Welcome to 2017 – New Year Heralds Change

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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.

FEBRUARY 7, 21

MARCH 7, 21

APRIL 11, 25 (ANZAC day)

MAY 9, 23

JUNE 6, 20

JULY 4, 18

AUGUST 1, 15,  29

SEPTEMBER 12, 26

OCTOBER 10, 24

NOVEMBER 7, (Melb Cup) & 21

DECEMBER 5

 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.  

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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.

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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

Poetic Aspirations or to be Inspired?

For those who can’t come to Mordialloc Writers’ book launch or who have the day to indulge in literary activities, Dimitri Troaditis is hosting

Poetic inspirations @ Emerald

November 14, 11.45am-1.45pm

Poetry reading with

JENNIFER MACKENZIE
HIDAYET CEYLAN
ALANA KELSALL

and open mic

at Emerald Hill Library & Heritage Centre

195 Bank St., South Melbourne
(opposite South Melbourne Town Hall)

11.45am- 1.45pm

The Library closes at 2.00pm on Saturdays so you still have plenty of time to come to Mordialloc!

The room can seat up to 30 persons. There is a kitchen available to use, with the usual facilities, including crockery and a hot water urn. The room also has audio visual equipment and screen if it will be required.

The next and last for 2015 reading is December 12, 11.45am-1.45pm

For more information:  Dimitri Troaditis troaditisdimitris@gmail.com

Tel: 0432 094 342
OR Emerald Library and Heritage Centre  Art & Heritage Programs | Arts & Culture 9209 6416

A Free Literary festival in Melbourne

Melbourne will host another Literary Festival this year, and it’s FREE!

Thanks to Lisa Hill from ANZ Litlovers I’ve attended the Stonnington Literary Festival in the past and can verify it is well worth attending.

taken at 2014 stonnington literary festival

Nicole Hayes, Lisa Hill, Paddy O’Reilly, Catherine Harris and Mairi Neil at last year’s festival.

All events are free, but you need to book!

 Check out their website – http://www.stonnington.vic.gov.au/festival-program/

Lisa (a member/supporter of Mordialloc Writers’ Group) usually hosts a panel. This year her session is entitled That’s Odd, and it’s a discussion about fiction that’s strange, macabre, or inexplicable. The panel includes

  • Angela Meyer, editor of The Great Unknown and author of Captives
  • A.S. (Alec) Patric, author of the novel Black Rock, White City
  • Jane Rawson, author of A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists

The (Untitled) Literary Festival will take place from 19 – 26 November 2015, but at the launch on Wednesday 18 November, 7pm-9pm, Functions on Chapel, 255A Chapel Street, Prahran you can hear and meet the 2015 Miles Franklin award winner, Sofie Laguna. (Brief profiles of other writers and presenters here too.)

Book online or call: 8290 8000

Lisa’s session is on:

Sunday 22 November, 2pm-4pm, Toorak/South Yarra Library
Bookings open 1 October. Enquiries: 8290 8000

She has announced details and links today on her amazing blog full of excellent reviews.  Lisa mainly reviews Australian and New Zealand books, but also many others because the Australian literary scene benefits from a magnificent diaspora of almost every nationality on earth! (apologies for hyperbole, but hey I’m a creative writer.)

Because of her wealth of experience Lisa’s panel will be insightful and entertaining, and at least you will know she has read the author’s books!

Hope to see you there!

Connect With Writers Online

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This week I received an email from a couple of Melbourne-based writers who have set up a website collabant.com to help writers find a writing partner.

In short, our project is to match-up fiction writers with other fiction writers in order to workshop, critique, and collaborate on their fiction. Since you run a writing group, I thought it would be perfect for those who either can’t make it to all of your meetings or want to connect with more writers one-on-one.  

Michael went on to say:

We’re trying to connect a large community and need all the help we can get…

Here’s how it works:
You visit the website and through a short survey give information about your writing habits and preferences. They’ll find and send you a writing partner on the first of every month based on your answers.

It’s 100% free, there’s no long-term commitment, and all writers are welcome.

The beauty of being online is there are no borders or timetables, and you can connect with whoever you like when you like. I suppose if your writing tastes and needs change you can redo the survey.

Below are the questions in the survey. How you answer determines the type of writing partner allocated.

  1. What are your name and email address?
  2. What genre do you primarily write?
  3. Who is your primary audience (highbrow, entertainment, or young adult)?
  4. Which level best describes your writing experience (advanced, intermediate, beginner)?
  5. Do you like to receive sugar-coated or brutally honest feedback?
  6. Do you like to give sugar-coated or brutally honest feedback?
  7. How much time per week can you spend collaborating?
  8. How did you hear about us?

What else do they offer?
Joining Collabant not only gives you one custom-picked writing partner per month, but they also send special offers to your inbox, inform you about contests and send articles about writing.

The best part? It’s 100% free.

They emphasise their difference:

Search the entire internet, we’re the only service that finds writing partners for you. Instead of going to a pool of writers and trying to find a partner yourself, we pick one writer from the pool based on your attributes and send you their information. It’s like the difference between going to a bar versus having a friend set you up on a date…. only without the romance.

For any writer, feeling isolated or wanting a change from their current group, or someone just starting out and feeling a bit lonely this new website may be right for you.

Good luck and please leave feedback because sharing your experience will help others.

Catch-Up What’s On and Competitions For Writers

Sincere apologies for taking so long to update this blog, but shortage of time and wearing multi-hats is the price paid by volunteers who still have all the demands of “life” while they try to be creative.

This is a timely intro into the new state government’s request that all those involved in what they refer to as the Creative Industries,  anyone with a connection to ‘the arts’, submit ideas, opinions, and comments on a discussion paper, Let’s Get Creative About Victoria’s Future. Your contribution will help form Victoria’s first Creative Industries Strategy.

I went to a workshop last week and here is my blog on what we discussed. The Victorian Writers’ Centre has a lot to suggest too and this can be read here. The most important take away is the closing date for submissions is soon – please connect and contribute, it’s important. We don’t often get asked and this is an inclusive process – you can even remain anonymous and just click on suggestions you agree with on an interactive page online!

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2015: Call for Entries

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is open for entries. Now in its eighth year, the Prize is an internationally renowned award presented by Aesthetica Magazine that enables emerging and established writers to showcase their work to new, international audiences.

Judged by industry experts including Arifa Akbar, literary editor of The Independent and inewspapers, the prize awards £500 to each winner in Short Fiction and Poetry as well as publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, a compelling anthology of new writing.

Prizes include:

£500 Poetry winner
£500 Short Fiction winner
Publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual
One year subscription to Granta
Selection of books courtesy of Bloodaxe and Vintage
Complimentary copy of the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual
There are two categories for entry: Short Fiction (maximum length 2,000 words each) and Poetry (maximum length 40 lines each).

Deadline for submissions is 31 August 2015.  Here is the link.

Twitter

Submit your #poetry #shortfiction to @AestheticaMag Creative #Writing Award. Win #publication to showcase your talent http://tinyurl.com/ckktess

CONTACT for further information:

Alexandra Beresford         www.aestheticamagazine.com
Marketing Coordinator
Aesthetica Magazine
PO Box 371
York
YO23 1WL
0044 (0)1904 629 137
01144 1904 629 137 from USA and Canada

The Geoff Dean Short Story Competition

The Geoff Dean Short Story Competition is open to all Australian writers for short fiction between 3000-10,000 words. The competition is presented by the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and Island Magazine, in conjunction with the Geoff and Elizabeth Dean Foundation. Entry fee is $20. First prize is $2,000.

Closes 31st July

2015 Poetic Christi Press Poetry Competition

The theme for Poetic Christi Press’s poetry competition is ‘imagination’. Poems must be previously unpublished. Maximum length is 50 lines. First prize is $300; second is $100. Twenty five poems will be selected to be included in an anthology to be published by the press. Entry fee is $6 per submission.

Closes 31st August

Melaleuca Blue Life Writing Competition

This year we are going to collect flash-memoir, short stories and prose about your schooling life, and in particular a funny or useful lesson learned at school. The title of the book will be “Do nuns wear knickers? True stories of school life and what we really learned.”

Kari O’Gorman is seeking a wide range of experiences and especially types and generations of schooling. If yours is not successful, it is not likely due to your quality of writing, it is simply for variety sake.

In addition, we are also seeking photos or images of school as fillers in the book. We also would like some filler stories to be collected verbally and written down in less than 300 words. So if you know of anyone with an interesting school story who perhaps doesn’t like to write, please find out if you can record them with their permission and ask if they want to be included in the book.

Closes 14th August