Just because I didn’t post about it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been a little quiet on the blogging front, and as Facebook keeps reminding me updating my Facebook writer page, but it’s not a case of ‘if you don’t post it it didn’t happen!’ It’s been a busy eight weeks with the Write Freely workshops at the Thurgoona Community Centre, submitting work for publications and a couple of prizes, and the general cobbling together an income caper.

No Room in On the Wallaby Track 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week the Romanian-Australian anthologies Pounding the Pavement and On the Wallaby Track were launched in Bucharest. I’m really thrilled that my poem, No Room has been included in On the Wallaby Track along with the writing of many of the friends I made while living in Sydney and especially through New Writers’ Group in Parramatta.  I wrote the poem in December 2014 in response to the ongoing inhumane response to people seeking asylum in Australia.  On the Wallaby Track will be launched at the State Library of NSW in March next year.

My thanks to Mihaela Cristescu and Sue Crawford from New Writers’ Group for the invitation to include the poem. You can read it here.

Coming Up

This week I’m running Nano Story writing workshops for Wodonga Library to celebrate Book Week.  The students are from primary schools in the area and will be from Year 2 – 6. On Thursday I’ll also be running a workshop for the library’s Young Writers group on how to make their writing sense-sational!

Write Freely Writing Workshops for Adults – 9am – 12 noon Saturdays September 23, 30 October 7 and 14

Cost: FREE
Places: Limit 10 (Please note you need to book in for all four sessions)

I’ve recently finished running this series at Thurgoona Community Centre and have been so delighted at the thoughtful pieces of writing that came from the group. The straight jacket laces were certainly loosened! Much of the writing was memoir and it was very satisfying to see the growth in everyone’s confidence as they discovered that they certainly could ‘write freely’.

Join me and unlock those stories and other writing you know are in you! Workshops are free but you must book.

As this is a four week course you need to commit to the four weeks. Bookings here

You can read more about my writing here 

If you have any questions about the workshops you can email me here.

Writers’ Conference and Festival

Historical Novel Society Australasia Conference 8-10 September

This wonderful organisation promotes the writing, reading and publication of historical fiction. I went along to its first conference in March 2015 and am really looking forward to the conference next month and immersing myself in that genre for the weekend. My current WIP is historical fiction, but because of a submission I’ve made I don’t want to say too much more about the work just in case … you know … the judges have happened upon this blog post! Find out more about the conference here.

Write Around the Murray 13 – 17 September

Closer to home, (Albury Wodonga) the11th Write Around the Murray Festival is coming up with a fantastic program of writerly and readerly events. I was the festival’s coordinator from 2008-2010. It is a festival that remains very dear to my heart. Some favourite guests are returning including Jason Steger, literary editor of The Age and a regular on ABC’s The Book Club. Jason is moderating the Everyday Violence panel on the Saturday and on the Sunday will convene the What We’re Reading book chat and then go through to the festival finale discussing The Restorer with Book of the Festival author, Michael Sala.

Over the last two weekends I’ve read The Restorer and also Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident – two of the three books that will be discussed in the Everyday Violence panel. I’m still to read Nicole Hayes’ A Shadow’s Breath, but will definitely do so before the festival. Michael and Emily’s novels are two of the most powerful, moving and disturbing novels I have read this year.

On a lighter note I had the opportunity to interview Christine Anu for Border Café about her In Conversation and Song she will be presenting as part of the festival on Thursday 14 September. It was such a delight to talk to her and I’m looking forward to meeting her at WAM. You can read my story here

For all bookings and more information on the festival go to writearoundthemurray.org.au

And finally a serving of Rice

Next Tuesday night I’m popping along to the opening night of Rice – the next and final play in HotHouse Theatre’s 2017 main program.  It’s described as a ‘Brimming with wickedly humorous observations on globalisation, power, politics and family, Rice recently won Michele Lee the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award 2016 – 2017. This terrific co-production from Queensland Theatre and Griffin Theatre Company is directed by Griffin’s Helpmann Award winning director Lee Lewis.’
The season runs from Tuesday 29 August to Saturday 2 September. More information and bookings here.

 

 

 

 

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Write Freely – Creative Writing Workshops at Thurgoona Community Centre

I’m really excited to be running my first creative writing workshops for adults since my return from Sydney in 2016.

The Write Freely workshops will be held over six Tuesdays, from 1pm – 3pm starting on Tuesday 20 June at the Thurgoona Community Centre, 10 Kosciuszko Road, Thurgoona.

Dates: Tuesdays 20 & 27 June, and 4, 11, 18 & 25 July

Why ‘Write Freely’?

Our attempts to write are too often straight-jacketed. We don’t write because we’re frozen by what we think are the rules and regulations of writing when all we really need to do is write. As Julie Cameron in her wonderful The Right to Write says: ‘Writing goes much better when we don’t work at it so much … For me, writing is like a good pair of pajamas(sic) – comfortable. In our culture, writing is more often costumed in a military outfit.’ (p3).

Join me to explore the ways you can loosen those straight-jacket laces, diminish the angst, and discover the joy of writing short stories, poems, opinion pieces, blog posts and/or memoir.

Build your knowledge and confidence by developing your own writing toolbox, discovering your own voice, but most of all write in a safe and respectful environment write what you have always wanted to write.

Places limited to 10 per course.

Cost: $120 for six weeks (Please note a weekly fee is not available.)
Payment due at the beginning of the course.

About me

I have more than 30 years’ experience as a journalist and writer of non-fiction, fiction and poetry.  I’ve been published in Four W anthologies, Short and Scary, Seizure Flashers, Tincture Journal, ZineWest 2013 (third prize) and New Albury Writing (2002). My short story collections include The Only Constant (2012) and The Basket and The Briefcase (2003) and I  was co-editor of ZineWest 2014 and 2015.  I have also been a book reviewer at newtownreviewofbooks.com.au

From July 2010 to December 2012 I wrote a fortnightly opinion column for The Border Mail covering topics as far ranging as gay parenting to disappearing chooks.

In 2013 I completed a Masters in Cultural and Creative Practice and received a Meritorious grade for her major project – a story inspired by her great grandfather’s experience of coming to Australia from Fiji as an eight year old orphan. She is currently extending this work to a novella.

I have run creative writing courses and sessions for Albury TAFE, Albury Wodonga Community College, AlburyCity, City of Wodonga, Albury Rotary ‘River of Stories’ and was a member of the team of writers for Western Sydney University’s Schools Engagement Program

I’ve been a guest at the Emerging Writers’ Festival Melbourne and coordinated the Write Around the Murray Festival from 2008 – 2010.

I also have the joy of writing for bordercafe.com.au

Download the course flyer Write Freely – Workshops for Adults

Questions? More info? How to enrol? Email me here

Find our more about my fiction and how to buy a copy of The Only Constant here.

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You’ll find me in the attic – Louise Allan’s ‘Writers in the Attic’

There’s this wonderful FB page, Binder Full of Australian Women Writers that I am a member of, and in January, the lovely Louise Allan put a call out for writers to reflect on their writing practice. I decided to put my hand up (fingers to keyboard might be a better term) and took a trip through how my creative writing practice began, stalled (read – was non existent), reemerged at a time that it was better than hours of therapy and how since 1998 I haven’t stopped writing creatively.

The reflection has also been instructive in helping me to set writing goals for 2017 including the WIP, but also a couple of side projects that are percolating. It’s also promoted me to finally get that FB author page sorted. It will be up soon!

Thanks again Louise for this wonderful opportunity. You can read the post here https://louisejallan.com/2017/03/27/writers-in-the-attic-robyne-young/

Image credit: TruPics

Also, the good people at BookPod still have some copies of The Only Constant available for sale. Click here to buy

From the cover: ‘She has a rare skill of conveying a story with a simple and beautiful economy of words.’ Alice Pung

Back cover:
‘Dorothy quietly nods and picks up every word into each powder blue stitch so that by the time the bus pulls into Mudgee where her son-in-law is waiting to take her the rest of the way to Rylstone, the level of Angela’s reservoir of grief is lowered. There is space for air.’

Heading back to her parents after her first home is flooded in the 2011 Brisbane disaster, Angela finds an unexpected source of comfort; while in another place and time, twelve year old Katie deals with the consequence of an event the   year before at the local show.

In everyday settings including an office, a bookshop and a farm ravaged by drought, the characters in these eight stories have to find their own way of coping with change.

With stunning illustrations by Suzanne Hicks, The Only Constant is a new collection from a gifted storyteller.

Read an extract from Blue Butterfly

You can also download the PDF of  The Basket and The Briefcase

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Sense-ational writing with Robyne

I’m excited to let you know that this year I will be concentrating on my writing life and among other activities will be running creative writing workshops in the Border Region for people of all ages.

My first workshops for children and teenagers, “Sense-ational writing with Robyne”,  will be held at the Sustainable Activity Centre, (SAC) Gateway Island, Lincoln Causeway next Tuesday 17 (7-11 years) and Wednesday 18 (12 – 16 years) January from 9am to 12pm. If you don’t know the centre it’s a fantastic set up that has become a hive of activity to nurture the community to practise sustainability in very accessible ways.

The workshops – ‘Sense-ational Writing with Robyne’ will take the young writers on a half hour walk around Gateway Island, and then we’ll return to the cool of the centre to write stories from that walk, and concentrate on being aware of how knowing about the five senses – touch, smell, hearing, sight and taste – can influence writing.

We’ll also explore story structure and thinking about the words that will bring the story to life.

On our return we will talk a little about story structure, finding the right words for the story they are writing, but mostly it will be a time to let imagination come to the fore and be immersed in the joy of writing.

Details
7-11 years
9am – 12 noon Tuesday 17 January
Sustainable Activity Centre
Lincoln Causeway Wodonga Vic 3690

12 – 16 years
9am – 12 noon Tuesday 17 January
Sustainable Activity Centre
Lincoln Causeway Wodonga Vic 3690

Cost $25
Materials supplied
BYO Morning tea and drinks

For more information and enrolment form email rlyoung@hotkey.net.au or phone
0417207749

 

image-for-sense-ational-writing-with-robyne-both-groups

 

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A slight discombobulation …

Is there a gene for flexibility? Not the kind of flexibility that might earn you a place in the Flying Fruit Fly Circus or if you’re a grown up, Cirque du Soleil, but the type of gene that helps you to be adaptable to largely unforseen changes or circumstances, in particular changes in employment and residence?

I don’t mean resilience, because to me that’s a quality closer to its dictionary definition of ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty; toughness’, and my change in circumstances doesn’t equal difficulty, or necessitate a recovery. It’s not that dramatic, but there’s still an element of discombobulation.

The change to my employment situation was flagged at the beginning of December when I found out that the position of Communications Officer with Regional Arts NSW I had held since June 2014, wouldn’t be required after 31 December. A funding shortfall had left the kitty short, but in one of those quirks of fate, serendipity or whatever you like to call it, within an hour of learning the news an opportunity with an arts organisation in Albury-Wodonga appeared. After a pre-Christmas meeting with the GM of that organisation, I decided to apply for the job.

Fast forward to the interview on 13 January, a subsequent offer and acceptance of a three day a week three month contract and I started work on 19 January with the fabulous HotHouse Theatre (Inspiring our Community to Embrace Creativity) as Marketing and Communications Manager. HotHouse is one of two professional theatre companies operating in regional Australia recognised as a key organisation, and like many regional companies in other arts disciplines, has had to work hard for its existence. I am very proud to be working with them.

Taking up the opportunity means I am based in Albury for the duration, with occasional trips back to Sydney and also to Melbourne, but mostly, outside of my working hours plan to devote as much time as possible to my WIP. (It will not write itself!)

Time here also means the opportunity to enjoy the newly renovated and expanded MAMA – Murray Art Museum Albury and its offerings. A couple of weekends ago I popped in to view Impressions of Paris: Lutrec, Degas, Daumier that included some beautiful Degas bronzes. I revelled in the chance to see these artworks in my hometown. (Prior to moving to Sydney I lived here for 24 years so I think it classifies as my hometown.) I also viewed the stunning and somewhat disturbing work of eX de Medici in her exhibition, Sour Crude. It’s the Riverina born, Canberra-based eX de Medici’s first solo exhibition in three years and explores big industry through reference to products and corporate logos. I ventured into another space to view some of Richard Bell’s Imagining Victory, a solo exhibition centred on a trilogy of video projects drawing heavily on activism.

The expanded Albury gallery now has room to showcase some of its permanent collection including works by Tracey Moffatt,  Max Dupain, Richard Woldendorp, Phillip Quirk, and Richard (Dick) Watkins. His 1976 painting, The Secret was the inspiration for my story of the same name published in fourW twenty six in November 2015. You can read The Secret here.

So, I’m looking forward to the chance to catch up with my local pals, and once again making a contribution to the arts and cultural life of this fabulous region. I will miss the writing community I’ve become a member of in Sydney, especially all at New Writers’ Group at Parramatta who welcomed me so warmly three years ago, and the fabulous people at the Writing and Society Research Centre  at Western Sydney University where I completed my MA in Cultural and Creative Practice in 2013. Also, Writers Bloc and the great book club. Totes to the wonderful Geoff Orton and all the work he puts in for the Write Ins, book club and other events to make them happen.

And who knows what’s to come after this three months … I’ll keep you posted! (Posting is something I’m definitely planning to do more of.)

Robyne

PS And with all this change it would be remiss of me not to mention that the good folk at BookPOD still have some copies of my short story collection, The Only Constant, available for sale.

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No Room

three-ships-ANo Room

I saw three ships come sailing in
on my TV.
But had I seen?
There were
No Boats –
they’d all been stopped
by signs pinned to the coastline
keeping safe the sovereignty of borders
over which we have
No Claim.

And in one of those ships three,
The Virgin Mary and her babe,
his manger swamped, sought shelter
but were turned away – there was
No Room
for them in this hotel
Australia – their Bethlehem –
to be among the counted.

Three magi crossed on that silent night
to greet the mother and her child.
There was
No Star
to guide,
all lights turned off to signal
No One
was home.
They returned –
their gifts unopened.

In thesauri, politicians searched for words
to name the virgin and her child and finding
No Match
for homeless, uncitizened or displaced
numbered them.

No Bells
on earth rang.
No Angels
in heaven sang.
All the souls on earth needed
No Voice
For there would be
No Rejoicing.

I saw three ships.

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We want to see your work in ZineWest 2014

IMG_1010I am delighted to be invited to be a guest editor on ZineWest 2014 – a publication by that will feature the work of Western Sydney writers.

ZineWest 2014 is multi-genre print zine open to new and emerging writers, aged 16 and older who live, work, study or attend a cultural group in Western Sydney. Works can be prose, poetry, lyrics, cartoon, drama – any word-based works that can be printed.

Co-sponsored by the Writing and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney,  ZineWest is a not-for-profit project of New Writers’ Group Inc. This year the competition with its $400 first prize will be judged by director of Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement, Michael Mohammed Ahmad.

Last year I was awarded third prize for my poem Parramatta Morning.

Parramatta Morning

Parrot screeches vie for space
with morning traffic sounds.

The day’s news drifts in and
pushes deep the scraps of dreams
that join the growing mound
of remnant thoughts
from which no sense is made.

A click unlids the tin of coffee beans.
They clatter, are ground
then softly tamped.
The stream of black flows into a favourite cup.
Inhale deep –
then sip and let the medicine hit
and dilute
the babble of the morning.

Entries close midnight, Sunday 25 May. Full details of the competition including eligibility are available here.

If you’re interested in coming along to NWG meetings, they’re held on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, 3pm-5pm, Mars Hill Cafe (upstairs), 331 Church Street, Parramatta.

 

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