Upcoming workshops and events

All workshops require payment at time of booking. Bookings can be made by phone on 6262 9191 (Tuesday-Saturday), online or in person at the ACT Writers Centre office—Gorman House, Ainslie Avenue, Braddon. The Writers Centre has credit card facilities and EFTPOS. If paying by cheque, make payable to ACT Writers Centre. Enrolment will not be confirmed until payment is received.


How to Make and Market a Book in 2015 with Bobby Graham

10am–1pm Saturday 20 June

Have you written a book, but don’t know what to do next? Attend this workshop to find out how to take charge and produce your own work. This could be in print or in digital—or both. You will discuss how to promote locally and online, taking advantage of who knows your work best: yourself.  Self-publishing used to be a dirty word—now it’s the norm for any independent author or publisher.

Topics covered include:

  • From manuscript to publish ready
    You've written and edited your work. What now?
    Making the most of your cover: back cover blurb, author photo, images, spine, logo
  • Prepare for print and distribution
    If your book is publish-ready then it's time to prepare for print.
    Asking for a print quote: format, binding, materials, print and quantity
  • Prepare and publish for digital
    It's all about multi-channel marketing
    Selling at Amazon Kindle
    Promoting at iTunes
  • Promote your book
    It's all about me (not you)
    Become your own publicist: make that media release work for you
    What is your promotion and marketing strategy?
    Local is lovely: launching your book and selling to book shops
    Your personal website: where does it fit in your social media strategy

Bobby Graham is a digital publisher with a passion for publishing and communication. Bobby holds a Masters in eBusiness and a Bachelor of Arts in English and History. She has worked in government, with publishers and in libraries. Bobby is Director of Bobby Graham Publishers. As well as being a businesswoman, Bobby is wife to Thomas, mother to Louis and leader of the pack to Bibi, her Fox Terrier.

Cost: $60 members, $40 concessional members, $125 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $90 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking.


Tax Basics Q&A with Peter Bayliss

6pm–7pm Wednesday 24 June

Tax time is quickly approaching. Don't know where to start? Have a couple of questions about writing/artist related activity? Come and join Peter Bayliss for a Q&A session on all things tax.

Peter Bayliss is a Chartered Accountant and Managing Director of Into Tomorrow (Arts Business Services) and First Base Music. (Music Artist Services). Peter has been involved in the Australian arts industry for over 20 years in a number of roles including artist management, booking and promotion while also developing his skills in accounting/business through his work across private enterprise, community and arts organisations and government (includng artsACT).  He  has also held board positions with organisations including Music Managers Forum Australia (MMF), Radio 2XX, Australian Association of Social Workers & MusicACT.  Currently Peter is Treasurer for Ausdance National and ACT Screen Investment Association.

Cost: $5 members, $10 non-members
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking.


Characters that Count with Cate Whittle

10am–2pm Saturday 4 July

Having believable characters that readers care about is an integral part of breathing life into any story.  Without characters that count, the web that weaves your story together is incomplete, but before your characters can step into the story, you, the writer, need to know them better than they even know themselves.

As a writer, you must feel as though your characters are real before your readers will be able to, and, once you have worked out how to create characters that count, you will have one of your story foundations firmly in place.

In this introduction to creating characters that count, participants will be invited to think about some well known characters from a range of familiar stories written for children and young adults, look at ways of getting to know everything you need to know about your characters to help them come to life, and find out how to introduce your characters without overwhelming readers with too much information.

Local author Cate Whittle sometimes steps out of her imagination, where amazing characters take her on fantastic adventures, long enough to write their stories down.  Also a mum and a teacher, the stories are most often for children and young adults, and frequently feature a dragon in one form or another.  Cate’s characters have come to life in stories that have won prizes and been shortlisted in competitions, including the Terry Pratchett Prize in 2013 when she got to go over to England and meet Sir Terry, and have been published in various different magazines and anthologies since 2002.  Her first full length, illustrated children’s book (which features a dragon!) is due to arrive on the scene any day now, with three others in the series being published by Omnibus following soon afterwards.  You can read about Cate’s writing adventure at www.catewhittlewrites.com

Cost: $80 members, $55 concessional members, $145 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $110 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking.


Creating Compelling Novels with Chris Andrews

10am–4pm Saturday 25 July

Readers have certain expectations that go far beyond genre. At the very least they expect to be entertained, but entertainment is subjective, even within genre.

Fortunately, there are story elements common across all forms of fiction, such as conflict, theme, and structure. Creating Compelling Novels will teach you to identify and apply these elements and many more so you can meet or exceed expectations.

Through practical exercises and group activities you'll learn how transform your ideas, characters, and storylines into a cohesive whole, potentially taking your stories well beyond the borders of genre— and all without selling out.

Discover exactly what each part of a novel must accomplish, why so many stories suffer from 'middle sag syndrome', and why so many novels fail to be compelling.
You'll gain a clear understanding of how to:

  • apply story structure without appearing formulaic
  • meet or exceed readers expectations
  • troubleshoot story problems
  • draw readers into an intense emotional experience they'll be desperate to share with all their friends.

You'll leave with the keys to making your novel resonate with the people who matter most – agents, editors, and readers.

Over the last ten years or so Chris Andrews worked as editor with CSIRO's Web Team and Internal Communications areas, and now runs Creative Manuscript Services full-time. He is currently negotiating a four-book deal with an Australian publisher through his literary agent.

Cost: $125 members, $90 concessional members, $190 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $140 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking.


Flash Fiction with Angela Meyer

10am–4pm Saturday 15 August

Very short stories have been around a long time. Kafka, Woolf and Hemingway all have stories that can be read in a matter of minutes. Angela Meyer, whose debut collection of flash fiction, Captives, was released in 2014, will provide an introduction to this satisfying form. In this full day workshop Angela will encourage you to delight in brevity, and allow you to experiment with notions of character, conflict and resolution, and evocation of place and mood, in few words.

In 2014 a collection of Angela Meyer's flash fiction, Captives, was published by Inkerman & Blunt. She has reviewed for publications such as The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald, and interviewed authors at writers' festivals around the world. Her fiction has been published widely, including in Best Australian Stories 2014. She now works in publishing. Find her at literaryminded.com.au / @LiteraryMinded / facebook.com/literarymindedblog

This tour is made possible by the support of the Australia Council for the Arts in collaboration with the national network of State and Territory Writers Centres.

Cost: $125 members, $90 concessional members, $190 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $140 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking.


Reading to Write with Angela Meyer

10am–4pm Sunday 16 August

Before Angela Meyer published her first collection of fiction she spent more than ten years actively becoming a better reader, through study, blogging, interviewing authors, judging prizes, writing professional reviews for a range of media, and now as a commissioning editor. In this masterclass, Angela will share some of what she has learnt about the importance of becoming a better reader, in order to grow as a writer. You will uncover the nuts and bolts of your own favourite books, and other popular, award-winning or influential works of literature, through reviews, discussion and creative responses. You'll hear what other writers have to say about their process. And you will discover that reading both deeply and widely will help you to find your true 'voice'.

In 2014 a collection of Angela Meyer's flash fiction, Captives, was published by Inkerman & Blunt. She has reviewed for publications such as The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald, and interviewed authors at writers' festivals around the world. Her fiction has been published widely, including in Best Australian Stories 2014. She now works in publishing. Find her at literaryminded.com.au / @LiteraryMinded / facebook.com/literarymindedblog

This tour is made possible by the support of the Australia Council for the Arts in collaboration with the national network of State and Territory Writers Centres.

Cost: $125 members, $90 concessional members, $190 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $140 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking.


Feature Writing and the Business of Freelancing with Benjamin Law

10am–4pm Saturday 5 September

The life of a freelance writer is tough. How do you transition from the occasional article to regular commissions or your own column? Join Benjamin Law for this full-day intensive class as he explores the essentials of successful freelance writing, and illuminates the business of freelancing in an ever competitive market. Learn how to generate great story ideas, hook publishers, and create an impressive portfolio to establish a solid professional brand. Pitch your feature article and get the feedback to get your freelance career off the ground.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Generate endless ideas for stories
  • Seduce editors with solid pitches
  • Plan, research and craft stories
  • Invoicing and management
  • Time management

Benjamin Law is a journalist, columnist and screenwriter. He is the author of two books – The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012) – both of which were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. He is the co-author of the comedy book Shit Asian Mothers Say (2014) with his sister Michelle and illustrator Oslo Davis, and has just finished writing TV adaptation of The Family Law for SBS and Matchbox Pictures. Benjamin is a frequent contributor to Good Weekendfrankie and The Monthly, and has written for over 50 publications, businesses and agencies in Australia and worldwide.

This tour is made possible by the support of the Australia Council for the Arts in collaboration with the national network of State and Territory Writers Centres.

Cost: $125 members, $90 concessional members, $190 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $140 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking.


The Basics of Fiction Writing with Ian McHugh

10am–4pm Sunday 11 October

This workshop aims to teach participants about structure and elements of prose fiction. Participants will take away insights into the basic elements of writing fiction, and tricks, tools and rules of thumb for how to make them work, as well as practical experience in applying these ideas to the development of their own stories. The workshop is divided into sessions on: story elements; structure and plot; getting the details right; creating and planning stories; and the importance of critique.

Ian McHugh’s debut short story collection, Angel Dust, was a finalist for the 2014 Aurealis Awards and is available from Ticonderoga Publications. You can find more of Ian's stories, which have appeared in professional and semi-pro magazines, webzines and anthologies in Australia and internationally, at ianmchugh.wordpress.com. His stories have won grand prize in the international Writers of the Future contest and been shortlisted five times at the Aurealis Awards, winning in 2010.

Cost: $125 members, $90 concessional members, $190 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $140 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking.


Speculative Fiction Masterclass with Marianne de Pierres

10am–4pm Saturday 24 October

In this full day masterclass, Marianne de Pierres will address some of the key issues in writing speculative fiction, including how to build convincing worlds, maintain narrative drive, and effectively blend sub-genres. A section of the workshop will also be spent on sharing current industry insight and the exploring the concept of creating adaptable content for New Media--how to survive in the brave new world of publishing.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Excellence in world-building
  • How to maintain narrative drive
  • How to successfully blend speculative fiction genres
  • How to create speculative fiction for the new world of publishing
  • Current industry insight

Marianne de Pierres is the author of the popular Parrish Plessis trilogy and the award-winning Sentinents of Orion and Peacemaker series. The Parrish Plessis series has been translated into ten languages and adapted into a role-playing game, while the Peacemaker series is currently being adapted into a novel adventure game. Marianne has also authored children’s and young adult stories, notably the Night Creatures trilogy a dark fantasy series for teens. Marianne is an active supporter of genre fiction and has mentored many writers. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and three galahs (and once upon a time three sons–before they grew up). Marianne also writes award-winning crime under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt. Visit her websites at www.mariannedepierres.com  www.tarasharp.com.au and www.burnbright.com.au

This tour is made possible by the support of the Australia Council for the Arts in collaboration with the national network of State and Territory Writers Centres.

Cost: $125 members, $90 concessional members, $190 non-members (includes 12 months of membership), $140 concessional non-members (includes 12 months of membership)
Venue: E Block Seminar Room, Gorman Arts Centre (formerly ACT Writers Centre workshop room)
Bookings: You can book by phone on 6262 9191, online or at the office. Payment is required at time of booking.


Literary Speed Dating

1:30pm–3:30pm Friday 13 November

You will have a roomful of publishers and agents and three minutes to pitch your work, ask a question or exchange contact details. A listing of publishers and agents, and the work they are looking for, will be uploaded to this page closer to the date. Bring your solid story idea, business cards and pitching skills. This event is held by the Australian Society of Authors in Sydney, NSW. There are 10 spots available for ACTWC members. This event will sell out—book early!

Want to sharpen your pitching skills? Read A Decent Proposal by Rhonda Whitton and Sheila Hollingworth and/or attend our Pitch Perfect course in Sydney on Saturday 5 September 2015.

Cost: $30 ASA, ACTWC & NSWWC members
Venue: Barneys Church, 57-61 Mountain St, Ultimo
Bookings: Bookings can be made online, or by calling 1800 257 121. You will need your membership number to secure your place.

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Workshop codes

The Centre's workshops and seminars now carry a code to help you choose the right workshops to match your abilities. Adherence to the codes is not mandatory, but should be used as a guide as to whether a workshop is suitable.

1 = Established writer with at least one published book.
2 = Developing writers who may have been published in journals etc.
3 = Emerging writers with little or no published work yet.
4 = Writing for enjoyment/basic improvement.