Blog posts

Unusual Work No. 35

Unusual Work No. 35 (Collective Effort Press)

While spending time putting together our tribute to fellow Elwood Writer Jenny for Vision Australia Radio, creativity continues to extend in diverse directions for us all. 

Helen is delighted to have her poem ‘Identity in Two Acts’ included in the latest edition of Unusual Work (#35) published by Collective Effort Press, editor πO (PiO). For more info and to find out how to order your copy of Unusual Work, just follow this link here – you will be adding your support to our vitally important small presses and publishers.

Judge Ann Bowman awarding Helen the Poet of the Month

Also, Helen was thrilled to be awarded Poet of the Month at the April Chamber Poets spoken word event held in Woodend, regional Victoria. The event was dedicated to commemorating ANZAC Day and celebrating International Haiku Day. Helen’s moving prose poem ‘The Diary’, about her grandfather’s experiences as a foot soldier in WW1, was followed by a poignant haiku – this reading encompassed both themes and clearly resonated with the audience

It’s worth mentioning that ‘The Diary’ is published in Every Second Tuesday – Stories by Elwood Writers as part of Helen’s story ‘My Grandpa’.

So it’s double congratulations and two big cheers for Helen! Very well done.

Happy Monday to everyone.


Jennifer Bryce

A Tribute on Vision Australia Radio

We’re slowly coming to terms with the enormous loss of our very dear friend and writing colleague Jennifer Bryce, who died on 27 April.

Jennifer co-founded Elwood Writers with Barry Lee Thompson in 2007. She achieved so much in her writing career, and was published widely in Australia and overseas.

Elwood Writers soiree, St Kilda Library, 25 August 2018 (photo: Harriet Claire Tarbuck)

Jennifer has written a broad range of fiction, both historical and contemporary, spanning themes such as loss, love, grieving, war, and the environment. The strength of her vision was a key driver in the production of the Elwood Writers anthology Every Second Tuesday. 2019 saw the publication of her debut novel, Lily Campbell’s Secret, launched at Readings in Carlton by Toni Jordan. Jenny’s follow-up novel had been successfully pitched to a publishing house, and the manuscript was under consideration at the time of her death. You can read more about Jenny’s work in her bio from this website – just click on the link here.

We’re honoured to have been invited by Tim McQueen of Vision Australia Radio (VAR) to create a special tribute, and this will be broadcast in Tim’s weekly literary program Cover to Cover. We’re working on the material now, and will showcase a selection of Jenny’s finest work. We’ll record at the studios of VAR in Melbourne in July, and the tribute will air soon after that. Details to follow as soon as they’re available.

Jenny is deeply missed by all who were fortunate to know her. For us, she will forever be the beating heart of Elwood Writers.

Two on the Shelf

Helen was browsing in Stoneman’s Bookroom in Castlemaine last week, and spotted something rather exciting. In the middle of the second shelf in the photo below is a copy of the Elwood Writers anthology Every Second Tuesday. Helen sent this pic to the group, and we ran our eyes along the shelves, absorbing the host of excellent authors whose company we’re keeping. And, thanks to the orange Transit Lounge logo on that singular green spine, we quickly spotted another reason to cheer, nestled quietly on the left of the top shelf: Barry’s Broken Rules and Other Stories. So it’s a double hooray! for Elwood Writers and its members.

Stoneman’s Bookroom, Castlemaine, Victoria (photo: Helen McDonald)

Thanks for your eagle eye, Helen, and for capturing the moment. And a huge thank you to Stoneman’s for supporting writers and writing everywhere.

In the literary world, being on the shelf is definitely a very good thing. Mind you, it’d be even better to be off the shelf and in the hands of an eager reader. Don’t forget to keep supporting your local bookshops and libraries. Especially the smaller independent booksellers who might be struggling a bit at the moment. If you want them to still be around this time next year, go and browse their shelves. And maybe take a punt on a book you might not otherwise have thought to read. Its author might turn out to be a favourite.

Whether you buy or borrow your next book, happy reading.


Margaret talks ‘procrastination’

Back in November, Margaret wrote a very interesting blog about procrastination on her website. It’s a fresh and alternative look at an issue which is said to dog many writers. But rather than being troubled by procrastination, Margaret suggests that we might take comfort in the words of an Irish poet, and embrace or reframe the phenomenon.

… David Whyte says that procrastination for writers is really about them finding a way through. ‘Before a book can be written,’ he says, ‘most of the way it cannot be written must be tried first … in our minds, on the blank screen, on the empty page … or staring at the bedroom ceiling at four in the morning.’

The Procrastination of Writers, Margaret McCaffrey

The post concludes that procrastination is fine, maybe even necessary, as long as the writer doesn’t lose sight of the original idea that drove them to the page in the first place.

It’s well worth reading Margaret’s post in full, and you’ll find it via the following link:

The Procrastination of Writers, by Margaret McCaffrey

Thanks for the reassuring words, Margaret. And happy reading to everyone!


The story behind ‘The Americans’ — Barry Lee Thompson

‘The Americans’ – the fourth story in Broken Rules and Other Stories – is an homage to the annual summer holidays I used to take with my parents when I was growing up. We would spend two weeks every year in a seaside location, usually in the UK. For many years Bournemouth, on the south […]

The story behind ‘The Americans’ — Barry Lee Thompson

We enjoyed reading this, Barry’s latest blog post, where he discusses the inspiration behind his short story ‘The Americans’, the fourth of the seventeen tales in his collection Broken Rules and Other Stories.

Elwood Writers met yesterday for its regular fortnightly workshop, and Barry reminded us that he’s exploring the background to each story from the book in turn, which means the next under the microscope will be ‘Gray’. We look forward to hearing how this one came about.

If you’d like to read all four posts so far in this series, you’ll find them together at this link here.

Happy reading.


Local Lines from Helen McDonald

Congratulations to Helen on having a selection of haiku published in a recent bumper edition of The Local. You’ll find Helen’s haiku in Local Lines on page 76 at the following link:

The Local February 27, 2023 Issue 274

The Local is distributed throughout the Central Highlands including Daylesford, Hepburn, Trentham, Kyneton, Malmsbury, Lyonville, Glenlyon, Tylden, Newlyn, Blampied, Creswick, Clunes, Blackwood, Woodend – and everywhere in-between.

Well done, Helen.

Happy reading, everyone!


Reblog from Barry’s website

“In March 2016 I wrote a short blog post for the Elwood Writers website, part of a series of contributions from each group member about our various writing methods. My piece looked at some of the reasons I write short fiction, the way I write, and how I structure my working days. I revisited the […]”

Click the link below to read the rest of Barry’s post:

Working Writer — Barry Lee Thompson

It’s good to know that old blog posts don’t go away, and can sometimes even be revived if they’re still relevant and interesting. There were five articles about writing methods and processes written by group members for this website in March 2016. It might be worth bringing some of the others up for air over the next few months. Something to consider and discuss at the next Elwood Writers meeting …

Happy blogging and reading!


Friends Who Write, by Margaret McCaffrey

As writing can be the place where we humans reveal the deepest part of ourselves … having a person or people we trust to witness our process along the way is a precious gift.

from ‘Friends Who Write’.

We’re quite surprised to realise that we haven’t published a blog post since December last year, and it’s already almost March! Where does the time go? We’ve all been busy with our own individual projects, but now that the fortnightly group meetings have begun again after the summer holidays, Elwood Writers is eager to get back into the blogging swing.

And so, without further ado, let’s go. And what better way to start than with a short reflective essay that Margaret has written on writing groups and friendships, published last year in Working Writer, a bi-monthly publication from the US. In the essay, Margaret talks about her personal experience as a member of Elwood Writers: what the group means to her, and how it’s impacted her work. It’s a terrific piece, and you can read it for yourself by clicking here. We hope you enjoy it.

Now that we’re off and running, there’ll be another blog post along soon. See you there.

A belated Happy New Year.


‘Friends Who Write’ is published in the Jul/Aug 2022 issue of Working Writer (Vol. 23 No. 4).

Literary Fortnight

The Best Of Cover To Cover 2022: on Vision Australia Radio over two weeks from Monday to Friday at 1:00pm (AEST) 26 December to 6 January. That’s ten of the best episodes from this year.

We don’t know for sure which day the Elwood Writers ‘Adelaide’ program will re-air, but a little bird tells us it might be Thursday 29 December.

To avoid missing out, make this a literary holiday season and listen to all the broadcasts. What better way to transit from one year to the next than by immersing yourself in stories and the soothing sounds of spoken words.

Listening details and further info can be found at the link below:

However you choose to spend it, have a safe and peaceful festive period.

Happy writing, reading, and listening.


The Gift of Reading

It’s that time of the year again. How quickly it comes around. Maybe you’re on the lookout for some original festive gift ideas? For the reader in your life, might we suggest a copy of the Elwood Writers anthology Every Second Tuesday? We think there’s something in the book for everyone. But don’t just take our word for it:

The anthology Every Second Tuesday hangs together well. It covers periods from the First World War to the far-too-soon future, with a variety of poetry, memoir, fact and fiction. The evocation of place, from the 1916 trenches near Boulogne to Luna Park in St Kilda is marvellous. Each of the authors has their own distinct voice – the voices blend together like a great choir.

Tim McQueen | Producer and presenter of Cover to Cover, Vision Australia Radio

You can order the paperback from most online platforms. Book Depository offers free worldwide delivery, and they currently have 10% off their list price – find them at the link below:

Every Second Tuesday at Book Depository

If ebooks are preferred, Every Second Tuesday is available from all the major retailers, including the one below:

Every Second Tuesday Kindle Edition

Why not share the wonderful gift of reading this December? Books make great stocking fillers, and you’ll also be supporting Australian writing.

Happy December,