Month: March 2014

Where can your blogging take you?

Television appearances. Blogger talent agencies. And an entire industry built around writing about your life, passions or interests – online. It's a concept that barely existed a mere five years ago. Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging.

It's a world that can shoot people to stardom, provide a lucrative source of revenue and give some bloggers a sense of identity. If you're wondering where you fit in, let's take a short tour of the blogosphere.

At My Desk: Australian author Karen Viggers

Melbourne-born Karen Viggers is the author of three novels, the latest of which is The Grass Castle. Karen grew up in the Dandenong Ranges spending her free time riding horses and writing stories. Her love of creative writing was put aside in high school in favour of maths and science after being told it was too hard to make a living from writing. It was only after she completed vet school that she began writing again, though those works were mainly poetry and were not published. After years of working, studying and family life, Karen finally began writing fiction and, two years (and many drafts) later, her first novel, The Stranding, was published. The novel was well-received and Karen followed it up two years later with The Lightkeeper’s Wife.

Her third novel, The Grass Castle, has just been released. It follows the stories of two women in the Brindabella Ranges and their struggles to free themselves from long-buried family secrets.

Perth meet-up and information night

We’re holding a FREE Perth Information Night and Meet-up Time and date: Monday 20 January 2014 Time: 6.30-8pm Who: Meet Australian Writers’ Centre National Director Valerie Khoo and State Director – WA Alecia Hancock.
 They’ll be speaking about the Centre’s launch in Perth and answering... read more

Sydney meet-up with Tristan Bancks

Time and date: Tuesday 1 April 2014 Although the official time is from 6.30pm to 8pm, you are welcome to stay as long as you like – and we imagine many of you will! Who: Tristan Bancks is an author of books for children and teens. He has a background... read more

Sydney meet-up with Geena Leigh

Time and date: Tuesday 11 February 2014 Although the official time is from 6.30pm to 8pm, you are welcome to stay as long as you like – and we imagine many of you will! Who: Australian Writers' Centre graduate and author of Call Me Sasha Geena Leigh. About Geena: At... read more

Melbourne meet-up with Natalie Sisson

Time and date: Wednesday 29 January 2014 Time: 6.30-8pm Who: Writer, author, speaker, coach and blogger Natalie Sisson, founder of popular blog, ‘The Suitcase Entrepreneur’. In 2013, Natalie lived in over 14 countries. Leaving her hometown of New Zealand in 2006, she’s been dubbed ‘The Suitcase Entrepreneur... read more

The winner of the Best Australian Blogs Competition will go on a trip to Turkey!

Until now, you've known that the winner of the competition will receive an international trip with Trafalgar, including a range of unique experiences. We have been bombarded with enquiries about the destination and it's been so hard to keep this under wraps as we've been busting to tell you.

We are thrilled to announce the grand prize of the Best Australian Blogs Competition is a seven-day trip to Turkey with the global leader in guided holidays, Trafalgar.

This is set to be an amazing journey and the winner of the Best Australian Blogs Competition for 2014 will have an unforgettable experience. It will include a seven-night guided holiday comprising return economy flights, centrally-located accommodation, most meals, an array of exclusive Insider Experiences, in-destination transfers and ground transportation, services of a Trafalgar Travel Director and insider moments from Local Experts.

Wacky Word Wednesday: Obnubilate

We're venturing into the world of the truly rare with this week's wacky word. It's obnubilate – to make something less visible or clear, or to obscure.

This is one of those smarty-pants words you might use to show off your Latin skills. (And if you need any evidence of that consider the fact that obnubilate made it into famous lexicographer Eugene Ehrlich's book, The Highly Selective Thesaurus for the Extraordinarily Literate.) It comes from the Latin word nubes, meaning 'cloud'. It first came into use in English in the mid-16th century.

The definition of obnubilate doesn't necessarily suggest a negative connotation but, according to World Wide Words, it was a favourite of 19th century literary critics who used it when they felt "a writer had been less than transparently clear in his exposition". This comment on author Walt Whitman in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1860 is a perfect example.

Student Success: Published in Crikey, New Daily Website, and New York Times online

Our graduates are kicking so many goals recently we can hardly keep up! We've heard from graduates in Magazine and Newspaper Writing, Writing Books for Children and Young Adults and Blogging for Beginners, who all wanted to share their success stories with us.

Let's start with Richard Curzon from NSW. He's completed a number of courses and seminars with the Australian Writers' Centre – including the online course in Magazine and Newspaper Writing, Travel Memoir and Life Writing, and seminars on From Blog to Book, How to Create and Sell Your Ebook, How to Get Your Book Published.

He's been busy working on his book and an extract from that, Destination Detention (which is almost ready for publication), was published on Crikey on 6 March under the heading "The Indian Solution".

The Best Australian Blogs Competition is open for 2014!

Styling You. Edenland. Cook Republic. What do these blogs have in common? They've each taken out the coveted title of Best Australian Blog, and this year it could be you!

Now in its fourth year, the Australian Writers' Centre is proud you bring you the Best Australian Blogs Competition.

It doesn't matter if you blog about cats, your family, your business or even your love of potatoes, we want to hear from you!

Newcastle Writers Festival returns in 2014

Where can you find a buzzing cafe and bar scene, beautiful beaches, plenty of boutique shopping and a celebration of Australian literature? From Friday 4 to Sunday 6 April 2014, the answer is at the Newcastle Writers Festival.

Following a successful first year, the Newcastle Writers Festival is back and fast becoming a must-see event in the Australian writing scene, with an anticipated 3,500 attendees this year and over 80 writers taking part.

Now in her second year as NWF director, we sat down with Rosemarie Milsom to find out more.

Chris Muir: Ad man writes action thriller

For author and AWC graduate Chris Muir, writing the fictional adventure thriller A Savage Garden, set in Africa, was a natural progression for the life-long passion he’s had for the country. But when you read this book, you realise that Chris’ experiences in Africa are anything but ordinary... read more

Food adventures in Vietnam

Expect the unexpected on this gastronomic adventure written by Australian Writers' Centre graduate Dianne Bortoletto. You can find her at

Everyone says that the food in Vietnam is “delicious” and “so fresh”. You hear it all the time. My mother never cooked with lemongrass, coriander, or fish sauce and the few Vietnamese restaurants I’d been to in Australia were, well, ordinary at best. It was only when foodie friends returned from Vietnam raving about the county’s cuisine that I realised I was missing something.

A small mention about a food writing tour of Vietnam in a previous issue of Latte jumped out at me. Two things crossed my mind: this was a chance to properly explore what I was missing out on with Vietnamese food, and an opportunity to have a tax-deductible holiday because a learning element was involved. Win-win. Nine days touring Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City interviewing chefs, visiting markets, attending cooking classes, eating and learning how to write about it … I felt compelled to go.

Wacky Word Wednesday: Zeugma

Appropriately (for Writing Bar) this week's wacky word describes a commonly used literary device. It's one most readers would immediately recognise on seeing it used, but may never have realised just how common, and clever, it is. It's zeugma, a rhetorical device where a single word is linked to two words in a sentence but is really only appropriate to one of them.

So, that makes a zeugma sound more like a grammatical error than a writing technique. But used well, the zeugma can add drama, humour and beauty to writing. The Macquarie Dictionary describes zeugma as "a figure of speech in which a verb is associated with two subjects or objects, or an adjective with two nouns, in a way that is unexpected".

Poster: A Visual Compendium of Typewriters

We have a bit of a typewriter obsession here at the Australian Writers' Centre. In fact, it isn't surprising to find our national director Valerie Khoo trawling through antique stores in search of the perfect vintage typewriter.

So we couldn't resist sharing this awesome poster with you.

AWC graduate Tamsin Janu on writing and publishing her first book

Australian Writers' Centre graduate Tamsin Janu completed the Writing Books for Children and Young Adults course in 2012 and immediately afterwards started work on her book Figgy in the World. That book is now being published by Scholastic Omnibus and will hit bookstores in June 2014.

Despite feeling she was 'too young' to write for children, Tamsin undertook her Australian Writers' Centre course while also studying law. She had spent some time in Ghana on a volunteer program and it was that experience that inspired her to write for children. She now works in a remote community in the Northern Territory as a youth worker.

Anatomy of a book trailer

Australian author Tristan Bancks has long been a fan of the book trailer. Like movie trailers – which tease audiences with scenes from the movie, giving them a taste of what's to come and leaving them wanting for more – book trailers are meant to intrigue and entice potential readers to buy the book.

However, they are still in their infancy, with some book trailers hitting the mark, and others barely resembling a mish-mash of images set against some really bad music.

Along with the release of his new book Two Wolves, Tristan has released his latest book trailer. You can view it here.