Why I’m a card-carrying Emerging Writers Festival fan

In amongst the crowd, everyone else seems to know one another. This time last year, I doubt I’d have known anyone. But this year I find someone I know (and there’ll be two more as the evening continues). While my friend and I chat, the official launch of the 2013 Emerging Writers Festival (EWF) program […]

MWF: A bag of mixed quotes and reflections

From the early morning of August 24th I am in possession of a treasure. In the days that follow I find myself coming to a stop along Swanston Street and rummaging through my bag until I feel the shoelace-like necklace in my hand. When I wear it around my neck in Federation Square I anxiously […]

Interviewing and Paper Radio

A few months ago I wrote a story for a glossy magazine. I couldn’t find my potential interviewees online or on the phone. I had to get out amongst them, and query each one until I had the stories I was looking for. I gleefully went out and popped my digital recorder in front of […]

Robin Hemley on breaking rules

‘I write what I want to write,’ says Robin Hemley, author of eight books, winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Director of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa and Editor of Defunct Magazine. ‘I tend to break the so-called golden rule [of knowing where you’ll pitch a story before you write it] all […]

David Grann on obsession

At ‘The New Yorker‘ (TNY), writers are allowed to pursue their obsessions. Staff Writer David Grann says it comes from a theory that tapping into writers’ excitements and interests will make them write something better. I think they’re onto something there. The magazine’s circulation has long since travelled past its namesake. Here in Melbourne, Grann’s […]

Creative Nonfiction is keeping it real

More and more, writers and publishers are being counseled to go digital: we must learn a broader set of skills (not just writing), we must be able to present to video, edit an audio file, and charm on social media. Serendipity has enabled me to develop most of these skills throughout my career (perhaps not […]

Oratory, rhetoric, poetry and prose

So the saying goes, as does a session at the Melbourne Writers Festival, ‘Campaign in Poetry, Govern in Prose’. If you have an interest in the power of words – or politics – it will be one for you. It’s a session, ‘about political rhetoric in America in an election year,’ says Sally Warhaft, anthropologist, […]

‘Community’ or ‘Crowd’?

As a writer and adorer of our motley English language I do like to amuse myself with the origin of words. For example, in English we have many lexical twins and triplets. Like ‘guts’ and ‘courage’, or ‘ask’, ‘question’ and ‘interrogate’. Their meanings are similar but their origins differ. I like to know these facts […]

Non-fictioneers’ guide to MWF 2012

As an official ‘Emerging Blogger’ for MWF 2012 I have trawled through the festival program as I do every year, ticking, crossing (and doing a twirly line to indicate uncertainty). To do it thoroughly is an uber time-consuming task. So I thought I’d share my shortlist of events with a non-fiction focus. Make sure you […]

Yes, but did you ask?

‘One of the primary joys of being a writer comes from the people you meet and the situations you get in.’ Sarah Marshal, Portland Review (April 2012). Getting into these situations takes a little chutzpah. Personally I’m an advocate of the ‘don’t ask, don’t get’ philosophy. If I’m really interested in a topic or a […]