Month: April 2014

Wacky Word Wednesday: Qwerty

The humble keyboard. Fifty years ago no one could have predicted just how ubiquitous and how vital to our every day lives it would become. But it's now something few people could say they live without, and us certainly writers are big users of the keyboard. Which brings us to this week's wacky word – qwerty. (Or QWERTY, as you'll sometimes see it written.) This one has a very specific meaning and it's not a word you could use unless you're describing a keyboard. But it's one of the few words in English that doesn't subscribe to the 'u after q' rule, and when you know the story of the qwerty keyboard, you can understand why.

Best Australian Blogs Competition 2014 Finalists announced

The Australian Writers’ Centre today announced 31 finalists in the annual Best Australian Blogs Competition. These finalists now compete for the title of “Best Australian blogger” for 2014. The finalists were selected from a record 1,125 blogs entered in this year’s competition. They are in the running to... read more

Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival brings warmth to winter

With the average maximum temperature for July in Bowral sitting at 12C, you wouldn't be alone in thinking that a little winter hibernation might be in order. Not so for those in the community: July is when the town comes alive for the Southern Highlands Writers' Festival (SHWF), and they'd like you to join them!

With writing greats such as PJ Travers (Mary Poppins), Patrick White, Miles Franklin and screenwriter Terry Hayes (Mad Max) all hailing from the area, it's not surprising that the creative community is alive and well in the Southern Highlands. With many in the region isolated on farms out of the main city, the SHWF provides a great opportunity for everyone come together and share their love of writing.

Author Profile: Gabrielle Tozer

It’s 5.30am. Gabrielle Tozer, 28, shuts the door to her study and sits at her desk. Sydney’s concrete jungle is quieter so early in the morning and Gabrielle likes to write in silence. A gumtree stands outside her window – the only greenery among the nearby buildings. It... read more

Episode 8 of ‘So you want to be a writer’ now online!

So you want to be a writer is a weekly podcast from Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait.

Valerie is an author, journalist and national director of the Australian Writers’ Centre.

Allison Tait is an Australian freelance writer, blogger and author, with more than 20 years’ professional writing experience. She is also a presenter at the Australian Writers’ Centre.

7 Questions: Breast cancer survivor and author Tanya Curran Brown on writing her memoir

Tanya Curran Brown is a master hairdresser whose salon in Wollongong NSW has been the training ground for countless apprentices over the years. She's also a breast cancer survivor. In 2005 she was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of the disease and eventually underwent a double mastectomy. She has now published her memoir on her journey – A Tale of Two Titties. In her book, Tanya hopes to shine a humorous light on a devastating disease and help other sufferers.

CBCA Shortlisted author Barry Jonsberg on writing and keeping young readers happy

Barry Jonsberg is a former lecturer and high-school teacher and author of books for young adults and kids. He has published eight books for young adults and the latest, My Life As An Alphabet, has been shortlisted in the 2014 Children's Book Council Awards Book of the Year for Younger Readers. Barry moved to Australia from the UK in 1999 and wrote his first novel in 2001. In 2004 his first book was published, The Whole Business with Kiffo and the Pitbull. That book was his first CBCA shortlisted novel – it made the list in 2005 list in the Older Readers category. Since then he has published 10 more books for young adults and younger readers including It's Not all About YOU, Calma (which won the 2006 South Australian Festival Award for Children's Literature), Dreamrider (shortlisted for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Awards) and Being Here.

Student Success: Articles in The Sydney Morning Herald, Aljazeera and Outback magazine

It's been another huge week for Australian Writers' Centre graduates. We've heard from quite a few Magazine and Newspaper Writing graduates and we're thrilled to be able to share their success with you here. First up, Kristyn Maslog-Levis from NSW. She did the online course in Magazine and Newspaper Writing in 2013 as well as the How to Get Your Book Pubished seminar.

Wacky Word Wednesday: Syzygy

There's just one word in the English language with three 'y's. That word is syzygy – pronounced siz-uh-jee. It's a word that astronomists would most likely be familiar with, and possibly even poets. The Macquarie Dictionary lists one definition as "the conjunction or opposition of two heavenly bodies; a point in the orbit of a body, as the moon, at which it is in conjunction with or in opposition to the sun." Other references suggest syzygy actually describes the alignment of three celestial bodies – something that happens when there's a full or new moon. The unique thing about the definition of syzygy is that it describes both opposition and conjunction with the sun. The original meaning of the word only applied to conjunctions – when the moon is between the Earth and the sun. It came from the Latin suzugia and the Greek suzugos, which meant "yoked or paired".

At My Desk: Journalist and author Jessica Irvine

Jessica Irvine is a popular Australian economics columnist and author. She is currently the National Economics Editor of News Limited’s metro newspapers, and has previously written for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The West Australian and The Brisbane Times. Her first book, Zombies, Bananas and Why There Are No Economists in Heaven was a witty and accessible look at how to use the principles of economics to tackle everyday problems.

Her latest book, The Bottom Line Diet, might seem a little out of left field for an economics journalist. Jessica describes it as a “passion project”, something she felt she “had to write”, to help people dispel the myths about weight loss and get down to the “bottom line” – that it all comes down to numbers.

Wacky Word Wednesday: Flibbertigibbet

What do you imagine when you hear the word flibbertigibbet? Me, I picture a restless, fretful and voluble person. Not necessarily someone you don't want to be around, but you'll require lots of energy to manage them. And that's fairly close the definition of this tongue-twister... read more