Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 3)

Ballarat Writers online meetings

We’re sorry to say that, due to the COVID-19 crisis, Ballarat Writers will not be holding its monthly meetings as normal. The committee is sorry for the disappointment and inconvenience this may cause while we wait for this storm to pass.

However, there is the option to join a Members Night (substitute) Group Chat via Skype!

The first would be on Wednesday April 29 from 7pm, as it seems unlikely we will be able to reconvene at our regular venue, the Bunch of Grapes hotel. Please email Brooke at if you would like to take part.

Write Club

With get-togethers off the table for the time being, members are invited to visit the Facebook page on Sundays 2-5pm to share writing time and discussion.

We also are considering holding meetings through Zoom. Please let us know if a Zoom catch-up is something that interests you

Ballarat Flash

Our monthly members-only flash writing contest is open for entries in all genres. This month, the prompt is to begin works, to 150 words, with the words “The last thing I expected was…”.

Words Out Loud

Our friends at Words Out Loud are looking for contributions to a podcast in lieu of their monthly spoken word events. Details at the website.

Tuning in from home

We also have a list of online events and opportunities to engage with the writing community. Please let us know if you’ve come across other great resources.

Tuning in from home

As we maintain our physical social distancing, here are some options for keeping a finger on the pulse of the writing community online.

Most writers centres are offering webinars on craft and industry topics in lieu of face-to-face workshops. Check out Writers Victoria’s offerings at the website.

Online critique or writing races: tap a friend or three and share some words for feedback, or set a date and time to “meet” online to knock out some wordage and share some messages of encouragement. Or pick a contest from our competitions page, get a posse together and brainstorm and workshop each other’s entries.


The Guardian has a rolling list of streaming events in the arts and literature and welcomes additions.

The Stella Prize will be announced online at from 8pm (AEST) on Tuesday 14 April 2020

The Everywhere Book Fest, an international online book festival targeted at kidlit, is happening on May 1-2.

The Yarra Valley Writers Festival, originally scheduled for May 8-10, has been reinvented as an online festival on May 9.

The AUSTRALIAN BOOK INDUSTRY AWARDS (ABIA) will be livestreamed at 4pm on May 13.

The Wheeler Centre has cancelled all its events until May 7 but is powering along online, with new and archived livestreams available at its website.

Adelaide Writers Week has made many of its events from this year available online.

The Queenscliffe Literary Festival has had to cancel, but is running an online book club.

The Facebook group Writers Go Forth. Launch. Promote. Party. is promoting writers, especially those whose new books and launch events have been disrupted by COVID-19.

The Social Distancing Festival lists online activities by artists from around the world.


Melbourne Spoken Word has an audio journal, Audacious, of spoken word and poetry from various gigs. The latest issue includes a Ballarat connection in Steve Smart alongside 13 other sensational acts! A steal at $5. MSW is also running a channel on Twitch for live poetry readings.

Hundreds of free audio books on Audible

Favourite kids books read by famous actors at Storyline Online

Poetry readings at Poetry Unbound

Ballarat’s Megan J. Riedl is sharing daily ‘Pandemic Poetry’ on her Facebook page

Come across great online content to help inspire your writing? Please share it with us so we can spread the good word! Leave a comment on this post or email publicty AT

BONUS CRITTERS: At the risk of distracting from writing time, Melbourne Zoo is livestreaming footage from some of its animal enclosures – including penguins and OMG snow leopard kittens!

Members’ book discounts

If ever there was a time for saving money on books, this could be it (who are we kidding? It’s always the season for buying books, right?).

So members, please remember that these businesses are supporters of Ballarat Writers and offer a 10% discount if you show your current membership card.

March members night cancelled

In light of current advice about trying to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-1), the committee has cancelled the members’ night scheduled for next Wednesday, March 25.

This is a blow for our members and our venue, but the committee feels the response is appropriate at this stage of the crisis.

The committee also suggests Sunday Write Club gatherings might best not be held in a shared space, given the importance of keeping a social distance at this critical time in the mitigation effort, but online options, such as writing at a common time and sharing word counts, could be investigated.

BW’s friends at Words Out Loud have also cancelled their March event, scheduled for March 19 in Creswick, and are taking a watch-and-see approach to the April event, back in Ballarat.

Likewise, BW will follow expert advice over the coming weeks in deciding whether April’s members’ night will run as scheduled.

The flash fiction contest is open for voting and will be announced at the usual time, and a contest for next month will be run as usual.

Useful links:
Further information about COVID-19 in Australia is available at the federal government website.

Arts practitioners who have lost work or are feeling the strain can get information at I Lost My Gig.

March Words Out Loud – cancelled

Sadly, due to advice about social distancing in the fight to contain COVID-19, Words Out Loud has cancelled the March 19 event in Creswick. It hopes to be back in action at its new base in Ballarat for the April edition, but that will depend on coronavirus developments.

Please see the Words Out Loud website for more information.

Book review: The Drover’s Wife by Leah Purcell

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson

Author: Leah Purcell

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia, 2019

the drover's wife by leah purcell

Leah Purcell is an award-winning writer and has a background as a playwright, actor and film producer amongst other achievements.  This novel has been adapted for film, which is slated for release this year.

This historical fiction novel, based on a short story written by Henry Lawson, provides a stark sense of our history, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Set in the late 1800s, The Drover’s Wife tells of the harsh and almost impossible conditions that were endured during white settlement. The plot focuses mainly on Molly Johnson who, with her children, waits for her husband to return from months away droving. They live in an isolated hut in the High Country where, with the help of her eldest son, Danny, Molly and the children survive and cope on their own, including the birthing of a baby.

A visitor arrives unexpectedly. Yodaka is keen to be away from civilisation and begs time to recover from the injuries he’s received on the run. Eventually Molly discovers that Yodaka is the holder of knowledge that Molly eventually understands.

The book depicts the best and worst of human behaviour: cruelty, degradation, humour, love and a will to survive. The intriguing plot invites the reader to travel in the shoes of the tenacious and suffering Molly Johnson, the drover’s wife.

This story lingered in my thoughts for weeks after finishing the novel and I quickly fell back into the emotive ambience of the book while writing this review. I loved the book – it made me think yet again about colonisation and our (I’m a white Australian) role that has never been fully owned up to. The writer integrated and treated the issues of women and their place in history and society with clarity and directness.

Thanks, Leah Purcell. I couldn’t put this book down.

Reviewed by:

Heather Whitford Roche, Jan 2020

Ballarat Writers Inc. Book review group

July Words Out Loud

Words Out Loud takes ‘a shot in the dark’ as its theme for July.

Wordsmiths are invited to explore the theme or simply ignore it altogether.

This is a great opportunity to road test new material, celebrate a success or share some inspiration, or simply enjoy a diverse range of spoken word — poetry, prose or storytelling; read or recited; your own work or someone else’s. Performances are limited to 5 minutes each. Sign up on the night.

Date: Thursday July 11

Time: doors open about 6.30pm, words from 7pm

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Lee Kofman: Writing Compelling Characters and Dialogue

Ballarat Writers Inc is proud to announce that this year we have secured Lee Kofman as judge for the Southern Cross Short Story Competition. Lee will also be presenting a 4-hour workshop on “Writing Compelling Characters and Dialogue”.

This workshop will be held from 1pm – 5pm on Sunday 7th July 2019 in The Printers Room in the basement of Sebastiaans 58–60 Lydiard St N, on the corner of Mair Street, with entry from Mair Street.

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Website and Email Maintenance

Just a quick note to let you all know that we’re in the process of moving our emails and hosting, and there have been a few bumps. If you run in to issues, please feel free to contact us on Facebook. Everything should be fixed within the next few days, so thank you for your patience!

Weathering the Future: December Launch

Ballarat Writers is pleased to announce that a number of its members have their work included in the ekphrastic art exhibition Weathering the Future.
The exhibition is to run at Backspace Gallery, 15 Camp St, Ballarat, from 6 December to 23 December.
Twenty-two Central Highlands writers have written responses to art work provided by 19 members of Soldiers Hill Artist Collective on the theme of ‘weathering the future’. The text pieces have in turn inspired graphic posters designed by 14 third-year students of Federation University’s Arts Academy. Musician Reuben Morgan is composing a soundtrack to accompany the exhibition, bringing an aural element to this collision of visual art and text.

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