Poetry Performances at Ballarat Bergonia Festival.

Ballarat Writers has once again teamed up with Federation Uni to create a wonderful ekphrastic poetry event. This time the Ballarat Council and Writers Victoria have also joined the group and have invited a group of poets to write and perform poetry this long weekend (March 7 – 9) at the Ballarat Bergonia Festival.

Writers have been asked to select an item in the Ballarat Botanic Gardens to write an ekphrastic poem about. I’ve selected the beautiful Eucalypt in the sensory garden.

I love these projects for a few reasons. Ekphrasis is such a rewarding style of writing. I enjoy focusing on the work of others and trying to capture that in a new light, then articulating it clear enough for an audience to understand my interpretation as well as the original work of art. In my case this year I am interested in the design of the gardens, in particular the sensory garden.

The poetry will be compiled into a book available for sale over the weekend, or at the visitor information centre after the weekend.

The readings will take place on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 11am and 3pm. I’ll be reading my work on the Monday.

You can read more about the other ekphrastic projects here and here.

Writers Festival in July


I’m pleased to announce that while I have resigned from my duties at Ballarat Writers this year, I’ve agreed to help out with publicity for the fantastic upcoming Death in July Festival.

Ballarat Writers have a strong reputation for informative and industry specific writers festivals. This year is a break from the CYA and is focused on Australian Women’s Crime Writing. The event is partnered with Sisters in Crime and M.A.D.EContinue reading →

Why I love Graeme Simsion

In October I had the good luck of meeting and Interviewing Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project.

He was a guest of the Ballarat Writers for one of our ‘Reading Nights’ where we host a guest author to discuss all things writing with our members. There was much excitement about Graeme’s visit due to the success that The Rosie Project has had this year. I held off buying the book so that I could get a signed copy on the night (I’m always secretly worried that our guests will travel from Melbourne and get zero book sales, a small turn out, then a long and lonely drive home.) I’ve had a chance to read the book now and I can see why it’s been a hit. However what I learned from my interview and Graeme’s presentation was more about what makes some people succeed. Continue reading →

2013 Southern Cross Literary Comp

I’ve been working hard over the last few months to promote the Southern Cross Literary Comp. Please see the details below and share with anyone you think may be interested. It’s a fantastic competition that Ballarat Writers Inc is administering (I am Chair and Publicity Officer)  Continue reading →

I’m talking at the Melbourne Writers Festival

I am very pleased to announce that I will be a panellist and an interviewer at the 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival.

I spent some time helping the team from MWF as part of my role at Ballarat Writers and now I can announce that I’ll be involved in 2 events.

My first event is on Saturday as part of the M.A.D.E. by Writers Panel. I will be discussing how my life as a writer interacts with the ideas of freedom, power and democracy. I’ll be sharing the panel with some great writers and must confess to having what singer/songwriter Paul Kelly calls ‘the pretendies’.

On Sunday I’ll be hosting, In Conversation with M.J. Hyland. I’ve written about her work before and a few years ago participated in a workshop that she was running.  I’m looking forward to this event as it closes out the weekend of events and I’m hoping will have some great audience participation.

So let me know if you’ve got any advice, or any questions you’d like me to ask.

If you’re in Ballarat please come along to some of the events. It’s a great chance to encourage Melbourne arts groups to run regional events.

There are heaps of workshops and panel discussions so please book in.

Finding God?

If you stare at a religious artefact long enough can it convert you?

Yes, I am seriously asking that question. It’s not the type of question I’d usually ponder, being neither religious nor prone to staring at artefacts. However, last month I completed another ekphrastic poetry project with the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Ballarat University and Ballarat Writers. This year’s project was based on the exhibition, Living Traditions which exhibits a range of religious and spiritual artefacts and artworks.

A group of poets from Ballarat Writers and Ballarat University were assigned the daunting task of creating a collection of ekphrastic writings inspired by the collection. Ekphrasis is the term used when creating one artwork inspired by another. Continue reading →

Writing Workshops

Ballarat Writers have launched their 2013 Workshops

Based on the success of previous years the writing workshops are back with a range of topics to inspire writers of all levels and genres.


This year’s workshop facilitator is local author and poet Karen Sparnon.

Karen has twenty-five years teaching experience and a PhD in Professional Writing and Editing. Her first novel, Madonna of the Eucalypts, was published by Text Publishing in 2006. It was translated and published overseas, and in 2007 won the Grollo Ruzzene Foundation Prize for Writing about ltalians in Australia. She has recently completed her second novel, which is again set between Italy and Australia, and is at work on her third novel.


Workshop topics include:

February 23rd Continuing the Mythic Journey, exploring the emotional arc.

March 23rd, Struck by Lightning, exploring how creativity works, and how to make it work for you.

April 20th, How to deal with your characters emotional lives, outlining how to add depth and create compelling characters.

June 15th, To plot or not to plot – that is the question, determining key structural conventions within fiction.

July 13th, Shaping life into life writing, for writers working on biography, autobiography and life writing.

August 10th Just when you thought it was finished, looking at what writers should focus on when drafting and re-drafting.


For the complete detail of each of these workshops, session times and locations visit www.ballaratwriters.com


Why I’m a bit smug this week

This is a big week for me.

On Saturday I was invited by the Art Gallery of Ballarat to be part of the ‘entertainment’ for their fantastic garden party. The garden party was part of the Capturing Flora exhibition and I was invited to read my poem inspired by the collection (more on that later). For pics and a review of the night see Amy Tsilemanis’s blog. Amy is the host of the Tinderbox radio program at Voice FM Ballarat.

Wednesday was a rehersal for the Artists Inspire Artistry recital and a quick trip in to visit Dave and Miles at Voice FM, Accessing the Arts program to discuss all things Ballarat Writers.

  Tonight I’ll be attending the launch of Eclectica, an anthology that I have 2 pieces published in. Then I’ll be dashing over to see Tor Roxborough at the Ballarat Writers reading night at the library. Eclectica is an anthology of work by University of Ballart students and Ballarat Writers members. I’ve seen the proofs and it looks great, it’s available in hardcopy or free e-book (although one of my pieces is missing from the e-book due to formatting difficulties).


Friday is the big Artists Inspire Artistry recital (then again Tuesday). It is collaboration between the Art Gallery of Ballarat, the University of Ballarat and Ballarat Writers. A selection of aspiring writers have developed a range of poetry and vignettes inspired by the Capturing Flora exhibition, this style of writing is known as ‘ekphrastic’ writing. Annette Chappell from the University of Ballarat has mentored the writers as they develop their written work in response to an artwork from the exhibition.

The writers interpretations of the botanic art has been fascinating. A booklet containing the images with the new writing has been produced and will be available for purchase at the Gallery. Tickets are available to the Artists inspire Artistry event on Friday November 9 and Tuesday November 13, which includes a free copy of the book and a roving recital of the poetry. For details and tickets visit http://www.capturingflora.com.au/programs-and-events.aspx

If you’re in Ballarat I’d love to see you there!

Writing Projects

It’s taken me a while to write about some of the writing projects I’ve been working on but I’ve had some great chances to get some of my work published recently.

Earlier this year I wrote a short story to the theme of  ‘The Book as a Material Artefact’ for the journal Ex Parenthasis. 

I was lucky enough to have my story Tashkent’s Koran published along side work by E A Gleeson, Amy Tsilemanis, Jade Standing and Nathan Curnow.


In the next few months I will have a poem and short story published in the PWE Anthology from the University of Ballarat. More on that as it happens.


I’ve also just found out that I’ve been selected to participate in a fantastic writing initiative between Ballarat Writers Inc and the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Here’s a little about it:

The event is called ‘Artists Inspire Artistry: Reflections on Botanical Art’, and it is part of the Art Gallery’s ‘Capturing Flora’ exhibition, which opens on 25 September. The event aims to celebrate the beauty and rich diversity of Australian flora and its expression by botanical artists from the early explorers to the present day. It will present a collection of new poems and written works recited by their authors in front of the artwork of their inspiration as part of a ‘roving’ recital around the exhibition. We are scheduled to give not one, but TWO recitals of the new works – on 9 and 13 November.

So my novel is being neglected a bit, but I’m enjoying the new inspiration!