The Greenhouse Blog

EWF Between the Covers at Macquarie University

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EWF are heading up to Sydney on 23 March for Between the Covers, a special event presented in partnership with Macquarie University.
 
What does a career in editing and publishing look like today? This event will offer industry insider sessions exploring the work that goes on between the covers of a book. From acquisitions and editorial process to sales and marketing strategies, you’ll be shown through the production process of a book while meeting authors, publishers, and editors throughout – gaining invaluable insight into to help you with your next career steps.

Along with sessions in conversation with editors and publishers, Between the Covers will include an opportunity for assessment of one page of a work in progress – whether it be a novel synopsis or a book proposal – by industry professionals. There’ll also be a lively performance event featuring local emerging writers and Macquarie students – as well as plenty of opportunities to chat with program guests. Perfect for aspiring authors, editors and publishers, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with the broader editing and publishing community – this is an event not to be missed!

Full program to be announced, keep an eye on our website for more details. Tickets go on sale Feb 23.

Highlights from the EWF15 Creative Producers

This year, EWF helped six Creative Producers to develop and implement events during the Festival. Each of them worked on different events, from closed forums to suburb-wide programs and one-night bangers. In the lead up to the closing of applications for 2016 Creative Producers, three of our 2015 CPs share their highlights from this year’s festival:

Festival Highlight – Fiona Spitzkowsky – Monash Prize and closed forums

For this year’s festival, I coordinated the Monash University Undergraduate Prize for Creative Writing, and facilitated the closed forum for writers with disability. Working on the prize was a very uplifting experience. We received over 300 entries and I was overwhelmed by the high standard and unique voices. All fifteen of the shortlisted writers journeyed to Melbourne for Opening Night, and it was a joy to see them connect with other emerging writers and cheer for Justina Ashman when she read her winning piece. EWF is all about bringing writers together to celebrate their craft, and it was fantastic to be part of that for these new emerging writers.

Working on the Closed Forum, however, I learnt that the industry is not always so supportive: writers with disability often face barriers that limit their involvement. While organizing the forum, I had unknowingly created some barriers of my own, using document formatting that didn’t sit well with text reading software. There is a lot of ignorance concerning the needs of writers with disability, and tight budgets and busy schedules makes it all too easy to let that ignorance go unchecked. But by allowing the industry to remain exclusive, we are missing out on a lot of brilliant writing from razor sharp, passionate writers.  Out of the forum came this manifesto, a guide for organisations and individuals to make their practice more inclusive.

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Festival Highlight – Else Fitzgerald – Late Night Lit

I had the pleasure of working with an amazing bunch of literary journals and collectives for the Late Night Lit events, and was blown away by the wonderful writers, ideas and literary shenanigans that they each put together.

It was incredible and moving to see many writers wrestling with concepts of the future and what it might look like, and challenging us to do the same. I was filled with a mixture of thoughtful sadness and hope at Chart Collective’s 1p Halley zine launch, listening to striking pieces from Emma Marie Jones and Hannah Donnelly about how Melbourne might look in the years 2061 and 2209 when the comet passes us again, and got a bit shiny-eyed during Oliver Mol’s piece Cis White Straight Males And Privilege And Culture And Sexism And Misogyny That Maybe Stems From The Inherent Reinforcement Of Patriarchal Power Structures Which Occur In Nearly Every Facet Of Our Lives Lol I’m Not Even Joking Shouts Out Private Schooling Shouts Out Marriage Shouts Out Government Still Taxing Tampons WTF It’s 2015 We’re Meant To Be Better We’ve Got To Be Better Than This read at Dear Everybody Collective’s creative conversations event, while surrounded by the mesmerising projections. It was inspiring, amidst what can often be a bleak media environment, to hear so many brave and hopeful words.

It was an honour and a pleasure to work as a creative producer for the 2015 Emerging Writers’ Festival, which for me was an amazing celebration of the literary community. Huge thanks to The Canary Press, Chart Collective, Kill Your Darlings, Black&Write, Dear Everybody Collective and Archer for the late night literary treats, delightful dorkiness and dancing (so much dancing!).

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Festival Highlight – Zoe Simbolon – Words Out West

At this year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival I was assigned the task of programming two events for the Words out West segment of the program. Together with fellow creative producer, Izzy Roberts-Orr, Alice in Downunderland was developed as a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s seminal work. Using Alice’s narrative as a point of reference, the artists reflected on strong female protagonists and challenged gender constructs in their performances. One of the highlights of the evening was Rachel Perks’ cracking monologue, The Female Protagonist, which featured the timely and incongruent appearance of a catsuit and an oven. (The piece has since been published in The Lifted Brow so if you missed the event, you can still read it!).

At the other end of Footscray, Letters to the West gave some self-proclaimed ‘westies’ a place to read correspondence to their home suburb and was held at Littlefoot bar. The prompt of ‘the West’ was also addressed in a broader sense, giving way to letters about fights, stolen bikes, underage parties and Yeezus himself. The missives were full of laughs and nostalgia and was a halting reminder of the literary talent blooming along the Maribynong.

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You can also read our interview with EWF15 Creative Producer Adelaide Fisher here.

Q&A with Geoff Orton

For the month of November, we are running our annual open call out for EWF 2016 (which you can find out more about here). We talked to some of this year’s amazing participants about their experience, which writers they are excited about at the moment, and what they’ve been up to since EWF15.

Geoff Orton is the founder of Writers Bloc, previous director of the Younger Young Writers’ Program at the National Young Writers’ Festival and a high school teacher. At EWF15 Geoff hosted the Unlikely Paths panel at the National Writers’ Conference.

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As well as participating in the EWF, you’ve worked on the National Young Writers’ Festival – what do you think some of the benefits of writers’ festivals are for emerging writers?

Well, they are heaps of fun. I have a vivid memory of walking out of the rain, and into a wet wool smelling room to hear first-time poets read to people sitting crosslegged and wide-eyed at my first NYWF. For me, festivals have always been about exploring. You might find a writer you love (which seems to happen literally as well, a lot) or a bunch of new friends.

For me personally, EWF has been a festival that is practical and participatory. For the last three years, the National Conference has had me with notepad in hand, soaking it all up.

And, well, it’s always a big kick in the bum when you see someone else kicking arse. I’m sure if you were to chart my productivity throughout the year, there would be massive spikes in early June and October.

Did you have any particular highlights at EWF15?

Being a teacher, I’m pretty accustomed to ‘imposter syndrome’. But when I was asked to chair a discussion on Unusual Paths, with three other talented writers, I was terrified. But I said yes and leading my first panel was definitely my personal highlight of the festival.

In terms of what I saw at EWF, it had to be Edmund. K. Coleman tell his story about working at KFC. Seeing a suburban kid tell a suburban story to an audience for the first time filled me with so much joy I almost flew back to Sydney that night by myself.

What have you been up to since EWF15?

A couple of months ago, Writers Bloc said goodbye and thanks for all the fish to our blog champion, Samantha van Zweden (a hit last year as host of the Blogging panel).

Since then, we’ve teamed up with two legends who have built on her great work. We revamped a couple of roles and are excited to have Liam Pieper as our new Content Director and Raphaelle Race as our Deputy Editor.

As well as this, we’ve totally overhauled the layout of the Writers Bloc website. It’s much easier to navigate, to find great stories but also access some of the gold in our archives.

Who are some of the writers and artists that you’re excited about at the moment?

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of literary journals. Magazines like the Canary Press and Suburban Review are great and it’s so exciting to watch them develop.

In terms of writers though, I just read Dan Marshall’s memoir Home is Burning about illness in his family. I always find that if I start something by Andre Dao, I have to finish it. The same goes for any review by Tristan Foster.

And I’m excited to see what a few people on the Scribe Non-Fiction Prize list do in the next couple of years, namely Sam van Zweden and Zoya Patel.

Can you tell us about the last book you read and loved, and what’s currently on your to-read pile?

The last book I read was The Quiet American by Graham Greene for our cult classic book club. While the story was familiar to me, I was impressed by way Greene was able to fit so many things into a such a short book.

I’ve also recently been reading a few Penguin Specials and Sofija Stefanovic’s You’re Too Good to be True broke my heart. And Tom Doig’s The Coal Face got me angry.

What have you been working on lately?

Mostly trying to figure out a way to get Writers Bloc sustainable. If you have any ideas or money, let us know!

Where can we read some of your writing?

I often joke that the most writing I’ve done recently is for school reports, and this is certainly true for the last couple of months. However, the best place to find some of my stories and poetry would be to have a look in the Writers Bloc workshops. It’s anonymous and that’s a bit of a security blanket for me at this stage of my career.

I’ve written a few things within the education arena for various publications and organisations but I’m still very much an emerging ‘Emerging’ writer of fiction.

Have you got any advice for other emerging writers?

I really like the format of the five writers with five pieces of advice, so I’m going to co-opt it here. Some of this advice I should take myself.

-       Find your people (EWF is a great place for this)

-       Have a place to write

-       Make time for your writing

-       Look after your body

-       Pitch to magazines you love reading

Q&A with Jane Howard

For the month of November, we are running our annual open call out for EWF 2016 (which you can find out more about here). We talked to some of this year’s amazing participants about their experience, which writers they are excited about at the moment, and what they’ve been up to since EWF15.

Jane Howard is an arts journalist, critic, and researcher who has worked throughout Australia and the UK. In 2015 she was Kill Your Darlings’ theatre and performing arts columnist, her work has appeared in publications including ABC Arts Online, RealTime, and Fest. She is a regular contributor to Guardian Australia and The Lifted Brow. 

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Could you tell us about your experience as an EWF artist? What does the festival mean to you? 

I was an EWF artist in ’14 and ’15, and both times has been such a joy. Writing can be a lonely pursuit, and getting to spend time intensely thinking, listening, and talking with your peers is so important. The most gratifying thing, though, has been realising just who my ‘peers’ are: getting thrown onto panels with people I love to read and deeply admire and realising these people are my colleagues is incredible.

What have you been up to since EWF15?

I travelled to the UK for the first time this year to take up a dream writing job with Fest magazine during the Edinburgh festival. I landed at 4pm, started seeing work to review at 10am the next morning, and barely stopped until our last issue went to print. It was terrifying and difficult and challenged me in so many ways, and was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. When I was there I thought I could never do it again; now I’m just itching to go back.

Who are some of the writers and artists that you’re excited about at the moment?

Rather than giving you an endless (ever changing, ever growing) list, I’ll just give a shout out to the incredible team at Exeunt Magazine – if there is a weak link amongst them I haven’t found it yet. They publish consistently intelligent criticism, feature articles, and commentary looking at theatre and performance from beautiful and unexpected angles, while also really considering the form their responses take.

Can you tell us about the last book you read and loved, and what’s currently on your to-read pile?

I’ve spent much of this year shifting between Scottish fiction and various review collections, and absolutely loved Janice Galloway’s The Trick Is To Keep Breathing – a beautiful meditation especially for anyone who has experienced intense grief – and Jessica Hooper’s The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic – I know very little about rock music, but her passionate and intelligent writing made me care so much.

I’m slowly making my way through Arlene Croce’s collected criticism Writing in the Dark, Dancing in the New Yorker – it’s brilliant, but massive – and the rest of my summer reading pile is currently Elena Ferrante’s books, Alasdair Grey’s Lanark, and Abigail Ulman’s Hot Little Hands.

What have you been working on lately?

I feel like I’ve just wrapped up all my big projects for the year! My final Kill Your Darlings column has been written, and I’ve just finished a major experimental criticism project called Simple Art Transfer Protocol, where over five days me and three other critics (plus some of our subscribers) sent 73 emails totalling over 33,000 words to build up a picture of how criticism can be a collaborative, international act.

Right now I’m mostly trying to figure out what shape 2016 is going to take for me and my writing, and conquering making the perfect elderflower and Prosecco jelly.

Where can we read some of your writing?

You can read Simple Art Transfer Protocol here, or catch up on my Killings column here.  Or pick up the new issue of The Lifted Brow where I have an essay about some of the work I saw in London and the importance of theatre feeling violent, and the new RealTime where I have reviewed some dance featured in the OzAsia festival.

Have you got any advice for other emerging writers?

Find your peers and nurture your friendships – both online, but also in your physical corner of the world. Building a community of writers who can inspire you and make you laugh is so important, and a community who will be there for you when you’re crying and crippled with self-doubt is even more so.

Q&A with James Tierney

For the month of November, we are running our annual open call out for EWF 2016 (which you can find out more about here). We talked to some of this year’s amazing participants about their experience, which writers they are excited about at the moment, and what they’ve been up to since EWF15.

James Tierney was the online Books and Writing columnist for the Melbourne literary journal Kill Your Darlings in 2015. His writing has appeared in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Big Issue. He is currently working on a book about podcasting. James is President of the Sydney Writers’ Room, a place for writers to write. He tweets as @ViragoHaus

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What motivated you to apply for EWF?

EWF’s specialness – it’s a festival both for its audience and composed of its audience. I attended a Sydney EWF Roadshow and then the Melbourne mothership in 2013 as a happy audience member. On both occasions, I was immediately struck by its collegiate atmosphere, one that was entirely distinct from the festivals that wear the name of their host city like a flag.

For budding writers like me, the EWF’s vocational focus naturally gives it the edge over a festival pitched at the broadest possible audience. But it is more than that. The EWF is a gathering of the like-minded in a way that the larger festival can’t be.

As parodied by the Twitter account @WFQuestions, audience participation at the end of each session in a capital city festival is resented and sometimes even feared. This is not totally without foundation -that account can be frighteningly accurate as well as funny- but it also serves to emphasise how these festivals are for the professionals.

There’s a great deal to enjoy about the polished public performances you often see there but they sometimes risk having all the warmth of state visit by Vladimir Putin. At the EWF, the audience c’est moi and often comes with a hug.

Did you have any particular highlights at EWF15?

So. Many. To name but two: #writingwhilefemale and the chance to participate in the criticism panel with those super-brains and all-round lovelies Jane HowardChad Parkhill and Rebecca Harkins-Cross.

What have you been up to since EWF15?

2015 has been spent with the distinct pleasure of being the Books and Writing columnist for Killings, the blog of Kill Your Darlings. Sadly hanging up my columinst boots for the next little while to work on a long-cherished project, a book on podcasting (Hi publishers – you’ll be hearing from me!)

Who are some of the writers and artists that you’re excited about at the moment?

Again, too many to mention so let me just mention three:

Rebecca Varcoe is the editor of Australian humour magazine Funny Ha Ha - it never fails to be spit on the floor funny (plus Bec once favourited one of my tweets so obvs I’m a natural for a commission from them. Hello? Hello? Is this thing on? [not for you, sunshine - Ed])

Anwen Crawford has written on film, music and social affairs for a number of publications but wherever she is to be found, her luminous writing and sharp intelligence is not to be missed.

Alison Croggon is a poet, novelist and critic but she is the boss as far as I’m concern – always precise, challenging and nuanced.

Can you tell us about the last book you read and loved, and what’s currently on your to-read pile?

I’m currently obsessing about Alexandra Heller-Nicholas’ monograph on the horror masterpiece Suspiria.

Lollypop ladies scare me so I’m no natural when it comes to horror films but Alex’s intelligent and beautifully written book convinced me to get over my fear of gore and enjoy the spectacle.

It’s out next month and I interviewed Alex about it for my final column for Killings.

Currently on my to-read pile is Carrie Brownstein’s memoir Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, a collection of John Berger’s writing on artists Portraits and a new english translation by Patty Crane of the selected poems of Swedish Nobel Prize winner Tomas Transrömer, Bright Scythe.

What have you been working on lately?

I’m starting to write about film, something I haven’t done since university, and am listening to approximately 25 hours worth of podcasts a day. Sleep is for those who don’t want a book deal.

Where can we read some of your writing?

I link to just about everything I write on my blog A Long Slow Goodbye, which means I’m somehow eternally optimistic that someone is reading my work and inevitably depressed when I obsessively check the visitor stats.

Have you got any advice for other emerging writers?

Meet people. Meeting people is weird, right? But most of them are lovely and those that aren’t give you ideas for the villainousness characters in your fiction. Win/win.

EWF 2016 Creative Producer Call Out

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It’s that time of the year again and we are looking for amazing individuals to undertake our unique internship program – our awesome Creative Producers!

As a valued member of the Emerging Writers’ Festival team, you will take ownership of a key festival event, seeing it through from programming to production, and assist in the overall management of the Festival along the way.

As Artshub wrote of the Emerging Writers’ Festival: “If you’re an up-and-coming writer, this is the place to get your foot in the door… as you’ll make invaluable connections within Melbourne’s thriving emerging literary scene.”

We couldn’t agree more and our interns have used the Creative Producer role as an incredible launching pad. Success stories include; Veronica Sullivan, Prize Manager of the Stella Prize; Eric Gardiner, writer of ‘Bounty’, which got rave reviews at this year’s Melbourne Fringe; Rachel Rawling, Sales & Business Development Coordinator at Penguin Books Australia; Izzy Roberts-Orr, Executive Producer of the Rereaders podcast.

You can read our interview with Adelaide Fisher, one of EWF15′s wonderful Creative Producers, about her experience working on the festival here.

So, if you’re keen to get hands-on experience in literary event management, and work with a friendly, supportive organisation who will provide you with excellent professional development, download a job pack.

This is a volunteer position, and would suit an arts management or communications students seeking a university-placement internship. Applications close 5pm Friday 18th December 2015. The Emerging Writers’ Festival runs June 14-24 2016.

Q&A with Adelaide Fisher, EWF15 Creative Producer

Ever thought you’d like to be part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival team? Here’s your chance! We are on the lookout for the next round of amazing individuals to join us as Creative Producers for EWF 2016. We spoke to Adelaide Fisher, one of our fantastic Creative Producers from EWF15, about what it was like to be a part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival.

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How did you find the experience of being a Creative Producer? 

Lots of the time internships can be just about picking up administrative slack, and it can be hard to convince people to let you do the hard stuff – managing negotiations and relationships, coordinating staff, liaising with artists and troubleshooting when things go wrong. EWF gives you real responsibility and that responsibility is exhilarating. You are encouraged to make creative choices about the content of your events and really take ownership. The events that you program are inspiring and rewarding and well attended because you made them so! You can confidently and honestly say “I am a creative producer”.

What are some of the things you learnt in your time as an EWF Creative Producer? 

One of the best things about working with EWF was Kate, Bec and Sam making me realise that everything can’t be perfect on a festival of this scale. That’s not realistic. Being an excellent creative producer is more about learning to juggle multiple responsibilities, and troubleshoot as things come up. Because things WILL come up! And it’s more important to be able to deal with artists running late and suppliers falling through at the last minute than to hold yourself to an unrealistic ideal. Of course it’s great to aim for perfection but the job is most interesting when all your careful plans go wrong and you step in and just problem solve! It’s less of an internship and more of a crash-course in arts management! This internship is a way for you to have a chance to discover how great you are, to give others the chance to discover how great you are.

What were some of your highlights of the festival experience? 

During my time working on the festival I felt so charged with ideas, thoughts and inspiration, and I could measure that by how much writing I was doing. Even though I was so busy, I was still writing so much!

Working with such a small team was invaluable, they really get to know you and you have the opportunity to take on challenges which wouldn’t be available to you in a bigger festival or organisation

Your fellow creative producers are such an important part of the experience too, because they are the future of the arts. You are forging connections right now that will be invaluable in the future.

I had a beautiful moment during Queer Tales – an LGBTQIA panel (which was one of the events I was most proud of – I want to say that I had the initial idea for this – Sam basically said we need three morning panel discussions – what are they gonna be? And I was like what about an LGBTQIA panel? And he said sure make it happen. So it was really my baby and having creative babies like that is one of the coolest thing about this internship)

So anyway, I had this moment during Queer Tales, where an audience member asked a question about how to encourage dialogue around LGBTQIA issues when there is a lot of fear about getting it wrong and saying the wrong thing. One of the artists on the panel who is also a radio host on Joy FM said that as a gay man, when he is interviewing a trans person for example, he will say on air to his guest, ‘if I get something wrong, use the wrong terminology or accidentally say or do something offensive, please tell me! I want you to correct me and I want all our listeners to hear you correct me.’ He explained the importance of giving people permission to correct us and being open to receiving this information. And I had this moment where I realised that we were doing real good for the real world right here.

What are you doing now, and how did the Creative Producer program help you get there?

I’m now working as the Executive Assistant & Memberships Administrator for Regional Arts Victoria. The experience of working as an EWF Creative Producer is so applicable to future positions; I have applied the skills that I developed at EWF to my new role at Regional Arts Victoria. The internship gave me so much confidence, so that I was able to go into the interview for my current role really feeling like I had something to offer. At the beginning of my EWF internship, Kate said that this should be our last internship, that it should be the stepping stone to paid work doing what we love. At the time, I was sceptical – my dream job seemed so far away. But now here I am thanks to EWF!!


 

Applications for our Creative Producer roles for EWF16 close Friday 18 December 2015. To apply download a job pack here.

Q&A with Lou Heinrich

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For the month of November, we are running our annual open call out for EWF 2016 (which you can find out more about here). We talked to some of this year’s amazing participants about their experience, which writers they are excited about at the moment, and what they’ve been up to since EWF15.

Lou Heinrich is a stone cold bibliophile who writes about pop culture and women. Every day she falls more in love with stories, honesty and life. At EWF15 Lou featured in our #writingwhilefemale day as a panelist on Writing While Feminist.

Can you tell us about your very first experience with EWF? How and when did you hear about the festival? 

I saw the call-out on Twitter, and applied as an interstate artist for the 2014 festival. Ex-director and cool cat Sam Twyford-Moore gave me a call to discuss where I would fit in the festival and I almost weed myself with excitement.

EWF has been a huge blessing because it granted me with a foundational community. I hadn’t yet managed to connect with Adelaide writers – young literary culture here is mostly pocketed and underground – and it was a revelation to sit amongst a crowd who love words and want to talk about them!

As well as community, the most invaluable thing EWF provided me with was encouragement. Despite no prior speaking gigs, I was programmed to appear at Amazing Babes, a magical memoir event, and on a discussion panel about women and writing. I suppose it’s indicative of my wish to be validated by external approval, but for an organisation to give me such a platform was a great way to be told, You’re doing okay! Your work is worth something! Keep going!

Did you have any particular highlights at EWF15?

Amazing Babes 2.0 was such an honest and beautiful and funny performance event that paid homage to the women who have inspired – it’s a celebration of emotion and creativity. I still have Gilmore Girls on my to-watch list because Lorelei Vashti told stories about binge-watching it when her daughter was born.

I was also lucky enough to take part in Bali Emerging Writers Festival x EWF15 – an exchange where EWF sent me to BEWF, which is connected to Ubud Readers and Writers Festival. What a fabulous opportunity to discover Indonesian writing, to be thrown onto panels as the resident feminist, to be translated in action, and to discover that writers and artists are my tribe everywhere. I am so grateful!

What have you been up to since EWF15?

Freelancing my butt off, and generally trying to find the magic equation of balancing life and my day job and relationships and writing and self-care. I cracked a few publications that I really admire (The Guardian and InDaily), which I’m very proud of!

I’ve also been brewing some ideas for literary events in Adelaide, to bring more emerging authors to our little city. I’m researching at the moment: what do young writers here want to see and engage with? Stay tuned.

Who are some of the writers and artists that you’re excited about at the moment?

Oh God. Too many.

Emma Marie Jones – her diary in Scum is fabulous.

Maxine Beneba Clarke – for her Saturday Paper portraits and her forthcoming memoir.

Martin McKenzie Murray – he’s got a true crime book out next year.

Manal Younus – an Adelaide spoken word poet babe who has just released her first collection, Reap.

Ellena Savage – she writes cutting pieces on sex and feminism.

I could go on forever <3

Can you tell us about the last book you read and loved, and what’s currently on your to-read pile?

I was fascinated by Anna Funder’s Stasiland, an exploration of life in post-WWII East Germany. There are two narrative threads: the stories that emerge from her research, and her experience investigating surveillance and horror. I love non-fiction that takes on a big subject and incorporates the writer’s experience and emotional reaction (other Australian books that do this are Wild Man by Alecia Simmonds, Helen Garner’s recent non-fiction, and Anna Krien’s Night Games, to name a few).

When I ordered Christmas presents I accidentally got a few for me, too: one of them is Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts because I want to explore the integration of criticism and memoir.

I’ve also got The Engagement by Chloe Hooper, Blood by Tony Birch, some Ellena Ferrantes and Fiona Wright’s Small Acts of Disappearance lined up – and I really must finish Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, too.

What have you been working on lately?

I’ve just finished an essay on court narratives by Australian women writers and the notion of ‘feminine’ writing incorporating emotion into text, which will be published next year. I’m also about to dive into the depiction of rape onscreen and the benefits of censorship.

Where can we read some of your writing?

My collected works can be found here – but you can read a personal essay about my personal hatred of bras here and a piece about women, casual work and sick pay here.

Have you got any advice for other emerging writers?

Support and champion your peers. Surround yourself (online and offline) with people who understand and encourage you. Count your blessings every day. And most of all, keep going <3


 

Applications are now open and will close at 5pm (AEST) on the 26th of November, 2015. Successful applicants can expect to hear from us in late January, 2016*. The 2016 Emerging Writers’ Festival will take place in Melbourne from June 14-24.

Click here to apply!

Q&A with Oliver Mol

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For the month of November, we are running our annual open call out for EWF 2016 (which you can find out more about here). We talked to some of this year’s amazing participants about their experience, which writers they are excited about at the moment, and what they’ve been up to since EWF15.

Oliver Mol was the co-winner of the 2013 Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers and was the recipient of a 2012 Hot Desk Fellowship. His debut book is Lion Attack! At EWF15 Oliver was a panelist on the Early Bloomers panel as part of the National Writers’ Conference and performed work at Late Night Lit events with Kill Your Darlings and Dear Everybody Collective.

How long have you been attending the Emerging Writers’ Festival?

I started going to EWF in 2012. I was thirsty. Everyone was doing these incredible things: publishing books, novellas, doing readings, launching magazines. It seemed like everyone had their things and I wanted my things too. So I went home and worked on my things. I worked hard. Then, in 2013, I wasn’t an actual guest but I was invited to read with the Seizure people because I had published a microfiction with them and they said, ‘Do you want to read?’ and I said, ‘yes.’ It was terrifying and incredible, which is more or less how every reading should feel. In 2014 and 2015 I was a festival artist. I remember emailing my mum the festival artist page with my face on it and just writing: holy shit. Then we Skyped and I looked like this for a long, long time: 1f60a

Looking back, all those people in 2012 who I thought had their things didn’t have anything. Or they did but none of it matters. I know that now because there are people looking at me with my things and I am here telling you: I don’t have anything. I have nothing except my hunger. And I’m hungry. I’m hungry for the future.

What was your motivation for applying to be a part of EWF15?

I wanted to reconnect with people and a city that I hadn’t seen in a while. I wanted to sell books. I wanted to present on panels and to learn. I wanted to read. I wanted to be around people who valued reading. I wanted to party but I mainly wanted to party with books.

What did you get out of the festival? Any particular highlights?

Chris Somerville did a very Chris Somerville analysis of some movie, maybe Jack Reacher, that had Tom Cruise in it, which is to say it was the best thing I saw at the festival.

Then some years ago Bill Henson was maybe launching Higher Arc [edit: the event was in collaboration with Ampersand] and he was speaking about an old Melbourne, a Melbourne that doesn’t exist anymore, a place that had more: more bookshops and record stores and artists and heart. He might of said some other things but I don’t really remember what. I just remember standing there and being like: it’s Bill Fucking Henson. But then I started thinking about the past and how, because it’s the past, it’s contained and how maybe because of that it always seems like a place with more, or maybe it just seems complete: a place where more opportunities were completely failed, where more relationships were completely ruined, where more chances were completely missed. I don’t know. I think there’s a beauty in that. In that nostalgia. In the failing of it all. I want to fail at a lot of things. I want to be old and dead some day. Full and dead to the eyelids with the things I tried so hard to do.

What have you been up to since EWF15?

Since EWF15 I’ve had more or less a constant migraine. It’s been pretty hard to deal with. I’m kind of on the tail end of it. I hope. I don’t know. I’ve had them on and off for the past few years. I didn’t know what triggered them except that, sometimes, staring at computer screens and iPhone screens made me cry out in pain. Now I know I have something called “convergence insufficiency”, which basically means I have weak muscles behind my eyes so that when they converge, or come in together, to focus on something at a close distance they can’t handle the strain. At best, at the start, it sort of feels like lightning inside your face. Instead of stopping, I chose to work through the pain. I had a grant application that needed to be done. I thought if I could finish the grant application then maybe everything would be okay. So I elevated my laptop above eye leveI. For a while it seemed easier on my eyes. But then something happened. I don’t know. It was like something snapped. I later learned the position I’d raised my laptop to was the worst place for your eyes to focus. I finished the grant application but I also completely fucked my head. Then a lot of time passed and I still had the pain. I began to see a psychologist because I didn’t know what else to do. I’d had the migraine for four and a half months now and I felt like the pain was beginning to change me. Fuck off, I thought. Fuck off. Fuck off. But it wouldn’t fuck off at all. Often I just lay in bed and cried. I felt like the past was erasing itself, that I was beginning to forget, that if I couldn’t remember a time before the pain then how was I meant to see into the future?

Truly though, the worst thing wasn’t the pain, it was the inability to do the things that gave me reasons for getting out of bed in the morning: to read and write and interact. I felt a sense of loneliness, of isolation.

At Brisbane Writers Festival I was on eight to ten codeine/muscle relaxant pills per day for three days. I couldn’t function any other way. On my last panel I took a sip of water and the water dribbled down my chin. I couldn’t feel my face but I also couldn’t feel my head. I couldn’t feel anything and it felt terrifying and wonderful.

The pain isn’t completely gone but it is getting better. I didn’t get the grant in the end but I don’t even care. I’m able to write in short bursts now. I can’t tell you what that feels like. I have exercises that I do each morning. I just want to be better. I have dreams about being better. I have dreams about my next book. And my next book is going to ruin you and me and as many people as I can in this god damn country.

Who are some of the writers and artists that you’re excited about at the moment?

Chris Somerville, Holly Childs, Miles Allinson, Rachel Bell, Scott McClanahan, Stacey Teague, Lucy K Shaw

Can you tell us about the last book you read and loved, and what’s currently on your to-read pile?

These are the last few books I’ve read:

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson: depressing and beautiful and then got more of both of those things the more I thought about it.

The Rings of Saturn by W.G Sebald: this book changed the way I think about books. This book makes me excited for my next book and the way structure and form can be manipulated in the novel.

Eat Me by Linda Jaivin: I can’t believe I hadn’t read this book yet. I wrote in my notebook: WILD. Everyone should be required to read this book.

Then these are the books that are sitting on my desk waiting to be read:

Inland by Gerald Murnane

Welcome To Your New Life With You Being Happy by Rachel Bell

The Collected Works of Jane Bowles by Jane Bowles

Caveworld: A Novel by Adam Gnade

The History of The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy

In the Memorial Room by Janet Frame

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

A Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolaño

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

The Kandy – Kolored – Tangerine – Flake Streamline Baby by Tom Wolfe

What have you been working on lately?

Because I haven’t been able to write I’ve been able to think a lot. So I’m thinking about my next book. I’m thinking about Australia, both as a location to depart from and arrive to. I’m thinking about backpacking and its neocolonial implications. I’m thinking about how people like getting fucked up. I have one sentence from this section of the book. I love this sentence. The sentence goes like this:

‘We put the things that are terrible inside us and we feel good again once more.’

I don’t know how I’ll use it yet but I will use it.

At the same time I’m thinking about Nauru and the refugee crisis and how some people are leaving for India to “find themselves” and how other people leaving for Australia are ending up in Nauru, lost or worse.

I’m thinking about my Dutch grandfather who was released from a Nazi concentration camp and who rode his bike from Germany back to The Netherlands before immigrating to Australia and about the memoir he wrote called: ‘How God Hookwinked Hitler’.

I’m thinking about the past present, and future of Australia.

I’m thinking about modern relationships.

I’m thinking about aliens.

I’m thinking about Mars.

Where can we read some of your writing?

This is the only thing I’ve published in the past six months. I am very proud of it.

http://www.hobartpulp.com/web_features/when-people-say-39-fun-fact-39-i-interrupt-and-say-39-you-39-re-never-going-to-own-a-house-39

Also please buy my book. It’s called ‘Lion Attack!’. I am also very proud of that.

http://scribepublications.com.au/books-authors/books/lion-attack/

Thank you.

Have you got any advice for other emerging writers?

Get out into the world and get to failing.


 

Applications are now open and will close at 5pm (AEST) on the 26th of November, 2015. Successful applicants can expect to hear from us in late January, 2016*. The 2016 Emerging Writers’ Festival will take place in Melbourne from June 14-24.

Click here to apply!

Q&A with Eliza Henry-Jones

Henry-Jones_Eliza-300x300

For the month of November, we are running our annual open call out for EWF 2016 (which you can find out more about here). We talked to some of this year’s amazing participants about their experience, which writers they are excited about at the moment, and what they’ve been up to since EWF15.

Eliza Henry-Jones works with drug and alcohol affected families using horses as a means of therapy. Her debut novel, In the Quiet, was published this year. At EWF15 Eliza was a panelist on the Early Bloomers panel as part of the National Writers’ Conference.

Have you attended the Emerging Writers’ Festival before?

I’ve attended a couple of times over the years and loved it! It’s such a vibrant, engaging series of events and it made me extremely happy to be involved this year.

What was your motivation for applying to be a part of EWF?

It’s such a wonderful festival! Who wouldn’t want to be a part of EWF?!

What did you get out of the festival? Any particular highlights?

I learnt a lot, particularly loved the panel presented on criticism. I’d never really given much thought to what constitutes criticism (silly, I know) and, for me, it was perfectly timed – just a few weeks before I started receiving critical feedback on In the Quiet (my debut). Another highlight is, of course, meeting other people in the industry. Particularly meeting the glorious Sulari Gentil, who absolutely delighted me.

What have you been up to since EWF15?

I’ve been busy promoting In the Quiet, writing and editing my second novel, moving onto a farm and finishing Honours! PHEW!

Who are some of the writers and artists that you’re excited about at the moment?

I am very excited about Lucy Treloar. I’m reading her novel “Salt Creek” at the moment and was up until 1am last night reading it (which is considerably late for someone who is generally tucked up and asleep by 10!)

Can you tell us about the last book you read and loved, and what’s currently on your to-read pile?

I absolutely loved Leah Kaminsky’s “The Waiting Room” and Eleanor Limprecht’s “Long Bay”. My to be read pile is extremely long, but at the top is The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith and Hope Farm by Peggy Frew. This year, I’ve read a lot of incredible work by female writers about strong and complex women.

What have you been working on lately?

I’ve been focused on getting my second novel finished! It’s having a big rewrite at the moment.

Where can we read some of your writing?

My book can be found here: http://www.readings.com.au/products/19307308/in-the-quiet

An article I wrote for Meanjin on Grief, Loss and Australian Fiction: https://meanjin.com.au/blog/grief-loss-and-australian-fiction/


 

Applications are now open and will close at 5pm (AEST) on the 26th of November, 2015. Successful applicants can expect to hear from us in late January, 2016*. The 2016 Emerging Writers’ Festival will take place in Melbourne from June 14-24.

Click here to apply!

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