Monthly newsletter for the Society of Women Writers Victoria Inc
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Write Away

October 2016
SWWVic Committee:
President: Blaise van Hecke
Vice-president: Del Nightingale
Treasurer: Del Nightingale
Assistant treasurer: Pat Arts
Membership Secretary: Shirley Whiteway
Newsletter editor: Lynne Santos
Website coordinators: Pat Arts & Mary Jones
Minutes Secretary: Pat Arts
Postal workshop coordinator: Judith Green
Outreach coordinators: Pat Arts & Jenny Hearn
Journal sub-committee: Paula Wilson, Errol Broome, Blaise van Hecke, Mary Jones & Lynne Santos

The SWWVic is all about the love of the written word. Through mentorship, we strive for women to attain confidence and skills in their writing.
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Details for October and
November Meetings



Friday 28 October 11am–2pm (committee meeting 2pm–3pm)
Writing workshop to discuss inclusions in the first journal (publication date April 2017). BYO lunch.

Friday 25 November 11am–2pm (committee meeting 2pm–3pm)
Annual Christmas writing competition and end of year break-up. Please bring a plate to share.

President's Letter
Dear Members,
The year is fast approaching the end and before we know it we will be into a new one. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know members better through my presidency, at the monthly meetings as well as through phone calls and home visits, and I know this will continue into 2017. The biggest event on our minds is the inaugural SWWVic journal (still to be named). I am looking forward to working with members to bring our writing out into the literary landscape. We already have some content in the three winning stories from the Margaret Hazzard Short Story Award, which were announced last month. Start dusting off your poems, stories, articles, memoir and get them ship-shape for possible inclusion in our first publication. We will be calling for submissions very soon, with guidelines to come.
It was my pleasure to judge and award the Margaret Hazzard Short Story Award last month, and my report follows.

Until next month, keep writing!
Margaret Hazzard Short Story Award 2016
Judges Report by Blaise van Hecke
Judging any kind of writing is imbued with danger. How can we judge a winning story as being better than another when any art form is subjective? This is the contradiction that I wrestled with as a judge for this competition.
There is also the need to switch hats in the reading of the stories between a reader and a publisher. My overarching question for each story was, does it grab me? This might seem a bit superficial but this question was part of a list of criteria that I employed to make my choice.
I have to say that I really enjoyed reading the submissions. We had a panel of readers reduce the list to six stories but I found myself reading all eighteen stories. This is indicative of the quality of writing that was submitted by our members.
As a whole, the writing is of high quality and all of the submissions were very readable. What let many pieces down was that the ending wasn’t strong or that the story felt like it was not self-contained and had been taken from a larger piece in order to fit the 2000-word limit. This made the story feel rushed or incomplete. I would say that half of the stories were let down by an unsatisfying ending. By this I mean that it was messy, too abrupt, rushed or too predictable, some even confusing. This is a very common fault in a short story of this length.
It has been a pleasure and an honour to read the submissions.
There are two highly commended stories this year.
The List by Janice Williams
This is a very sweet story about Gary’s marriage to Lisa. Gary is in the army but is not very impressed by the ‘homework’ given to him and the other officers, which is to write a list of ‘Ten things I admire and affirm in my wife’. The story goes on to show us what Gary does admire and affirm in his wife and is a sweet portrait of a long-suffering but loving army wife.
Blowy Enough by SJ Finn
This story is about Angie and her sexuality, or the confusion about it. Something has happened that has confused Angie and she questions her relationship with Charlie. Is it cheating if you have sexual thoughts about someone of the same sex? This story is very well written, using a storm as a backdrop to the protagonist’s musings. Because of the theme of this piece, I felt that it needed more depth.
Third Place
Shooting Stars by Dulcie Stone
Jess is questioning her life. Her marriage, her work, her existence. But how can she be unhappy when she has everything that she needs and ever wanted and other people are jealous of this? Jess makes her mind up about what to do about this unrest when she meets Trudy and she knows that this is a turning point in her life.
Second Place
A Dog, a Hat and a Moneybox by Judith A Green
The reader immediately falls in love with the country bloke (and his dog) taking his change to the bank. This is one of those stories that hooks the reader in with this seemingly innocent country bumpkin, only to leave you with a smile on your face when you realise he’s actually a wily old man and you can’t help forgiving him for it.
First Place
Mr Brown Jumper by Megan Wallens
I was won over by the use of knitting as a metaphor for life in this story, then by the fact that the protagonist is in fact a brown jumper. The writing is sparse and well crafted and the voice strong.

Blaise van Hecke
SWWV Journal

We have a great start to a sub-committee with Errol Broome, Paula Wilson, Mary Jones and Blaise van Hecke and Lynne Santos. At our October meeting, we will work with members to decide the best way to create a vibrant journal. More members are welcome to join this sub-committee – more hands make light work!
Congratulations to member, Dulcie Stone for the publication of Give Us The Tools. Also her book Changing Lives Changing Times, is now an ebook. It's been getting a lot of interest. Pen  International (Melbourne Branch) published an article based on its message.
Permission to email
Dear members, you will have received an email from Del with a copy of our “permission to email” form. We are not legally allowed to send out emails and newsletters without this form. Please return it ASAP.
Meryl Brown Tobin has been a member of SWWVic since 1971 but it was not until 1992 when she retired from part-time teaching that she began to attend the society’s monthly meeting regularly. She is an active member and served as president for a year from August 2004. She is a prodigious and prolific writer and to learn more about her work go to her website
Meryl has to travel a long way from the Bass Coast shire, by bus, to attend the SWWVic’s meeting in the city, on the last Friday of the month.  She arrives with bouquets of native flowers to give away to prize winners, and when appropriate to committee members. The flowers are from her flower farm which her husband set up in 1979. Many years ago, at one of the society’s AGMs, Dorothy Bransgrove brought posies to give to each member of the committee as a gesture of appreciation and that gave Meryl the idea of bringing flowers.
At the SWWVic’s meeting on September 30th President Blaise Van Hecke was preparing to present the Margaret Hazzard award but the trophy stood on its own on the main table. Meryl and her usual offerings of flowers were noticeably absent. It was a relief when she rushed into the room with her bag of bouquets before Blaise opened the meeting.
Meryl made it.  The usual bus that she would have taken was packed with football supporters who were coming to the city to join in the parade of the two teams who would be contending for the premiership glory the next day. It was a very special parade as one of the contenders was the Western Bulldogs, of the Footscray Football Club. The last time the Club won was in 1954. The opposing Sydney Swans had known victories a few times so support for the underdog was overwhelming. Meryl had to wait an hour for the next bus. Her floral offerings were most welcomed and appreciated.
Razmi Finn
Report on visit to community hub and library, docklands, by Jenny Hearn 
Convener and officer in charge of outreach support, Louise Cadell, is also responsible for adult literacy.
Louise is a charming and enthusiastic officer who is eager to work with the Society of Women Writers. She hopes to expand Hub Dock’s involvement with the local community by inviting her clients to attend any special events (workshops, lectures), which SWWV may decide to conduct at the HUB.
She is offering us the choice of several spaces – details below – but the one both Louise and I really recommend is called the Cinema. It has a small stage, screen and a large central space furnished with tables and chairs. These are easily moved around, or outside into a lobby, as need arises.
The large lobby is furnished with crockery, cutlery, sink and urn and appropriate furniture. The Hub organisation prefers occupants to use these utensils rather than bring their own. Food and drink can be ordered in or provided by participants, or accessed locally according to choice. Louise makes no promises at this time, but is confident that funding may be available for catering at special events. Also that if locals participate in an SWWV workshop there will be no charge for the room.
Access to the Hub’s extensive range of technical equipment could provide SWWV members with a range of opportunity. For instance, as I described some of the SWWV workshops I have attended, Louise expressed a particular interest in the Writing for Radio conducted by Lynne Murphy. Louise remarked that she would love to see their fully equipped recording studio receive more use, by us, and, at the same time hopefully incorporating some of the talents of her Docklands clients.
I also mentioned that members have publications to their credit and, as a recent example I spoke of Rebecca Maxwell’s successful book launch at the Balwyn Library. Louise immediately asked for the title of Rebecca’s book – she wants to read it and also has in mind the possibility of a book launch at the Dock Hub.
Docklands Library and Hub is located across from the intersection and opposite the Collins St. Tram Terminus with a small park in front of it. On the other side of the Library building, the Promenade beside the canal leads directly to an Eastern entrance. SWWV Members please note that you need to board either tram no. 11 or 48 on Collins St. to reach this western terminus.
Long rectangular three storied modern building – glass walls interior & exterior are a feature. Five Star Conservation rating with solar panels on roof and other power saving devices.
The staff were impressive – quiet, friendly and professional.
Ground floor – entry, reception, library, small café, toilets. Also Louise showed me – near to these facilities – a large front room, with glass walls, which was available on a regular basis, but to me it lacked the privacy Society members would expect. Otherwise, as large as our present Ross House room, but with superior facilities.
Second floor – The quiet area. Reference library and large spaces reserved for private study, technical equipment, recording studio etc.
Third floor – three smaller rooms on offer, seating six, six and 12 people, good for workshops, too small for SWWV meetings.
Then we come to the cinema and/or large meeting area. I should add that this is available any day of the week over the 24 hours as it can be locked and made secure separate from the other parts of the Hub. All facilities – lifts, toilets, refreshments, technical equipment, are available.
Exposed position of the building:  Situation more vulnerable to weather – cold winds in the winter.  Preferable not to make bookings in the winter months.
Further to travel for SWWV members upon arrival in City Centre.
Best room for holding an event or use by SWWV members (cinema) on third floor slightly more difficult to access therefore, but commodious, secluded, quiet and private.
Lack of car parking.
Access to Government largesse – probability of use of room plus catering for a special event, provided free of charge.
Access to modern technical equipment and (best of all) skilled technicians.
The eagerness, enthusiasm and youth of the Convener, Louise Cadell.
Exposed position an advantage in the summer months – sunlight, fresh sea air and water all around with boats passing by the windows – not the roar of vehicular traffic or jazz bands playing below our windows!

The Waterline News

The Waterline News welcomes submissions from SWWV members. To date, Editor Roger Clark has published work by the following members:

Judy Bartosy: poems

EE (Betty) Caldwell: articles and short stories

Janet Howie: haiku

Margaret Pearce: short story 

Dorothea Trafford Lavery: haiku

Dulcie Stone: poems, book review

Meryl Brown Tobin: poems, articles, book review, photos with more in the pipeline from some of these contributors and also Rebecca Maxwell.

The Waterline News is a quality community monthly magazine distributed many towns between Tooradin to Cowes and French Island. Fifteen hundred copies are printed each month, four hundred sent by email and a copy appears on the website There is no payment but I can organize picking up a free print copy for a contributor. Formerly published contributions are accepted.

Send material to Roger Clark, Editor, The Waterline News, PO Box 184, GRANTVILLE, VIC, 3984 or email Email submissions preferred.

Meryl Brown Tobin

Magical Moments of an adventurous life by Nenia Tavrou
Someone once said each of us has a book in us.

FAWVic member Nenia Tavrou proves this and more. An ‘ordinary person’, she has a big heart and a great sense of adventure and is always looking for challenging things to do. Typically, she sets herself a goal, often with a strong religious motivation behind it, and goes out and achieves it.
In ‘Magical Moments of an Adventurous Life’ Nenia Tavrou divided her adventures into geographical sections. The Africa section covers Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Malawi, and there are also sections on Australia, Cambodia, China, India, Israel, Myanmar, South America which includes Bolivia, Peru and Argentina, and Vanuatu.
Whether Nenia Tavrou relates being kissed by a giraffe, eating a tarantula or defusing a tense situation during a meeting with a just-released prisoner to whom she’d been writing in gaol, it’s always of interest.
Throughout her book the threads that unify her stories and poems are her sense of humour, her love of people, of adventure and of life, and her religious beliefs.
A story such as ‘African Security Guard’ shows how fortunate we are to live in a country like Australia. The guard, who worked at a hotel where Nenia Tavrou and her husband Neil were staying, tells how he worked 16 hours a day seven days a week from 4 pm until 8 am and often worked longer. To explain why, Nenia Tavrou uses his own words: ‘I’m never sure of the time and I want to make sure my boss doesn’t have anything to complain about. So I work extra to avoid any hassles. You see, I need this job.’
Nenia went straight out and bought him a watch. Also, because he wanted them to meet his wife and family, Nenia and her husband drove him home, not to his sleeping quarters, an hour’s walk from his job, but to his village 30 km away. The guard had seen his family only twice in the eight months he’d been working at the hotel.
The Australians were so moved by the situation they bought a supply of basic provisions for the family before they left. The following morning they found the guard had said thank you to them in a very practical way, a way that cost him time, energy and ingenuity, but not money as he had none. As Nenia Tavrou wrote: He thought we had touched his life, but looking back, he, with the little he had, had blessed us so much more.
If you enjoy reading entertaining books by ‘ordinary people doing adventurous things’, this is one for you.
‘Magical Moments of an Adventurous Life’, 2015 is available for $19.95 including P&H by emailing Nenia Tavrou on
Meryl Brown Tobin
Competitions and Opportunities
Mona Brand Award for Women Stage and Screen Writers
The State Library of NSW invites nominations for the inaugural Mona Brand Award for Women Stage and Screen Writers. The Mona Brand Award ($30,000) recognises outstanding Australian women writers for the stage and screen. The Award for Emerging Writers ($10,000) is presented to an emerging Australian female writer for her first substantial produced/screened work.

Submit to 'Antithesis'
'Antithesis' is a refereed arts and humanities journal published annually in association with the University of Melbourne. They publish scholarly essays, poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, as well as artwork, illustration, photography, reviews and interviews. The theme for the 2016 issue is 'Liminal'.

The 2016 NWF/Joanne Burns Award for Microlit
This Award is looking for writing which responds imaginatively to the theme of 'landmarks'. Microlit includes any form of short writing such as flash fiction, prose poem, dramatic monologue etc. Max 200 words. Winners receive cash prizes of $300. Entry fee is $7.

The ESU Roly Sussex Short Story Award
This competition aims to reward experimental and thought-provoking work. First prize is $7500. ESU will pay return travel from within Australia and a night's accommodation in Brisbane for the winners. Max 3000 words. Entry fee is $55.

Boroondara Literary Awards 2016
This is an open-themed competition for stories between 1500 and 3000 words. First Place is $1500; Second is $1000; and Third is $500. Judges are Eliza Henry-Jones, Jane Godwin and Emilie Zoey Baker. Winning entries will be published in the Boroondara Literary Awards Anthology 2016.

The Best of Times short story competition #22
For humorous short stories (any theme) up to 2500 words. 
First prize: $300-$500 (depending on number of entries), second prize: $100. 
Closes 30 Nov 2016.
No entry form is required. Include a cover sheet with your name and address, story title and word count, and where you heard 
about the competition. 
Entry fee is $10 per story. Send a cheque or money order made out to Chris Broadribb or use Paypal to pay 
Post your entry to PO Box 55, Blaxcell NSW 2142 (including a large SSAE if you want the story returned and a results sheet, or a small SSAE for results only) or email it to 
Competition website:

NotJack Writers’ Prize
The notJack Writers’ Prize recognises the significance of place for Australian writers. Accordingly, the theme of the prize is 'writing from place'. It is a deliberately broad theme designed to encourage entrants from all genres, whose writing demonstrates creative engagement with place and/or shapes the significance of place for their audience. Cash and artist collaboration prizes available. 
Entries may be up to 3000 words or 40 lines of poetry. Entry fees are $20 per entry. Both the Open and Baringhup categories close November 15th 2016. The entry form, guidelines and other prize details are included on this website. Interested writers are welcome to contact the prize at

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