“Over the course of three Fridays, in some of the most intense heat Katoomba has ever seen, the students of Katoomba High School worked with the fabulous Catherine Jinks, who took them through a series of writing workshops. They learned how to find and develop an idea, the importance of research, and how to engage and orientate readers. Catherine taught the students about pace and rhythm, structure and voice and encouraged the students to be vulnerable with their writing.The pieces the students have created are beautiful and varied. The topic set for them to write about was ‘place’, and they were encouraged to think metaphorically about what this could mean. They wrote about places of natural beauty, of psychological places and physical places. They wrote about places of the heart; of sadness, love, hope and joy. Their pieces are full of beauty and humour, evoking emotion and memories.

In between hikes and School Spectacular rehearsals, exams, national testing, catastrophic fire danger and forced school closures, these students rose to the occasion and produced fabulous pieces of writing. They have learned to meet deadlines, to write under pressure and balance priorities. I saw them move from a place of confusion and grow their confidence. I saw their courage and their commitment shine through. I am immensely proud of them and I hope you are, too.”
Belinda Bower: Head Teacher, English, Katoomba High School

Catherine Jinks was born in Brisbane, grew up in Papua New Guinea and later studied medieval history at the University of Sydney. She is now a full-time writer, residing in the Blue Mountains. Catherine has written close to fifty books for adults, young adults and children, she is a four-time winner of the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award, and has also won a Victorian Premier’s Literature Award, the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, the Ena Noel Award for Children’s Literature and an Aurealis Award for Science Fiction. In 2001 Catherine was presented with a Centenary Medal for her contribution to Australian Children’s Literature.

WestWords would also like to particularly thank the Cultural Fund of the Copyright Agency through the Writers in Western Schools project and the Australian Catholic University who support WestWords’ publishing program. Without their combined support we could not deliver beneficial programs such as this to the young people of Western Sydney.

Every fortnight over terms three and four, WestWords undertook a residency with Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School. Our ongoing collaboration has extended over years and exemplifies the work we do in, and with, schools. Together we have created staged opportunities across the year groups to support the ongoing development of our young people with the aim of releasing their potential both as writers and as people. Facilitating these workshops with the school’s Writing Club was Western Sydney writer Tanya Vavilova.

To read the publication, keep scrolling

From Tanya
“Writing fiction is not for the faint-hearted. The students at Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School told haunting tales of murder, mad scientists, relationship breakdown, infant mortality, and of warriors getting lost in the bush. They wove these themes and ideas with events that had happened in their own lives – classroom antics, adventures with friends, chaotic dinners at home, a visit from a police officer – in the way that all writers pinch and borrow from their surroundings. Writers are vultures, in the best possible way.

Unlike more precise arts like cooking or soccer or computer coding, there is not necessary a one-to-one relationship between input and output. You might spend one hour at your desk and hammer out one sentence – another day, a whole page in twenty minutes. What we do know is that turning up and giving it a crack is what matters. Australian writer Angela Savage expresses it this way: ‘A 100% of published authors have actually written a book.’ Her advice is to sit down and write even when the going’s tough. The students at Northmead showed their determination to do just that.”

Tanya Vavilova is a writer preoccupied with liminal spaces and outsider perspectives—by life on the margins. Her debut collection of essays, We are Speaking in Code, is forthcoming from Brio in early 2020. She recently won the Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award for her short story collection Grub. Her essays and stories have been published in journals and anthologies, including Meanjin, the Mascara Literary Review, Westerly, The Lifted Brow and Slow Canoe.

WestWords would also like to particularly thank the Cultural Fund of the Copyright Agency through the Writers in Western Schools project and the Australian Catholic University who support WestWords’ publishing program. Without their combined support we could not deliver beneficial programs such as this to the young people of Western Sydney.

During Term 3, WestWords undertook a residency with Year 4 students and their teachers from St Francis of Assisi Primary School in Glendenning. Undertaking the weekly workshops was the wonderful  Amelia McInerney.

To read the publication – keep scrolling!

From the school:
“Amelia was able to connect with the students brilliantly. The experiences she provided were fun and eagerly anticipated each week, using writing prompts and processes that enabled students to view their world in a creative and expressive way. Students and teachers were encouraged to be ‘brave’ as writers and supported every step of the way. Value was placed upon the organic nature of the writing process and the development of creative ideas. It was impossible not to benefit from the process led by Amelia and both teachers and students have taken away not just the tools for what makes great writing but a positive mindset as well.”

WestWords would like to thank; from St Francis of Assisi Primary, Glendenning, Mrs Jennifer Bellenger, Principal, as well as Miss Karen Rutkowski, Miss Megan Moller and Mrs Grace Cavasinni, the Year 4 teachers, who welcomed us so warmly into their school and Mrs Nicole Sprainger, Teaching Educator, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta, illustrator Wael Gouda, Luke Beeton and Hayley Lam from Sailor Studio who gave their creativity and expertise into the book’s design, of course Amelia, and the students themselves who brought all their enthusiasm and inspiration to create what you are about to read.

Amelia McInerney grew up in Melbourne but now lives in the lower Blue Mountains. She spends her days writing kids’ books, staring out the window thinking up stories for kids’ books, and occasionally just plain staring out the window. When she’s not writing, thinking or staring, Amelia enjoys doing yoga and snorkeling, but not at the same time because that’s really hard.

Amelia’s first picture book, The Book Chook , (Scholastic) was released this year and short-listed for Book of the Year in the Speech Pathology Australia awards. Her second book, Bad Crab (Scholastic) has just been released. Amelia has four more separate picture books coming out with Scholastic and Allen and Unwin and is represented by literary agent Jacinta di Mase.

Amelia has four chooks, three kids, two hermit crabs and a husband.

www.ameliamcinerney.com    Amelia McInerney Author on Facebook  @ameliamcinerneyauthor on Instagram.

WestWords would also like to particularly thank Catholic Education, Diocese of Parramatta, the Cultural Fund of the Copyright Agency through the Writers in Western Schools project and the Australian Catholic University who support WestWords’ publishing program. Without their combined support we could not deliver beneficial programs such as this to the young people of Western Sydney.

The Blake Poetry Prize

The Blake Poetry Prize challenges Australian poets to explore the spiritual and religious in a new work of 100 lines or less.

From 2017  Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in collaboration with WestWords,  has delivered The Blake Poetry Prize as a biennial event.

The Blake Poetry Prize  continues to engage contemporary poets, both national and international, in conversations concerning faith, spirituality, religion and/or belief.

The Blake Poetry Prize is an aesthetic means of exploring the wider experience of spirituality with the visionary imagining of contemporary poets. The Blake Prize takes its name from William Blake, a poet and artist of undoubted genius, who integrated religious and artistic content in his work. The Blake Poetry Prize challenges contemporary poets of disparate styles to explore the spiritual and religious in a new work of 100 lines or less.

The Blake Poetry Prize is strictly non-sectarian. The entries are not restricted to works related to any faith or any artistic style, but all poems entered must have a recognisable religious or spiritual integrity and demonstrate high degrees of artistic and conceptual proficiency.

Key dates:
3 April 2020 – Entries close

Apply here

PRIZES

The Poetry Blake Prize | $5,000 | Non-Acquisitive

The Blake Prize is an open poetry prize that challenges artists to engage in conversations relating to religion and spirituality. It is open to all faiths and artistic styles.

ENTRY FEE

  • Each entry will incur a fee. $25 for one work, with a maximum of five entries per applicant.
  • Any work for which the fee has not been received will be ineligible for any of the prizes. All entry fees are non-refundable.

CONDITIONS OF ENTRY

  • All entries must demonstrate recognisable engagement with the themes of spirituality, religion, and/or belief.
  • All entries must demonstrate high degrees of artistic and conceptual proficiency.
  • All entries must have been created within the last 2 years of the date set for entry (November 2017 or later).
  • Entries must be completed and submitted by midnight 3rd April, 2020 online via www.westwords.com.au. Late or incomplete entries will not be accepted.
  • Entries must be between 1 and 100 lines. The title does not count as a line, however a footnote or sub-heading does.
  • Poets must submit a 200 word bio, and include links to their websites and social media accounts.
  • Poets must submit work in either PDF or Word format without inclusion of any identifying information.
  • Entries can be made using a pseudonym, however the entrant’s real name must be included on the entry form.
  • Shortlisted poets are required to submit a headshot.
  • The poet warrants that the submitted work is original and does not infringe on copyright/moral rights/other rights.
  • CPAC/WestWords reserves the right to request a Statutory Declaration from any artist regarding the works originality, its production within the specified timeframe and/or that all components relating to the work have full copyright clearance.
  • Entries may have been published elsewhere, for example online, in a literary journal or self-published book, however if that poem is longlisted for a prize elsewhere the entrant will have 24 hours to decide if they would like to withdraw their poem on offer elsewhere or from the Blake Prize. It is the obligation of the entrant to inform the organisers of such an eventuality. Failure to do so will result in the poem being disqualified for consideration for the Blake Prize.
  • Eligible entries using or referring to Aboriginal content and/or entries from writers of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent or who identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander must be in accordance with the Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their heritage (ICIPR) guidelines and to the Aboriginal protocols of the region where they have been produced.
    https://www.artslaw.com.au/information-sheet/indigenous-cultural-and-intellectual-property-icip-aitb/
  • By submitting an entry into the Blake Poetry Prize for consideration the poet grants permission for CPAC/LCC to display the poem in full for the duration of the 66th Blake Prize exhibition.
  • Entering work/s into The Blake Prize does not transfer from the artist the ownership of, or copyright in, any of the work they produce. However, the poet agrees that the work may be photographed or reproduced in whole or in part for CPAC/WestWords records or critical review, publicity archives and/reports and other purposes. CPAC/WestWords does not condone and/or endorse the photography of the artist’s work including the reproduction, modification, distribution, uploading without the written consent of the artist. CPAC/WestWords will not be held responsible for any deliberate infringement to copyright.
  • Any questions or uncertainties from a submitting poet will be directed to WestWords and any decision will be final.

SELECTION & NOTIFICATION PROCESS

  • The selection of shortlist and winner is made by an independent panel of judges with extensive artform knowledge and/or relevant academic qualifications. Selection is undertaken by unidentified copies of the work.
  • The selection panel will be guided by the principles, guidelines and code of conduct of The Blake Prize.
  • An entry will be deemed a finalist when a unanimous decision has been reached.
  • In instances where there is a variation in the panellists’ opinion, the panel will meet and review the independent decisions until a consensus is reached.
  • CPAC, WW and LCC staff, family and friends are eligible to enter, however any relationships between the judges and entrants must be declared. The same applies to entrants who may be family or friends of the judges. Judges who have a conflict of interest will be excused from the respective judging process.
  • The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  • Shortlisted finalists will be listed on the CPAC/WW website.
  • All shortlisted works selected by the judging panel will be included in The 66th Blake Prize Exhibition.

Key dates:
3 April 2020 – Entries close

Apply here

 

The Blake Poetry Prize is presented in partnership with

 


Literary Figures Poetry Workshop and Exhibition

If your body could speak to you, what would it say? How would you respond?

In this four-week series, a group of female-identifying young people aged 16+ are invited to reflect on their relationship to their bodies through poetry. Participants will be guided to develop their poetry in a safe space, with the support of poet and teaching artist Eunice Andrada. In the final week, photographer Nancy Trieu will capture images of participants with their poetry presented on their bodies.

These photographs will be publicly exhibited on canvas on the exterior of HJ Daley Library.

Eunice Andrada is a Filipina poet whose first poetry collection Flood Damages (Giramondo Books) won the Anne Elder Award (2018) and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry (2019). Featured in The Guardian, ABC News and other media, she has performed her poetry in diverse international stages, from the Sydney Opera House to the UN Climate Negotiations in Paris.

Nancy Ann Trieu is an Australian-Chinese creative art director specialising in photography since 2010. She is passionate in creating powerful work with people and concepts through storytelling visuals with the use of her love of lighting. She likes scenes that delve into the ideas of complex human emotions in relation to our social conditions and our inner-selves.

When
 Thursdays November 14th, 21st, 28th and 5th Dec 4-6pm

Where
 HJ Daley Library,
1 Hurley Street Campbelltown,
NSW 2560

Cost
Free. Bookings essential

Book via
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/literary-figures-poetry-workshop-and-exhibition-tickets

 

These workshops are presented in partnership with Campbelltown Arts Centre and Campbelltown City Library.

 

Kids Haiku Workshop

WestWords is thrilled to have participated in the 2019 edition of Fisher’s Kids Festival at Campbelltown Arts Centre.

Thank you to all participants, Campbelltown Arts Centre and to Julie Thorndyke for facilitating.

Workshop outline:
Haiku poet, Julie Thorndyke ran a kids haiku workshop designed for children to turn their sensory experiences, observations and feelings into haiku poems.

Julie Thorndyke has written two collections of tanka poetry, Rick Rack and Carving Granite. Her stories and poems have appeared in literary journals and anthologies in Australia and overseas. Leader of the local Tanka Huddle, Julie was appointed continuing editor of Eucalypt: a tanka journal in 2017. Julie’s first picture book will be published by IP in 2018. More of her writing may be read on her website https://jthorndyke.wordpress.com/.

 

In partnership with Campbelltown Art Centre

Booktober

WestWords is proud to announce Booktober, a unique and innovative initiative to raise awareness and funds for books and literacy programs in disadvantaged Western Sydney communities.

There are walks, runs and shaves for charity but Booktober invites you to stop, take a breath, and read a book – all for a great cause. Participants can decide how many books they’ll read during the month of October and make the pledge. For every book you read you can donate yourself, $10 per book, or you can rally friends and family to sponsor you for each book read. Funds raised through the Booktober initiative will put books into the hands of underprivileged kids in the Greater Western Sydney region.

Booktober hopes to raise much needed funds for brand new books and ongoing Westwords’ literacy programs run in Western Sydney.

To take the pledge to Booktober, and turn the page on disadvantage for children in Greater Western Sydney go to https://westwords.giveeasy.org/booktober—turning-the-page-on-disadvantage-2019.

 

This event has now passed. Thank you to SAMAG and all the panel members!

What does it mean to write from western Sydney? How can our stories be used to challenge perceived ideas of what it means to be from here? How are these stories reaching larger national and international audiences? What can arts institutions do to foster complex, engaging and diverse stories from this region? How can the stories of this region be used to engage young people by fostering dialogue about the issues that matter to them?

The evening will be starting with live performances from our exceptionally talented line-up of Western Sydney slam poets and writers. Writing in Western Sydney is BIG right now, and if you haven’t sat in a room and felt the energy radiating from a bunch of slam poets, this is your chance. After the performances, we will hear how writing cultures in western Sydney have developed over time and how writers and the organisations that support them can bring this work to wider audiences.

WestWords is proud to be partnering with the Sydney Arts Management Advisory Group SAMAG for this event. They offer an annual program of events to share practical, inspiring and innovative ideas to grow an inclusive and resilient arts sector. Their monthly events are designed as professional development for artists and arts workers and encourage knowledge sharing across the sector.

The evening will start with live performances from our exceptionally talented line-up of Western Sydney slam poets and writers. Writing in Western Sydney is BIG right now, and if you haven’t sat in a room and felt the energy radiating from a bunch of slam poets, this is your chance. After the performances, we will hear how writing cultures in western Sydney have developed over time and how writers and the organisations that support them can bring this work to wider audiences.

What does it mean to write from western Sydney? How can our stories be used to challenge perceived ideas of what it means to be from here? How are these stories reaching larger national and international audiences? What can arts institutions do to foster complex, engaging and diverse stories from this region? How can the stories of this region be used to engage young people by fostering dialogue about the issues that matter to them?

The host for the night will be Michael Campbell, the executive director of WestWords and member of Create NSW’s literature panel, and the Creative Arts and Humanities panel at the Australian Research Council.

When
6.15pm -7.45pm
Monday 28th October 2019

Where
University Of New England
Parramatta Campus
level 1, 211 Church Street Parramatta  2150

 

Aishah Ali is a fourth-year law and political science student of Fijian-Indian descent who has emerged as a fresh new face of spoken word poetry in Sydney. Her poetry has been published in a number of books, magazines and online forums and she has featured in major events such as the Sydney Writers’ Festival and took out the winning title in the 2018 Bankstown Poetry Slam. Aishah has curated two short films with Amnesty International.

Troy Wong was born and raised in Western Sydney. He helmed the Parramatta Poetry Slam and the Granville Poetry Slam as host and creative director and was a national finalist in the 2015 Australian Poetry Slam. Troy’s work has featured in Australian Poetry JournalCordite Poetry Review, and more.

Sunil Badami is a writer, academic, performer and broadcaster. He has written for publications including The Sydney Morning HeraldGood WeekendThe AustralianThe MonthlyThe New DailyThe Australian Literary ReviewAustralian Gourmet TravellerArt and AustraliaSoutherly, Island, Westerly and Meanjin. His work has been published in Australia and overseas, including in Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Essays.

Our MC will be Dr Felicity Castagna, an academic, teacher and arts leader who has either won or been a finalist for many of the nation’s top literary awards. She has featured in writers’ festivals, on the ABC and has collaborated with artists across the country. For the past four years, Felicity has run a storytelling night called Studio Stories and has co-run a mentorship scheme called The Finishing School at The Parramatta Artists’ Studios.

WestWords is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 WestWords-Copyright Agency Western Sydney Emerging Writers’ Fellowships.

Congratulations, Aishah, Erin and Claire!


The CA WestWords Western Sydney Emerging Writers’ Fellowships offers 3 Fellowships of $4,000 each to emerging writers aged 16 years and over from the Greater Western Sydney region.

Aishah Ali is a 20 year-old, law and political science student and multi hyphenate poet.Her poetry has been published in the BPS Anthology ‘The Resurrection’,The Dirty Thirty Anthology as well as ABC News amongst other forums.Aishah has featured at the largest poetry slam and writers events, performing in esteemed venues such as the QVB, Sydney Jewish Museum, Town Hall and the ICC.In 2018, she took the winning title at the Grand Finals with her team Mouthful of Melanin.

Her film ‘The Immigrant Citizen’ won the Brennan Justice Film Festival Redmond Award and got her nominated for the UTS Human Rights Award. Her second short film, in collaboration with Amnesty International was screened worldwide. She has recently taken to theatre and performed in as well as co-wrote, the spoken word theatre production ‘Dy(STOP)ia’ for Sydney Writers Festival.

With the Fellowship, Aisha intendeds to develop a coming of age, earnest poetry and prose collection that doubles as a guideline for concerned parents and students in their journey towards adulthood, the messy, the uncomfortable, the greed and the glory. The collection will revert the sentiment of life and death and through the exploration of identity, politics, womanhood, survival and struggle, speaking into existence that in order to truly experience life every part of us must first endure a particular kind of death- with every hardship, comes ease.

Claire Cao is a freelance writer from Western Sydney who enjoys stories about ghosts and spirited heroines. She is a fiction editor for Voiceworks and a member of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement. You can check out her work in The Lifted Brow, SBS Life, Running Dog, The Big Issue and Rough Cut.

With the Fellowship, Claire seeks to write (and submit to publications) four short stories about adolescence that feature the settings and characters of her planned novel, Little Devils, which follows the journey of five childhood friends who plan to make a horror film together in the summer of ‘09.

After realising she couldn’t fly to Mars, Erin decided to write about it instead. Both a writer and filmmaker, she has a deep love of all things science fiction and fantasy, especially cyberpunk and steampunk. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Creative and Performing Arts, she dove right back in again and finished a Bachelor of Film Production from AFTRS.

Erin has a passion for genre bending and using her experience as a queer and disabled woman to give voice to the strange and unusual. She was a recipient of the Westwords Varuna Fellowship for 2019.

With the Fellowship, Erin intends to work on a YA trilogy, Rephlexa, centring around two teenagers from parallel worlds; both wanting to escape.


Judges

David Ades
David Adès was born in Adelaide of Egyptian Jewish parents. He is a poet and short story writer. He is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet who moved to Sydney in 2016 after living for five years in Pittsburgh. He has been a member of Adelaide’s Friendly Street Poets since 1979 and is the author of Mapping the World (commended for the Anne Elder Award 2008) and the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal. He is also curator of WestWords’ Poet’s Corner.

Mathilda is the publisher of Picador Australia, based in Sydney. In 2012 she co-founded London independent publisher Head of Zeus, and she has worked as a publisher and editor in Britain and Australia for the past eleven years.

Stephen Measday is much loved at home in Australia and internationally for his adventurous and humorous children’s novels. He is also an award-winning scriptwriter for television shows including Blue Heelers, HI-5, Rowan of Rin and A Country Practice amongst others.

The Fellowships are made possible by the generous support of the
Cultural Fund of the Copyright Agency.

Join us for a unique opportunity to have a creative writing session with one of the best American slam poets!

Desireé will run a 90 minute workshop at WestWords, including a reading of her work.

Desireé Dallagiacomo is a full-time touring poet originally from rural California. She has been teaching creative writing for close to a decade. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and she has been a finalist at every major national poetry slam in the United States. Her poems have been featured widely in such places as Bustle Magazine, The Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, and the New Orleans Fringe Festival. A collection of her work has been adapted for the Vagina Monologues at Tulane University.
She has taught & performed extensively across the USA, Canada, & Australia–being a guest speaker, teacher, and performer at more than 70 universities worldwide. Videos of her performances have over 3 million views on YouTube, and she is the co-host of a Southern Poetry podcast, Drawl.
Desireé believes deeply in community education, and in 2016 she founded an annual writing retreat in a writer’s house in rural New Mexico for folks or all skill levels, experiences, and economic class. Her first full-length collection of poetry, SINK, is available at buttonpoetry.com.
When: Thursday 17 October
6:30pm-8:30pm
Where: WestWords Centre for Writing, 91B Grose St North Parramatta.
Cost: $10
Limited spaces available so make sure to book a spot at admin@westwords.com.au