Applications Open for Hardcopy 2016

HC logo 2016The ACT Writers Centre have opened applications for the 2016 Hardcopy program, a professional development course for writers of fiction manuscripts.

Hardcopy is run over several weekends throughout the year, giving participants the chance to learn about manuscript development and industry secrets, as well as have their material workshopped by peers and professionals.

This year the program will again benefit from the input of industry giant Mary Cunnane and esteemed editor Nadine Davidoff, among other literary professionals yet to be confirmed.

Past participants have secured agents and publishing deals as a result of their participation in the program, and more have gone on to publish work in national periodicals and online journals.

Places are limited to thirty writers, with a chance for ten of those writers to proceed to a final stage of discussions with publishers and agents from a range of local and international institutions.

Submissions are open only to those who have completed a full draft and are ready to progress their work to the next level.

Further information can be found at the ACT Writers Centre website.

Applications are due Friday 11 March 2016.

Happy Writing!

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Cultural Soft Spot

The 2015 HARDCOPY* program began last week, with esteemed editor Nadine Davidoff directing a series of workshops with the successful non-fiction applicants for this year’s program.

In the same week, the e-journal Softcopy was launched, showcasing an anthology of fictional work from writers who participated in 2014’s inaugural HARDCOPY program.

The Cringe spoke to the editors of Softcopy about their vision for the e-journal and how both HARDCOPY and Softcopy are opening up further avenues for emerging Australian writers to develop and promote their work.

Softcopy picLiterary magazines have provided an outlet for Australian writing since 1821 when the Australian Magazine, printed by Robert Howe, debuted in Sydney. Today, publications such as Meanjin, Overland and Southerly are the bastions of this literary tradition, but increasingly, Australians are turning to digital offerings to satisfy their cultural curiosity.

The new e-journal, Softcopy, taps into this growing trend. With around 15 million Australians accessing the internet at home on a regular basis, creating an online opportunity for emerging writers to showcase their work seemed the natural choice for the creative team behind Softcopy.

Softcopy is the brainchild of founding editor, Christine McPaul, a Canberra-based writer/editor and participant in the HARDCOPY 2014 program conducted by the ACT Writers Centre, and funded by the Australia Council for the Arts. Along with fellow HARDCOPIERS Lesley Boland (Blemish Publishing) and George Dunford (Canberra-based writer/editor) they saw an opportunity to harness and display the range of talent brought together by the program.

‘We are excited to launch Softcopy as a vehicle for emerging writers,’ said Christine. ‘The online option is an easy and cost effective way to provide readers access to new writing and to support cultural production in Australia.’

Lesley Boland agrees that the decision to make Softcopy an e-journal was a deliberate choice. ‘We wanted to be able to have our work available to the widest possible audience,’ Lesley said. ‘As emerging writers, being able to build an online profile is a prime consideration.’

Whether you are interested in Poland or parrots, bullies or blind dates, murder or mercy, coaching or cricket, torture or tumbling, diplomacy or dancing, fire or friendship, ambition or adultery, the first edition has something for you.

‘Our aim is to broaden the range of contributors for future editions,’ George said. ‘We hope that over time Softcopy will become a vibrant place where many emerging writers can present their work.’

Softcopy will be produced regularly. Keep an eye out for the next call for submissions when emerging writers will be invited to submit a previously unpublished 500-1000 piece.

Explore Softcopy

*HARDCOPY is a professional development program for emerging writers run by the ACT Writer’s Centre with support from the ACT Government and the Australia Council, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body.

Got something to say?

Need somewhere to say it?

vintage-hearing-aid

You don’t have to be published to be a writer. You don’t have to be a writer to write. You don’t have to be a journalist to have an opinion on current events. You don’t have to be a reviewer to write thoughtfully about art. You don’t have to be an academic to be an expert in your field.

If you have something to say and would like somewhere to say it, you’ve come to the right place. You provide the piece and we provide the platform.

What We Want

Well-written, qualified, thought-provoking and engaging pieces in a variety of formats from a range of voices.

  • News & current events
  • Popular culture
  • Social commentary
  • Reviews
  • Interviews
  • Photographic or visual art
  • Short fiction and poetry
  • Arts-specific advice or discussion in your specialised area

Become a Regular Contributor

We want to broaden our core team to include some new faces. If you have knowledge or experience in one or more of the above areas you may like to join the Cringe team as a regular monthly or bimonthly contributor.

Find out how to apply.

Contribute Whenever You Feel Like It

You may have a piece that fits exceptionally well with one of our Themes, or a piece of short fiction that you want to send out into the world. Or you may like to contribute pieces now and then on a more sporadic basis.

If that’s the case, visit our Submissions page to find out how.

Want Yourself or Your Work to be Promoted?

If you are a practising artist and would like your work to be reviewed, or if you would like yourself or your organisation to be profiled by one of our interviewers, then please email us at thecringeblog@gmail.com so we can discuss it further.

Finally

Have a look through our site and check out our values to make sure your work lines up with what we’re doing. And of course all posts must adhere to the requirements of copyright, and state and national laws.

So you have this idea, this amazing idea

coolgrassnaturewritingvintagelovely-b141dfdd83bf6d3a1af736d1d5f680f1_hIt’s the first thing you think about when you wake in the morning. It’s the last thing you think about when you’re falling asleep at night.

You find yourself (lose yourself?) thinking about it in the lift between work meetings. Even in those most intimate moments, the ones in the bedroom with your partner, there it is, the idea, it just won’t leave you alone. Worse, it’s not an idea for a holiday or some home renovations. It’s an idea for a nonfiction book. And it’s an excellent idea, you know that, because it makes your gut ache as though you’re in love – there are times when you feel drunk because of it.

So you put a plan into action. You start writing notes. You visit the library. You even make phone calls and arrange to meet people.

Now this whole book thing is becoming more exciting than ever.

Teasingly, you write a creative essay for a literary journal, which causes a bunch of emails to come your way – there are people who love your nonfiction project so much they want to share information with you.

You begin to think that maybe you should approach some agents and publishers. But how to do that without embarrassing yourself? On the internet you find what appears to be a reputable site about how to prepare a kick-arse non-fiction book proposal, and you spend your evenings and weekends getting a package together. But still you’re not quite sure. Am I really ready for this? That’s your question.

You might be ready. You might not be. Which is okay, because there are thousands of other non-fiction writers out there just like you (except that’s a thought that gives you shivers – all that competition.)

Thankfully, courtesy of the ACT Writers Centre and the Australia Council for the Arts, there’s a program called HARDCOPY.

According to the ACT Writers Centre, HARDCOPY is a professional development program that builds the capacities, resources and aptitudes committed emerging Australian writers need to reach their potential. By creating an environment that is educative, vigorous and nurturing, the program: helps writers develop their projects towards full-length-manuscript status; significantly increases industry knowledge; facilitates relationships between writers and literary professionals; and breaks down the barriers of location and geography.

Last year’s focus was fiction; this year’s is nonfiction. Which pleases you no end.

What actually happens in HARDCOPY?

There are three main stages. The first, Towards the Best MS, involves the 30 participating writers – they can be from anywhere in Australia – attending a three-day project/manuscript development masterclass in May 2015 in Canberra with professional editor Nadine Davidoff. Writers will discover how to put together best-practice non-fiction book proposals, but also learn about how prose works, especially in terms of illuminating a project’s themes to engage readers.

HARDCOPY+tag_CMYK_workingThe selection panel for the first round is Paul Daley (journalist and author of Beersheba: A Journey Through Australia’s Forgotten War, MUP 2009, Canberra, New South 2013, and the novel Challenge, MUP 2014); Dr Jen Webb (University of Canberra, co-editor of Axon: Creative Explorations, and, with Tony Schirato, author of the Sage book series Understanding Contemporary Culture); Dr Frank Bongiorno (Australian National University, author of The Sex Life of Australians, Black Inc, 2012), and Biff Ward (author of In My Mother’s Hands, Allen & Unwin 2014, which has been long-listed for the 2015 Stellar Prize).

HARDCOPY participants then return to their home states and territories to progress their projects/manuscripts.

All writers come back to Canberra in September to attend Intro2Industry, which involves three days of presentations and seminars that cover all the ‘industry’ side of nonfiction writing: the role of agents; what publishers are looking for; future directions for the book as a concept; navigating the minefield of contracts; and the importance of using social media and other elements of the online environment to engage with readers. Intro2Industry also includes panels with prominent, published non-fiction writers, who will discuss what they wished they knew before they were published, and also other topics such as how to give presentations that engage audiences.

HARDCOPY participants then apply to the final stage, which will give ten the opportunity to meet with agents and publishers to gain industry-level feedback. Highly regarded publishing professional Mary Cunnane will select this final round of participants. The purpose of this final session, called Going Public and to be held in November, 2015, is not about achieving publication per se, but enabling writers to hear what agents and publishers think of the proposals submitted.

In short, if you’re a non-fiction writer with an idea that just won’t go away, it’s an opportunity like no other.

 

Applications close Friday 13 March 2015.

For more information, visit the ACT Writers Centre at http://actwritersblog.com/2015/02/18/2015-hardcopy-development-program-applications-open/. HARDCOPY is an initiative of the ACT Writers Centre and is funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.

 

Nigel Featherstone

 

Nigel Featherstone’s latest work is the novella The Beach Volcano (Blemish Books, 2014). He is a longstanding freelance writer for Fairfax Media and other publications, and, on a contract basis, is currently assisting the ACT Writers Centre with the delivery of HARDCOPY. For more information about Nigel, visit www.opentopublic.com.au

2015 Guide to Australian Literary Festivals

 

Australia boasts some of the world’s largest and most diverse literary festivals, offering everything from general interest to genre-specific favourites such as Swancon and Supanova. Get your diary out, the literary year starts here.

 

Byron Bay Writers Festival 2014, courtesy of bangalowguesthouse.com.au

 

General Interest

Perth Writers Festival
Perth, WA
February 20-23
What to expect: A program paying ‘homage to the vintage objects of print culture such as books, maps and letters, and [embracing] the new storytelling media’.

Adelaide Writers Week
Adelaide, SA
February 28 – March 5
What to expect: ‘Australia’s largest and oldest literary festival, offering both writers and readers a unique opportunity to spend time sharing ideas and literary explorations’.

Festival of Golden Words
Beaconsfield, TAS
March TBA
What to expect: ‘Covering literary fiction, popular fiction, biography, comedy, current affairs, history, military, sport, poetry, wine and food, stage and screen, and self-publishing, with a strong concurrent children’s and young adults programme.’

Eye of the Storm
Alice Springs, NT
April 23-26
What to expect: ‘[T]he 2015 Eye of the Storm writers festival is shaping up to be an extraordinary event that touches on universal themes that are close to the heart of Central Australian communities.’

Sydney Writers Festival
Sydney, NSW
May 18-24
What to expect: ‘Australia’s largest annual celebration of literature and ideas…the third largest event of its kind in the world’.

Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival
Margaret River, WA
May 29-31
What to expect: ‘Celebrating literature and promoting Margaret River and surrounds as destinations.’ This year’s theme is Seasons.

Yamba Writers Festival
Yamba, NSW
May 29-31
What to expect: ‘The Clarence region has an abundance of writers, poets and thinkers and some, along with the featured writers at the Festival, have published works over many years in both Australia as well as internationally.’

Noosa Long Weekend
Noosa, QLD
July 14-26
What to expect: ‘An arts festival with a strong strand of literature – in a beautiful environment’.

Byron Bay Writers Festival
Byron Bay, NSW
August 7-9
What to expect: ‘Australian writing, with recognition of Australia’s geographical location through the inclusion of Indonesian and Asian authors.’

Melbourne Writers Festival
Melbourne, VIC
August 20-30
What to expect: Celebrating 30 years in 2015, the festival ‘will take audiences on a literary tour of Australia and all corners of the globe’.

Brisbane Writers Festival
Brisbane, QLD
September 2-6
What to expect: ‘Energy and “casual intellect”’ bringing together ‘readers, writers, innovators and provocateurs’.

 

Tailored

Digital Writers Festival
Online
February 11-22
What to expect: Run by the team behind Melbourne’s Emerging Writers Festival, expect some similar faces from young local authors and online journals.

Australian Romance Readers Convention
Canberra, ACT
March 6-8
What to expect: The festival ‘will bring together romance readers, authors and publishers and provide an opportunity to talk about all things related to romance fiction.’

Somerset Celebration of Literature
Gold Coast, QLD
March 18-20
What to expect: ‘Over 30 acclaimed authors from around Australia hold interactive sessions and workshops for both children and adults.’ YA and schools focus.

Historical Novel Society of Australia
Sydney, NSW
March 20-22
What to expect: ‘Both the imagination and dedication of historical novelists present an authentic world which can enrich a reader’s understanding of real historical personages, eras and events.’

Swancon
Perth, WA
April 2-6
What to expect: ‘A speculative fiction convention that is invested in all kinds of media’ with ‘panels and discussion about games, film, literature, and graphic novels.’

Write Edit Index
Canberra, ACT
May 6-9
What to expect: ‘Australian conference for editors, indexers and publishing professionals.’

Emerging Writers Festival
Melbourne, VIC
May 26 – June 5
What to expect: ‘[A] place where creativity and innovation are celebrated, where new talent is nurtured and where diverse voices from across Australia are represented.’

Continuum
Melbourne, VIC
June 6-8
What to expect: ‘[S]peculative fiction and pop culture fan convention celebrating creativity across genre and media. From hard-edge science fiction to high-flown fantasy, comic books to film noir, high culture to sub-culture.’

Voices on the Coast
Sunshine Coast, QLD
July 16-17
What to expect: ‘Leading Australian and International authors, illustrators, poets and performers’ talking and workshopping with students and adults.

National Play Festival
Adelaide, SA
July 22-25
What to expect: ‘[F]our days of new Australian plays, artist talks, masterclasses and industry discussions’ as well as a partnership with State Theatre Company SA.

Romance Writers of Australia Conference
Melbourne, VIC
August 21-23
What to expect: ‘[P]rovides unique networking opportunities for writers, editors, agents and other publishing industry professionals with a keen focus on romance publishing.’

Book Week
National
August 22-28
What to expect: National school-based events hosted by Children’s Book Council of Australia. This year’s theme: Books Light Up Our World.

National Young Writers Festival
Newcastle, NSW
October 1-4
What to expect: ‘[T]he country’s largest gathering of young and innovative writers working in both new and traditional forms’.

GenreCon
Brisbane, QLD
October 30 – November 1
What to expect: ‘GenreCon provides an opportunity for writers, editors, agents and other genre fiction professionals to come together for three days of networking, seminars, workshops, and more.’

Crime and Justice Festival
Melbourne, VIC
November 13-15
What to expect: ‘There is no other festival that combines the crime fiction genre with discussions on the law, social justice, human rights and general social commentary.’

Supanova
Melbourne: April 10-12
Gold Coast: April 17-19
Sydney: June 19-21
Perth: June 26-28
Adelaide: November 20-22
Brisbane: November 27-29
What to expect: ‘[C]omic books, animation/cartoons, science-fiction, pulp TV/movies, toys, console gaming, trading cards, fantasy, entertainment technology, books, internet sites and fan-clubs’ and the Madman National Cosplay Championship.

Oz Comic-Con
Perth: April 11-12
Adelaide: April 18-19
Melbourne: June 27-28
Brisbane: September 19-20
Sydney: September 26-27
What to expect: ‘Oz Comic-Con boasts a show floor packed with exhibitors, autograph and photograph sessions with the hottest celebrities and one-of-a-kind panel events’.

 

More Information

The above list represents only a snapshot of the many literary festivals held throughout Australia, with some major centres still yet to release dates. Keep checking festival websites for the most current details, and find further information at the following sites.

A comprehensive and up-to-date list on author Jason Nahrung’s website:
jasonnahrung.com/2015-australian-literary-festival-calendar/

An extensive searchable inventory on the Literary Festivals site:
www.literaryfestivals.com.au/index.html

A narrower list but more specific detail on the Australian Government site:
www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/writers-festivals

Elise Janes