Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

September 16, 2011

Commonwealth Short Story Prize-winning Stories announced.

Overall Winner and Regional Winner, Canada and Europe is

Philip Nash from the United Kingdom for his story Rejoinder

Read the winning story by Philip Nash,

the Regional winners,

Highly Commended and Special Prize stories

on the Commonwealth Foundation website.

And remember to write a story to enter next year!

New writer triumphs in Commonwealth Short Story Competition

Philip Nash wins 2011 Prize

Press release

In 2012 the competition will be re-launched as the Commonwealth Short Story Prize under the new banner Commonwealth Writers – a world of new fiction. Find out more at

June 7, 2011

Season of Inspiration Online Writing Course

What could be more comfy and fun than staying inside on a cold winter day or night and logging on to a stimulating and interactive writing course?

A nine week fully online course that is not a lonely self-study course but a lively forum for debate and developing your current project or starting a new one.

 The course provides writing tuition, journal prompts, stimulating activities, live chats and regular feedback from tutors and peers. An active busy forum ensures plenty of interaction between our writers. Each writer is given a private space for their writing journal. Writers join us from around the globe.

 When the course is completed, our writers are invited to join the Season of Inspiration alumni, at no further cost, to keep in touch and let us all know their achievements as well as when they need some extra encouragement and support.

Sharon Rundle and Helen Whitehead are pleased to confirm that the next Season of Inspiration Online Writing course will start in June 2011 with our trademark supportive, friendly, online writing community and all-new inspiration!

This entirely online writing course, takes up about 4-5 hours per week for 9 weeks.  Join in with our supportive learning community at any time to suit yourself.  Start any time in the week 20-26th June 2011.

Yet again we will be dipping into a variety of sources of inspiration, from nature to music to landscape. From poetry to fantasy to autobiography to food, there’ll be formats, genres and topics to experiment with. We aim to provide inspiration for writing that’ll keep you going for months if not years. We offer support, exercises and creative bolstering. Come whether you’re bursting with ideas to try out or whether you want to rediscover your creativity. Designed so that you can work at your own level (whether you’re starting out as a writer or seeking inspiration for your next publication) with the support and encouragement of a writing community and two tutors. This is the online equivalent of a writers’ workshop, not a lonely self-study course. Students are welcome from anywhere in the world (the course is run in English).

The Peacock Mosaic

Peacock Mosaic



Once upon a time there was a Season of Inspiration online writing course. Then there was another one, and another, all led by co-tutors Sharon Rundle and Helen Whitehead. Inspired by the excellent quality of writing time after time by the participants in the Season of Inspiration online writing courses, we have put together a collection of pieces written by members from all Season of Inspiration courses. Our writers are a variety of ages, nationalities and occupations, and have lived in many different and inspiring places around the world.

Our theme is Memories from around the world. Many of these pieces are autobiography, some are fictionalised, fiction based on real experience, or poetry.

Please dive in and enjoy the varied writing. There is no cost for this.

Season of Inspiration Alumni

Sujata Sankranti

We are thrilled to announce that Sujata Sankranti, who joined us for a Season of Inspiration, has just released her novel ‘In the Shadow of Legends’ published by Rupa India.

I had the privilege of reading the manuscript and this novel is a great read. Meenakshi Bharat and I are proud to have first published an extract from ‘In the Shadow of Legends’  titled ‘An Eye for an Eye’  in our Indo-Australian anthology, ‘Fear Factor Terror Incognito.

Sujata’s novel follows her collection of short stories “The Warp and the Weft” (Shristi, India) the title story of which won the overall Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Sujata, Meenakshi and I were recently featured in the ‘Commonwealth Foundation Journal

Andrew Y M Kwong

More exciting news that Andrew has just been notified that his memoir of his childhood during the Cultural Revolution in China “Snake Business” has been short-listed for the Penguin/Varuna Scholarship for 2011!

This is a gripping story of cruelty, violence, famine, survival, love and optimism told from the point of view of a young boy.

Andrew has also published several short stories.

Avril Carruthers

Congratulations to Avril who released her latest book “Freedom From Toxic Relationships published by Allen & Unwin and launched in May.

Avril’s book shows you how to recognise the manipulative or sweetly corrosive partner, the family dynamics that make Christmas and other get-togethers hell, the nightmare boss. And learn what you can do to leave these painful, destructive patterns behind.

Julia McKay Koelen

Has won competitions and has had her poems and stories published with the latest in the Peter Cowan Writers Centre anthology ‘Amulet’.

Read what they have to say about the Season of Inspiration Online Writing course.

November 29, 2010

Fellowships, Awards, Competitions and a campaign to Save Our School


From Jackie Hosking:


ABC Radio National’s ‘Hindsight’ featured the magazine in a recent program:

As the ABC’s website says, the world’s oldest literary magazine for children (95 years and counting) is published without fuss by a small, dedicated and skilled staff who are part of the NSW Department of Education and Training: 4 separate titles for a total of 160 000 readers each month, for 10 issues a year. Subscribers who relish the words and illustrations. Subscribers who develop a love of reading, and who enjoy the range of stories, poems, plays, articles, comic series and activities into the 36 full-colour pages of each of the 40 magazines each year. Subscriptions are as strong for 2011 as ever … let’s hope there will be magazines to deliver to them.

During the Hindsight program, Noela Young, who has been illustrating for the magazine for more than 50 years, suggests that the School Magazine doesn’t receive the recognition it may deserve because its readers are children, whose voices are not heard widely. Some of Australia’s best-loved and most successful writers and illustrators of children’s literature attribute their start in the industry to the magazine.

 The School Magazine accepts unsolicited manuscripts and is a starting point for new writers, as well as on-going income for more established contributors. The School Magazine is part of a very large NSW government department. A new entity is being formed by the merging of two separate units within the department. The Magazine is part of one of these units. As part of the merger, all staff in both units have been told their current employment ceases at the end of of January. Permanent staff may be offered positions in the new entity. The rest have not.

The magazine may still be produced, but it probably won’t be the literary magazine for children it always has been. School Magazine is unique Australian literature for children. There is the very real risk that the magazine will not continue. It’s now only 2 months until the deadline!



Thanks, Jackie, for bringing this important development to our attention.

Pass It On is the essential Australian magazine for writers, especially children’s book writers, illustrators, editors and publishers. published and distributed each Monday.



Varuna Publisher Fellowships 2010

Applications accepted from 1 November 2010 Closes: 30 November 2010 – must be delivered (electronically) by 5pm.

A fantastic opportunity for authors, this award offers 15 six-night residential fellowships during June 2011 to writers selected by Allen & Unwin, Random House Australia, Text, Scribe, University of Queensland Press, Picaro Press and Pan Macmillan Australia. The two writers selected by each of the publishers (and one standout addition) will be offered a three weeks residency at Varuna in June 2011. This includes a one-hour consultation with a Varuna writing consultant, a Varuna writing consultant will read their finished manuscript before being it is sent to the publisher. Cost : $55 (including GST) per application. Fees cover administrative costs and help sustain this program. Successful applicants contribute $300 towards a 6-night residency at Varuna and a consultation with a Varuna writing consultant. For Program Details, Guidelines and application forms:



Completed applications must be received by 30 January 2011. Applications are now invited for the 2011 Unwin Trust Fellowship, which enables a member of the Australian book trade to visit the UK for up to 3 months.

All working in Australian bookselling and publishing are eligible. Applicants are asked to put together a proposal to carry out a project which will both enhance their own understanding of the UK book trade and will provide a means to increase understanding of each market by the other. It is envisaged that the successful candidate will have at least three years’ experience in the book industry, and a clear view as to how the experience gained will be of benefit to their career. They should also expect to participate in some seminars/briefings on their return.

The judges will be looking for original and constructive proposals, and applicants should also provide a timetable and approximate budget. It is expected that time spent in the UK will be between two and three months and the Trust will provide funding for travel, accommodation etc up to £10,000.

A detailed career CV should be provided, along with at least two written references. Appropriate confirmation from employers that sufficient leave of absence will be granted should be provided.

Please apply to Maree McCaskill, Director, Australian Publishers Association, Suite 60/89 Jones Street, Ultimo NSW, 2007. Email:

The Unwin Charitable Trust actively supports book-related projects in the UK and it owns Book House in London which is home to the Publishers Training Centre and Book Trust.


Larissa Behrendt, is NSW Australian of the Year.

The award, presented at a ceremony in Sydney, is in recognition of her passionate and articulate advocacy for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders”. Her award means that she is also a finalist in the Australian of the Year awards to be announced on Australia Day in January 2011. Congratulations, Larissa.


Congratulations to the winners of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2010:

Non-fiction, The Colony: A History of Early Sydney by Grace Karskens; Fiction, Dog Boy by Eva Hornung; Children’s fiction, Star Jumps by Lorraine Marwood; Young adult fiction, Confessions of a Liar, Thief and Failed Sex God by Bill Condon.

CBCA and Koala Award Honours

 Libby Gleeson’s book Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House, Illustrated by Freya Blackwood, was shortlisted for the Early Childhood Book of the Year in Children’s Book Council of Australia Book 2010 Awards.

The Max Remy series by Deborah Abela is listed on the Honour Books for the Koala Awards for Children’s books.


Why not enter some competitions and awards yourself?

Here are some to give you a start:

The 2011 Bristol Short Story Prize

Deadline: 31 March 2011

The Bristol Short Story Prize is open to everyone, whether they are based in the UK or outside the UK. The winning writer will receive £1,000 and all 20 writers whose stories are published in the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Volume 4 will receive at least £100. The winning story will, also, be published in Bristol Review of Books and Venue magazine Stories can be entered online or by post.

Please read the 2011 BSSP rules and competition details before entering.

Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature

Nominations are open and a prize pool of $130,000 is on offer.

There are six national awards (of which five are open for nomination) for the best published in Australia works in the previous two years in six genres.

For detailed guidelines for the 2010 Adelaide Festival awards, please see: Support & Funding at

Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing Travelers’ Tales

runs an annual award to honour great travel writing, the Solas Awards with $1,000 prize money for Best Travel Story of the Year. All entries will be considered for Travelers’ Tales books. Stories submitted after the deadline will be entered in the following year’s contest.

 Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest

The winner earns $500 for sharing their living abroad experiences. See the guidelines .

The Good Reading website competitions list is definitely worth a look.

No excuses–take inspiration from our award winning authors and motivation from the many fellowships, awards, competitions and opportunities–to keep you going, avoid writers’ block, kick-start your writing or begin that writing project you’ve been meaning to tackle.

Tempus Fugit 🙂

October 20, 2010

World Matters ~ Writers Disturbing the Peace


Diamond Valley Oxfam, Montsalvat and ELTHAMbookshop

With Nillumbik Shire Council

Present The 6th Annual 

World Matters 2010 Writers – Disturbing the Peace

Dates: October 27 & 30-31

Venue: Montsalvat, Hillcrest Avenue, Eltham 

An International and Regional Programme featuring: Fear Factor Terror Incognito Indo-Australian Authors’ Anthology Panel, chaired by Sharon Rundle, with excerpts of short stories from a unique Indo–Australian collaboration, edited by Sharon Rundle and Meenakshi Bharat, which includes David Malouf, Salman Rushdie, Kiran NagarkarTabish Khair, Neelum Saran Gour,  Janhavi Acharekar, Temsula AoThomas Keneally Andrew Y M Kwong, Rosie Scott,   Meera KantSujata Sankranti, Guy Scotton, Jaspreet Singh, Denise Leith, Gulzar, and Yasmine Gooneratne.

 Readings will be followed by an in-depth discussion, by authors Susanne Gervay, Devika Brendon, Jeremy Fisher and Meenakshi Bharat from Delhi of the issues raised. Book signings will follow the panel discussion and questions.

We invite you to join us.

Susanne Gervay says: please say hello to Sharon, Meenakshi and me at the Festival

Fear Factor Terror Incognito ~ Stories from India and Australia

 Also on the Programme: Titi Amaral and Jude Conway’s audio visual narrative of East Timor Women’s brave stories of resistance and survival from the anthology Step by Step, this is Supported by East Timor Women Australia and an Exhibition and sales of East Timor textiles in the Resident Artist’s Gallery; and Ouyang Yu, The English Class, Roger Averill, Keeping Faith, Jane Carswell Under the Huang Jia Tree: Two Journeys in China through story and memoir, transit lounge us across cultures of China, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

There is so much more to World Matters 2010 Writers – Disturbing the Peace, for bookings and the full exciting programme at magical Montsalvat

 Books and CDs will be available for sale and signing. A 10% discount for purchase of 5 books or more. Reading the books beforehand will ensure a lively and informed discussion during Q and A.

 Prepaid bookings for World Matters are essential at

970 Main Road, Eltham

Phone +61 3 9439 8700

 October 27

Here on Earth: A Sustainable Future with Tim Flannery $10.00

 October 30 – 31

Festival Pass: $45.00 ( Does not include Tim Flannery event) Early Bird Bookings: $35.00 (bookings by October 20th)

Students: $25.00 Each session: $7.00 (unless otherwise stated)

 October 31

6.30pm – 7.30pm Duende Concert with Joe Chindamo: $15.00

 The Meeting Pool at Montsalvat offers the World Matters audience a very special menu to sustain you through the two days.

Bookings for breakfast, lunch and dinner must be made with Andrew Proctor by October 27th at 9431 2681

Join us for an exciting and stimulating weekend of literary brilliance! 

Book now  for the World Matters Festival, details on the websites and programme.

Please pass the word wherever you can, here are some additional websites:

Montsalvat: a Weekend of Literary Brilliance

the Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership

World Matters ~ Writers Disturbing the Peace Full Programme (pdf)

ABC The Big Diary


June 8, 2010

Memosaic, Hypertext Haiku, NSW Writers’ Centre, Writers Connect and More

Season of Inspiration and Memosaic.

I always feel a tinge of sadness as the final week of Season of Inspiration courses come around. This time is no exception. It has been a real joy and inspiration to spend time with our writers.  We’ve had some terrific stories and poems this time around. We’re creating a Hypertext Haiku from the Haiku written during the course. This time, too, we’ll be continuing in the Season of Inspiration alumni space ‘Write On’ to complete our Memosaic.

Plans for the Season of Inspiration Memosaic are progressing with contributions being polished and posted into the course Memosaic forum thread. It is a collaborative project, though Helen and I are overall editors. We are busy creating the Memosaic, including submission guidelines, working on copyright permission and licence, and getting in touch with our Season of Inspiration alumni.


NSW Writers’ Centre Programs

After the Season of Inspiration course finishes I’ll be appraising manuscripts for the NSW Writers’ Centre Manuscript Service. The NSW Writers’ Centre have also asked me to run a critique group. More details about the critique group are on their website.  The Centre runs a mentorship program which I’ve been asked to join and am now available to mentor selected writers through the NSW Writers’ Centre.


Editing and mentoring emerging authors and translator

I’m continuing to work with Julia, Shokufeh and Andrew, who are all doing marvellous things. Julia has had her prize-winning poem published, her short story is through to Round 3 of judging for the 2010 Brit Writers’ Awards; and she is nearing completion of the first draft of her full length fiction narrative. Shokufeh has her translation of ‘The Dog and the Long Winter’ edited and ready for publication. She is currently seeking a publisher for her English translation of this best-selling Iranian novel. Meanwhile Shokufeh has already translated chapters for the next novel. Andrew is about to go to Varuna on a writing fellowship. He has spent the past weeks preparing his manuscript of his memoir of growing up in Mao’s China to send to Varuna prior to his residency. Wishing them all the very best with their writing projects.


Pass It On

For our authors and illustrators of children’s books and those who would like to write and publish books for children and young adults Pass It On is a terrific magazine. A regular up to date resource of information, discussion and opportunities — a must for Children’s book authors and illustrators. Edited by Jackie Hosking.

Pass It On has a facebook page too.!/group.php?gid=106770169352958&ref=ts

Pass It On

Jackie’s tips on her blog are also worth checking out:


Linda Scott continues her blog of her escape 2 Australia and is now on the NSW Central Coast.


UTS Alumni Writers Connect

Next Writers Connect is the Winter Edition which will be published in early July. Please send me any contributions, news of achievements, festivals, events, opportunities for this next issue as soon as you can. The deadline is looming.

Blog at

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