I think of Queensland Writers Centre as the sturdy trunk of a tree. It’s the main conduit that nourishes all the branches that connect to it. And we fortunate members are its leaves; the vibrant, diverse and ever-renewing milieu of creatives that spring from these branches and take sustenance from the trunk’s rootstock.
One branch of the QWC tree might support workshops, panels or events, another literary salons or online courses for those distal to the main hub of the trunk. Some branches inspire, others provide a place to think and read, to listen, engage and learn. And should a limb break – should the words fail – there are tree surgeons – word surgeons – with How to advice and one-on-one mentoring to assist with regrowth – to restore confidence – so that the writing might once again flourish.
But the QWC tree is also part of a forest: the National Writers’ Centre Network. This forest comprises all manner of creators and industry professionals – agents, publishers, editors and teachers – from right across the country. It brings the states and territories together, allows for the cross-pollination of ideas and opportunities.
I am one small leaf nurtured by the QWC tree.
I have drawn on its rootstock often and I have been thankful of its sustenance. The workshops and events I have participated in remind me that there is always something to learn, always something to share, no matter what stage your career, be it early, emerging or an established writer. The literary salons I have attended confirm that the leaves of this literary tree are in very good health. And when things go well for we writers, when the sun catches our leaves and makes us shine, QWC provides us with a place to celebrate our successes, shout it from the treetops so to speak, by showcasing our milestones and promoting our work.
But no individual part of a tree – not root, trunk, branch or leaf – can flourish without the other. Because symbiosis is at work in a tree; it is an organic network of interconnected parts, each reliant upon one another in order to grow. This is what membership to QWC allows: the opportunity to grow as a writer within a community of other writers.
Sally Piper is the author of Grace’s Table (UQP, 2014), shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award, Emerging Author Category. Her second novel The Geography of Friendship is forthcoming with UQP July 2018. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from QUT, is the recipient of a Varuna Publishing Fellowship and mentors on The Writer’s Surgery mentorship program for Queensland Writers Centre.