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Willy Wonka’s widow

By | Grieve, News
Our Grieve writing competition (open now) receives many stories and poems about dementia, Alzheimer’s and other memory loss conditions.  The fabulous actor, Gene Wilder, suffered Alzheimer’s and his widow wrote this very honest article in Rolling Stone magazine  about the toll this condition takes on carers. 40% of Alzheimer’s caregivers die before their patient. Our Grieve writing competition gives carers the opportunity to express their loss and sadness as Pam Miller did in her piece which was published in Grieve Volume 4 – purchase the anthology here:
 

 

Grief and Loss – ‘Tell it like it is’

By | Grieve, News

The Grieve writing competition accepts stories and poems on any topic related to loss. Loss of a job, loss of a home, mobility, a pet.

Yes, death is a common theme in the stories and poems that are selected for the anthology, but the judges are also looking for fresh approaches to loss because grief can accompany any significant change or shift in our lives.

Doris Zagdanksi has been one of the Grieve judges for 3 years. Doris believes the Grieve project allows people to “tell it like it is.” From Doris:

In my 20s, I lost an infant daughter to SIDS.  It was a terrible time in my life especially because I was so young. I knew nothing about grief. Nobody in my family had died, it was such a struggle to know how to cope, to know what to do. I worked it out after a few years searching for information. And I found it really helpful to start writing. I found the experience of writing to be cathartic, a way to express feelings that I couldn’t discuss with friends or family.

People need to know there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel when coping with the death of someone they love. When people read somebody else’s story, they think ‘I’ve been there too’.  

Grieve Writing Competition Has Now Opened

By | Grieve, News

The Grieve writing competition is now open. Enter a short story or a poem on the Grieve Project page.

Grief is the human response to change and loss in our lives, such as the death of someone we love. It is a natural and normal response, which has a physical impact on our bodies as well affecting our emotions and our thinking.

This statement is from Good Grief, an Australian organisation that awards a $250 prize in the current Grieve writing competition.

One of the programs Good Grief delivers is the Seasons for Growth program to children and young people who experience significant life changes. The aim is to normalise the experience of grief like giving them clear, factual, age-appropriate information about the loss they have experienced; help build protective factors and minimise risk factors that affect mental health.

If you are interested in facilitating the Seasons for Growth program you must be an accredited companion which involves a 2 day training program – learn more about the training program on the Good Grief website.

 

 

HWC Poetry Group

By | Member News, News, Poetry, Writing Groups

Hunter Writers Centre funded the publication of the HWC poetry group’s series of poems that pay tribute to Margaret Olley. Olley was an iconic figure in Australian art whose main focus on landscapes and interiors turned everyday objects and scenes into bursts of colour. As the model for one of Australia’s most recognised Archibald Prize-winning portraits by William Dobell, she looks out towards the viewer, a serene presence with a hint of mischief in her eyes. The book can be purchased from the Newcastle Art Gallery for $15.

Member News – Graham Davidson

By | Member News, News, Writing Groups

Graham was shortlisted in the Writers Unleashed Picture Book writing competition and attended the one-day conference in Sydney to receive his award.

Launched in Christchurch on Sept 2nd, Wish Upon a Southern Star is an anthology of re-told fairy tales (up to 10000 words each) for a YA audience. The work of 21 authors from Australia and New Zealand was chosen, including Graham Davidson’s 10000 word story, The Tale of Krinkle-myst, Cinderella and the Prince: The True Cinderella Story. The re-telling is set in modern-day Sydney, with Cinderella and the Prince having failed to realise their destiny 1500 years in a row.

 

Newcastle Short Story Award Prize Night 6th April

By | Lit Resourses, News, Short Story Writing

Mark your diaries for Friday 6th April at 5.30pm – the eve of the Newcastle Writers Festival – to hear competition judge, Ryan O’Neill, discuss short story writing and his experience judging the competition. Following this live chat, we will announce the prizes: $3000 – first prize (University of Newcastle); $1700 – second prize (Newcastle Law Society); $1000 – third prize (Westfield) plus 2 highly commended awards, 2 commended and several local awards and we will launch the 2018 anthology.

Short story writing is a demanding craft. There are several key aspects you must focus on due to the restricted length. For example, the opening line must grab the reader’s attention and this is a consistent feature of the finalists’ works that have been selected over the past years of the Newcastle Short Story Award. The opening line does not need to be comedic and entertaining, although that is one way to engage, but it should arrest the reader’s attention and pull them in. Starting with a description of the weather, or a similar scene setting that plods towards the action of the story can disengage the reader before he/she has read very far. Here we have assembled a collection of Newcastle Short Story finalists’ opening lines that make the reader ‘sit up’ and want to read on:

You can drive a pretty hard bargain with a socket wrench. – from ‘Wrench’ by Rafael S.W

Jeff spent sixty years trying to kill me. – from ‘Heart Murmurs’ by Joanna Nell

 She truly thought she was better, but after she decided to rescue that stupid dog she realised she wasn’t. – from ‘Mad Dog Woman’ by Marcelle McDonald

It makes one feel differently about the beginning when one already knows the end to be a failure.  – from ‘The Red Wallpaper’ Elianna Han

‘You know, I was an immortal once,’ said Grandfather. – from ‘The Land of Always Living’ Claire Bradshaw

“You shouldn’t name something you’re intending to eat.” – from The Names of Things Angus Gaunt

The house should be empty. – from ‘The Remains’ Karen Whitelaw

When the taxi arrived, Eileen was grumbling to her mute budgerigar. – from ‘A Silver House’ Joseph Sexton

My neighbour is sick. I hear him coughing at all hours, especially in the middle of the night. I am not sure if he sleeps. He must, I suppose, or he would be dead. I have heard you die faster from not sleeping than from not eating. Thirst will always get you before hunger or tiredness, but lack of air will kill you before anything. – from ‘The Man Next Door’ by Johnathon Hadwen

Story Time Lane

By | Member News, News, Writing Groups

Graham Davidson and Emily S. Smith have created “Storytime Lane”, a YouTube channel with regular storytelling webisodes and a corresponding website (which also sells picture books written and illustrated by Emily and Graham), in response to the declining literacy rates in Australia. They hope their project will support the development of young children’s literacy skills by providing adults and children with access to visual storytelling and free resources and activities that extend on those stories. The webisodes will have an Auslan interpreter signing the stories so more people have a greater access to the content. In conjunction with the Hunter Writers’ Centre, Graham and Emily will be launching the first webisode, the website and also the first book “Betty the Yeti’s Disappointing Day” at Wallsend Library on January 27th 2018.

Grieve Anthology Winners 2017

By | Grieve, News

Such beautiful poems and stories were entered into the 2017 Grieve Writing Competition. Over 100 captivating, brave and compelling works by Australians were chosen to be published in the anthology Volume 5. Buy the anthology either in ebook or printed book form here

Submit your poem or story into this year’s competition open to all Australians

Congratulations to the 2017 prizewinners:
Rachael Mead Powerless
Joel McKerrow On Saying Goodbye
Ky Garvey Deep Breaths and Heartbeats
Janet Holmes Carpet Beetles
Fiona Murphy Our Small Kingdom
Kathryn R Bennett Numbers
Josh Wildie When One Door Closes
Kaylia Payne I Miss You, Kid
Laura Jan Shore First Anniversary
Kathy Childs The Man in the Mirror
Ellen Shelley Failed to Provide
Vicki Laveau-Harvie Seasons of Grief
Undine Kanowski Okay
Cheryl Parker My Truth
Melanie Zolenas-Kennedy Scraps
Donni Hakanson The Ghost of A Mother
Edwina Shaw Thirty Years Gone
Sarah Bourne The Sounds of You
Gail Hennessey Message to My Mother
Kathryn Fry There She Is, My Mother

Newcastle Poetry Prize Winners 2017

By | 2017, Newcastle Poetry Prize, News

First prize: $15 000
Lucy Williams
the crows in town

Second prize: $5,000
Shari Kocher
Forty Desert Days and Nights and White

Third prize: $1,000
Judith Beveridge
Suddhodana

Commended Awards:
Debi Hamilton
Sleeping Beauty Lessons

Local Award:
Kit Kelen
a field guide to Australian clouds (prolegomenon)

Harri Jones Memorial Prize (for a poet <35 years):
Joan Fleming
A History of the Tanamite People

Hunter Writers Centre members’ award:
Magdalena Ball
the clock is a circle

Newcastle Poetry Prize proudly supported by