes of exceptional quality. You will get to see how our wines are made and ask questions of the winemaker. Your tour will conclude with a guided wine tasting accompanied by local cheeses.

Numbers are limited so book early.

More info here.

wine being poured into a glass

HWC Writing Groups

Attendance is free as part of your membership. There are vacancies in most of our groups especially: 
Belmont, Maitland and Teralba.
Email us for more information 
or see the entire list of writing groups in the Members Area
NPP 2019 book cover for Soft Serve

November 2019 Newsletter

By | News, Newsletter, Newsletters

NPP 2019 book cover for Soft Serve

2019 Newcastle Poetry Prize

The 2019 anthology is now available. 
Click here to purchase 

Congratulations, Chloe Wilson, winner of the Newcastle Poetry Prize for her poem 'Soft Serve'
read more about Chloe here

Chloe Wilson winner 2019 Newcastle Poetry Prize

Steve Armstrong NPP 2019 Local Award winnerSteve Armstrong, winner of the Local Award for his poem 
'Thirteen Ways to Know My Grandfather'
Kit Kelen, winner, HWC members award NPP 2019
Kit Kelen, winner, HWC member's award, 2019 NPP
Caitlin Maling winner Harri Jones PrizeCaitlin Maling, winner of the Harri Jones prize (for a poet under 36 years)
Audrey Molloy, 2nd Prize winner, NPP 2019
Audrey Molloy, 2nd Prize winner, NPP 2019 with Judy Johnson (L), judge


landscape picture of mountains from NAG exhibition

Live Reading at Newcastle Art Gallery

3pm, Tuesday 3rd December

Bring your stories, poems, essays, rants, songs, scripts 
in response to the Wish You Were Here exhibition.

Read these wonderful poems by our members from past live readings

Portrait by Grant Palmer

I just don’t get it at all
Colours so vivid
Black white and monotone grey
Faces staring out from the wall
Cartoon, photo, surreal
And completely indecipherable
No children to be seen
Displaying the joyless elements of life
So i sit and look with despair
Bereft of joy
No laughter or music
Absent the gathering of friends
So i wonder
What would I look like
My chaotic mind and darkest fears
Would I be monotone grey
A cartoon maybe or a shape
Not quite of human form
All alone
Just hanging


This is mine by Ellen Shelley

I see calm
Splashed across a coastal town…

Clouds shelter
Free and reachable

Angular images
Jut out like peninsulas
The anorexic arms of a city …

Melancholy stares
Are the shadows
left behind

And there are many
Even the moon
Spoons into its own

Deliberate & unsure

Reminds me of childhood
Overcast with a tinge of yellow

My mother’s sleeping
Made me nervous
My night light gone out

Everything appeared bigger

A hallway stretched over creaking floors
            The space under beds.

My sister offered little
In the way of solace
Back then,

Always clinging on

Her fearful shouts
Unbolting the dark

by Luci Croci


haunted and haunting faces
not shaped in the mellow oval of a Modigliani
but contoured into a smooth triangle
eyes deep in the soft hypotenuse
see something the viewer cannot see


eyes intent not to see
ears alert not to hear
a name she knows

aimless in the garden
picking spent petals
laying her gentlest touch on the azaleas

her mind is deep in sunflower fields
under a cornflower sky
dreading fair weather lightning

her tension spans hemispheres
over countless physical barriers
subtle as a rainbow ending in a field

of bodies scattered among blooms
ready-made funeral wreaths
and the remains of a pyre

a Boeing shot down in a war with no boundaries
simple as milk on cereal
the last morning they spoke
Newcastle Short Story Award Open Now

Accepting short stories up to 2000 words

$7800 in prizes

Top works selected by our judges to be published in the 2020 Anthology 

Learn more

Newcastle Short Story Award 2017 Book Cover NSSA 2019 book cover  Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology 2016

HWC Blog - our members Blogging

Katrina McKelvey author

November blogger is children's author
Katrina McKelvey (L)

Watch out for her weekly blogs on Writing for Children
October blogger was social scientist and disability advocate
Lauren Hislop (R)
A humourous, engaging series on 
Living with Disability

Lauren Hislop Blogger on Disability

HWC Member News
Deb Arthurs host of Children's Writing groupMember, Deb Arthurs, who hosts the HWC Writing for Children group has written a blog for a number of months now. View the extensive topics she has covered.

HWC member Ellen Shelley

Member Ellen Shelley's poem Don’t Look Too Closely has been published in this month's Cordite
Read the poem here

Julie Simpson HWC Member

Member Julie Simpson was invited to contribute to Black Swan’s new anthology about intolerance. Her story ‘Born To Ride’ is about an elderly woman fleeing an evil aged care facility in a motorised wheelchair. It is published alongside a great contingent of Australian writers and the story originally comes from Julie’s book of linked short stories ‘Idle Hour in the County of Hope’ (Hodder Headline, 2000).

Susan Francis author

Member Susan Francis was interviewed on ABC’s Conversation Hour. Ahead of the publication of her book, listen to the interview here

Writing NSW Access for Regional Writers Grants

Round 2 of the regional writers' grants opens November 25. HWC can support your application. Members of HWC have been successful receipients of Writing NSW grants in the past.
Learn more
HWC Writing Groups 
Attendance is free as part of your membership. 
There are vacancies in most of our groups especially: 
Belmont, Maitland and Teralba. 
Email us for more information or see the entire list of writing groups 
when you login to the Members Area
Wollongong Writers Festival Nov 22-24 2019 Flyer
Wollongong Writers Festival 
 22-24 November 
 With the theme All lit up shining a light on the topics and parts of life that are too often ignored or repressed by polite society. All you need to bring is an open mind. 

June 2019 Newsletter

By | News, Newsletter, Newsletters

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

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


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.


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

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