Writing or Penning?

From time to time we like to share blog posts from our members’ individual websites. This, from Margaret’s blog, is a recent piece that resonates. “Writing is our craft, and we must do it our way. That is in the best way we know how. Sometimes that takes time, space … and reflection.” Hear, hear. You can enjoy Margaret’s post below (including a recording of our latest program on Vision Australia Radio, just in case you missed it). Happy reading, from a wet and grey autumnal Melbourne.

WRITINGS AND MUSINGS OF MARGARET MCCAFFREY

Do people ask you how your writing is going? I’m sure we all get asked that. Who knows what the right answer is. One acquaintance of mine enquired further: ‘But are you penning or writing?’ he said. I didn’t know the difference.

‘Well,’ he replied, ‘ C. (his partner) tells me she’s been writing during the day, though not been “penning”.’ By this she means she’s wandered about the house, begun the cooking even, or taken herself off for a walk. But in her head she’s puzzling over how to better render her screenplay. This, he says, is writing. “Penning” on the other hand, is when C. puts her thoughts down on paper. Or gets cracking on the laptop.

For me his commentary illustrates that we writers can be way too hard on ourselves. We may make excuses about why we are not actually penning. It’s more than likely that…

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ADELAIDE WRITERS’ WEEK 2022 CONTINUES

A session entitled Bet the Farm was an interview with two writers I hadn’t heard of: Gabrielle Chan,  a political journalist, who has written a book, Why you should give a f*ck about farming, and Anika Molesworth, an agroecology scientist, who has written Our Sunburnt Country. Generally it seemed that there was too much to cover in this session. We are living in a time where we are experiencing the convergence of floods, fire and plague. Some areas discussed were: the problem of favouring the cheapest production of food (the neoliberal approach), one-third of the food produced in the world is wasted, the general lack of vision – everything is siloed – the Minister for Agriculture should have the same status as the Minister for Defence – need for a National Food Policy. Anika is hopeful. Farmers for Climate Action has 8,000 members. Yet it is hard to spread their messages – the rural press has closed down. Since attending this session I’ve been more particular than usual about not wasting food.

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A Farewell to 2021

As we reflect on this particularly challenging year, when it seemed we were stymied in many aspects of our lives, we’re surprised by how much we have in fact achieved, both individually and as Elwood Writers, without actually meeting face-to-face.

We’ve attended online seminars, and taken part in literary festivals, panel discussions and readings; we’ve worked on first drafts of manuscripts, achieved publication in a variety of journals and anthologies in Australia and overseas, contributed guest blog posts, judged short-story competitions, and formed relationships with other writers’ groups here and in the US. And throughout the year, our anthology Every Second Tuesday has been selling from a number of independent bookstores and online platforms.

In spite of all that life and the pandemic might have thrown at us, we’ve kept on writing. Putting one word in front of another. We think it’s important to celebrate this.

We look forward to continuing to share our news and progress throughout 2022. In the meantime, we’d like to wish everyone a safe and peaceful holiday season. Here’s to another new year filled with the joy of reading and writing.

Take good care,

Elwood Writers

Reminder: Australian Short Story Festival 2021

The Australian Short Story Festival is back. This year it’s in Adelaide, and it starts this Friday, running for three days. I’m taking part in a couple of sessions, on Saturday and Sunday. More details in the attached post, re-blogged from my site.

Barry Lee Thompson

Only a week to go till this year’s Australian Short Story Festival kicks off in Adelaide. It’s an in-person event, though it’s now been confirmed that some participants, myself included, will have to attend via Zoom because of current border restrictions. If you’re going to be in Adelaide from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 November, why not get hold of a ticket and pop along. It’s a really interesting line up of sessions and workshops. I’m taking part in ‘Masculinity’ on Saturday, and ‘Writing the Family’ on Sunday. Might see you there. Program info here, ticketing here. For a full list of this year’s writers, go here.

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‘How to Maintain a Thriving Writers Group’, by Barry Lee Thompson

Barry has written the October guest post on Lee Kofman’s blog The Writing Life, over on Lee’s website.

‘How to Maintain a Thriving Writers Group’ offers practical tips to anyone thinking of starting a group, or for those who want to inject momentum into an existing group, or shore up their solidarity, or what have you. Maybe you’re curious about how we work. Or you might want to compare the group to your own experiences. There’s plenty in the post to think about. While you’re there, it’s worth checking out the rest of Lee’s website. Have a wander, linger a while.

Thanks to Barry for writing about Elwood Writers. And thanks to Lee for welcoming us to her blog.

Happy reading and writing to everyone!

Closing date extended: Fundación César Egido Serrano VI International Flash Fiction Competition

Originally closing on 30 September, this international microfiction competition has extended its deadline, and is still accepting entries. Maximum two stories per entrant, 100 words per story. Give it a shot if you haven’t already.

Barry Lee Thompson

“”The César Egido Serrano Foundation was created to propose that the word be the tool of coexistence between cultures and religions and against all violence.”

The closing date was originally 30 September 2021, but has now been extended, with the new date yet to be announced. The competition is open to writers from anywhere in the world over the age of 14 years. Two entries allowed per author, maximum 100 words per entry (not including an optional title), in either Spanish, English, Arabic or Hebrew. The competition slogan: “Faced with COVID; Solidarity and Resilience”.

More details, including information on previous editions, can be found here. Contest rules here. Find a participation form here. The language of the page can be changed to Spanish, Arabic or Hebrew from the list at the top-right.

This year sees a twist on the usual judging process: the participants will have the…

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A question of websites: Jennifer answers

What was your original intention when setting up your website?

Although I started my website way back in 2014, I must confess that I still haven’t made a clear distinction between my website and my blog. That is still on a hypothetical ‘to do’ list! In 2014, I hardly knew what a blog was, but like Barry I wanted some kind of social media presence. I had resolved to become ‘a writer’ after many years of working as a musician and in educational research – and this was one way of establishing a writerly presence.

I looked at a few blogs and enrolled for a workshop at Writers Victoria on setting up your blog. I was flabbergasted when the person taking the workshop spent her time talking about recipes and childcare! I think it hadn’t occurred to me that people would want to share these very important aspects of their lives in this way – I’d envisaged blogs as being ‘literary’.

Barry acquainted me with WordPress and my nephew helped me with the initial setting up of a blog, designed with categories covering the various areas I thought I might write about. The six categories haven’t changed over the years (although I haven’t had any travel to write up since 2018). They are: My Reading, Memoir, Comments on concerts, plays, films, Travel, Short stories and Writing.

Continue reading “A question of websites: Jennifer answers”

Queensland Literary Awards | State Library of Queensland

We enjoyed every minute too, Barry. A night to remember. Congratulations once again.

Barry Lee Thompson

It’s a huge thrill and honour to have been a finalist in this year’s Queensland Literary Awards. Broken Rules and Other Stories was one of five books shortlisted for the University of Southern Queensland Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection. Thanks so much to the judges and everyone involved in the awards.

I enjoyed every minute of the live stream of Thursday evening’s awards ceremony from State Library of Queensland. The recording is available on the State Library website, or you can catch it over on YouTube. It’s well worth a watch. (The Steele Rudd Award begins 43 minutes in.)

Many congratulations to the other finalists and winners. Shortlisted and winning titles are available in-person or online from SLQ’s Library Shop.

Happy reading and writing!

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EW Member News

Helen’s haibun ‘January’ is published in Issue 9 of Drifting Sands, May 2021. Drifting Sands is a journal of haibun and tanka prose. For more information about the journal, go here. You can read Helen’s beautiful haibun here.

Jennifer’s story ‘The Angel of Gennevilliers’ was recognised in the Fish Publishing Short Story Prize 2020/21, making it on to their very competitive long-list. This annual international contest has become an established event on the literary calendar. There were 1631 entries in the 2020/21 competition.

Very well done to both!