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

August 2016
The Society of Women Writers VIC
Committee 2016
President: Blaise van Hecke
Vice-president: Del Nightingale
Treasurer: Lynne Murphy
Membership Secretary: Shirley Whiteway
Newsletter editor: Lauren Thompson
Website coordinators: Pat Arts & Mary Jones
Minutes Secretary: Judith Green
Postal workshop coordinator: Judith Green
Outreach coordinators: Pat Arts & Jenny Hearn
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.



To our newest member Elizabeth Harris
Details for August and
September Meetings
Friday 26 August 11am for AGM, followed by mini launch of A Prescribed Life by Tony Atkinson with Lynn Smailes Please bring your lunch. PLEASE NOTE: At this meeting we will be asking permission from members to include them on our mailing list. 

Friday 30 September 11am meeting followed by Margaret Hazzard Award Presentation (please bring a plate to share).

President's Letter
Dear Members,

I hope that you’ve all managed to keep warm and write a lot this winter. It’s the best way to get through the cold, gloomy weather. As soon as the sun comes out, all I want to do is go out and play.

I’d first like to acknowledge the passing of past member Dorothy Bransgrove and give my condolences to her family and friends. I hadn’t met Dorothy but I understand that she was a valued member in the past. A tribute to Dorothy is in this newsletter.

We had a good turn out for our last meeting where we had the great pleasure of having Krystle Herdy take us through a workshop on performance poetry (also known as spoken word). Participants were a little shy at first but Krystle soon had us out the front performing our pieces with attitude. There was even some singing! So even for those of us who don’t normally write poetry, it was great to see members giving it a go. You never know where these things will take you.

My first year as president has flown by and this month brings us to the AGM once again. The current committee does remain for another year, but we are in need of more committee members, such as a treasurer with excel experience and some more members to help with other tasks like running events or coordinating the biannual journal that we plan to start for the society. As they say, ‘More hands make light work’, so I encourage members to think about how they might be able to contribute to the society.
As for the journal, members are already very excited about the idea. The committee has started to plan for the first edition, which will be published in April 2017. The second edition is planned for November 2017. To make this happen will require a working party so we are taking expressions of interest from members to start work on the journal from October. Please talk to a committee member if you are interested. We will need a coordinator, three editors, and a proofreader as a minimum.

Last, but not least, I would like to congratulate Dr Clare Wright as the recipient of the Alice Award 2016 on our nomination. We will be hosting the next Alice Award in 2018.

Until next month, keep writing!

Editor’s Letter
Dear Members,

There are so many aspects to writing, but one of the most crucial is simply getting words on paper. This may seem obvious. However, it takes great amounts of self-discipline to start producing something.

Whether you like to plan or write by the seat of your pants, you ultimately need to get your thoughts on paper on a consistent basis. When you do have the time outside of family and work, it can be easy to procrastinate. Feeling stuck, or worrying that your work is not good enough are common factors preventing writers from productivity.  We can easily put mental blocks in place that prevent us from working on our projects. I can certainly relate to that.

I often need to turn off my inner critic and focus on telling the story I want to. A good thing for perfectionists like myself to remember is that editing comes later: producing work comes first.

Wishing you the best of luck in your writing,



Collated by Meryl Tobin
BRANSGROVE (nee Stewart) Dorothy Emma 5.8.1921 – 25.7.2016 Died peacefully in Benalla. Loved wife of Lindsay (dec); Mother of Gwen, Norma and Colin; Grandmother of Lisa, Bradley, Sally, Kirsten, Emma, Kate and Tim and eleven great grandchildren. 
Published in The Age, July 27, 2016 and on
Members’ Tributes to Dorothy
Janet Howie: Dorothy Bransgrove is one of the wonderful mentors we have in our Society
Judy Keighran: Dorothy was a valued member of Brigit’s Well for 10 years. She would have been 95 this week. She was still entering poems in competitions up until two years ago!
I was able to attend Dorothy’s funeral service. I met her daughter Norma and her son Colin, and mentioned my connection with SSWV. They were delighted to have one of Dorothy’s writing friends there because three of Dorothy’s poems were read during the service, two by Norma and one by her granddaughter. One that I enjoyed was called “Mum’s Room”. This was where she did her painting, writing, wool spinning and other creative activities. The family recalled that this room was off-limits to them. Norma recalled attending SWWV meetings with her mother.  Colin told Dorothy’s life story and showed Dorothy’s first hand-spun and hand knitted jumper. She has thirteen great-grandchildren.
It was a real celebration of Dorothy’s life and I was lucky to be there to share the events of the day. 
Joy Learmonth: Sad news indeed.  I knew Dorothy through the postal workshops and enjoyed reading her poems; I was saddened to read of her passing.
Lorraine McGuigan: It was my pleasure to publish Dorothy's poems in Poetry Monash, years ago. She had a distinctive voice, and always had something important to say. Her poetic voice
was memorable. Being remembered for one's poetry (along with other attributes) - what a lovely thing ...
From all accounts, hers was a life well-lived. May she rest in peace.
Veronica Schwarz:  
I was very fond of Dorothy and have often wondered where she was and what she was doing. She was a gentle unassuming person which tended to hide the fact she was a talented writer with a dry wit.
Sometime in the 1990s she contributed a lovely piece of writing about the place she lived at that time, to my magazine The Dawn. I still remember it.
A sad day to hear she is no longer with us.
Meryl Tobin:  Dorothy and I were friends through Brigit’s Well and we also spent a lovely day together at a school reunion as she, her husband Lindsay, and my husband Hartley attended the same secondary school. She was also a great letter-writer and I looked forward to receiving one of her long newsy letters written in her neat handwriting. 
A delightful member of the Brigit’s Well Postal Workshop, Dorothy entertained its members with her witty poems. Because she was an artist, her poems were usually lyrical poems full of colour and artistic detail. A grand lady and one of our older mentors.
Please also see our website
 By Phyllis Macleod 


Born in Gippsland, ninety-five years ago, Dorothy Stewart lived the carefree life of most country children. When she completed her schooling she was employed by the Education Department and sent to Tubbut a small country school where she was the only teacher. Dorothy cried when she arrived and cried when she left.

She taught literature in High Schools and took classes in Photography. A war bride, in the 70s she joined Women’s Lib and worked to better the conditions of women, both in industry and the home. After retiring Dorothy worked at improving her skills with the brush and painted many canvases depicting the rolling hills of Gippsland and its spreading brown rivers. Having delighted many who viewed her work she turned to writing, particularly poetry, and joined the S.W.W. and other poetry groups. Her skill with words equalled that with the brush.

Early in their married life Dorothy said to Lindsay. “You do the housework, the cooking and washing and I’ll look after the finances.” It has been a very long and happy arrangement. The pair produced three children. Norma, Gwen and Colin.

Dorothy has always enjoyed what the world has to offer, including a little flutter now and then. Both Lindsay and Dorothy were keen sport watchers and during the Davis Cup and Test Cricket, Dorothy spent more time watching the screen than sleeping.

Dorothy missed Lindsay’s company when he went, but the folk at the retirement village in Benalla were very good to her and she saw much more of Gwen who, when Dorothy could no longer rely on a walking frame to keep her upright, took her out in a wheel chair.
Norma was with her mother when she fell into her last sleep. Dorothy suffered no pain. Her ending was peaceful; not to be mourned, but celebrated. A wonderful woman, who would do anything to help a fellow traveler. A friend who had an eye for colour and an ear for song.

Below is an example of Dorothy Bransgrove's poetry:

I Try So Hard
I’m Florence Nightingale
without the white cap
I do try hard
but I have mishaps.
I’m a whiz at jellies
but the custard burns,
beds never look right –
to tuck, I must learn.
My pillows deflate
when they should fluff up,
I try to be sympathetic
but my nature is abrupt.
I urge visitors to stay
when the patient needs sleep
I stumble and disrupt
when I should silently creep.
If blood appears
there’s cause for complaint
this hopeless nurse
falls in a dead faint.
Dorothy Bransgrove
Published in Poetry Monash, No 60, winter 2000

By Meryl Brown Tobin
Dynamic poet and editor, Krystle Herdy presenter of a Performance Poetry workshop at the July meeting, enthused members with her love of the form.
She said, ‘Throw out your preconceived ideas about poetry. Performance poetry is about communication. You have to reach out and touch your audience – you can’t talk at readers.'
As an example, Krystle Herdy read one of her poems starting with the attention-grabbing first line ‘Red lips flare across the bar’.
‘Try to create metaphors and images,’ she urged. Then she gave us 10-15 minutes to ‘just write’ – on anything we wanted or on one of two prompts: The First Time or This Is What I Want.
Volunteers read their efforts and The First Time poems ranged from poems about first meetings with a mother and a baby to being on fire and knowing it was love, enjoying a first kiss and giving a first performance. Poems about This Is What I Want included a wish to go back to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone. A free poem depicted an encounter with a funnel-web spider.
Krystle Herdy’s tips to turn our poems into performance poems were to use alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, repetition as a refrain and rhyme. ‘You also need to build a relationship with your audience,’ she said. ‘Touch all senses if you can.’
While members worked in pairs, Krystle Herdy went around seeing how they were getting on. She pointed out to one writer that an ordinary poem doesn’t usually translate into a performance poem which is about action and attitude. ‘You’re taking your audience on a journey. Translate your words into images.’ She pointed to a cliché in a poem and said it could be useful as it can allow a reader to come in. ‘You’ve found an entry way into your poem because she knows what it means.’ However, Krystle Herdy warned us to use only one cliché in a poem.
She told us to play around with how our words sound. Then she read one of her own poems, a performance poem in progress, a poem about her wanting to be God. With its highly original theme, it was a grand example of how to choose and present a performance poem with attitude. She also said how exciting it was to perform at a Poetry Slam but warned, ‘It’s important to know your poem – you can’t delegate it to a reader to perform… The way you read it might not reflect what’s on a page… Project, enunciate. It’s important people hear everything you say… It’s almost like acting.’
In a Poetry Slam, readers are given 2-3 minutes to read with a warning bell half a minute to a minute before the end. As a guide, Krystle Herdy said in 2-2 and a half minutes she can read about 2 and a half pages. A point is deleted for every minute over time and the top and bottom scores are dropped and the three scores left are added together. Judges are randomly selected from the audience and might not have read or heard poetry before. They are looking at how a reader connects with them.
‘To write, you need to read,’ Krystle Herdy pointed out. ‘It’s the same with performance poetry night. Listen to poets to hear how they play with language, images. Write a metaphor and a simile a day. They are the two most powerful tools. Do not preface a poem with what it’s about. The poem should do it.’
A memorable workshop from a memorable performer. Thank you, Krystle Herdy.

Society of Women Writers Victoria Inc. 
Reg. No. A0039632B
Hayden Raysmith Room, Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane. Melbourne
I nominate ……………………………………………………………………………………..
For the position of (please circle)
Signed by Nominator: ………………………………………………………………………….
Signed by Seconder :…………………………………………………………………………….
Signed by Nominee: …………………………………………………………………………….
Please hand in at the meeting of 26 August or mail by 20 August to
Society of Women Writers Victoria
Ross House 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
Call for sub-committee for Journal

Society of Women Writers Victoria plans to start a biannual journal of members' work. This will be published in April and November of each year. To make this happen, we are seeking expressions of interest from members to be part of a sub-committee. We will need a co-ordinator, 2 editors and a proofreader as a minimum. We want this journal to showcase members' work (prose, poetry, plays, etc) and we are aiming for a high quality production. This requires a dedicated team and will be very rewarding for those who participate.
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.

Copyright © 2016 Society of Women Writers Victoria Inc, All rights reserved.

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Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000

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Society of Women Writers Victoria Inc · 247 Flinders Lane · Melbourne, Vic 3000 · Australia

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