VALE ELIZABETH THOMPSON

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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DON’T LET WRITER’S BLOCK HOLD YOU BACK

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 www.davidrm.com. 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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MEMBERS’ ACHIEVEMENTS

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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MEMBER POSTCARD

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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LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT SUNDAY 13 JUNE 2021

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,

Caroline 

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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’.
www.irinadunn.com.au

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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WHAT’S ON FOR JUNE 2021

1st June                                Book Chat

Book Chat has moved to 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! For further information and the Zoom link contact Caroline Webber, President: caroline.webber@greenolivepress.com

2nd June

The Work in Progress group (full) meets online the first Wednesday of the month and is for members embarking on a novel-writing adventure. Group numbers are limited. For further information contact Vanessa Potts, group facilitator: vjpotts@yahoo.co.uk or click HERE to be taken to the Writers’ Group page of this website.

4th June

Closing date for submissions to the Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize. Winner will be announced at the meeting on the 30th July 2021

8th June – Due to COVID restrictions – home schooling – this has been postponed until 15th June.

Caroline Webber will run an online Zoom session on Editing at 10.30am for members interested in joining the Sparx Editorial Committee. Please email Caroline for further information: caroline.webber@greenolivepress.com

10th June                              Deadline for submissions to the June newsletter

For further information contact Paula Wilson, Editor Write Awaypaulawilson1@optusnet.com.au

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

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

20th June                   Perennial Poets Writing Group submissions for the month close.

For further information contact Nenia Tavrou, Perennial Poets Facilitator: Nenia1@bigpond.com or click HERE to be taken to the Writers’ Group page of this website.

25th June                         Monthly meeting – 11am – 2pm Online via Zoom. An invitation with joining instructions will be emailed to all members.

This meeting will have a focus on short story writing. Presenter to be announced soon.

28th June                            Let’s Write! Online Writing Group (full)

For further information contact Paula Wilson, Let’s Write Facilitator: paulawilson1@optusnet.com.au

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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, 06 July 2021 at 10.30 am.

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Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize 2021

The Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize 2021.

1st prize: $200, 2nd $125 3rd prize $75

Judge: Tegan Schetrumpf

Closes: Friday 4th June 2021

A biennial award for a poem of no longer than 50 lines.

Open to all women poets, the award is managed by the Society of Women Writers Victoria in memory of the late poet Kathryn Purnell.

Fees: Per entry – $10 (members of SWW in all states) $15 (non-members) OR 3 entries $20 (members of SWW) $30 (non-members.)

About the judge: Tegan Jane Schetrumpf 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 Antipodes, Axon, Meanjin, Southerly, and The Australian Poetry Journal. Tegan is the Creative Editor for Alterity Studies and World Literature.

For further information about the prize, Terms and Conditions, entry form and payment of fees, click HERE

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MEMBER POSTCARD

This week’s postcard is from Paulette Dubé in Canada. Consider the Canada Goose

Consider the Canada Goose on the slough.
She
(definitely a she because females arrive first, pick the nesting site, and build the nest)
travelled in the classic migration pattern, a lance thrown south
in September, then north in March, then south again and north again
over and over.  Imagine
the land she saw, geography disappearing beneath her
as she swallowed, strained, stretched and threaded another generation through the sky, imagine the air, so clear last year
imagine how clear and cold the water is now
imagine how terrified, how tired she must have been,
every time she landed, imagine how terrific small, hard bits of food tasted imagine blueberries.

Having arrived and settled, she looked around
(prospect:  hope, possibility expectation).  Paddled to the deep middle
of the slough to think things over.  There are challenges
with every coupling “… many of these birds may be related to one another and pairs remain together throughout the year. Less than 10 percent breed as yearlings, and most pair bonds are unstable until birds are at least two or three years old. Extra-pair copulations have been documented.” *

Look at her again. The wait, her
fathoming the depth.

Paulette Dubé

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MEMBERS’ NEWS

Congratulations to Society member, adventurer and writer Kate Leeming, who featured in an article in Triathlete magazine recently.

To read the article, please click HERE.

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