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Free newsletter from the Australian Writers' Centre (formerly the Sydney Writers' Centre) packed with information about our upcoming courses and events, writing competitions, festivals, free articles on writing as well as freelance news and opportunities. Here's a collection of some of our past newsletters.

28 April 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011
In this issue:
  • TIP: Should you capitalise season names?
  • We’re coming to Melbourne!
    Tell us what you’d like ...
  • Motivation and Inspiration with Creative
    Writing Stage 2
  • CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature
  • More Student Success Rachel Cuthbert
  • WEBPICK: Writers and Kitties

Believe it or not, I spent a lot of time over Easter reading books on grammar, style and writing. Yes, I realise that’s a bit nerdy. And yes, I know I should get a life. But I’ve been interested in grammar ever since I was a little girl.

When I was in primary school, my two favourite pastimes were reading a book called “First Aid in English” (which was a brilliant book on language and grammar) and giving myself manicures. Strange, but true.

As a result, I developed a love for grammar. I also have really nice nails.

It wasn’t until years later that I realised how lucky I was to have this book at home. Since then, I’ve seen so many people struggle with grammar and punctuation because these principles were never taught at school. However, it’s a vital career skill and we receive calls from corporations all the time about our grammar seminar.

If you think you need a refresher in Grammar and Punctuation, our seminar is practical, interactive and fun!

Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 4 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am 5.00pm
Cost: $450 – includes a copy of Grey Areas and Gremlins by Deb Doyle, valued at $50

Click here for more information or to enrol online.




TIP: Should you capitalise season names?
Now that we’re well into autumn, this tip from Grammar Girl is a timely one. This is what she has to say on the question of whether or not to capitalise season names:

Season names aren't capitalized unless they're part of a formal name, such as the name of an event or a class.

The spring flowers are making me sneeze.

I can't wait until fall.
(Grammar Girl is American which is why she says fall. We would say autumn).

Aardvark hopes someone will ask him to the Spring-a-Ring-Ding dance.

The 2010 Winter Olympics seem as if they happened long ago.







The Australian / Vogel's Literary Award
Congratulations to Rohan Wilson who last night was awarded the 2011 Vogel Award! We were there to meet Rohan, who was introduced by a former winner, Tim Winton.

You can watch our video interview with Rohan here.

To see photos from the award announcement visit our Facebook page.






We’re coming to Melbourne!
Thanks to many emails from our Melbourne readers asking us to hold our courses there, we’re packing our bags, and a few of our presenters, and heading south. We’re calling it “Melbourne Week” (but it’s actually four days!). We’re waiting until Grand Final fever is over and will be in Melbourne on Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 October 2011.

We’re going to bring the best of the Sydney Writers’ Centre to you so we’d love to know what courses you’d like!

For Melbourne readers, this is your chance to have a say. We’ve selected some of our most popular courses but we need to whittle that list down to just a few – so please do tell us which courses you’d like most by clicking on the survey link here.





Motivation and inspiration with Creative Writing Stage 2
If you’ve completed Creative Writing Stage 1 or Writing Books for Children and Young Adults, then you already know the essential elements to a good story. But maintaining your motivation and inspiration is also an important part of your writing journey and that’s where Creative Writing Stage 2 comes in.

Workshopping your writing is essential if you want to extend your skills and make your stories shine. This course will give you the chance to put into practice what you’ve learnt and get invaluable feedback from the presenter and your classmates.

For those of you who prefer to attend classes in the morning, we’ve scheduled a daytime Stage 2 course with Pamela Freeman. It’s rare that we’re able to hold daytime courses with Pamela, and this may be the only one we hold in 2011, so take advantage of this opportunity!

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"Pamela is amazing and such an inspiration. She is so obviously passionate and willing to share her successes and experiences with the class. I enjoyed workshopping our work with Pamela and other members of the class. The course and feedback I received has given me the motivation and confidence to continue with my project and I look forward to soon commencing the Novel Writing Workshop."
- Tracey Jordan

"The course took the process of writing to a deeper level and Pamela is a passionate word lover, which I found inspiring. I have learnt to survey my work more closely, and to think about the whole process from a deeper perspective."
- Sharna Bryant

DAYTIME Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Wednesdays starting Wednesday 4 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am – 12noon
Cost: $395

EVENING Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When: Tuesdays starting Tuesday 3 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30pm 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





More student success
In 2010, we held our first writing retreat in Bali. Twelve lucky participants headed to Ubud and spent five days learning the Art and Craft of Writing the Senses with Patti Miller.

We know that many of them have continued writing since then, and one participant, Rachel Cuthbert, recently had her first book review accepted by Good Reading Magazine. Congratulations, Rachel! We look forward to hearing more about your writing successes.

There are only two places left on our next Bali tour, which will be held from Saturday 18 June to 25 June 2011. You can find more details or download a full itinerary on our website. And we’re so thrilled that a group of former students have already placed a booking for Bali in 2012!





CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature
In 2011 the CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature, or ‘The Nib’, celebrates 10 years as one of Australia’s most important awards for research in literature. The award can be won by fiction or non-fiction, making this a unique opportunity for authors and researchers.

Books entered must be published between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011. While research is the main focus of the award, judges will also be looking for readability, literary merit and value to the community. One prize of $20,000 will be awarded.

Entries close Friday 8 July 2011. More information and an entry form can be found here.





Paper Giants: how YOU can be published in magazines
It seems that 1.2 million Australians tuned in to watch Paper Giants: The Birth of CLEO magazine recently, about how Ita Buttrose and Kerry Packer brought the magazine to life. I was certainly one of those viewers. Although I worked at CLEO for four years, it was way after Ita’s reign. But the magazine industry is just as dynamic and glamorous (and unpredictable) as it was depicted on the two-part series.

If you’d like to get published in your favourite magazine, our online course, Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers, will show you how. Many of our former students have achieved it – some before they’ve even finished their course!

The course is held in our virtual classroom, which means you can log in whenever and from wherever you like.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"The course was really practical, interesting and easy to follow. Sue was great! The online delivery was very convenient as I could fit it in around work and family commitments."
- Elizabeth Willmott

"The online delivery was very easy, very well structured and easy to navigate. It allows repeated listening to the modules which will be useful. Also being able to do it in segments throughout the week whenever I had time was so convenient. Fantastic! The course offered great practical advice that would normally takes years of industry experience to learn."
- Rachel Morton

ONLINE COURSE: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When
: Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395
 
Click here for more information or to enrol online.





Tip: Abbreviation or acronym?
It may seem obvious, but we do see people confusing abbreviations and acronyms. So, to clear it up, here’s all that you need to remember:

An abbreviation is a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase – like ATM (Automatic Teller Machine), Mr (Mister), Dr (doctor) or St (Street).

An acronym is when a word is formed from the initial letters or groups of letters in a set phrase or series of words. Think NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus).

Abbreviations can also be acronyms, but not all acronyms are abbreviations. An acronym can be pronounced as a word but an abbreviation can’t. So NATO is an abbreviation and an acronym, while ATM is only an abbreviation.





How to DIY your PR
Free publicity for your business doesn’t just happen. The right media coverage can help boost your sales and your profile, but to achieve it, you need an effective publicity strategy.
 
Our PR and Media Releases That Get Results seminar is ideal if you’re completely new to the art of PR, but it will also be helpful if your PR plans need some help. You’ll learn:

  • how to write effective press releases
  • how to attract the attention of journalists
  • what you need in a good PR strategy
  • learn online tool to distribute your message
  • and much more.

By the end of the day you’ll come away with a much clearer publicity plan for your business.

Here’s some feedback from previous participants:
"I found the approach in this seminar was practical, relevant and holistic. Catriona was knowledgeable, easy to listen to and understand, and was generous in supplying resources and examples. The program offered value for money as the skills I learned during the course will save me money on contractor fees in the future.”
- Alison Hough

"The whole day was extremely practical. I felt very empowered at the end. I'm now far more aware of how PR can be implemented in my industry and specifically to my business, what tools are best for my area and media pitches vs media releases. Catriona was informative, lively, enthusiastic, willing to share her knowledge and provide advice specifically to your industry."
- Victoria Sharp

PR and Media Releases that get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 5 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Click here for more information or to enrol online.





TIP: Lay-by (not lay-buy)



Our new media manager Tracy spotted this sign in Byron. The correct term to use here is "lay-by", as listed in the Macquarie Australian Dictionary, not "lay-buy".





What we’re reading
This week our Communications Coordinator, Rose Powell, is reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Everyone has at least one friend who raves about Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It's one of those books. Set in a desolate, post-apocalyptic world with the only character dynamic being the always potent relationship between father and boy son, this book promises a high impact read. I felt that the book did not deliver on this promise. Like it's own story, The Road was a grim, cold read that had me scavenging for emotional engagement, similar to the main characters searching for food, as we headed for an ending as underwhelming as the vague descriptions of "the south" the book sets up as the destination.

That said, I can see how this book would have a huge impact if you could connect with the father or the son character. But, as the father is emotionally shut down and the boy is quite young and scared all the time, I found that difficult. So I'm not going to be raving about this book to my friends but I advise you get a second opinion on it, because I know it's been life-changing for The-Road-raver in my life.

We want to know what you’re reading! If you’d like to submit a short book review (no more than 200 words) send it to courses [at] spindriftmedia [dot] com [dot] au and we’ll consider it for publication in our newsletter or blog.





WEBPICK: Writers and Kitties
Cats and authors go together like pen and paper. At least, that’s what Writers and Kitties would have you believe. This is a collection of photos of some of the world’s most famous authors and their favourite furry friends. There’s Aldous Huxley with his moggy, Jean-Paul Sartre clinging to his cat as he writes, and, in the only doggy photo we could find, Samuel Beckett and his two pets – a nervous-looking puppy clearly concerned about sharing his bed with a cat.

Check it out here.

NB: the Sydney Writers’ Centre is an equal opportunity office and welcomes cats AND dogs. So, dog-loving writers, we’ll feature a website on writers and their dogs as soon as we find it.









Other upcoming courses
Course: Perfecting Your Pitch with Sue White
When
: Thursday 28 April 2011 and Thursday 5 May 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Online Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Sue White
When:
Week beginning Monday 2 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 3 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Daytime Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 4 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $395

Seminar: Grammar and Punctuation Essentials with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 4 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: PR and Media Releases That Get Results with Catriona Pollard
When
: Thursday 5 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $495

Online Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Pamela Freeman/Cathie Tasker
When:
Week beginning Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Memoir with Claire Scobie
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 9 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 11 May 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Screenwriting Stage 1 with Tim Gooding
When:
Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 11 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing Letters and Emails with Deb Doyle
When
: Thursday 12 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Online Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Laurine Croasdale/Judith Ridge/Nicola Robinson
When
: Every Monday starting Monday 16 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: Whenever suits you
Cost: $395

Seminar: Edit with Confidence with Deb Doyle
When
: Wednesday 18 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Magazine Writing Stage 2 with Gayle Bryant
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 18 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Plotting and Planning with Kate Forsyth – NEW COURSE
When:
Thursday 19 May 2011 and Thursday 26 May 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Seminar: Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett – NEW DATE
When
: Tuesday 24 May 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Seminar: Perfect Your Proofreading with Deb Doyle
When
: Friday 27 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Writing for the Web with Grant Doyle
When
: Friday 27 May 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.00pm
Cost: $395

Course: Creative Writing Stage 1 with Laurine Croasdale – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 31 May 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Boost Your Creativity with Laurine Croasdale
When:
Thursday 2 June 2011 and Thursday 9 June 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Feature Writing for Magazines and Newspapers with Marina Go
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 2 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Daytime How to Get Your Book Published with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Tuesday 7 June 2011 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $85

Seminar: Daytime Introduction to Travel Writing with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Wednesday 8 June 2011 (two-hour morning seminar)
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $85

Seminar: Professional Business Writing with Mel Wilkinson
When
: Tuesday 14 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Cost: $450

Seminar: Self-Publishing – How to do it with Geoff Bartlett
When
: Thursday 16 June 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Your Story Structure with Kathryn Heyman
When
: Friday 17 June 2011 and Friday 24 June 2011 (2 half-day classes)
Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: $215

Seminar: Sell your ebook on Amazon with Steven Lewis
When
: Tuesday 21 June 2011 (two-hour evening seminar)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $85

Course: Writing about Interiors, Style and Design with Nigel Bartlett
When:
Wednesday 22 June 2011 and Wednesday 29 June 2011 (2 evening classes)
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $175

Course: Writing Books for Children and Young Adults with Judith Ridge
When
: Every Wednesday starting Wednesday 22 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Travel Writing: Get Paid for Your Adventures with Sue White
When
: Every Thursday starting Thursday 23 June 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Seminar: Blogging for Business with Steven Lewis
When
: Thursday 30 June 2011 (one-day seminar)
Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Life Writing Masterclass with Patti Miller
When
: Every Friday starting Friday 1 July 2011 for eight weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12.00noon
Cost: $650

Course: Creative Writing Stage 2 with Jeni Mawter – NEW DATE
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for five weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $395

Course: Novel Writing Workshop with Pamela Freeman
When
: Every Tuesday starting Tuesday 5 July 2011 for six weeks
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Cost: $495

Course: Life Writing with Patti Miller
When:
Every Friday starting Friday 9 September 2011 for six weeks
Time: 10.00am - 12noon
Cost: $450

WRITING TOURS
Writing in Bali with Patti Miller
When
: Saturday 18 June to Saturday 25 June 2011

Writing in Paris with Patti Miller
When:
Thursday 20 October to Saturday 5 November 2011

Travel Writing in Italy with Sue White
When
: Friday 16 September to Friday 30 September 2011


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