Category Archives: Stanthorpe Writers Group

Craft of Writing Workshop

The Stanthorpe Writers Group hosted its ‘Craft of Writing’ workshop on Saturday 27th October 2012 and I am proud to say that it was a success. 

The grant was made possible through a Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) grant, which is an initiative of the Queensland State Government and the Southern Downs Regional Council.


Here’s Councillor Jo McNally from the Southern Downs Regional Council launching the event:-

Jo had an enormous day ahead in Warwick for the rodeo so we consider ourselves very lucky that she made a supreme effort to fit us into her busy schedule. 

Our tutor Lee McGowan brought his gorgeous Scottish accent, together with his writing and teaching expertise, to the table.  His workshop was inspirational and entertaining.


We had 26 attendees (the aim was to cap it at 24…ah, the plans of mice and [wo]men) ranging in age from 13 up to…well, lets just say over seventy.  It was a good mix and I’m sure we all gained much from the experience.   

The workshop started with ‘Conquering the Blank Page’ before moving on to ‘Being Mean and Keeping them Keen’ (plot and structure).  After lunch (superbly catered by the Stanthorpe CWA), we delved into those murky and sometimes dangerous waters of dialogue, an area that many had flagged as being a difficult one.

The Arcadia Theatre is a terrific venue for movie-themed parties and for corporate events.  What a treat for us to hold our workshop there, with its lovely plush leather seats and big screen.  Unfortunately, my camera played up (or was it the operator?) and I can’t show the Theatre off in its full glory.  Hopefully, other workshop participants will have some good shots to send through.


On behalf of the Stanthorpe Writers Group, I’d like to thank Vince Catanzaro (owner of the Arcadia Theatre) who continues to provide a fabulous room for the monthly Stanthorpe Writers Group meetings.  We also thank Vincenzo’s at the Big Apple  and Pyramids Road Wines  for their generous donations which helped us in presenting a welcoming antipasto platter and wine to our tutor and his wife upon arrival, and also a ‘Thank You’ basket with predominantly local produce.  

As I have mentioned in the press in the lead up to this event, we country writers and aspiring writers don’t have the opportunities that are on the doorstep of our metropolitan counterparts (I might also add that there are many benefits to living in the country, not least of which is the tranquillity to write).  Workshops of this calibre can be an expensive exercise in themselves and when you add travel expenses and sometimes accommodation, they can be out of reach for many.  Let’s hope the RADF continue to offer this type of funding and that we’ll always find a tireless band of committee members to pull it all together.


Filed under Stanthorpe Writers Group

Rapunzel Competition: Runner Up

Poet Betsy Chape was the runner up in our Rapunzel competition with ‘Rapunzel’s Lament’.

Woe is me! Alas! Alack!
My love is gone, will he come back?
I am locked away in this lonely tower,
Far from garden, bloom and bower;
With naught to do but pace this cell,
And dream of one I love so well.

But should my love come back to me,
What can he do to set me free?
Beneath my window, no ivy grows,
Not even stems of climbing rose;
And my heart o’erflows with sheer despair
For it takes so long to grow one’s hair!

Leave a comment

Filed under Stanthorpe Writers Group

Winner of the Rapunzel Competition

Thanks to publishers Random House Australia and the author Kate Forsyth, members of the Stanthorpe Writers Group were given the opportunity to win a copy of Bitter Greens by entering a 100 words or less competition on what it would feel like to be trapped in a tower Rapunzel-like. 

We had some terrific entries which were scored, in true Aussie egalitarian fashion, by fellow members.

And the winner is … drumroll …

Jeanette Harvey.

The prisoner longed for the warmth of human touch and words, softly spoken.  Her friends now were the birds who ate the crumbs on the tower floor and gathered strands of her silken hair for their nests.  Rapunzel lay quite still – her face close to the tiny creatures – absorbing the lightness of the warm, feathered bodies and fragile legs.  In their bright, beaded eyes, she saw reflected the freedom of the sky and rode the wind’s spirals with these, her fellow travellers.  Such freedom rendered her speechless with joy, but then she had little need for words.

It is rather fitting that Jeanette – an emerging historical novelist – wrote the winning entry.  I know she will enjoy it.  Thanks to everyone who entered.  And thank you to Kate Forsyth for suggesting the theme. 

Bitter Greens,  which I reviewed here, is a lavish feast of fairytale, history and fiction.


Filed under Reviews, Stanthorpe Writers Group

Get Thee to a Writers Group

I have been writing, in one way or another, for more years than I care to count.  During that time, I’ve dabbled on the outskirts of writing communities: a workshop here and there; an editing group, online courses; once, a writing circle via mail.  But I had never found the opportunity to be involved with a writers group, partly due to my penchant for living away from metropolitan areas for much of my adult life.

I would read with envy about writers spending weeks at retreats, days working on communal projects, evening soirees with like-minded souls but, as a full-time worker living away from the cosmopolitan enclaves of the city writers, such opportunities were harder to come by.

As friends and regular readers would know, I always refer to myself as a late bloomer so it probably comes as no surprise that I am finally turning up [very late] to the table of a writers group. In fact I formed the group myself and waited nervously on that first night, trying to anticipate and imagine the people who’d indicated they’d come along, wondering how we would all fit together.

What a delightful bunch they turned out to be!

Our Stanthorpe Writers Group is a band of a dozen at the moment (with room to grow a little) and we are a mixed bunch with poets, journos, short-story writers, a historical novelist and memoirist amongst our numbers. 

We have had some wonderful presentations by group members on subjects as diverse as research, characterisation and flash fiction.  I learn something new at every monthly meeting and I get great enjoyment in critiquing work by other writers and having my own pieces picked over.  It improves our writing enormously to have input and suggestions from others.

So, to come back to my headline, if I had one piece of advise for young writers it would be to Get Thee to a Writers Group immediately and soak up the information, advice and friendship.


Filed under Stanthorpe Writers Group

Stanthorpe Writers Group

This coming week marks the inaugural meeting of what will hopefully become The Stanthorpe Writers Group*.

Thanks to an article in the Stanthorpe Border Post, I received interest from a dozen local writers who, as yet, I know very little about. 

I have gone no further than preparing a flyer on the best way to critique an author’s work (from a workshop I attended) as well as a rough agenda so that we can power through those necessary housekeeping items such as formats and themes for the meetings.

I am excited by the prospect of spending at least a few hours every month (with perhaps online and email contact in between) with like-minded people in my area so we can share tips, practice our craft and provide much needed encouragement to each other.

If anyone has advice on writing groups that I could pass on to the group, it would be very much appreciated.

*You will notice the absence of an apostrophe where writers should be writers’.   I have always felt it looks somewhat cumbersome in a heading so I decided to opt for the Queensland Writers Centre example of leaving it out all together.


Filed under Stanthorpe Writers Group