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Ep 123 How to write a memoir about a painful experience. Meet Louise Doughty, author of “Black Water”.

Aug 30, 2016 Podcasts Australian Writers' Centre Team

In Episode 123 of So you want to be a writer:  Gawker is closing down, discover why you’ll never finish your novel and how to write a memoir about a painful experience. Meet Louise Doughty, author of Black Water. Plus: writing tools for authors, great content marketing examples for author blogs, and much more.

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Review of the Week
Michelle Barraclough:

Dear Allison and Valerie. Thanks for the shout-out in this week’s podcast, especially the lovely cheer for finishing the draft of my first novel. Absolutely made my day! As one of the millions of writers sitting alone at their desks around the world, your podcast has been a godsend – motivating, inspiring and keeping me company on the journey. If a question pops into my head regarding structure or editing or publication or author platform (or banoffee pie!), I know Al’n’Val will have the answer. The search function on your soyouwanttobeawriter website is brilliant for this too, pointing me in the direction of the podcast I need. Thanks gals.

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WIN Rebellious Daughters!

Aug 29, 2016 Competitions Australian Writers' Centre Team

Australia has a wealth of talented female writers, all with plenty of stories to tell. Our giveaway book this week – Rebellious Daughters – brings many of them together to share their tales of rebellion and independence as daughters looking to make their way in the world.

“Powerful, funny and poignant, these true tales explore everything from getting into trouble in seedy nightclubs to lifelong family conflicts and marrying too young.” So says the media for this book. Edited by Maria Katsonis & Lee Kofman, it’s a celebration of what it means to be the opposite of a ‘good daughter’. As it says, “Not every woman is a mother, aunty or sister – but all women are daughters!”

We have two copies of this collection by Aussie writers/daughters to give away. And to be in to win one, simply tell us who YOUR favourite Australian female writer is AND WHY (in under 25 words). That’s it!

We’ll choose our two favourites to each win a copy of the book.


Entries close midday Monday 12 September 2016, Sydney/Melbourne time.


(NOTE: If you win, we’ll contact you via email. Winners must acknowledge their win and provide a sending address within 7 days of notification or they will forfeit the prize and a new winner will be chosen.)

First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
State *
Please select oneNSWVICQLDWAACTSANTTASOutside Australia
Competition entry *

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Q&A: Bate vs Bait

Aug 23, 2016 Our legendary Q&As Dean Koorey

Q: Hullo.
A: Hi. What’s that smell?
Q: Not sure. But I just want to say that I look forward to the Q&A with baited breath every week.
A: Ah okay, that’s the smell. Do you have a breath mint?
Q: Excuse me?
A: For your “baited breath”… it reeks of ignorance.
Q: Okay, something fishy is going on. But I’ll take the bait. Surely it’s correct. After all, to “bait something” on a hook is to dangle it in anticipation or enticement. Yes?
A: Well in fishing, sure. But the main verb meaning is to purposefully taunt or annoy someone. As in “they mentioned Donald’s hair in an attempt to bait him”…
Q: So, it’s “bated breath”?
A: Yes.
Q: What does that even MEAN?
A: Well, to quote Macquarie Dictionary, “bate” means to lessen or restrain. The related word “abate” is more common these days, but the idiom “bated breath” has endured.
Q: Oh, okay, an idiom. Great. So those things don’t even need to make sense.
A: That’s right, they’re the leather-jacket-wearing rock stars of the grammar world – throwing logic out of their hotel window, shooting fish in barrels and gathering no moss with the rolling stones.

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Ep 122 You’ve written your first draft: now what? And meet AWC graduate Fleur Ferris, author of “Black”.

Aug 23, 2016 Podcasts Australian Writers' Centre Team

In Episode 122 of So you want to be a writer:  You’ve written your first draft: now what? Discover why indie magazines are flourishing and why reading will help you live longer. We touch on resume writers and reasons why someone will stop reading your novel. Meet AWC graduate Fleur Ferris whose second novel Black has been published by Penguin Random House. Plus: our latest platform building tip, and much more.

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Review of the Week
IndyBug from Australia:

A week ago I had no idea who either of you were – and now I wonder how I survived without you? I’ve never written a book but the aim is to one day but I love to read and am endlessly interested in the lives and experiences of those that write the books that keep me company during the dark hours. You discuss the most mundane subjects (tax 🙈) humorously and present other complicated and mind boggling issues associated with being a writer in such an interesting manner that I find myself evening dreaming (whilst walking the dog, of course!) about writing a book myself one day.

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AWC graduate Jill Keyte releases new cookbook

Aug 22, 2016 "I got published!" Australian Writers' Centre Team

Congratulations to Jill Keyte on the release of The Happy Hormone Cookbook, published by New Holland. Jill has done a few courses at the Australian Writers’ Centre and we’re thrilled for her! Meet Jill …

Why did you want to write this book?
I’m passionate about health, eating locally grown, fresh food and staying well naturally. I wanted to inform women how, by changing their diet, cooking fresh food, relieving stress and exercising, they can feel and look good and stay well. It was a journey I had been on and I wanted to share it.

What is the book about?
The book is fundamentally a cookbook – food secrets for a balanced life. It describes female hormone imbalance and provides tips on how to keep hormones in balance through food and lifestyle choices. It has over 80 recipes – from breakfast to dinner with snacks in between – how to make some of the ingredients, where to shop and lots of words of wisdom.

You’ve co-written the book; how did you divide up your co-author responsibilities?
I wrote the book with Nutritionist Chef, Emma Ellice-Flint. She provided the recipes. I tested many of them, provided some of my own recipes and edited all of them.

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A rendezvous with Gary Kemble, author of “Bad Blood”

Aug 18, 2016 The Writers' Room Australian Writers' Centre Team

Today we’re sitting in a crowded train station waiting to chat with crime and thriller author Gary Kemble, author of Bad Blood – the second novel in his Harry Hendrick series. When he arrives, we’re not supposed to turn around so we don’t draw suspicion.

Hi Gary. (Is that you Gary? Okay. Good.) So for those readers who haven’t read Bad Blood yet, can you tell us what it’s about in under 58 words?

“Freelance journalist Harry Hendrick is blackmailed by the police into investigating a series of bizarre suicides. Those investigations lead him into the web of Mistress Hel, who plies her dark arts from her luxurious suburban lair. With continuing challenges in his personal and professional life, can Harry resist her seductive power? Or the thrill of danger itself?”

So nothing to do with Taylor Swift then. Good to know. So, how did the idea for this book form?

“The original concept was much darker. It was a straight literature novel about a man dealing with the grief of losing his wife and daughter in a car crash while he’s at a BDSM session with a professional dominatrix.

“I couldn’t imagine myself actually writing that book. I was scouting around for an idea for the next Harry Hendrick book and with a bit of tweaking and a hefty dose of dark magic, it was a good fit.”

Tell us: what draws you to writing crime/thriller stories?

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Sally Fawcett: Shaping her picture book future

Aug 17, 2016 "I got published!" Australian Writers' Centre Team

Primary school teacher, illustrator and mother of three Sally Fawcett is immersed in the world of young children on a daily basis (you could almost call it an occupational hazard). So this provided the perfect foundation to getting her first picture book published. The result is What Could It Be?.

Post-baby creativity

The journey began soon after Sally had her third child. “I was hit with a wave of creativity. I was doing a lot of drawing and I started writing stories.” She sent a couple of manuscripts out to publishers and received rejections. “When I look back now, these stories were terrible, I am quite embarrassed by them!”

So she started to look up everything she could find on the internet about picture book writing. And when she had exhausted all those options, she enrolled in the online version of the course Writing Picture Books at the Australian Writers’ Centre in late 2013.

There’s a lot to learn…

“When I started the course, I thought there was probably not a lot more I could learn about writing picture books because I had already researched very widely,” says Sally. “I had already spent every spare minute I had picking up tips from successful writers and reading books on writing and illustrating for children.” Not only this, but she had also sat for hours in libraries and book stores analysing the best picture books.

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Ep 121 What other writers can teach you about writing, and meet James Phelps, author of “Australia’s Toughest Prisons: Inmates”.

Aug 16, 2016 Podcasts Australian Writers' Centre Team

In Episode 121 of So you want to be a writer:  What other writers can teach you about writing, why no writing is wasted, Michelle Field’s plagiarism scandal, and the lost art of letter writing. Impress your friends and readers by using “inchoate” correctly. Meet James Phelps, author of Australia’s Toughest Prisons: Inmates. Plus, our latest platform building tip and much more!

Click play to listen to the podcast or find it on iTunes here. If you don’t use iTunes you can get the feed here, or listen to us on Stitcher radio.

Review of the Week
From sumi341 from Australia:

I started listening to it recently and have downloaded almost all the podcasts that interest me and listen to it almost exclusively while walking. Gives me some inspiration and amazing tips on writing especially since I’m a procrastinator and also trying to find a way to tap into my creativity. Keep up the good work.

Thanks sumi341!

Show Notes
The writer’s epiphany: I can pinpoint precise lessons from other authors and their work

Your Writing Is Never Wasted

Michelle Fields of the Huffington Post Caught in Plagiarism Scandal

Writer in Residence

James Phelps
James Phelps is an award-winning senior reporter for the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph in Sydney.

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