Archive for January, 2010

Writing success

Last night we had the first meeting for 2010 of our writers’ groups at Tabor Adelaide, the university where I am doing my Master of Arts in Creative Writing.

This was a combined meeting of the various writers’ groups. With about 30 in attendance interest is high which is very encouraging. The shared pizza was nice too.

As part of the proceedings one of the lecturers had a long list of recent writing successes from various students, past and present. This must be encouraging to the staff as people are having success with their writing.

The main purpose for this meeting was to launch the annual anthology of writing from students and staff. Tales from the Upper Room has now seen its fifth edition and is going from strength to strength. The standard of writing is very high and competition to be included is intensifying as each new raft of students progresses through the various courses available.

Personal publishing success

I was pleased to see that four of my poems and two of my stories were chosen for the anthology this year. I also contributed parts of a baton poem, an exercise where we all took it in turns to contribute to a major poem.

Writing courses:

Lectures in the creative writing courses start in a few weeks time, but I’m sure you can still enroll. Most courses are available externally. Click here to go to the website – just follow the links to the Humanities department. I can thoroughly recommend the courses as being very useful. Staff support is also great.

Good writing.

Australia Day 2010 honours our writers

Laughing Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburra

January 26th is Australia Day, a special day celebrating the first landing of European settlers in Sydney Cove, 1788.

The day is celebrated in many ways: family gatherings, picnics, barbecues, going to the beach,  attending sporting events or just having a lazy day in the middle of the Australian summer.

Every year for the last few years Australia Post has celebrated the event by issuing a special set of postage stamps called Australian Legends. This series of stamps features people who have made a major contribution to Australian life and culture.

This year the stamps are called Australian Legends of the written word. They highlight the works of six of our most prominent writers. The writers honoured in this way are Peter Carey, David Malouf, Colleen McCullough, Bryce Courtenay, Thomas Keneally and Tim Winton.

I think it is wonderful that our leading novelists have been honoured in this way. Writers in Australia are often overlooked for the massive contribution they have made to our culture. Each of the writers featured are truly deserving of the honour.

Where are they?

Of course, by featuring these six writers, many other well deserved writers have been overlooked. In the field of novelists another 15 to 20 worthy recipients could have been listed, including Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee. Admittedly, he was born in South Africa but now resides here in my home state of South Australia. Bryce Courtenay was also born in South Africa, so here is an inconsistency in the choice of recipients.  And what of Patrick White, Helen Garner, Kate Grenville, Peter Goldsworthy, Robert Dessaix and Elizabeth Jolley? The list could go on and on. Then you have the great writers who are no longer contemporary, such as Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson.

My major gripe however is that no poets or children’s authors are represented. Judith Wright, Les Murray, Bruce Dawe and Gwen Harwood have all had significant influences in the field of poetry. That’s just four I could name from dozens of worthy recipents.

Australian children’s authors lead the world in their field. Writers like Colin Thiele, Mem Fox, Sonya Harnett, Ivan Southall and dozens more have had or continue to have a significant impact on young readers around the world.

I guess that Australia Post had a difficult job narrowing the choice down to just six writers, but a little balance in the final six would have been nice.


  • Australian Legends of the written word
  • Peter Carey
  • David Malouf
  • Colleen McCullough
  • Bryce Courtenay
  • Thomas Keneally
  • Tim Winton

I’m still here

It’s two weeks into the New Year and I haven’t posted here since Christmas Day. Some of you might have been wondering about where I’d gone over the last three weeks.

Truth is, I’ve been rather busy. It seems that the Christmas – New Year period gets busier every year, and more crowded with events. This time around it was family who took up a lot of my time. We had our son, daughter-in-law and delightful new grandson visiting from Sydney. We only get to see them once or twice a year so any time together is a precious. We also had three family gatherings in different parts of the state. This necessitated quite a deal of time consuming travel.

I’ve also been busy getting a few things done around the house and garden. Things I’ve neglected over the last two years while I poured myself into my studies (MA Creative Writing) and my writing. High on that list was cleaning the swimming pool ready for the hot summer weather to come. We’ve already had a good deal of hot weather, but I’m sure there’s more on the way. Then I replaced the pool safety fence, something long overdue. The old fence was not very safe. Over the last few days I’ve installed a new solar blanket on the pool, together with a new roller to store it when we are swimming.

Needless to say I have managed to do very little writing so far this year. I have managed to catch up on a little reading and more television than I’ve allowed myself for some time. All this time I’ve been planning my writing goals for 2010. I haven’t written these down yet; must do that soon. One major goal – I don’t like resolutions – is to get a little more balance in my life. 2008 and 2009 were far too frenetic with my studies and total focus on my writing with little regard for my physical, mental and spiritual well being. That will need to change this year. Sure, I’ll still write heaps, but it will not be the all consuming monster it has become in recent times.

Good writing.