The Greenhouse Blog

Introducing our Associate Producers: Joshua Allen

Hey there. I’m Josh, one of the Associate Producers for this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival. I’ve been conducting the Monash Prize Creative Writing Census and Alumni profiles and I also helped out with this year’s Digital Writers’ Festival.

Josh Allen

Last year, I had no idea that Melbourne had a diverse literary community and so many writing opportunities. I relocated from Perth to study writing and editing at RMIT and discovered that Melbourne is a UNESCO City of Literature. I grabbed issues of Voiceworks, The Lifted Brow, Kill Your Darlings, plus so many other lit journals and attended the launches that came along with them. It was refreshing to be outside of the insular bubble of Perth: which lacked a variety of publications and writing opportunities outside of attending Uni.

The 2013 Emerging Writers’ Festival was the first literary festival I attended, and I was engaged with the festival as a volunteer. I didn’t know that a writing festival would go beyond the written word and could have so many events (now I realise how narrow minded I was) and it broadened my perspective of writing. Words can reach many places, and the EWF tries to expose all the nooks and crannies of literature within Melbourne and beyond.

I’m eager to make this festival accessible to all word enthusiasts, and as I’m originally from interstate I know how overwhelming Melbourne can be (Degraves can seem like a good idea at the time…) so I’m coordinating the Interstate Mates meet up this year. Come say hi, or please send me some sort of online message via twitter/email (I’ll send you GIFS) to get in touch beforehand.

See you at EWF 2014!

Festival Artists From Around Australia: Michelle Law (QLD)

The Emerging Writers’ Festival is a truly national festival – we have artists from every state in Australia attending this year! In celebration, we caught up with some of these incredibly talented writers to see what their plans are for the festival.

Michelle Law is a Brisbane-based writer and screenwriter. She will be appearing at our Amazing Babes event. She is the co-author of the comedy book Sh*t Asian Mothers Say, and her work has appeared in Destroying the Joint, Women of Letters and Growing up Asian in Australia, and in the literary journals Griffith REVIEW, Meanjin, and The Lifted Brow. She is an AWGIE award-winning screenwriter whose documentary Suicide and Me aired on ABC2 late last year. She tweets at @ms_michellelaw.

What are you looking forward to when you’re down in Melbourne?

Catching up with friends, including Melbourne natives and all of the people who migrated from Brisbane. (You know who you are.) I also like having a scrounge around for dresses at Retrostar and eating all of the foods.

Do you travel often, where’s your favourite spot?

I travel a lot for work and because a lot of my extended family lives overseas. I’d say my favourite spot of late has been the walk from the Hotel Lincoln to The Second City in Chicago. I was studying there last year and this sounds sort of lame, but every morning I walked there I kept thinking: “Tina Fey stood here. Amy Poehler could have thrown trash in this very bin. Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris used to hang outside this door.” It was summer when I went, so it was really warm, but in Chicago the air is freezing and coming from Brisbane that was a nice sensation. There was a ton of bars, diners and old buildings covered in vines on that walk and I miss it. My favourite spot of past travels is the Goldfish Market in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, which is exactly what it sounds like—just alleyways full of goldfish, rabbits, puppies, kittens, turtles, birds—it’s bizarre and colourful and loud and probably illegal.

What about travel in Australia inspires you to write?

The in-between places, like rest stops and 24-hour McDonald’s on the highway. The fact that it takes so long to get from one place in Australia to the next and in those long stretches of landscape you experience a sense of warmth and pride in the country, but also a profound loneliness. I like the people you meet who seem to exist in the past who say completely un-PC things that are hilarious and chilling because they actually sincerely believe what they’re saying.

Michelle Law

Do you get any writing done when you travel?

Travelling and experiencing new things is really inspiring, so I try to take notes on significant things that happen to me and then when I get home I stretch those ideas into stories. And sometimes I’m working to a deadline, so I’ll be sitting in a hotel room for hours in my pyjamas getting all the writing done that I can! 

Preferred mode of transport?
Train. I get travel sick in cars and buses and planes make me feel claustrophobic. I like trains because there’s no traffic, there’s a predetermined route, and you can sit back, relax and watch the world whip past you. Trains are also cool because they make me feel like I’m on my way to Hogwarts. Did you know you can now enrol at Hogwarts? Goodbye, forever.

Any hints about what you’re getting up to at the Emerging Writers’ Festival.

I’ll be talking about humour writing on a panel with some very funny writers and taking part in Amazing Babes! Also seeing friends and drinking lots of beers.

This artist has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

 

How To Win a Writing Prize

gwyneth accepting an oscar

Winning a literary prize can be an invaluable starting point for an emerging writer. It can give the winner a lot of exposure and can open doors to meeting publishers and to begin building a readership. It can also provide a sense of validation for the writer which can give them a massive confidence boost. 2013 Monash Prize winner, Rebecca Slater, said that winning “was incredibly validating and made this whole writing business seem like a real-life, actually-plausible thing.” The prize money is an amazing opportunity to travel or rent a studio in order to work on your next piece. Or you could just throw a party and buy a shiny new bike; the money is yours to spend how you please!

Even being shortlisted can have a huge effect on your writing career. At the opening night of the Emerging Writers’ Festival in 2013, Grahame Simsion (The Rosie Project) emphasised that everything snowballed from the time when he was shortlisted. Winning the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award in 2012 was a bit of a bonus.

Even if you don’t win, use the experience to your advantage. Enter the piece in another prize or submit it to a literary journal. Being published will give you the experience of working with an editor and then your piece will come out all polished and professionally edited. Voiceworks offers feedback on all submissions, so if you are under 25, this can be a good place to start.

“My advice would be to not consider it and just enter. Just get involved. Don’t wait and wonder, hoping that something will just plop onto your lap – nothing will ever eventuate like that. Send off your story, you’ll be surprised at  what can happen” Kallen Johnstone

“Make this the deadline you want to work towards. By which I mean, work on something you love. It’s not a uni assignment, there’s no marking criteria or overall theme. If you’ve got an idea or a half-formed thing, use this opportunity to take your work seriously and commit to making it the best it can be” Rebecca Slater

“So long as you submit, it’s never too late to be in with a chance – my piece went in all of three seconds before the deadline! And while it can be a great opportunity to find a home for completed, polished work you might already have lying around, it can also be a wonderful chance to work up something outside your usual form or style, and see where that leads.” Tully Hansen

“Make sure that you care about the story being told. Develop a strong and fleshed-out character. Also, just do it. There’s nothing more worth it!” Michelle Li

Monash Prize entries are now open, click here for more details.

Festival Artists from Around Australia: Cathy Petocz (ACT)

The Emerging Writers’ Festival is a truly national festival – we have artists from every state in Australia attending this year! In celebration, we caught up with some of these incredibly talented writers to see what their plans are for the festival.

In 2013, Cathy produced, wrote and performed in two works for You Are Here, Canberra’s emerging arts festival – The Near and How, an installation theatre work created in collaboration with designer Imogen Keen, and a Judy Blume-themed girl band called Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.  She has alos worked with several Canberran theatre companies.

What are you looking forward to when you’re down in Melbourne?

Whenever I’m in Melbourne I always try to visit my favourite clothing shops: Dagmar Rousset, Alice Euphemia, and Pet Shop Girls.  I often visit for theatre festivals, like the Melbourne Fringe or International Festival, and when I do my friend takes me to her favourite cafes so we can eat breakfast for every meal.

Cathy Petocz

Do you travel often, where’s your favourite spot?

I don’t often travel, but when I do I usually visit monuments that aren’t officially monumental.  When I was in Chicago I had a root beer at a cafe called Earwax because it’s the cafe graphic novelist Jeffrey Brown draws himself drawing in.  It was so exciting – the tabletops were exactly as he drew them!

Earwax by Jeffrey Brown

(Image source)

Do you get any writing done when you travel?

I think all I need to write is a good cafe or library and a few hours.

Preferred mode of transport?

I like driving sometimes.  I had a beautiful drive to Wagga Wagga for Christmas last year.  It was dusk and the sky was erupting the entire spectrum — my first time driving into the sunset!  Driving through a wide expanse of landscape helps me sort out things in my head, as if the physical space gives enough room for the ideas to be thought about.

Any hints about what you’re getting up to at the Emerging Writers’ Festival.

A loud and grubby Judy Blume-themed 25 minutes.

This artist has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

 

 

Festival Artists From Around Australia: Patrick Lenton (NSW)

The Emerging Writers’ Festival is a truly national festival – we have artists from every state in Australia attending this year! In celebration, we caught up with some of these incredibly talented writers to see what their plans are for the festival.

From Sydney, Patrick Lenton blogs at The Spontaneity Review and the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge. He’s been published places like Junkee, The Lifted Brow, Going Down Swinging, Seizure, and The Best Australian Stories. He’s an award winning playwright and editor of the The Sturgeon General. He’s a digital marketer at Momentum Books. You can find him talking about dogs on Twitter @patricklenton.

What are you looking forward to when you’re down in Melbourne?

Cold weather. Like properly cold, so you can do all the things that make the cold bearable, like drinking whiskey and wearing scarves and beautiful coats, and to be utterly honest, I have about seven more coats than I really need, living in Sydney. I also have cold weather friends who live in Melbourne, who are all beautiful winter people and I make it a habit not to see them in the summer, because it’s weird, like hairless cats, like non-alcoholic champagne.

Do you travel often, where’s your favourite spot? 

Not as often as I’d like, but once a year we generally end up in the Southern Highlands of NSW, which is like a weird misty Hobbit place.

What about travel in Australia inspires you to write?

Wine. Australia has so many wine regions, it’s really strange when I go somewhere and there isn’t a winery to go to. Wineries give free wine to you, and are generally staffed by people who like telling you stories about things. I went to one winery and the dude fed me wine and told me how he’d spent the morning driving a truck full of golden orb spiders around his vines, which apparently would eat all the pests. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but I also don’t care.

Patrick Lenton

Do you get any writing done when you travel?

Yes, but I’m not one of those people who have trouble writing, I’ve become really good at writing in the gaps of the day, on the train, drinking coffee, etc. Sometimes when you travel you get that feeling like ‘everything is huge’ and that’s amazing and it’s like how in that TV show House, when he injects tumours with Iodine to make them look smaller, but that’s what travel does to things in your life that annoy you, like how your bedside table always has crap on it. And that’s good for writing, I think. And life

Preferred mode of transport?

I pretty much get the train everywhere, so that’s my default answer, but I’d much prefer giant eagle.

Any hints about what you’re getting up to at the Emerging Writers’ Festival?

I’ll probably be getting obscenely excited about marketing digital books, because I’m a giant nerd who freaking loves doing that. I’ll also probably be referencing 90s TV show a whole lot, even if nobody understands the reference, but it will be half relevant, like ‘Jonathan Franzen is such a Monica when it comes to social media, you know?’ It’s going to be excruciating.

This artist has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

 

 

Creative Writing Census: Emily Francine Palmer

We are now taking submissions for the Monash Prize: a creative writing prize for undergraduate and honours students from Australia and New Zealand. In the lead up to the announcement of the winner, we are conducting a survey of eligible creative writing students. Joshua Allen spoke to Emily Francine Palmer from Adelaide:

What are you studying and where are you studying?

I am studying an Advanced Bachelor of Arts at the University of Adelaide. My majors are Creative Writing and English Literature.

Have you had any writing published? Where would you love to be published?

I have have a few editorial pieces published online and in Adelaide’s student magazine, On Dit. I also review theatre and film for the GlamAdelaide, a local Arts news site. Ultimately, I want to write a novel that is worth being published; once I get to that point, I’m sure I will not be too fussy!

What interests you as a writer? Where do you write and why?

I love the ‘what if’ of writing. I am quite a shy person in real life, so my characters can live out all my courageous fantasies. Most of my best ideas seem to leap into existence when I drive, which means I’m always pulling up in supermarkets, buying iced coffees and scribbling things down on old receipts.

What would you like to work on after you studies, and what professional development would you like to receive?

Currently I am involved in a fantastic project run by the SA Writers Centre: the Dubnium Young Writers and Editors Group. We are seven young aspiring wordsmiths, who want to gain some well-needed professional development, while also helping others in our age bracket get their work published. Once I finish my degree, I would love to find more programs like this or get accepted into a writer residency program.

The Monash Prize is open for entries for undergraduate and honours creative writing students. Submissions close on April 17. If you are interested in being profiled for our Creative Writing Census please email Joshua Allen here. The Emerging Writers’ Festival runs May 27 – June 6 and is the national meeting place for Australian writers. Tickets for the National Writers’ Conference are now on sale.  

Australian Universities (those who we have profiled have been crossed off):

Australian Catholic University | Australian National University | Bond University | Central Queensland University | Charles Darwin University | Charles Sturt University | Curtin University | Deakin University | Edith Cowan University | Federation University | Flinders University | Griffith University | James Cook University | La Trobe University | Macquarie University | Monash University | Murdoch University | Queensland University of Technology | RMIT University | Southern Cross University | Swinburne University of Technology | University of Adelaide | University of Canberra | University of Melbourne | University of New England | University of New South Wales | University of Newcastle | University of Notre Dame | University of Queensland | University of South Australia | University of Southern Queensland | University of Sydney | University of Tasmania | University of Technology Sydney | University of the Sunshine Coast | University of Western Australia | University of Western Sydney | University of Wollongong | Victoria University |

New Zealand Universities 

AUT University Auckland | Lincoln University Lincoln | Massey University Palmerston North | University of Auckland Auckland | University of Canterbury Christchurch | University of Otago Dunedin | University of Waikato Hamilton | Victoria University of Wellington |

Festival Artists from Around Australia: Lou Heinrich (SA)

The Emerging Writers’ Festival is a truly national festival – we have artists from every state in Australia attending this year! In celebration, we caught up with some of these incredibly talented writers to see what their plans are for the festival.

From South Australia, Lou is a stone cold bibliophile and is the Books Editor at Lip Mag. She writes about pop culture and women, drinks too much Earl Grey, and celebrates life daily.

What are you looking forward to when you’re down in Melbourne?

I am super keen to mingle with other writers from the East Coast and beyond. While Adelaide is a definite creative hub, there’s a lot of cool stuff going on in other parts of the country. I know a lot of you online *stares creepily at screen* so it’ll be good to put Twitter handles to faces.

Do you travel often, where’s your favourite spot?

There’s lots – a wonderful part of living in Adelaide is its proximity to amazing places. Drive an hour south and watch morning mists whisper through the Kuitpo Forest. Go further and ride a ferry to Kangaroo Island, and you can hire a shack on the beach and they won’t even charge extra for the fairy penguins that emerge from the sand after midnight, uttering demonic shrieks right outside your window. Then there’s the boutique wineries an hour and a half north, which is a delightful place to go for a daytrip with a carload of girlfriends, provided no one vomits on the way home.

What about travel in Australia inspires you to write?

What really gets to me is the immensity of the natural world when you escape the city. When I was a little girl I went to Second Valley with family, and on the bluff with winter waves crashing behind me, I remember looking up at a cliff face and feeling vulnerable at the foot of this giant apparition.

This rush of feeling, this stab of anxiety, I think is something I love to unravel, and ask, Where is this coming from? Why do I think that?

Lou Heinrich

Do you get any writing done when you travel?

Of course – depending where you go it may be the only way to process the explosion of experience. In 2009, I went to India for two weeks, and returned with a notebook full of awe at the enormity of the world. Plus it was stuffed with newspaper clippings of classifieds ads titled, ‘Wife Wanted’.

Preferred mode of transport?

My beloved lilac bicycle, Esmerelda, who my husband resurrected from a rusty skeleton. On a family holiday over Christmas, four of us took our bikes and roamed the hot ashphalt of a seaside town like a gang of teenagers. It was excellent.

Any hints about what you’re getting up to at the Emerging Writers’ Festival?

Ladies ladies ladies!

This artist has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

 

 

Monash Prize Deadline Extension!

Easter surprise! After many requests, the deadline for the 2014 Monash Prize has been extended to Thursday 28th April (11:59 pm AEST)! You now have an extra 11 days to spruce up those creative writing pieces!

Send your entries here!

Easter Reading

(Image source)

Volunteer Call Out

 

Would you like experience in events? Would you like to see how our festival operates? And, very importantly, do you want to help make 2014 even more amazing that it is already shaping up to be?

We are currently looking for volunteers – is that YOU?

Volunteer duties include assisting festival staff in ushering & checking tickets. Note that all volunteers must be able to commit to half a day on the Writers’ Conference weekend plus two other festival events across Tuesday 27 May – Friday 6 June.

There will also be a brief festival briefing (and t-shirt pickup) on Monday 12th May at 5.30pm at The Wheeler Centre. It will be essential that you are able to attend this event.

In return, volunteers will be given access to all events (except Writing Night School events) and a festival t-shirt. Naturally our love, too!

Please email Kate to register your interest with the following information:

• Your contact details (name, phone number, email etc).
• Your availability for the festival.
• Why you want to participate, plus any relevant skills or experience you might have.

We always have far more applicants that places available for volunteers, so the better you answer the above points the better chance you have to be selected.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Festival Artists from Around Australia: Laurie May (NT)

The Emerging Writers’ Festival is a truly national festival – we have artists from every state in Australia attending this year! In celebration, we caught up with some of these incredibly talented writers to see what their plans are for the festival.

From Alice Springs, Anglo-Indigenous Australian Laurie May is a resistance poet challenging societal norms and perspectives on poverty. Known for her clever, often humorous, wordplay and pointed politics of identity themes, Laurie May has been touring Australia and New Zealand sharing stories.

 

Laurel-Jane May

What are you looking forward to when you’re down in Melbourne?

I’ve only been to Melbourne once so it’s very exciting! I am going to go to Africa Town in Footscray and pretty much submerge myself in Ethiopian food, there is a real danger that I’ll just wrap myself in injeera and snort chilli powder.

Do you travel often, where’s your favourite spot?

I have a lot of favourite spots all over the world but I suppose Mombasa would be my number one place to hang out, it’s humid and sweaty and I have really great friends there. I particularly enjoy tea and donuts at midnight in the back streets of old Mombasa town.

What about travel in Australia inspires you to write?

I write a lot when I am out bush – in remote communities – there’s so many deep issues that run through a long history that often is overlooked by ‘mainstream’ Australia. Plus there’s something soul cleansing about driving in the outback – just you, the car, the dirt and the scenery for hours.

Do you get any writing done when you travel?

I always write when I travel, sometimes I might just dream up short verse about places and people but mostly I like to people watch in new places and write their stories – well their stories as I see them or imagine them.

Preferred mode of transport?

I suppose it depends where I am. In Africa and South America I took buses everywhere and that was great because it meant you could stop along the way and see new things. I got to New Zealand every year to see family and I love driving around the place, the roads are so winding and the grass is so green, you have to be able to stop at the op shops too.

Any hints about what you’re getting up to at the Emerging Writers’ Festival?

I am going to be chilling at Mixtape Memoirs, mainly because I’m not in any way a writer of romance and I admire anyone who can do it. I’ll also be at anything with Ben Law – we seem to bump into each other everywhere from Alice Springs to Queensland so it’ll be good to add another state to the list of places I’ve seen him.

Laurie will be presenting at Mixtape Memoirs, tickets on sale now. Are you heading to EWF from interstate? Let us know! And keep Friday 30 May at 5pm free in your calendar for our Interstate Mates welcoming drinks at Thousand Pound Bend.

This artist has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

 

 

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