Christmas Competition Winners

At the November 25th meeting the annual Christmas competition was held with members given a four-minute time limit to read an original piece of their writing.  Afterwards all enjoyed the festive buffet supplied on a ‘bring a plate to share’ basis.

Books donated by Busybird Publishing were given to each of the 3 prize winners who also received a certificate and a bouquet of Australian natives supplied, once again, by Meryl Tobin.  Meryl graciously declined the flowers allowing them to be enjoyed by another member.

This was the last meeting for 2016.  The next meeting will be at noon on Friday, February 24th at Ross House, Flinders Lane, Melbourne.  Please note change of starting time for 2017.  Meetings will commence at midday.

1st Prize - Lin van Heck

1st Prize – Lin van Heck

2nd Prize - Trish Veale

2nd Prize – Trish Veale

3rd Prize - Meryl Tobin

3rd Prize – Meryl Tobin


Ken’s Quest by Cher Chidzey

kens-questCher Chizsey launched her book ‘Ken’s Quest’ on November 22nd  at Readings Book Store in Ackland Street St Kilda.

A beautiful evening opened as friends and family gathered around Cher for this important night. The book, the characters, and Cher herself have had an interesting evolvement. The result is a cross-cultural darkly funny story that will introduce you to the layers of complexity that immigration to this country can create.

It’s not often that you can read a story about the challenges of émigrés  that are written with warts and all. It is even less likely that as the reader you will be enticed to become involved in the course of the story. But this is the joy and the value in Cher’s book, for she is neither indulging our sensibilities as readers nor is she keeping us out of the discussion.

As you read you may find that your feelings are aroused, you also may take up a point of view and shift your attitude.

This is such a valuable experience to have and it makes the book a great vehicle for group discussion. Get hold of a copy, read it and pass it on to friends. This is the way we can help to make a difference.

Written by Del Nightingale

*** Cher will be interviewed on ABC radio, Life Matters  with Ellen Fanning,
Monday 5th December at 9.40am ***


Del Nightingale, SWWVic Vice President, with Cher


Musicians Alinta Chidzey, Remco Keijzer and James Sherlock entertain


Friends and family gather to congratulate Cher









Review of Ken’s Quest by Dr Alison Broinowsk
Dr Alison Broinowski has studied and written about Asian Australian fiction since the 1980s.

Cher Chidzey, Ken’s Quest, Melbourne: Threekookaburras, 2016

The earliest account we have by a Chinese man about his time in Australia is dated 1860. It was followed by many more, in fact and fiction, recording the gold-seekers’ hopes and disillusionments. With individual variations, the pattern is so consistent that it almost seems they wrote what was traditionally expected of Chinese far from home. A boom-time for Chinese diaspora novels of a different kind came when the ‘Tiananmen students’, who stayed on in Australia, tried with varying success to make new lives here. Yet more than a century after the gold rushes, many still wrote as their predecessors had about their struggle to survive, make money, and bring honour to their families and to China. Several expressed distaste if not contempt for Australians, and resentment that their superiority as Chinese ‘intellectuals’ was not acknowledged.

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Basho Haiku Contest Winner

Janet Howie wins another International Haiku competition.

Janet Howie wins another International Haiku competition.

SWWVic member Janet Howie,  a prizewinning writer of haiku, was recently awarded one of the two Grand Prizes for the 70th Basho Memorial English Haiku Contest held annually at the Basho Festival in Japan. For details, see http://www.basho-bp.jp/en/?p=77.

Basho, 1644-1694, was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan and he helped establish haiku as a poetic form. Recognized for his works in his lifetime, today he continues to be recognized as the greatest master of haiku.

For details of his life, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matsuo_Bash%C5%8D.

Janet Howie’s prizewinning haiku:

between two bridges-
stretched out on the river
the full moon

Congratulations, Janet.
Submitted by Meryl Brown Tobin


The Sheila Malady Short Story Competition

The annual SHAKESPEARE ON THE RIVER FESTIVAL for 2017 will run between Saturday April 22 and Sunday May 7 at Stratford, Victoria.

The Festival has grown to include over twenty different events being performed over a two-and-a-half week period.

Of interest to SWWVic members, and writers in general, is the The Sheila Malady Short Story Competition.

Shakespeare is renowned for his inventive use of language, creation of new words and blatant use of time honoured tales of love, hope, murder and revenge. He has created some of the world’s most beloved tales, characters and gifted the English language with words we still use everyday. His works have been adapted, reinterpreted and extended as writers have wondered what if, what now and what next. Now it’s your turn.

At its heart, this competition is about celebrating and breathing new life into the works of Shakespeare by inviting writers to send their own creations. In 2017, the theme is Light/Dark. So sharpen your quills and send your best original short story of 2000 words.

Winners will be announced at the opening night of the Festival on Saturday 22 April, 2017. The opening of the Stratford on Avon Shakespeare Festival will be celebrated at The Courthouse Theatre, Stratford (66 Princes Highway) with the 2017 Arts Exhibition Opening at 6pm and the official Festival Opening to follow at 6.30pm.

For full details of the competition, and to download the entry form,  click here.


Memories of Dorothea Trafford Lavery

Dorothea Trafford Lavery addresses the crowd at the Readings, Hawthorn launch of Thoughts in Miniature on 19.10.2003

Dorothea Trafford Lavery addresses the crowd at the Readings, Hawthorn launch of Thoughts in Miniature on 19.10.2003

12.11.1917 – 12.11.2016

By Meryl Brown Tobin

Longtime member and a past president of The Society of Women Writers Victoria, Dorothea Lavery, who wrote under the name Dorothea Trafford Lavery, passed away on Saturday, November 12, 2016.

She died on her 99th Birthday and would have been the society’s oldest member up to that time.

Friends and relatives travelled from as far away as Hong Kong, Brisbane and Sydney to pay tribute to her. At her Celebration of a Life, her second son Anthony (Tony) described her as ‘always beautifully-groomed with red nail polish and red lipstick and with a slightly regal air’. He also pointed out, ‘She was always ready with a little advice. A great conversationalist, she had boundless enthusiasm and made the best of all situations.’ Those who knew her would recognize what he meant when he said, ‘She was a force to be reckoned with. She was imperious and sometimes I felt I had had more of an audience with royalty than a conversation with my mother.’

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Vale Dorothea Trafford Lavery

dorotheaWith the recent death of Dorothea Lavery on 12 November 2016, her 99th birthday, the Society lost a long time member who will be remembered for her great presence, her great love of the society and of all people, her great love of haiku and her great sense of humour. She was a longtime friend and mentor to many and will be sadly missed.

Dorothea’s family is as great as she was herself and numbers eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.  To all the family the Society extends its heartfelt condolences.

A Celebration of Life service was held on Friday 18 November and for those who couldn’t attend but would like to add their name to the guestbook the link is here.

SWWVic member Meryl Brown has compiled tributes to Dorothea given by Society members.  In their tributes below, SWWV members and friends celebrate the life of Dorothea Lavery, a dedicated life member who contributed much to the society as we know it today.

A selection of Dorothea’s Haiku has also been compiled by Meryl Tobin and can be read following the tributes. Continue Reading


Shakespeare Club of Western Australia’s Sonnet Competition

Congratulations to SWWVic member Mary Jones for her 2nd placing in the Shakespeare Club of Western Australia sonnet competition.

Described as ’a spirited, sprightly, well-constructed account of a historical incident’ Mary’s sonnet, The Wild Geese, celebrated the 1876 rescue of Irish prisoners from Fremantle WA by the American ship Catalpa.

Mary will be the feature poet at the next DiVerseCity poetry reading event at Watts Cooking Cafe, Surrey Hills, on Sunday November 6th, full details here.