Annual Postal Workshop Picnic for 2017



It was great to gather together again, but the bright sunshine was a stark contrast to the dark events of the previous day in the CBD. It added a sombre tone to a day known more for its laughter.

A private function meant the public could not access the facilities inside the Pavilion Cafe, but staff served patrons and passersby, including two policewomen on their well-trained horses, with lunch and/or coffees in the outdoor seating area.

With ten SWWV members present I wasn’t a participant in all conversations, but I heard several, ‘I’m going to write more’ this year, ‘be more organised with my writing’, ‘submit more regularly to my Postal Workshop’ or ‘send my work out into the world’. Other members shared advice on editing and publishing, particularly digital publishing some wish to explore. A highlight for me, as Co-ordinator of the Postal Workshops, was to hear a member say they wouldn’t be writing what they did, if it wasn’t for the advice and support they receive from their Postal Workshop. Others agreed.

While the Picnic is a social gathering, I urge each of you to remind yourselves, throughout the year, of these intentions. When we gather again on 20th January 2018, rather than talking of what we intend to do, I hope we are all excited about the fulfilment of our 2017 intentions.

Judith Green
Postal Workshop Coordinator

The photo below shows Postal Workshop members on the day enjoying the company of like-minded women.  From left to right: Mary Jones, Beth Wunderlich, Betty Chan, Shirley Whiteway, Blaise van Hecke, Judith Green,  Nenia Tavrou and Del Nightingale.  Missing is Meryl Tobin who was behind the camera.




‘Ken’s Quest’: A Compelling Migrant Tale by Cher Chidzey

Author Cher Chidzey and her novel "Ken's Quest.' Image: Keith Chidzey

Author Cher Chidzey and her novel “Ken’s Quest.’ Image: Keith Chidzey

SWWVic member Cher Chidzey was recently interviewed by Vision Times to talk about her novel, Ken’s Quest, published November 2016.

Vision Times quote: Australian Asian author Cher Chidzey has written Ken’s Quest, a beautiful novel with humour and heart that looks deeply into the relevant issue of migration and cultural integration in Australia.

The full interview with Cher can be read here.



Vale, Tricia Veale


Photo supplied by M Silver

Remembering Patricia Irene Veale
02 03 1939 – 13 01 2017

Late of Benalla
Passed away at North East Health, Wangaratta after
a brave battle, aged 77 years.

Tricia, or Tric as she was known, was a much loved mother, mother-in-law and grandmother and to her family the Society extends its condolences.  Tric was also a much respected and revered member of The Society of Women Writers Victoria Inc.  From August 2009 to August 2011 she served as President of the Society she had joined in 2003.

A writer of both poetry and prose, she had no greater joy than to encourage those who wanted to write. The photo is of Tric receiving 2nd Prize in the Christmas writing competition the Society holds each year in November. Her  smile showed her delight. Sadly the November 2016 meeting would be Tric’s last. For members’ tributes, click Tricia.



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 – Tricia Veale

3rd Prize - Meryl Tobin

3rd Prize – Meryl Tobin

Photos supplied by
R Finn







Ken’s Quest by Cher Chidzey

kens-questCher Chidzey 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.

Continue Reading


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.