Queensland Writers Centre Writer's Surgery

Anyone who’s ever attempted a creative work knows the stamina required. You spend hours writing and rewriting, crafting characters and scenes, obsessing over the most minor word selection only to scrap entire sentences and start again. It’s intense and it’s personal – and many writers refuse to send their work out into the world until…

One barrier preventing many people from starting the foray into writing fiction, or an impetus for stopping once they’ve begun, is their belief that they lack creativity. Influential writers, artists, and musicians often speak of the creative process as a mystical experience; they only act as conduits channelling creative genius from the ether and unleash…

Sally Piper talks to Cass Moriarty about her latest novel Parting Words (UQP 2017). In Parting Words, three siblings fulfil the posthumous wishes of their father, Daniel Whittaker, to hand-deliver his letters, content unknown, to people who are strangers to them. They discover much about the man they thought they knew. What motivated you most…

In 2010, my novel Kindling, the story of an eleven-year-old ‘different’ boy who discovers a terrible family secret and runs away to a suburban fire, was published by Hachette. In 2014, my novel Are You Seeing Me?, the story of nineteen year old twins – brother disabled, sister his carer – on their final trip…

One of the first things I was taught when I started a university writing course was the adage write what you know. The idea being, of course, that when you’re starting out, you have an easy bridge to believability if you’ve personally undergone what you’re writing about. Even if a writer hasn’t had this rule…

I wrote an article about my Centrelink debt. A debt for money I received legitimately, Centrelink and I agreed, but which, through a series of missteps, some of them mine and some of them not, had to be repaid. The article was about how an institution can penalise women when it inserts itself into people’s…

Cats in boxes are one of the most popular memes on the internet; thousands of people visit zoos to marvel at spots, stripes, feathers; and dog lovers know Max will scramble up at the mention of ‘walkies’. Love for animals abounds in our world, but how often do we think about what animals represent and…

MY grandfather George died in 1962, when I was eight months old. At 52, he was younger than I am now when he passed away. And as is often the case in death, he left behind some tangible objects from his life that were still in and under the old house at 120 Beck Street,…

Recently, I had the honour of reading a remarkable essay by Timmah Ball, an Indigenous writer and urban planner, about the effects of gentrification on the Indigenous residents of inner-city suburbs. Timmah later told me that she’d been advised by past editors to be careful of criticising groups of people who were purportedly ‘on her…

When I was young, reading by torchlight under the covers, I discovered female agency in the form of girl detectives. Blending intellectual rigour and social capital with physical derring-do, these characters restored justice and modelled a world very different to the one I knew. In the real world, I was kicked off the under-7s team…

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