A few weeks ago I attended a Ballarat Writers workshop run by Alison Arnold from Text Publishing and Cath Crowley, young adult author. The day previous Cath Crowley had won the Prime Ministers Literary Award for Young Adult writing, for her novel Graffiti Moon. The class was instantly excited when Alison told us about Cath’s success, and I have to give her credit for turning up so bright eyed the day after the announcement (if that was me I would have had a champagne headache to say the least.)

What was great about this workshop was getting a perspective from an author and a publisher at the same time. Both women have very impressive experience in their fields. Alison has worked with so many fabulous authors at Text, including Jessica Rudd on Campaign Ruby, Booker Prize-shortlisted Lloyd Jones. Before Text she had success at  Black Dog Books, where she edited Carole Wilkinson’s multi-award-winning Dragonkeeper trilogy, and Leon Davidson’s Scarecrow Army.

Cath wrote the Gracie Faltrain books, Chasing Charlie Duskin (released overseas as  A Little Wanting Song) and of course Graffiti Moon.

Hearing both women speak about books they loved, and why they loved them was worthwhile, and got us all thinking about elements of our own work. I had a significant moment where I decided to scrap the first section of my novel, (then I woke up at 2am, realised why I need to keep it, and since then I’ve been working to remedy the reasons that I thought I could dump it in the first place.) Participants had the chance to submit work prior to the workshop, and getting my first chapter reviewed by someone with such great experience was wonderful and has definitely given me some areas to work on.

Overall I found the session really engaging, interactive and worthwhile, the sort of workshop that you think about long after it’s finished. If you get the chance to work with any of these women, definitely take the chance.

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