The Greenhouse Blog

Congratulations Writer Pals!

Hey! Remember our opening night back in May, where we announced the winner of the Victorian Premiers Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript? Well, more congratulations are in order for winner Miles Allinson, because he’s just signed a two-book deal with Scribe! Congrats, Miles!

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Runner up, hot desk fellowship-er, EWF panellist, and all round babe Jennifer Down also deserves a thousand rounds of applause, securing a deal with Text, who will be publishing her manuscript, Our Magic Hour, in 2015.

Congratulations guys! We look forward to seeing many of our emerging writers on the cover of lovely books in the future.

Open Callout: Melbourne Writers Festival 2014 Digital Reporters

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The Emerging Writers’ Festival is on the lookout for five Digital Reporters to become the voice of the Melbourne Writers Festival!

Digital Reporters will be given the run of the Melbourne Writers Festival, with exclusive media passes to MWF events, a $200 stipend, and professional development from the Emerging Writers’ Festival team. Reporters will have their coverage of the MWF published on the Melbourne Writers Festival website, and will participate on stage in a special MWF event.

Sound interesting? We’re looking for applicants with unique approaches to digital reporting: bloggers, vidcasters, podcasts, photographers, illustrators… coders?

The selection of Digital Reporters will be based on the standard of the applicant’s writing sample, the standard of the applicant’s existing blog/vidcast/podcast portfolio, and their ability to report in a tone that suits coverage of the MWF.

Applications are open now and close Tuesday 8 July!

Interstate Mates: Meghan Brewster

This years bloggers were the loveliest bunch of writers, each bringing a unique perspective to the table. While our not-so-secret headquarters are based in Melbourne, Victoria, one of our intrepid reporters, Meghan, flew all the way down from Merimbula just to be part of the festival!

We caught up with Meghan to get her thoughts on living rural, travelling solo, and attending an interstate festival.

Me At the Fest

Hey Meghan! Did you get hit with post-festival blues or post-festival inspiration?

Oh wow…yes to both! It was certainly post festival something.  I felt a huge surge of post-festival freak-out, maybe?  I left with so many lists of books to read, and blogs to follow and grants to investigate, and articles to write that I spent days afterwards trying to sort everything out and re-calibrate my plans.

I have to admit I was glad when the festival was over because I was having an inspiration overload in Melbourne and I think one more great blogger to follow on Twitter could have pushed me right over the edge! It can be hard to process so much happening all at once.

 

What was your favourite event at EWF? 

What a horrible question!  It was all so powerful and interesting.  It’s hard to explain to people who weren’t there – It sounds like I joined a cult! From the very first event I attended, Emerging Editors, I knew the standard for the rest of the festival was going to be amazing. I left every event inspired and challenged in such a way I was not expecting.

Can I say which was the most surprising event? The biggest surprise for me was the “You Are Here’ session.  I did not quite understand what was going to happen and was not sure if I should stay.  I was tired and hungry and it was the last session of a huge weekend. In the You Are Here session, members of the audience were asked to exchange places with the writers who had been speaking all day and they got to be interviewed.  It blew me away.  It was so funny and such a great session to be a part of.

I was so glad I made the decision to stay.  I always knew that the people on the stage during the festival were going to be talented – but knowing the great achievements of the other audience members made me feel like I was partying with kings.  My biggest regret from the festival is not putting my hand up and volunteering to go up.  But I was a bit sweaty and tired and had not prepared myself for it.  It will be my challenge to myself next year.

 

What did you feel you got out of being an EWF blogger?

One of the best things I got out of being an Emerging Writers’ Festival blogger was actually sitting down and writing the application.  It is not something I usually get to practice and it is a process that is quite intimidating to me.  The application forced me to back myself and made me step forward to apply.  It was a big barrier I had been struggling with as a writer for a while – Am I enough – Should I even apply? I was full of doubt as I hit send, and was certain I wouldn’t be accepted.

I thought the best thing to ever happen to me was meeting Hannah Kent.  Then I realised that meeting everyone else from the festival was even better!  Meeting the other bloggers was wonderful.

As a Festival Blogger, I certainly looked at the festival from a different perspective.  I knew that the more events I attended, the more other people would be able to share in the festival. I made more of an effort on behalf of those who could not come, and tried to share as much as possible on line.

 

Heading home

 

What did you feel you got out of being an EWF blogger, and traveling from interstate to do so?

Traveling is an incredibly underrated medical practice.  It wakes you up. Traveling gets you away from your dirty washing, your half made bed and your filthy car; away from the broccoli heads that have gone to seed in your back yard and the grass that is now half a metre tall.

Traveling from interstate to the festival took me out of my daily life and planted me in an intensive writing environment.  Without the travel I would not have had the focus that I felt, or been open to as many crazy things.

I was so exhausted from the festival that I over slept on my last day and missed my flight home!  I was stuck in Melbourne not sure what to do next.  Lucky no one ever wants to go to Canberra (Ha) and I was able to get a cheap flight.

 

Was it worthwhile?

Absolutely.  I will be there next year for sure…

 

Tell us where you’re from, what’s the writer-scene there? Lots of sexy dorks?

Oh yes – Sexy dorks – Umm… No comment.

I am from Merimbula on the Far South Coast of NSW and the writing scene here is more active than I first thought.  I just moved here 6 months ago with my partner.

There is a big Writers Group (Writers of the Far south Coast) who get together regularly and have lots of guests and speaker come and educate us.

I am in the process of making a bloggers group – much like a writers group, but we all talk in HTML… Oh god! I am the dork.  I just ran a Blogging Workshop last weekend and realised  there are lots of young motivated women around who are keen to start blogging and writing with me so I am feeling particularly blessed at the moment.

 

What are some of the differences, career or otherwise, as a writer living in a rural area?

You are on Facebook alllllll the time! And I joined Twitter now – Which I have never touched till a few months ago.

I guess I am not really sure about the differences as I have never ‘been a writer’ in a city before.  All I can tell you is that it is a lot slower – the writing community is smaller and tighter.  If there is something on, like a writer has come for a book launch, then everyone goes!

We all go to everyone else’s gigs!  If we aren’t there to support each other – People notice.

You are a lot more accountable living in a small country town.  It is true what they say, everyone does know every one else.  I certainly drive differently here than I used to in Sydney.  If you ever find yourself in a coastal NSW town and you are wondering why everyone is driving so slowly, it is because they are trying to avoid ending up on the front page of the local paper.

Part of the reason why my partner and I moved to a rural location was because of the lower cost of living, which has allowed me to write almost full time.  While I was living in the city I was working 5/6 days a week and so much of what I earned was paying to my rent.  I was a waitress who thought a bit about writing every night before I went to bed. Wow – So I guess the country has made my career?

I do feel isolated from what is ‘happening’ in a way, and worry that I am not very cool any more.  But I am working and I have to remind myself of that. I now have my own office in our home, with enough space and support to write.

 

We had a few people say that they love where they live, in smaller communities, but they feel like they have to travel to places like Melbourne or Sydney for the opportunities they want. Do you think that’s true, is the tide changing at all?

When you think about amazing opportunities such as the Emerging Writers festival, it is definitely true.  There is no way that something like that would ever come to Merimbula. Though I did invite Sam Tywford-Moore and Hannah Kent and to come and stay at my house… I haven’t heard back from them yet.

But it is far more complicated than just moving to Melbourne or Sydney to get a job.  Just because you live in a city doesn’t mean you don’t have to still make a huge effort to make your writing work.  I think it all comes down to the opportunities you are seeking and the kind of writing you are hoping to produce.  Yes, the tides are changing.

I went to High School in Eden on the Far South Coast, and our isolation from inner city hubs gave us incredible opportunities.  When I tell people from Newtown High that we could do Scuba Diving as a sport in year 9 and ten their heads explode.

I think being in the city you can take a lot of things for granted and perhaps get a bit lazy.  Being away from the action stimulates an urge to compensate on things I feel I have missed out on.  I might make more of an effort than those who have a writing community at their fingertips. You crave what you don’t have – city writers look for country retreats and country writers look for inner city book launches.

 

Where I sit and write

 

What do you think needs to happen, if anything, to create more creative hubs outside of the inner city mentality?

I have a spare room at my house, and I have had an idea for a while which is like Air BnB but for writers… So I would post my house online, but then also write about what I am working on, my favourite writers, who I am and any skills I have to share – as well as writing weaknesses I need help with. And then people from the city who are looking to get away and work for a cheap week who have the same interests as me, could come and stay for a week and we would have a writing holiday together?

It’s a start – If there is anyone interested in making my idea work – let me know. Other than that I am not sure.

 

Anything else you want to share with us?

Since being at the Writers Festival in Melbourne the one biggest changes I have noticed is that I now tell people I am a writer when we meet for the first time.  Before the festival I always told people I was ‘writing something’ or ‘working on something’.

Now I can say – I am a writer without hesitation.

 

 Any projects or thoughts?

My thoughts are – I can’t wait for next year.

And – I am pushing for a blogging component of the Emerging Writers Festival next year.  If anyone else wants to help me bully the festival, send me a message.

 

If you are into Meghan’s Writer AirBnB idea, or just want to read more of her awesome writing, head over to her site Manuscrapped and get in touch!

This year we’ll be taking EWF on the road to rural locations less-touched by the festival crazy, so stay tuned for more info!

(f)route

Earlier in the year we got in touch with a group we’d heard a little bit about called (f)route. We heard they were fruit lovers and artists. We heard they were into creative & sustainable ideas, fresh local food, bespoke accommodation & slightly wild experiences. From what we heard, we were kind of in love. When we chatted to the lovely Andrea, we decided to partner with her and the team to bring breakfast to the communal tables at our Early Words events, providing a space and experience where writers, artists and festival guests could ruminate on ideas over poached fruits, muesli and yoghurt.(f)route were amazing, with the most beautiful flowers, vases, cutlery, plate ware and, of course, food provided by a team of writers and artists who love what they do and are passionate about connecting communities.

 

foute

 

If you’re thinking you may have missed out, then you’re right. Lucky (f)route are a thriving community that exists separate from the EWF, and you can find out more about them and how to get involved in their community here, see their awesome shots from the Early Words here, and if you’re really keen, become a member here.

Here’s a taste of what you’re in for, and believe us, you’re going to love it. Thanks again to Andrea, Jesee, and the whole team at (f)route for all your hard work and for being part of the Festival. You guys are the best!

Adelaide-based writers! Want to appear at EWF Adelaide ’14?

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Over the second half of 2014, the Emerging Writers’ Festival is hitting the road!

EWF Adelaide ’14 will take place over the first weekend of September (Friday 5 – Sunday 7 Sept), with the program being designed to serve the unique needs of South Australian writers. A central component of the Roadshow will be a one-day Writers’ Masterclass full of practical advice for writers looking to take their work to the national stage. Late-night events will include literary magazine launches and storytelling evenings, spread across several inner-city venues.

As always, the Festival prides itself on being inclusive to everyone in the writing community, of all ages and at all stages of their career. In this spirit, we’re running an open artist call out as an opportunity for writers to put up their hands and let us know they’d like to be involved in the Adelaide festival.

To get involved, visit emergingwritersfestival.org.au/ewfad14 and let us know what you’d like to hear and present at EWF Adelaide.

Applications are open now and close July 9 2014.

Blogger Round Up- Part Two

Is two weeks far enough in the past to be able to start reminiscing? It’s only been 18 days since the Festival finished, but we’re already forcing our friends and family to sit through our digital slideshows of times gone by, the memories we made, the fun we had. So what better opportunity to wallow in nostalgia than follow up with what our Festival Bloggers got up to for the rest of their fest’ experience?

q&A

(image courtesy of www.clairealiceyoung.com)

Sharon from Twitchy Corner made it to the Toff for Mixtape Memoirs- an evening of nostalgia itself, and was surprised to spot Ella Hooper crouched at her feet. A great recap is up on her blog if you missed out on the night.

Liz has a beautiful recap of her experience and the lessons she learned during the Festival. It really captures what the Festival is about!

Megan from Manuscrapped wrote a lovely piece on attending the festival solo and had some awesome updates on her Instagram.

Claire made it to Emerging Q&A and Travel Writing with Tom Doig, and offered up some beautiful pictures and awesome perspectives on workshop nerves and festival feels, stating I could liken the experience to that of stumbling upon an underground society, huddled together in the dead of the night to debate and discuss secret affairs. The passion was so thick you could touch it.” which makes us sound a lot cooler than we are, so thanks Claire!

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(image courtesy of www.clairealiceyoung.com)

We love partnering with emerging writers and blogs are a great way to get your voice out there. Thanks again to all our lovely bloggers this year- we hope you guys had a blast! If you don’t already follow these girls online, you better hop to it.

Pay the Writers meeting

Presented by: Emerging Writers’ Festival, OverlandWriters Victoria and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance

Following the development of the Pay the Writers manifesto at this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival, writers, editors and illustrators (and those concerned about their welfare) are invited to join us as we start to talk about a collective approach to the issue of payment – particularly for freelancers.

We invite people to come armed with ideas and enthusiasm. The meeting will aim to establish some general principles we’d like to organise a campaign around – for example, what are the aims of a campaign and who will it benefit?

You can read the Pay the Writers manifesto on the Emerging Writers’ Festival blog.

If you are a writer, editor, illustrator or literary-sector worker and think you should be paid for your work, fill out this survey and come along to the meeting.

Please click on ‘make a booking’ below to confirm numbers for the meeting. We hope to see you there…

Can’t make the meeting?

You can still help us paint a picture of the sector’s pay-rates by telling us how much you’ve been paid by literary orgs and publications over the last year (even if you worked for free). The survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete and can be filled out online.

Writing Forums: Queer Writers

The Writing Forums were a series of closed industry events that took place during EWF 14, bringing together clever people to look at problems facing the writing community. Described by one participant as “a secret tree house of brain storming” the three forums looked at concrete ways we can work toward change. Focusing on women in writing and publishing, queer writers and how writers can better be paid for their work, each of the three events produced a series of recommendations, resolutions and ultimatums. 

EWF is committed to continuing to work with the writing community to see real change in these areas. 

QUEER WRITERS MANIFESTO

Compiled by: Amy Middleton

This document reflects discussion that took place at a closed forum on issues facing queer writers, held at the Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne on 2 June 2014.

KEY ISSUES IDENTIFIED

  1. “Queer-only” events at festivals can add to the sense of segregation felt by LGBTI writers
  2. Lack of sexual and gender diversity among characters in Australian literature
  3. Once in the spotlight, LGBTI writers can feel as though they are defined by their sexuality or gender identity, against their wishes
  4. Lack of representation within organisations such as literary journals, writers festivals and publishing organisations (audits are tricky due to personal nature of LGBTI identity)
  5. Invisibility of LGBTI networks within the arts
  6. Lack of education on sexual and gender diversity within arts organisations

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

To festival programmers

  • Give queer writing panels another focus apart from panellists’ sexuality. E.g. ‘Media from a queer perspective’, or ‘LGBTI characters in young adult fiction’
  • Considering keeping queer-specific events, mentorships or forums as a ‘safe space’ for LGBTI writers who may not be out
  • Highlight these events as ‘queer writing’ rather than ‘queer writers’, to avoid outing and pigeonholing the individuals
  • Ensure queer writers appear on panels outside of designated LGBTI events
  • Use a “queer interest” tag throughout the program to highlight events for LGBTI attendees
  • Offer LGBTI writing mentors within existing mentorship programs
  • Digital Writers Festival is a great place for queer audience engagement and discussion of queer issues, because of the power of the hyperlink to aggregate a variety of voices

To writers

  • Diversify characters throughout literature to include more sexual and gender diversity
  • Have a conversation with all writers and sources about how they would like their sexuality to be represented, before doing so

To literary journals, writers’ collectives and other organisations

  • Establish an advisory board with representatives from minorities, subcultures and smaller branches of the community, including sexually and gender diverse members
  • Encourage intersectionality within the board to avoid a narrow approach
  • Consider queer perspectives on all issues, not just sexuality (e.g. ageing, health, homelessness, migration, travel, etc)
  • Ensure that queer representation also encompasses transgender, intersex and bisexual individuals, as well as other alternate sexualities (such as polyamorists, sex workers, etc)
  • Proactively encourage queer voices by adding ‘We encourage submissions from sexual and gender diverse contributors’ to your existing charter

FURTHER ACTION POINTS

  • Establish a national queer arts group on Facebook to facilitate networking (Archer)
  • Blog: 10 publications that best represent LGBTI voices and issues (Archer/EWF)
  • Conference for LGBTI voices and issues in the arts (Archer/EWF)
  • Reading copies of Archer in queer spaces in universities and other arts organisations.

Presented in partnership with Emerging Writers’ Festival and Archer Magazine.

Writing Forums: Women in Publishing

The Writing Forums were a series of closed industry events that took place during EWF 14, bringing together clever people to look at problems facing the writing community. Described by one participant as “a secret tree house of brain storming” the three forums looked at concrete ways we can work toward change. Focusing on women in writing and publishing, queer writers and how writers can better be paid for their work, each of the three events produced a series of recommendations, resolutions and ultimatums. 

EWF is committed to continuing to work with the writing community to see real change in these areas. 

Women in Writing Manifesto

Compiled by: Lefa Singleton Norton 

This document reflects discussion that took place at a closed forum on issues facing women in writing and publishing, held at the Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne on 30 May 2014.

  • Before we talk about how women should pitch more, negotiate pay better and advocate for themselves, we should recognize that if women fail to do these things as freely and readily as men, it is because they are conditioned to do so. Overcoming this lifetime of socialisation takes knowledge and empowerment. Women should be empowered to talk about what they are being paid. We want to see practical guides and advice for women on how be assertive, how to negotiate and advocate for their work. It’s time we figured out how to empower women with these skills in practical ways.  We want them given all the tools they need to know what others are paid, what a fair rate for their work is, to negotiate for better rates and conditions. We love the recently launched Pitch, Bitch initiative. It’s practical and supportive, and we thank Estelle Tang for making it happen.
  • We need to arm women with information. Transparency is vital. Are female authors offered lower advances than men? If publishing houses won’t tell us, we want an anonymous survey that authors can answer to help us find the truth. And are freelancing women offered lower per word rates than men at the same publication? We want to analyse some of the data from the ‘pay the writers’ campaign and find out. And if this data shows that women are indeed paid less, we want publishers and publications to answer to that information.
  • If women are counted on the page, they should be counted in public, too. The VIDA and B&P/Stella Counts unveiled the statistics showing women get a raw deal in literature. We want to see a count of public literary events broken down by gender. Too many writers’ festivals have women relegated to the women’s topics and women’s panels. It’s time to hold programmers and event managers to account for the amount of women they place in key platforms in their events. We challenge festivals and cultural institutions to do their own counts, and if they won’t do them and consider these issues, we’ll do it for them.
  • As well as counting these stats, we want to hold those in positions of power accountable for them. We will challenge them to respond to the statistics of the Stella Count and the Festivals Count. We want them to participate in this dialogue and speak to the industry about what they are doing to redress gender imbalances.
  • We want to see mentorships for women where skill-sharing and career advice can be enabled. We want to see further training that breaks through the barriers women face in reaching the top levels of industry. More importantly, we challenge those in positions of power to start a dialogue about and with women in their organisations. What do they need? How can you support them?
  • We challenge the accepted concept that boys won’t read girl protagonists, or than men won’t read stories with women protagonists. Many books prove this concept wrong, and teachers and parents repeat it like it is law. Why won’t they? What can be done about it? Is it even true? If women are 50% of the world, it’s natural for them to be 50% of the characters in books, and to lead those stories. Girls read books featuring boys all the time, and boys, when given the opportunity, are just as adoring of characters like Katniss as girls are. Education is vital from an early age. We want to see better support for initiatives like the Stella education program, which goes into schools and talks about boys books vs girls books, what they are and why the delineation is irrelevant. And we want to delve into the Australian high school texts lists to see how women fare in those lists? Are there great female authors and great female characters for young readers to explore?
  • If a picture is worth a thousand words, what do the covers of books by female authors say? We’re tired of seeing headless female torsos, giant lips, half faces, windswept hair and longing gazes into middle distance. Who comes up with these marketing rules that say green don’t sell, or female authors must use covers that highlight their gender and alienate half the population? We will create a visual display of the covers of books by women released in the last year and bask in the hot pink, the pastel tones, the beheaded women. What will it look like when we are confronted with this? We don’t know, but we look forward to finding out. And when we do, we’ll be awarding a literary version of a razzie to the worst cover offenders.
  • Women are not a homogenous group. We will not be treated like one. Within our community there are women of colour, women from refugee and migrant backgrounds, queer women, indigenous women, women who reject gender as a socially created construct that is of no consequence at all. All women’s stories matter, and they matter to everyone regardless of gender. We’re here, and we won’t be erased or silenced or ignored.

Presented in partnership with Emerging Writers’ Festival and Express Media

Writing Forums: Pay the Writers

The Writing Forums were a series of closed industry events that took place during EWF 14, bringing together clever people to look at problems facing the writing community. Described by one participant as “a secret tree house of brain storming” the three forums looked at concrete ways we can work toward change. Focusing on women in writing and publishing, queer writers and how writers can better be paid for their work, each of the three events produced a series of recommendations, resolutions and ultimatums. 

EWF is committed to continuing to work with the writing community to see real change in these areas. 

Pay the Writers Manifesto

Compiled by: Jacinda Woodhead and Bec Zajac

This document reflects discussion that took place at a closed forum on issues facing writer payment models, held at the Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne on 28 May 2014.

1. Transparency in the industry

We think there needs to be more transparency in the publishing industry about who is paying what. We propose that one first step is to ask publishers, festivals or organisations to identify as an ethical publisher. This label means the publication supports writers being paid and will publish an easy-to-find statement on their website about how much they pay.

Note: If your publication, festival or organisation is unable to pay, we ask that you instead publish a statement explaining why.

2. The need for a collective, multi-tiered campaign

We think there is the potential to grow a collective movement that can work and advocate for writers, starting with minimum rates and better conditions. We believe such a campaign should begin with a focus on high-end, commercial publishers so we can address the really obvious exploitation currently occurring in the industry.

Such a campaign will have a number of strategies, and involve a number of organisations and collectives, including Pay the Writers, the Emerging Writers Festival, the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance, the Australian Society of Authors and the state and territory writers’ centres.

3. The next step: a big meeting

We are calling a meeting at The Wheeler Centre on the evening of Wednesday 30 July to start to talk about how we can approach this issue collectively.

This meeting will be open to all writers, editors and illustrators and those concerned about their welfare, especially those currently working as freelancers. We invite people to come armed with ideas and enthusiasm. The meeting will aim to establish some general principles we’d like to organise a campaign around – for example, what are the aims of a campaign and who will it benefit?

We propose that we begin with a campaign that focuses on big commercial publications that are not paying writers or not paying them adequately – because commercial publishers should always pay their writers and staff.

If you are a writer and think you should be paid for your work, turn up to this meeting.

4. Breakdown the silence around pay

We need to normalise the payment conversation: we encourage writers at all stages of their career to ask publishers about payment for their work. We will create a simple statement that writers can include in their dealings with publishers, which will be circulated via social media and available on the EWF website, along with other relevant information.

We also plan to organise a survey about who is being paid in the publishing industry and what they’re being paid, so we can start to get an idea of the landscape. Keep an eye out for the survey so you can participate.

5. Continuing Pay the Writers

We want to continue this collective, with the support of the MEAA, the ASA and the writers’ centres. All writers are welcome to join.

While we appreciate this could be a campaign with challenges, we hope to see progress in the next six months. We ask the EWF to commit to revisiting this campaign next year, so we can reassess where we are at.

6. Recognising that cultural and political projects and labours of love exist

We recognise that not all publications can pay the same rates, for example literary magazines or experimental poetry journals. We support these projects, and differentiate between them and commercial enterprises.

Presented in partnership with Emerging Writers’ Festival and Overland.

 

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