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    Category Archives: women who write

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    Women Who Write – Michelle de Kretser

    By Sandra Todorov

    Michelle de Kretser is back with her new novel Questions of Travel. The beauty and tragedy of life is explored through the eyes of two women: Ravi, a Sri Lankan born IT specialist and aura, a middle class Australian travel writer.

    De Kretser (herself Sri Lankan born) explores the idea of what travel means to society, criticising some of the commercial aspects of it. I asked Michelle about her writing life and her start in the industry.

    How many words do you write per day? Do you listen to the radio or music while you do it?

    When I’m writing the first draft of a novel I write a minimum of 500 words a day. That handy little word count function on my word-processor gets a lot of use. `Still 417 to go….’.

    I sometimes listen to classical music while working. Anything with words interferes with writing.

    Describe your workspace.

    I work at home, in a room that has a lovely Federation-era moulded plaster ceiling with lyrebirds and waratahs. There are, unsurprisingly, several bookcases filled with books. The ironing board also lives here. The mantelpiece holds photographs of my dogs and also five rather creepy little plastic doll masks that I found about thirty years ago in an op shop. There is also a standard lamp with a pink satin shade like a little girl’s party skirt; it used to belong to my mother.

    What is the best thing about being a writer?

    Autonomy in your work: no meetings! The great satisfaction of making something, and the joy of being able to spend time thinking about words.

    What is the worst thing about being a writer?

    The insecurity and self-doubt.

    How did you get your first book deal?

    I had met a few literary agents while working in publishing. I sent the manuscript of my first novel to one of them, a woman I liked very much and who struck me as being very good at what she did, and things went on from there.

    How important is it for writers to be part of a network of creative people?

    I don’t know. I have dear friends who are writers but we rarely talk about the nitty-gritty of our writing with each other. I have many friends who are readers, and that’s wonderful. We share our enthusiasms with each other, and that can lead to marvellous discoveries.

    Sandra Todorov’s writing has appeared in The Seminal, The Lowy Institute ‘Interpreter’, Kill Your Darlings and Miranda Literary Magazine. She runs a consultancy from Melbourne CBD and her first novel will be out in 2013.


    Posted by: Sandra
    Categories: regular columns, women who write | Comments Off
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    The year that was: Women who Write

    {Throughout January, we’re looking back at all the posts our awesome columnists wrote for us in 2012, before our team of some new and some returning contributors start blogging in February.}

    In the second half of last year, aspiring writer Sandra Torodov joined the blogging team to author Women who Write. Talking to authors about their processes, achievements and inspirations was a great insight into women who weave the written word. Thanks, Sandra! xo tess

    Emily Macguire
    Emily Maguire is a writer with strong convictions. She caused a stir with her first novel Taming the Beast, which explored the seduction of a schoolgirl by her sociopathic male teacher. Read more…

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    Monica Dux
    Monica Dux wrote her 2008 book The Great Feminist Denial (a collaboration with Zora Simic) with the goal of making feminism relevant to a new generation of women. She told Lip Mag… Read more…

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    A New Way To Honour Women Who Write
    This edition of Women Who Write is dedicated to The Stella Prize, a new initiative designed to celebrate the work of Australian women writers. This is the first major literary prize for women’s writing in Australia and it will be awarded for the first time in April 2013! Read more…

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    Sheryl McCorry
    Sheryl McCorry has been described as ‘a woman in a million’. The grandmother from Forrest Downs, whose bestselling memoir Diamonds and Dust took everybody by surprise in 2007, is back with Love on Forrest Downs, a story of her battle to keep her new outback home. Read more…


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: the year that was, women who write | Comments Off
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    Women Who Write – Sheryl McCorry

    By Sandra Todorov

    Sheryl McCorry has been described as ‘a woman in a million’. The grandmother from Forrest Downs, whose bestselling memoir Diamonds and Dust took everybody by surprise in 2007, is back with Love on Forrest Downs, a story of her battle to keep her new outback home.

    Fans of McCorry will love this – it is a celebration of country life, the land Sheryl was born into and the struggles and triumphs that can strain a rural couple but ultimately (in this case at least) push them closer together. There is a strong sense of place – McCorry’s love of Forrest Downs shines through, just as her affection for the Kimberley did in her first books. Locals will recognize the unforgiving landscape and the spirit of the inhabitants.

    Simply written and beautifully paced, Love on Forrest Downs will find a keen readership among both country dwellers and curious urban folk. I managed to get Sheryl to take time out from her busy schedule (she is famous for having run two million-acre cattle properties and now has a brood of grandchildren) to answer a few questions about her writing life.

    How many words do you write per day? Do you listen to the radio or music while you do it?
    When I sit down to write I try and do around 3000 a day. I don’t play any radio or music, I just drift.

    Describe your workspace.
    I sit and write by hand at an old desk, beside a huge bay window. Outside the window are lots of ferns and native plants with a bird house. I can also look out and see the paddocks in the distance.

    What is the best thing about being a writer?
    I don’t see myself as a writer or an author, it just happened for me quite unexpectedly. I was putting my thoughts about my life on paper for my children and it’s just happened from there. I consider myself very lucky since my first book Diamonds and Dust.

    What’s the worst things about being a writer?
    It’s hard to say, because I love it. I’m at a point in my life where we are flat out farming, and it’s just trying to find the time to grab those few hours. So I guess wanting more hours in the day.

    How did you get your first book deal?
    After I lost my husband to cancer, I was diagnosed with cancer myself. Our children were in a panic, and asking lots of questions. I had always kept diaries, but I decided to collate and put everything on paper for the children. Once I got I  paid an editor to fix it up, and make it a bit more presentable.. He told me I wouldn’t be able to get it published, but right then I decided I might not  be a university graduate but I would give it a go. I  sent half of the first book to two different publishers and then went on holidays. Within eight days had a contract with Pan Macmillan!

    How important is it for writers to be part of a network of creative people?
    My life is based with cattle and I suppose they are creative! I don’t mix in those circles in my life.

    Sandra Todorov’s writing has appeared in The Seminal, The Lowy Institute ‘Interpreter’, Kill Your Darlings and Miranda Literary Magazine. She runs a consultancy from Melbourne CBD and her first novel will be out in 2013.


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    The Stella Prize – A New Way To Honour Women Who Write

    By Sandra Todorov

    This edition of Women Who Write is dedicated to The Stella Prize, a new initiative designed to celebrate the work of Australian women writers. This is the first major literary prize for women’s writing in Australia and it will be awarded for the first time in April 2013!

    With entries closing at 5.00pm on Thursday 15 November 2012, you can bet some nervous people are polishing up their entries and hoping for the best.

    According to the website: “[The Stella Prize] will raise the profile of women’s writing, and will reward one writer with a $50,000 prize. The shortlisted and winning books will be widely publicised and marketed in order to bring readers to the work of Australian women writers. In short, the Stella Prize will celebrate and recognise Australian women’s writing, encourage a future generation of women writers, and significantly increase the readership for books by women.”

    The prize came into being after a group of women in the publishing industry noted that women were being neglected in shortlists for the prestigious Miles Franklin Award. After no woman was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin for two years within a three year stretch, the women decided enough was enough. Education philanthropist Ellen Koshland provided much of the initial funding for the Stella Prize, with two female restaurateurs (Patricia O’Donnell and Michelle Garnaut) among the other major donors.

    ”There was always going to be men on the panel – but not a majority – because we want men to read women’s books” says Stella Prize chairwoman and Scribe Publications associate publisher Aviva Tuffield. ”It’s very much about celebrating Australian women’s literature and supporting books and writers in an industry that is struggling.”

    The board member list reads like a who’s who of Australian publishing, with former Meanjin editor Sophie Cunningham, Wheeler Centre Associate Director Jenny Niven, feminist author Monica Dux (profiled in a previous edition of Women Who Write) and Sleepers Publishing editorial director Louise Swinn among the members.

    Here’s what some people of note have to say about the award:

    The Stella Prize is an important evolution in the recognition and celebration of women writers in Australia. Ms “Miles” Franklin would be proud.

    - Tara Moss

    The Stella Prize recognizes that women are central to Australia’s literary endeavour and gives encouragement to future generations of writers.

    - Adam Bandt

    I am living proof that a women-only prize can be career-changing.

    - Kate Grenville

    I, like make other Australian women writers, am waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the award next year! Anyone hoping to enter had better get a move on, as the deadline is less than two weeks away.

    Sandra Todorov’s writing has appeared in The Seminal, The Lowy Institute ‘Interpreter’, Kill Your Darlings and Miranda Literary Magazine. She runs a consultancy from Melbourne CBD and her first novel will be out in 2013.

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Tags: Aviva Tuffield, Louise Swinn, Meanjin, Monica Dux, Scribe Publications, Sleepers Publishing, Sophie Cunningham, Stella Prize, Wheelers Centre
    Posted by: Sandra
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