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Writerly tasks I’ve been undertaking recently in conjunction with KSP

September 8, 2015 Leave a comment

The Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in the Perth foothills has had an important place in my writing life ever since I was lucky enough to win the Young Writers category of the Short Fiction award way back in 1999, when I was but a callow youth. More recently, I was even luckier to be awarded a four-week Emerging Writer residency (on the fourth try), a role I undertook in April/May 2013. I  served on KSP’s Board of Management from 2012-14, and transferred over to their Literary Committee in late 2014. My main task in 2015 has been working with KSP stalwart and poet Mardi May and acclaimed WA author and editor Amanda Curtin in helping to select next year’s Emerging Writers in Residence. I don’t think the winners have been formally announced as yet, but rest assured that the three chosen authors will represent KSP with distinction in 2016.

Write-a-Book-in-a-Day

Another task I’ve had the pleasure of performing is judging the Secondary WA category of this year’s Write-a-Book-in-a-Day competition. This is a very worthy cause, raising money for the Kids’ Cancer Project, and it sees teams of writers from across the country frantically writing, illustrating and presenting picture books in a single day.  There are more than a dozen entries in this category this year, and I’m just about to get cracking on finishing my part of the judging process this weekend. It’s humbling to be a part of this program in my own small way, but the real credit must go to the teams of writers themselves, who’ve crafted some stunning work and, in doing so, given me a headache in trying to decide which entry ought to be the winner.

Finally, I’ve been invited to present a writing workshop, ‘The Narrative Engine’, at this year’s Avon Valley Writers Festival, at the Northam library on Sunday 20th September. This is the third iteration of the festival after similar events in 2012 and 2013. The festival was on hiatus in 2014, but it’s back bigger and better than ever this year, and it boasts a strong line up of authors, including the likes of Ian Reid, Amanda Curtin, James Foley and Sami Shah. Here’s the blurb for my workshop: What makes stories tick? How do you create suspense? This workshop will consider the finer points of narrative fiction with reference to some of the great artists of short fiction: Flannery O’Connor, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver and others. We’ll zero in on thorny topics such as point of view, narration and interior monologue, and discuss how inciting incidents and rising tension make for great short stories, no matter what time or place they’re written in. 

When I reflect on my writing career, such as it is circa 2015, it strikes me that the bulk of my modest achievements have been realised in conjunction with KSP. Writing is and remains a lonely business, but you could do much worse than joining the local writers’ centre in your area.

My time as Emerging Writer-in-Residence at the KSP Writers’ Centre

May 2, 2013 2 comments

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My time as Emerging Writer-in-Residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre has been an extremely busy and enormously productive one. I did a short, five day stint over Easter and then a longer, three week block from April 15th to May 5th 2013. My major goal for this period was to produce 40,000 words on a new novel, Dan: A Cautionary Tale. I actually didn’t start writing the novel at all over Easter, so I left myself just 21 days to write this amount, setting myself an ambitious target of 2000 words per day. I’m happy to report that as of today, May 2nd, I’ve written 36,000 words and foresee no problems in reaching my target on or before May 5th. I’ve also had the opportunity to read from Dan at several of the regular KSP groups, including the Tuesday morning group, Writefree women’s group. Thursday Night Group and Speculative Fiction group. I found these writers very welcoming and enthusiastic about Dan, and I got plenty of confidence from that.

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I needed it, too, as one of my other tasks was to read from the novel on RTR FM’s ‘Artbeat’ program. This was only my second time appearing on the radio (the other was last year on York FM) and I was very nervous. I had earlier read a chapter from Dan at the Thursday Night Group that had seemed to go down especially well, so I chose this short, 1000 word chapter to read on the radio. The chapter features our protagonist Will attempting to get his forklift ticket so that he can drive the forklift legally at the bottleshop where he works. I managed to read the excerpt live without any major mishaps, and in the end I was glad to have done so. You can listen to this reading here: http://rtrfm.com.au/story/what-a-busy-guy/

Tobacco-Stained Sky_COVER

In my first stint over Easter, before I got started on Dan, I was busy working on a project called The Tobacco-Stained Sky: An Anthology of Post-Apocalyptic Noir. In 2012 I had been invited by author Andrez Bergen to write a story for this themed collection, set in post-apocalyptic Melbourne, and for this I had written a story “The Dying Rain”. As it transpired, however, the anthology was short a prose editor, and so when I was offered the opportunity to take on this role I jumped at the chance. Thus I had 60,000 words of prose to tweak, as well as an introduction to write, which consumed my attention during this Easter period. The anthology will be out from US publisher Another Sky Press later this year.

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Wedged between my Writer-in-Residence stints was KSP’s ‘2013 Writers and Performance Festival of the Asian-Australian Voice’, which I’ve written about more extensively here: https://guysalvidge.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/wrap-up-on-ksps-festival-of-the-asian-australian-voice/ This was an amazing weekend and a great opportunity to meet and mingle with a whole host of talented writers including Benjamin Law, Oliver Phommavanh, Lily Chan, Nadine Brown, Jackson and plenty of others. The festival ended on Sunday April 14th, meaning that I was literally moving into KSP the day those talented writers were moving out.

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Writers-in-Residence at KSP are treated very nicely: they are afforded accommodation in one of three newly-built retreats: Aldridge, Clarke and Phillips. I stayed in the Aldridge chalet and I found this to be a very cosy writing space indeed. For cooking, not that I did a tremendous amount of it, I had the use of the main kitchen up at Katharine’s house. During my stay, I also had the opportunity to attend several book launches in Perth and Fremantle, including those for Lee Battersby’s novel The Marching Dead and Bruce Russell’s Reunion. This Sunday I’m also off to Rockingham to meet author Kaaron Warren, who will be in Perth hosting a number of events, including one organised by the very same Lee Battersby, himself previously a Writer-in-Residence at KSP.

guy looking sneaky

One of my major tasks as Writer-in-Residence was to prepare and run a three hour workshop. My workshop, “Sail into Publishing: Charting a Course for Your Writing Career”, was held on Saturday 27th April and by accounts it went well. I went a little overboard on the slides (83 in all, even though a lot of them were pictures) and thus I had to rush through my presentation toward the end. I covered an awful lot about what I’ve learned about publishing in this presentation; if you’d like to download it, you need only to paste this link into your web browser and the presentation will start downloading: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/53426575/Sail%20into%20Publishing.pptx

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Earlier today, I had the opportunity to assist Dr Melissa O’Shea in running the third day of this year’s Write-a-Rama, a workshop for 10-15 year-old students. I first participated in this program last year, so I knew pretty much what to expect. My task today was to assist students in learning how to properly edit their own work, although I did manage to work some theory on writing into my talk as well. I was very impressed with the calibre of writing on display and I thank Melissa for giving me the opportunity to work with these students again.

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Lastly, on Monday I gave an interview to students from Eastern Hills SHS who had come to KSP to make a documentary film for a school assignment. I spoke to them about my time at KSP and also provided a little history about Katharine Susannah Prichard and Hugo Throssell. Here I was assisted by KSP stalwart Chris Oakeley, who helpfully produced some speaking notes for me. I’d also like to acknowledge the amazing work done by KSP’s Co-ordinator Shannon Coyle and its Chairperson Renee Hammond. While I’m at it, thanks must also go to Treasurer Robert Perks and Management Committee members Danika Potter, Karen Treanor and Mardi May. Each of these people has assisted me in some way over these past weeks and months, and I thank them for their tireless efforts in working for the benefit of KSP.

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I’m nearly done now: I have just 4000 more words to write on Dan, as well as a Literary Dinner to read at this coming Tuesday. This will be one of KSP’s series of literary dinners for the year, at which the Writer-in-Residence reads for three lots of ten minutes. I’ll be reading excerpts from my soon-to-be-published third novel Yellowcake Summer, “The Dying Rain” and Dan. My final task as a Writer-in-Residence will be to mentor a promising KSP writer, and for this I have chosen to assist Tuesday morning group regular Franci Leibenberg. Franci and I have been competing of late to see who can hit 40,000 words on their novel the quickest, and my plan is to assist Franci in structuring her work-in-progress over the coming weeks and months.

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I think that’s it. For exercise I’ve been walking up Old York Road, quite a steep climb, and on occasion I’ve made it to the nearby John Forrest National Park. But frankly, a lot of the time I’ve been too busy to stray far. It’s not often in life that one gets the opportunity to do what one truly wants to do for an extended period of time, but that’s exactly how it’s been for me here at KSP. It’s been an amazing time.

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Emerging Writer in Residence events at the KSP Writers Centre

February 20, 2013 2 comments

As part of my upcoming Emerging Writer in Residence stint at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre in Greenmount, WA, I’ll be hosting two events: a publishing workshop and a literary dinner. Details to follow.

“Set Sail into Publishing” with Guy Salvidge at KSP Writers’ Centre – Saturday 27th April 1-4pm 

guy looking sneaky

So your novel, play or book of poetry is written and raring to go – where to next? Should you send your manuscript to the traditional publishers, most of which are located in Melbourne and Sydney? (If they even accept unsolicited manuscripts, that is.) Maybe you could try your hand at major literary awards like The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award or the T.A.G. Hungerford Award? Should you opt for a smaller print-on-demand publisher? What are the benefits and drawbacks of this form of publication? Maybe you should go it alone with self-publishing, or perhaps you could become part of the digital revolution and forego print publication altogether? Maybe you should consider a Manuscript Assessment or Mentorship first?

All of these options and more will be discussed in “Set Sail into Publishing: Charting a Course for Your Writing Career” with WA writer Guy Salvidge.  Participants will navigate the treacherous waters of modern publishing and chart a course forward for themselves and their creative work.

Costs: $30 for KSP members and $45 for non-members. Booking and payment in advance is essential. You can book online here.

Reading and Literary Dinner with Guy Salvidge, Emerging Writer in Residence at KSP – Tuesday 7th May 7-9.30pm

Guy Salvidge will read from and talk about his work at this literary dinner. Bring your favourite drinks to complement the three course meal, meet Guy and mingle with local authors.

Costs: $25 for KSP-members and $30 for non-members. Booking and payment in advance is essential. You can book online here

I’m a Katharine Susannah Prichard Emerging Writer in Residence for 2013!

October 22, 2012 2 comments

I’m very pleased to report that I have been successful in gaining a residency at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre for 2013! Each year, KSP (which is located in Greenmount, Western Australia) selects one ‘Established’ Writer in Residence, three ‘Emerging’ Writers in Residence, and three ‘Young’ (under 25) Writers in Residence. The other two Emerging Writers for 2013 have been chosen: they are Kate Cantrell from Brisbane and Felicity Castagna from Sydney. Both come very impressively credentialed, so I’m in good company.

KSP Writers in Residence are offered accommodation at the centre for four weeks (one week for Young Writers) and the residencies are spread throughout the year. While there, Writers in Residence work on a creative project of their choice for the bulk of their time, but they also host a three hour workshop that is open to the public, as well as hosting a literary dinner, perform readings and offer mentoring to selected KSP writers. The chalets at KSP are pretty impressive as well, having been done up in recent times. In short, it’s pretty much the dream job for a writer for four weeks.

My own residency is scheduled for April-May 2013 and by that time I hope to have completed work on my novel Yellowcake Summer, although I suspect that I may be still revising it for publication. The plan is for me to get cracking on a new project: a suburban crime novel set in the outer northern suburbs of Perth in the early noughties. I can’t wait to start work on this one! My planned workshop is called “Breaking into Publishing” and will basically try to cram everything I’ve learned about trying to get published into three hours (if that’s possible). More details will follow soon, but for now, here’s a link to the Residency page on the KSP website.

Yellowcake Springs launches in Northam and Greenmount

October 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I will be holding a couple of launches/signings for Yellowcake Springs in November. If you live in Perth or the Avon Valley, I’d love to see you on one of these days.

Launch #1 – 10am Saturday 12th November at Two Stories Book Cafe, 80 Fitzgerald Street Northam

Join me as I launch Yellowcake Springs at the Two Stories Book Cafe in Northam. There will be articles in the Avon Valley Advocate and Avon Valley Gazette promoting this event, as well as the possibility of an interview on Radiowest. 10am is the start time for this event.
Launch #2 – 12pm Sunday 13th November at Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre, 11 Old York Road Greenmount

This is a joint launch with CSFG’s latest speculative fiction anthology, Winds of Change, and will start at 12pm upon completion of KSP’s monthly speculative fiction group. Join myself, Joanna Fay, Naomi Mondello and Carol Ryles as we launch these two books.


Launch Special – Purchase a signed copy of Yellowcake Springs and receive a free ebook of The Kingdom of Four Rivers.

If you need any more info, leave a comment below or send me an email at guysalvidge AT gmail.com