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October 2, 2020
Culture

Writers SA has launched its spring workshop program

Writers SA's director Jessica Alice gives us some spring program recommendations, including a workshop on how to sell your life experiences and a guided tour of the dark web.

  • Words and pictures: Angela Skujins

Writers SA’s spring program kicks off Saturday, 10 October, and includes workshops and talks on fictional world building to writing for the education market, hosted by authors, journalists and publishing gurus.

For the first time since the pandemic, Writers SA will once again offer face-to-face workshops.

Remarks

See the full Writers SA winter program here.

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“Sometimes I forget the fact that we do have some in-person workshops again or in-person events [and] that that’s actually quite significant,” Writers SA’s director Jessica Alice tells CityMag.

Among Jessica’s highlights from the upcoming spring program is a “totally legal” journey into the dark web, led by author Eileen Ormsby.

Eileen has written books on the subject – she even commissioned a hit on her already-dead husband – and for this event she will take audiences into the internet’s mysterious underworld.

“I don’t fully grasp what or where [the dark web] is, so even that to me is fascinating,” Jessica says.

Author and critic Kylie Maslen will host a session on how to write a memoir. Kylie recently published a collection of essays, titled Show Me Where It Hurts, chronicling her experiences living with endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome and bipolar.

“She’s also going to talk about the process of pitching memoir,” Jessica says.

Writers SA’s pivot during COVID to virtual events created greater accessibility for those who couldn’t attend the events in person, Jessica says. With this insight, Jessica will now ensure future Writers SA programs will be a 50-50 split between virtual and in-person experiences.

“In our last program, we had this session on writing through illness with Katerina Bryant,” Jessica says.

“There were people who normally wouldn’t be able to attend because they were interstate, but there were also people who have chronic illness, and even if the event was in their neighbourhood, they may not be able to get to it.”

Other highlights from the spring program include SA-born, Dublin-based author Monica McInerney’s in-person author talk. This will cover her 20-year publishing career, and Monica will also offer tips on maintaining momentum while producing large-volume books.

Local literary agent Melanie Ostell, who represents acclaimed writers Royce Kurmelovs and Wayne Macauley, will also host a session on how and when to approach professionals, like herself, once you’ve written a book.

“Her session is going to be advising people [on] how you actually engage an agent properly and how you know when you’re ready to take that step; so how to talk about the book, how to refer to it in publishing terms, how to know where it is in the market,” Jessica says.

“That’ll be invaluable, because that’s one of those things where you don’t get too many chances to get that right.”

Jessica says she was pleasantly surprised that, despite the COVID-19-induced recession looming since March this year, individuals still signed-up to Writers SA’s workshops. She believes this is emblematic of their desire to be part of a community.

“We’ve just seen increasing ticket sales because I think people are just longing for that connection,” Jessica says.

In addition to overseeing Writers SA and being a poet, Jessica is also the deputy chair of the Arts Industry Council of South Australia, which is the state’s independent arts body.

She recommends that any artist or creative affected by COVID-19 enter a submission into the Federal Government’s ‘State of the arts in 2020 and beyond’ parliamentary inquiry so our highest-ranking politicians get a better understanding on how the industry may recover from the pandemic.

The deadline for submissions is 22 October 2020.

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