FWF Round-Up: October 2017

Giving Up the Good Girl panelists Rosanna Stevens, Louise Taylor and Shu-Ling Chua

We’re thrilled to announce that FWF has received funding from the Victorian Government’s Office of Prevention and Women’s Equality. This generous grant will allow us to put on a four-day festival in Melbourne and regional centres in May 2018. Learn more here.

Thanks to all who attended our workshops and events in Melbourne and Canberra earlier this month. We had a fantastic turnout, and were privileged to host inspiring, important conversations. A big thanks, too, to our wonderful workshop hosts and speakers: Van Badham, Shu-Ling Chua, Carly Findlay, Jessica Friedmann, Rosanna Stevens and Louise Taylor.


This month, we’re excited to have Odette Kelada in the FWF Q&A hot seat. Odette’s debut novel, Drawing Sybylla, is a fascinating, creative look into the challenges Australian women have faced when pursuing the writing life.

Read our Q&A with Odette Kelada

Recommended Reading

We Live in a World of Harvey Weinsteins, Now How Do We Fix It? – For Junkee, Matilda Dixon-Smith examines the sexual assault allegations around film producer Harvey Weinstein, and unpacks the culture which allows men to get away with this behaviour time and time again.

Hollywood’s disgrace of ‘open secrets’ – For The Saturday Paper, Clem Bastow weighs in on Weinstein and men like him – and the deafening silence of their industries until push comes to shove.

Their Grotesque Indifference – For Meanjin, Anna Spargo-Ryan ruminates on the #MeToo movement, and the role of men moving forward in countering sexual violence against women.

What is Identity Politics Really? – For Eureka Street, Ruby Hamad sets the record straight about the contentious notion of Identity Politics, delving into the term’s history and explaining why it’s so commonly misunderstood, and misused, today.

On Being a Nook Person – For The Lifted Brow, Alice Richardson reflects on Durga Chew-Bose’s Too Much and Not the Mood, and its core concept of Nook People: “thoughtful, reserved, solitary types who take pleasure in their own company”.

Marriage equality and being trans – For Archer, Joni Nelson discusses her perspective on the marriage equality debate as a transgender woman, and explains the infuriating legal grey areas when it comes to gender in the Marriage Act.

Lunch with Julie Koh – For Overland, Jane Rawson takes Julie Koh out to lunch, with expectedly delightful results.

We Really Need You Tonight – For Kill Your Darlings, Vince Ruston shares their experiences in the sex industry, and critiques the legislation around the protection of sex workers.

Letter From Iceland – For the Sydney Review of Books, Vanessa Berry takes us on a trip to Iceland through the lens of literature.

Recommended Listening 

Listen back to Ruby Hamad and Celeste Liddle’s recent discussion of intersectionality, thanks to the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre.

Melbourne band Two Steps on the Water has released its second album, Sword Songs – a powerful collection dealing with frontwoman June Jones’ experiences with gender identity and mental illness. Listen now, and read FWF’s own Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen’s review for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Upcoming Events

November 3, Ballarat – Join in the international phenomenon that is Reclaim the Night, for a local march and rally that recognises and resists the global epidemic of violence against women.

November 4, Fremantle – Join Jessie Lloyd for Mission Songs: a performance of Indigenous folk songs from 1900 to 1999, collected from across Australia.

November 4, AdelaideHannah Kent will teach the art of Writing Historical Fiction in a one-day workshop, presented by Kill Your Darlings.

Until November 5, Melbourne – Don’t miss the excellent Code Breakers exhibition, celebrating the achievements of Australian and New Zealand women working in video games, as it enters its final days.

November 7–12, Canberra – Lindy Chamberlain and Courtney Love cross over in the magical fantasy Love/Chamberlain. Written by Bridget Mackey, this creative play is one not to miss.

November 9, Melbourne – YWCA’s Dear Diary is back! Join guests including Georgia Maq and Tegan Higginbotham as they share excerpts from their teenage diaries, with all proceeds going towards YWCA’s work in housing.

November 9–11, Melbourne – The Wheeler Centre and the Centre for Advancing Journalists are running New News: a series of workshops with writers including Margaret Simons, Jo Chandler, Amy Gray and Ramona Koval.

November 14–26, Melbourne – Follow the story of star-crossed lesbians in Romeo is Not the Only Fruit, a new musical rom-com making its world premiere at The Butterfly Club.

November 14–December 5, Melbourne – Learn the art of History Writing with Sophie Cunningham every Tuesday over four weeks in this Writers Victoria workshop.

November 16, Melbourne – FWF’s marketing manager Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen is the keynote speaker for Darebin Council’s free Women’s Leadership networking event, which will provide a great opportunity to connect with local feminists.

Until November 19, Sydney Have You Seen My Emily? is a digital exhibition at Casula Powerhouse by Wiradjuri conceptual artist Amala Groom, imagining a conversation between herself and the wife of a former prime minister.


YWCA Australia is seeking a Managing Director/CEO. Location is flexible for this position, which oversees management of the national association and its associated state counterparts. Applications close 29 October.

Worth a total of $9000, Overland’s Judith Wright Poetry Prize is open to poets around the world who have had no more than one collection of poems published under their own name. Closes 19 November.

For short story writers, Overland’s Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize is still accepting submissions. Worth a total of $5000, this prize is open to writers of all backgrounds and experience levels. Closes 19 November.

Got a budding novelist in the household? The Somerset National Novella Writing Competition is open to high school students who have a novella of 8000 to 20,000 words under their belts, offering a $2500 cash prize and a full editorial report from Penguin Random House Australia. Closes 1 December.

Entries are open for the 2018 Calibre Essay Prize, worth a total of $7500. If you’ve got an original nonfiction essay of between 3000 and 6000 words, get it in by 15 January 2018.

What We’re Reading

In fiction this month, the tireless Helen Garner’s short stories have been collected in a new volume, titled simply Stories, while Magdalena McGuire explores notions of belonging in Home is Nearby. Inspired by the author’s real life, Jesse Blackadder’s Sixty Seconds follows a family in the aftermath of tragedy, and Mirandi Riwoe’s award-winning The Fish Girl tells the life-changing story of an Indonesian girl who leaves her small fishing village to work for a Dutch merchant.

In nonfiction, Kate Manne’s Down Girl explores misogyny in public life and politics, while fans of Helen Garner’s nonfiction can sink their teeth into the new anthology of her journalism and other writings, True Stories. Vanessa Berry provides an alternative insight into her home city in Mirror SydneyBrenda Niall explores her grandmother’s fascinating life in Can You Hear the Sea? and former Greens leader Christine Milne tells her own story in An Activist Life. The life of Indigenous activist Tracker Tilmouth is remembered in Alexis Wright’s biographical tribute, Tracker.

In YA and children’s fiction, Jessica Townsend is causing worldwide waves with Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow, which is being touted as the next Harry Potter – high praise, indeed. Kate O’Donnell’s debut YA novel, Untidy Towns, is a charming coming-of-age story about a teenage girl who returns to her hometown, and littlies can take a trip to Melbourne with Megan McKean’s delightful picture book Hello, Melbourne!, hosted by six friendly magpie tour guides.

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