February Meeting Round-Up


Welcome back to 2016! It was a big turnout last weekend, and I’m looking forward to another year of working towards our writing goals.

We welcomed many familiar faces, which is always lovely, as well as a few new writers working on a diverse range of projects—novel, memoir, family history, and feature articles.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the topics we discussed:


Many writing centres around Perth run writing classes and anyone looking to improve their writing skills can find details of courses and workshops on their websites:
UWA Extension
Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre
Australian Writers’ Centre.

The ‘Trinity School for Seniors‘ was also mentioned. They run classes for the over 60’s, including Creative Writing, Life Writing, and Manuscript Development courses. You can read more about the courses they run in this brochure here.

John Harman also runs courses on plotting, characterisation, dialogue, narrative structure, developing creativity, and more. For more information, see John‘s website.

Apart from these, the Australian Writers’ Centre and Gotham Writers’ (based in the USA) run online creative writing courses at various times throughout the year. The Queensland Writers’ Centre has the ‘Year of the Novel Online’, and the Writers’ Studio run novel-writing courses, catering to the level you’re at.

Many of these courses are expensive, but there’s a free option: MOOC‘s, which stands for Massive Open Online Courses. They’re running all the time, and cover just about every subject imaginable. While you don’t get the one-on-one teaching, the information comes from some of the best in the business. For the past couple of years, each September the renowned Iowa Writers’ Centre has run one on writing fiction. You can subscribe to their email list for when registration opens.


Congratulations to Emily Paull on having a short story in the anthology, ‘(Re)Sisters—Stories of Rebel Girls, Revolution, Empowerment and Escape’, and also a story accepted for the Margaret River short story collection!


Emily also chaired some sessions at the recent Perth Writers’ Festival. I saw her in action with Lauren Groff, whom she even helped by remembering the author of a quote.

Congratulations, also, to Christine Eyres, on being long-listed for the MSlexia Novel Competition. This is a prestigious competition for novel-writers, so please keep us posted, Christine. The mslexia website is also worth a look, with many interesting articles particularly aimed at women writers.


This post took much longer to write than anticipated because I made the mistake of downloading the Grammarly App while I was writing it, and lost a couple of hours to playing. Thanks for letting us know, Ros, as it’s really useful. I pasted in one of my documents, and it came up with many helpful suggestions. It seems more specific and specialised than MS Word’s general spelling and grammar check.


Submissions for the TAG Hungerford Award close on 18th March. Click the link for more details on how to enter.



Melinda Tognini, author of ‘Many Hearts, One Voice: a history of the War Widows Guild of WA‘, has agreed to speak to us at our next meeting on 20th March.

Melinda has worked in various roles over the years, including as a pharmacy assistant, youth worker, chaplain and teacher. She’s written a full-length YA novel, a short play, Can You See Me?, feature and travel articles, personal essays, and has been a regular contributor to magazines over the yearsIn 2012, she completed a Master of Arts in writing, and from that arose her first book, Many Hearts, One Voice: the Story of the War Widows’ Guild in Western Australia. She’s particularly passionate about telling ‘invisible’ stories – those stories absent from or sidelined in the dominant narratives of our history – and empowering others to find their voice.


I’ve discussed changing the format of our meetings with a few members, and we’ve decided people might get more out of them if we give them a bit of structure. We’re going to try for a guest speaker every second month, and we could even do an in-house workshop or two. We’ll always leave half the meeting open for questions and discussion, and for meetings without a speaker, I’ll prepare a presentation. We’ll also shorten the meeting time to two hours.

I’ll also give you some advance notice of ‘Write Night’, which will run every Tuesday fortnight and which is aiming for a mid-March start. This will be different to our meetings, in that the time will be used for writing.


I’ll write up the writing books I recommended in a separate post—stay tuned …

That’s about it for this month. I hope to see you again on the 20th March when we’ll hear Melinda and talk about our writing.