The 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award Winner

Congratulations to acclaimed Tasmanian author Amanda Lohrey who has won the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award for her elegiac novel The Labyrinth – a beautifully written meditation on sorrow, loneliness and art. 

The novel follows Erica Marsden, who retreats to a quiet hamlet near the prison where her son has been incarcerated for homicidal negligence. Living in a rundown shack, she obsesses over creating a labyrinth by the ocean. To build it, Erica will need the help of strangers.

Seven-time novelist Amanda Lohrey has appeared on the Miles Franklin longlist three times and on the shortlist twice, making this a well-deserved win.

She now joins a group of distinguished and revered alumni of Miles Franklin prize winners, including last year’s winner Tara June Winch (for The Yield), and fellow Tasmanian, the late Christopher Koch (for The Doubleman, in 1985 and Highways to a War, in 1996).

Read about 2021 RUNNERS UP

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6th July                      Book Chat

Book Chat is the first Tuesday of the month at 10.30 am. Join members online for a fun and friendly discussion about books they have – or have not enjoyed!

The Zoom link will be emailed to members the Sunday prior.  For futher information contact Caroline Webber, President:

10th July                    New to writing or looking for that extra motivation to write?

The Society of Women Writers Victoria in conjunction with the Library at the Dock is giving a series of online Get Writing! workshops on various topics for those who aren’t members of the Society. This will enable you to see if the Society and writing is for you.

Whether you’re starting out, shaking off the writer’s block or polishing off that manuscript, all are welcome at the workshops.

Sessions are held online the second Saturday of the month between 11 am and noon. An experienced writer from the Society of Women Writers Victoria will host each session.

Bookings are essential so to reserve your place please click HERE to be taken to the Library at the Dock website.

10th July                    Deadline for submissions to the July newsletter

For further information contact Paula Wilson, Editor Write

14th July                    The Work in Progress Group (full)  

This group meets online and is for members embarking on a novel-writing adventure. Group numbers are limited. 

For further information contact Vanessa Potts, group facilitator: or click HERE to be taken to the Writers’ Group page of this website.

15th – 23rd July         Spring Writing Group (full) call out for submissions

For further information contact Lindsay Bamfield, Writing Groups Coordinator: or click HERE to be taken to the Writers’ Group page of this website.

20th July                    Perennial Poets submissions for the month close

For further information contact Nenia Tavrou, Perennial Poets Facilitator: or click HERE to be taken to the Writers’ Group page of this website.

23rd July                    Committee Meeting Online via Zoom

The agenda with joining instructions will be emailed to all Committee members.

26th July                    Let’s Write! Online Writing Group (full)

This group is for new members to the Society.  From this group they can go on to join one of the other groups, numbers allowing.

For further information contact Paula Wilson, Let’s Write Facilitator:  or click HERE to be taken to the Writers’ Group page of this website.

30th July                    General Meeting Online via Zoom

The agenda with joining instructions will be emailed to all members.

As Melbourne will be in the grips of winter it was decided to hold this meeting online via Zoom.     BYO Hot Chocolate.

However there will be, as usual, a full and interesting agenda.

There will be a Member Spotlight segment in which members can showcase their latest publicised works or achievements.  If you wish to participate in this segment please email Caroline:

The winners of the Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize will be announced and judge, Tegan Schetrumpf, will be reading her report.

Tegan has a Bachelor of Medical Science and a Master of Letters in English from the University of Sydney. In 2015, her postgraduate research into ‘New Traditionalism’ form and narrative in millennial Australian poetry won the Dame Leonie Prize. She has been published in AntipodesAxonMeanjinSoutherly, and The Australian Poetry Journal. Tegan is the Creative Editor for Alterity Studies and World Literature.

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Membership fees are now due for the year 01 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.

Being a member of the Society has many benefits so to renew please click HERE for the membership form and action as indicated on that form.

Those joining for the first time please click HERE to be taken to the JOIN SWWV page of this website to learn more about the benefits of belonging to the Society. There is a membership form on that page, please action as indicated.

Membership fees are the Society’s main source of income each year and are used to hire meeting rooms, pay guest speakers and run events. None of these can happen without your continued support.

Thank you for helping the Society to thrive! Members are what make Societies and we are delighted to have such a vibrant community.

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Book Chat

Join us for a fun and friendly, informal chat about the books we like…
and those we don’t!

Book Chat has moved to the first Tuesday of each month at 10.30 am. This will allow more time to read and ensure lively discussion.

The Zoom link will be emailed to members on the Sunday prior.

The next Book Chat will be on Tuesday, 03 August 2021 at 10.30 am.

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Elizabeth Thompson nee Webber – began her writing career as a journalist and worked with two regional newspapers. Later she made her way to London where she worked for a major part of her adult life.  Back in Australia she wrote, as a freelance journalist and columnist, for internet writing sites, [e.g. ‘Open Writing web magazine, U.K.] self-sufficiency and gardening magazines and literary anthologies.

Elizabeth’s short stories were broadcast regularly on the Queensland ‘Story Teller’ program, radio station 4RPH and she also wrote and recorded regular humorous prose for radio 3RPP for the ‘Writer’s at Work’ program. She was a regular columnist for ‘Open Writing U.K.’ with the radio series, ‘Letters from the Other Side’.  

Elizabeth won the SWWVic. Margaret Hazzard Short Story Award, and also the SWWVic. Biennial prize, Ballarat Writers Awards, Australian Community Writers Awards, and had freelance articles published in Grass Roots Magazine and in the Geelong Writers anthologies.  She spent much of her last years writing a collection of humorous titles ‘Letters from the other Side’ from ‘Cynthia’ and also a novella, Ants, Aunts and Funerals, published in 2014.  Many of her short stories have been recorded on disc and as pod-casts for the vision impaired. Elizabeth spent her last years living in the Ovens Valley in Bright, a part of the world that she loved deeply.

Del Nightingale

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Ever get stuck on what to write about when you sit down in front of your computer? Don’t know where to start when you pick up pencil and paper? Just sit there staring at the empty page or watching a rain drop roll down the window.

Well there is a way to move beyond this stage without throwing your computer out of that window and burning your pencils and paper; writing prompts.

They can send your writing off into directions you might not have previously envisioned. I do not usually write poetry, there is no way I would consciously sit down and say I am going to write a poem. But given the right prompt it can happen.
Challenges and prompts come in many forms. It can be ‘Write in any genre using the title Mind Games.’ ‘Write biographical details for a story character; include name, home life, childhood, dating, hobbies, marriage, career.’ ‘Use a gun, motorbike, the colour red and a dog in a poem or short story.’  

Time limits are another way to keep you writing. Write for twenty minutes using ‘After the door shuts and the footsteps die…’ as the first line. The odds are you will still be writing well after the twenty minutes are up.

The internet is a great place to pick up prompts. I use a program called The Journal that I purchased at It can be used as a journal or notebook and has hundreds of prompts.

There are other sites that email out regular newsletters which include prompts. Others will send ‘prompt of the day.’ Just enter ‘writing prompts’ into Google and you will have a multitude of sites to choose from.

Challenging your writing group or friends to write on a certain subject or in a particular style and it will start the writing juices flowing. Amazingly, ten people can use the same prompt and come up with ten completely different pieces. 

So don’t let yourself become stumped. Don’t let writers block hold you back. Use a writing prompt and free your imagination. The outcome might just surprise you.

Paula Wilson

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Congratulations to Mary Jones.

Her crime novel Troubled Waters has been long-listed in the Sisters in Crime Davitt Awards, in the Debut Novel category. 

In the same week Mary had a poem accepted for the anthology Milestones, which celebrates 25 years publishing in Adelaide by Ginninderra Press. 

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This week’s postcard is from Nenia Tavrou, who has taken Zoom to the next level. Nenia’s been teaching an African man living in Mildura how to use Auslan… online!

Nenia writes …

SWW is an inspiration to keep writing regularly with the monthly magazines.

During Covid, a lot of other ideas have emerged – especially Zoom.
Caroline, with her team have devised ways to re-connect us, such as; the weekly email, book club, writing festival, online quiz, milestone merchandise, recipes…what next?

There’s more to us than writing. We’ve interests, experience, confidence. Grey hair, wrinkles. We’re more comfortable in our skin than before. Fashion and heels no longer our priority.

Good friendships are important. Those who accept us just as we are. With or without makeup. We like to help – and be helped. Because life experience good or bad has made us who we are.

I’m a professional volunteer; JP, Red Cross, teaching ESL to migrants, visiting the housebound, knitting for RCH.

My challenge? To teach a deaf man from Africa – who knows some Auslan – how to read and write English. He doesn’t have friends in Mildura and nobody knows Auslan. He wants to move to Melbourne but requires a job, so needs to write a resume. To do that he must learn to read and write English. I understand Auslan so we’ve been meeting on Zoom each week. It’s a big challenge.

Nenia Tavrou OAM JP

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Dear Members,

Yesterday morning I ran a ‘Get Writing!’ online workshop on behalf of Library at the Dock. Usually Paula Wilson, Vice President, runs these sessions but she was grappling with caravan, rain and internet issues in country NSW, and so asked for someone to cover.

The Society runs these workshops as part of its current relationship with Library at the Dock. I had not attended one of these sessions before but had heard a lot about them and attendees often give positive feedback.

The format of the workshop involved writing, inspired by a written prompt, for a period of time followed by the opportunity for participants to read and discuss what they had written. The process was then repeated using a pictorial prompt. Del Nightingale joined the session on behalf of the Society and there were a small group of women who had booked into the session via the Library, and we spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour and a half writing and discussing our work. It was great to see the participants feeling inspired and giving each other positive and constructive feedback.

Delving into the Society’s archive records, I have discovered that in years past when Rebecca Maxwell was President, and others, members had the opportunity to discuss and workshop their writing. Members used to meet before the start of the monthly meeting to discuss their work and ask for feedback from those present.

I thought I would take advantage of not meeting in person again this month and try something similar to what the Society has done in the past, and invite members to participate in a Zoom meeting to workshop some of their own writing at 9.30am on the 25th June 2021. Numbers for this group will be limited to 6 people to enable each person to receive feedback. If you are interested in taking part, please email and I will send further details.

In recent weeks a number of new members have joined the Society. A very warm welcome to Gay Collins, Clara Rizzi and Karen Meyer. 

Until next week, happy writing,


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NEXT MEETING WILL BE 25 JUNE 2021 at 11am, via ZOOM

The highlight of this meeting will be a presentation entitled Manuscript Matters by Irina Dunn followed by a Q&A session.

Members will be sent an invitation with joining instructions.

Irina Dunn is a well-known manuscript assessor, editor and literary agent, and is the Director of the Australian Writers’ Network, which has 13,000 subscribers throughout Australia and abroad.

She was the Director of the NSW Writers’ Centre for 15 years, as well as Manager of the Australian Writers’ Guild Authorship Collecting Society and Managing Editor at Booktopia. 

She wrote The Writer’s Guide: a companion to writing for pleasure or publication, (Allen & Unwin), which was shortlisted for the Australian Publishers’ Association National Education Awards and was described by the Australian Book Review as ‘a godsend for writers’.

Manuscript Matters

Many of us dabble with writing for fun, some of us write professionally. We write in different genres, about different subjects. One thing we all have in common though is that whatever we write is a manuscript.

While the days of reams of paper covered with delicate cursive handwritten scripts may have been replaced with crisp clean fonts tapped out on computers, a manuscript is still a manuscript. What is more, manuscripts help us present our stories, whatever they may be, to our audiences.

In Manuscript Matters, Irina Dunn will discuss the right – and the wrong – way to prepare your manuscript for presentation to a publisher. She will cover the essential elements for ensuring your manuscript looks professional and how to create enticing opening sentences to draw readers in.

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