Welcome to 2017 – New Year Heralds Change



As mentioned in a previous post there will be changes to the Mordialloc Writers’ Group this year.

Unfortunately, no one stepped forward to organise Readings by The Bay on a monthly basis so there have been no dates booked for 2017.

If the readings are revived, regular attendees will be the first to know.

Breda Hertaeg is coordinating the Tuesday night workshops and the following dates have been booked this year. All bookings are for ROOM 1, 7:30 – 10:00 pm.


MARCH 7, 21

APRIL 11, 25 (ANZAC day)

MAY 9, 23

JUNE 6, 20

JULY 4, 18

AUGUST 1, 15,  29


OCTOBER 10, 24

NOVEMBER 7, (Melb Cup) & 21


 I guess the changes can be described as ‘an end of an era’ – I founded the group with Noelle Franklyn. I’m the only one remaining who has seen every writer come through the group (over 200 local and not so local writers) – some achieving publishing success with novels and poetry collections. Many published in our nine anthologies, the last one for our 20th Anniversary.

I’m thrilled Breda is running Tuesday nights and although it is sad Readings By The Bay will no longer be a regular fixture there are many other venues for writers to read their work that didn’t exist when I first started our event in Mordialloc.

Good luck to everyone for a great writing year  – I’ll still be teaching at three local community houses but I’m taking the second term off to go travelling.

On March 31, I fly to Beijing, then to Mongolia to start my journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway and then fly to London from Helsinki.

In the UK I’ll be catching up with friends and family in England, Scotland and Ireland,  plus visiting the Orkney and Shetland Isles, new destinations for me. I’m hoping to catch up with writer friends I only know through the Internet.

I’ll be blogging my trip, so for anyone interested please follow me at Up The Creek With A Pen, https://mairineil.com

And for anyone living near any of my intended destinations and who may want to have a cuppa with me – please get in touch.  




Rural Writers Rock!

It is the last Readings by the Bay for 2016 – and courtesy of Kristina Rowell’s efforts we have guest author Jennifer Scouller a best-selling author of rural fiction coming to share her writing journey.

 readings by the bay ocotber2016.jpg

After Jennifer presents, we will share questions and refreshments and if there is enough time, we can extend the afternoon to public readings – traditionally our last readings have always been upbeat and happy get-togethers with everyone looking forward to summer holidays.

The Future

As has been mentioned in earlier posts, Mordialloc Writers’ Group is going through a transitional period – so now is the time for people who value the existence of a local group where people can workshop their writing and support other writers, to step up and commit to regularly doing the work behind the scenes that is often taken for granted.

If the workshop nights and readings are to continue someone has to volunteer to organise and run these. Perhaps after the Readings, people can have this discussion or arrange a time to think about 2017 and beyond.

The workshop nights have been successful this year hosted by Coral, Breda and Steve and the Readings too with Kristina  – there is no reason, business, as usual, won’t continue once people decide and book meeting dates and divide the workload.

The necessary work can be a joint effort – discussion, negotiation, sharing of ideas – please think about the commitment, the passion, the time required, the positives and the negatives – and perhaps put your hand up.

Think about priorities:

  • Is the group’s focus more social and nurturing
  • How often do people want to get together to workshop – weekly, fortnightly, monthly?
  • Does the group want to publish future anthologies
  • Does the group want regular public readings – if so how often, where and what format
  • If the group wants to continue hosting published authors to learn from success – when and how often?
  • Does the group want to invite skilled editors and small press publishers so people can learn to be self-sufficient
  • Currently, the group is not incorporated – how will funds be raised for rent etc and who will look after the funds? (It has survived successfully without incorporation.)
  • Who will book meeting places and dates? The neighbourhood house has been good to us – and meeting there we come under their insurance policy!
  • Does a new website need to be set up and maintained – a Facebook presence?
  • Who will be contact person/s?
  • Relationship building with other groups

It is time for a change.

(Not in a Donald  Trump way!!!)

I can’t give the time or effort to Mordialloc Writers because of my teaching commitments and other community involvements.

I founded the group over 21 years ago, we’ve produced nine anthologies and have hosted some wonderful book launches and events but Kingston My City was my swansong – I hope others find enthusiasm, the focus and passion I did when I started a local group accessible for writers of all talents, in all genres…

It is exciting to end the year with an inspirational and successful author – see you Sunday!

Mairi Neil

Author Event – Maria Katsonis

READINGS BY THE BAY sept 2016.jpgThe inter-generational transition of Mordialloc Writers powers ahead and Kristina Rowell has arranged another author event to invigorate our regular Readings By The Bay.

Kristina sent around a reminder email to regulars (and not so regulars) to explain that this is a unique opportunity for an intimate discussion with an author, senior public servant and mental health advocate.

Maria and Kristina worked in the same government agency years ago before Maria became “famous and extremely busy!”

She will speak about writing and publishing her memoir “The Good Greek Girl” (Ventura Press, 2015) which is ‘about her experience of depression and rebellion against a traditional Greek upbringing’, as well as share her insights into the world of publishing and where the journey has taken her.

An engaging, confident, and inspiring speaker who has done similar talks at public sector forums, as well as the Newcastle Writers Festival earlier this year, she is sure to give you an honest and meaningful answer to any question you may ask.

Her most recent achievement is co-editing a book Rebellious Daughters (just published last month), described as ‘an anthology of true stories of rebellion and defiance from Australia’s finest female writers’.

For more detail see Maria’s blog http://mariakatsonis.com.au/ and the Readings review http://www.readings.com.au/review/rebellious-daughters-edited-by-maria-katsonis-and-lee-kofman.

Both books are available from the Readings bookshops and Maria will bring some copies on the day.

Hope to see many familiar and new faces on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25TH at 2.00pm.

Mairi Neil

A Special Invitation

A Special Invitation

writers wanted.jpg

I can’t believe half the year is almost over! My apologies for the lack of upkeep of this blog but my teaching has kept me busy – and life in general! Also my own blog Up The Creek With A Pen Writing …

A recent press release to advertise a special Readings By The Bay notes (last para in particular!):

The Mordialloc Writers’ Group is a group of local writers coordinated for over 20 years by Mairi Neil, the 2016 Kingston Council Citizen of the Year.  The writers meet fortnightly on Tuesday evenings at the Mordialloc Neighbourhood House to workshop ideas and works in progress.

They also host public readings in the afternoon, on the last Sunday of the month at the same venue. These gatherings offer invaluable time and space for local writers to read their work in a friendly and supportive environment.  

Mairi wants to facilitate intergenerational transition so that the Mordialloc Writers’ Group continues to grow and remain relevant in the digital age. She encourages writers with fresh ideas to join and revitalise the group.

The Mordialloc Writers’ Group is calling all writers, readers, and listeners to join them in the coming months for this series of special Readings by the Bay, to enjoy guest speakers and presentations by published Melbourne authors.

These guest authors have been organised by one of our members who volunteered to be part of the generational transition I hope will mean Mordialloc Writers will continue to meet and be supportive of local writers. A shared workload will keep the group growing and relevant.

Kristina has organised several special author events this year to be held on our regular public Readings By The Bay  hosted on the last Sunday of the month. Another two members Steve and Coral are taking responsibility for workshop nights.

Perhaps an expert blogger will join and improve this part of the Group’s public persona too!

Kristina has organised several special author events for the remainder of this year but the first event will be presented by two successful storybook authors and animators.

Soft Stories


The first of these special readings will be on Sunday 26th June, when we welcome the talented Melbourne authors/artists Ms Isobel Knowles and Cat Rabbit, the creative team behind the crafty, innovative and unique children’s books Owl Know How and Too Much for Turtle, published by Thames and Hudson in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

Isobel and Cat recently ran fun and creative art workshops with over 100 children at ArtPlay, Melbourne, building exciting sets similar to those featured in their books. They will come  to Mordialloc and share their creative journeys, their road to publishing, and answer questions.  For more details about their work see www.softstories.com.au.

COPY readings by the bay JUNE 2016

If you are a writer or have an interest in writing and at the same time want to meet other local writers and contribute to their writing journey as well as sharing your own, Mordialloc Writers welcomes you. The community group has an established history of individual and collective achievement including the publication of nine anthologies.

Please join us to hear the  journey to publication of special guest authors, be inspired, and meet and chat with local writers over a cuppa. Gain the confidence to share your own writing.


See you on the 26th!




Improve your craft in 2015 – Writing Classes galore!

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.

Ernest Hemingway

There are several classes available locally for writers to be involved with a group writing regularly,  improving their craft and enjoying the process – as opposed to feeling frustrated and isolated at home.  Mairi Neil, coordinator of Mordialloc Writers’ Group is the tutor for the local community house courses.

Mordialloc Neighbourhood House ( Tel: 9587 4534) hosts a Writing for Pleasure and Publication group, Monday mornings and has been nurturing writers for 15 years.  Write for your own pleasure without formal assessments in a friendly supportive environment. Discover what you would like to write and how to write it. If you are already writing, or would like to get started, come to these encouraging workshop sessions.

Mon: 10.00am – 12.30pm
Term 1: Feb 2– March 23 (7 wks) Cost: $50, concession $40
No class: March 9~Labour Day
Term 2: April 13—June 22 (10 wks) No session: June 8~Queen’s Birthday Cost: $65, concession $55

Godfrey Street Community House, Bentleigh ( Tel: 9557 9037) hosts a similar Writing for Pleasure and Publication class, along with other writing classes. The social aspect of the weekly get-togethers, like those at Mordialloc, produces sharing of stories and laughter as well as writing. A joint venture between the Art class and Writing for Pleasure & Publication class is when the annual House calendar is being produced; students have the opportunity to write a short verse inspired by the various paintings submitted by the art class, for the calendar.

Tuesday 1:00pm – 3:00pm  Term 1: February 3 – March 24 (8 weeks)  Cost: $48.00

Term 2: April 14 – June 23 Cost: $66.00 (11 weeks)  Monday 6:30pm – 9:30pm


Do you enjoy writing? Have ambitions to be published or study further at university? Are you capable of expressing yourself in English but want to explore the creative possibilities of words and writing, and gain confidence? Our trainer has a Master of Arts in Writing (Swinburne University) and is passionate about writing. She is a published writer in print and online. (Certificate of Attainment for this short course if assignments completed). Funded by Adult & Community Further Education

Term 2: April 27 – June 22 (8 weeks) Cost: $65 on presentation of concession card $55

 LIFE STORIES & LEGACIES – preserving the past for the future

This course is where learners will understand how to apply correct writing techniques, basic grammatical rules, plan a project and learn how to map a timetable and express ideas and write cohesive literacy with clarity. Digital Literacy will play a large part in this course. Learners will also be able to format their story as an e-book. Term 1 will be an introduction to the course. Funded by Adult, Community & Further Education

Wednesday 10:00am – 1:00pm
Term 1: Febr 18 – March 25 (6 weeks) Cost: $55 Conc $45 per term

Term 2: April 22 – June 24 (10 weeks) Cost: $65 Conc $55 per term


Creative Writing at the Convent with Dr Gary Smith – Note: Places limited to 12 participants.

What: Weekend course in Poetry & Short Fiction for beginning & developing writers.

Cost: $339- (10% discount for students & pensioners).

Get your creative juices flowing! Explore and develop your creative writing potential over a stimulating weekend in the beautiful grounds of the Abbotsford Convent. Enrol now and enjoy the company and encouragement of this small group of fellow writers under the guidance of published writer and experienced writing educator, Dr Gary Smith.

The course, consisting of Poetry and Short Fiction modules, will be held over the weekend of Saturday 11 & Sunday 12 April, 2015 (10 AM — 5 PM


· Writer’s block–dismiss the shock of the blank page.

· Inspiration–spark your imagination and kick-start the writing process.

· First drafts–how to make your first drafts fly!

· Redrafting—craft your rough first drafts into polished gems.

· Poetic elements–explore the basic ‘box of tricks’ employed by poets.

· Short Fiction elements–explore the fiction writer’s tools of trade.

Poem & story analysis

Class exercises & workshop            Class readings

Bookings and further information: Go to: http://www.cleverwords.com.au/conventclasses, or Email: gary@cleverwords.com.au