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January 7, 2021

Become a better writer this summer with Writers SA

Local writers’ organisation Writers SA has announced a summer workshop program with a range of events fit for new and emerging writers looking to improve their practice.

  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Pictures: Sia Duff

We live in the age of self-improvement.

This isn’t a new insight, but one that became ever more evident throughout the course of that troubling year 2020.


Browse the Writers SA’s summer workshop program here.

It seems to come natural to some – the pandemic made bakers and gym junkies of a surprising number of people on Instagram – while this writer found himself, after two failed loaves of sourdough focaccia, with an abundance of aspiration to self-improvement but little actual outcome.

Perhaps pursuing betterment in an area more within one’s wheelhouse would have been a wiser option.

If you, like we at CityMag, enjoy the idea of making a living by stringing words together, the team at Writers SA have a roster of workshop programs to help you learn, re-engage with, or perfect your craft.

The organisation’s summer program has launched, with events kicking off in this month.

We spoke with Writers SA’s director, Jessica Alice, about her picks of the program and tips for making the most of the summer months.


CityMag: What does summer usually mean for a writer’s practice?
Jessica Alice: Every writer’s practice is different, but for most the new year represents a quieter period for commissions and deadlines as publishers and media take their holidays, and the summer months herald a refreshed approach and new projects. It’s a time for optimism, and 2021 especially so. Writers keenly feel the weight of social and creative responsibility, and hopefully this summer is the start of a brighter year to bring our work into the world.


What are the benefits and challenges of the summer months for writers?
If winter is the ideal time to bunker down in full hygge mode for deep writing, summer gets us out into the world, in nature and with leisure, to do the living, reading and thinking that leads to the blooming of creative ideas. While it can be difficult materially to do nothing and reject that drive for productivity, it is crucial in the artmaking cycle because it’s the time that we fill the inner well.


How does Writers SA’s summer programming react to the season?
We’ll be connecting with the grandeur of the natural world with UK-based Australian writer Rebecca Giggs, author of the exquisite non-fiction book Fathoms: The World in the Whale. She’ll be leading us on a nature writing workshop to develop stories in relation to our landscapes, oceans and gardens in an incredibly human way.


What workshop(s) would you suggest for someone still young in their practice?
Our First Draft intensive program is one of our most popular and rightly so – Rachael Mead credits it with the publication of her debut novel, The Application of Pressure – and it’s particularly great for new writers working on a book idea. This time around we’ve got New York Times bestselling author Sean Williams leading the cohort, which will just be an incredible and delightful way to learn with him as part of a supportive group of peers over the year.


What would you suggest for someone looking to get the most out of a potential holiday break from their 9-to-5er?
Writing Sex with acclaimed author Krissy Kneen is going to be a lot of fun and a fascinating way to learn how to translate the language of desire into excellent writing. Ellen van Neervan’s Short Story Fundamentals will be an invaluable way to get into writing in the short form from one of the best writers out today, and local author Margot McGovern will take us on a beautiful path to reimagine faery tales in a contemporary context.


Who are some of the authors and industry folk you’re excited to have in the program?
We’re delighted to welcome back Terra Nullius author Claire G. Coleman for an online session on genre, and we’ve got former-DC Comics writer Dan Thorsland at the reins of our Teen Writers Club for the first time. It’s going to be another big year for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers too as the SA First Nations Writers Group, led by singer-songwriter and film director Edoardo Crismani, starts up for the year in February. Finally, we’ll also be announcing our Adelaide Writers Week masterclass program in the new year and we can’t wait to show it to you.


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