Motivating local young writers at UWS

Young Writers Day Workshop

Promising young writers from Greater Western Sydney took part in the University of Western Sydney's Young Writers’ Day, on Friday the 11 October at Macarthur Anglican School in Cobbitty. 

Over 140 year 10 and 11 students from 16 schools spent the day gaining insights and learning useful techniques from UWS academics and doctoral students, and other published authors.

Anne McLean, Manager of Schools Engagement at UWS, says the event helps young writers build upon their skills and confidence.

“The virtues of good writing and the ways in which it benefits society are not always well-recognised. Young Writers’ Day puts talented young students into an environment where writing is highly-valued and encourages them to explore new approaches and be willing to take risks with their practice.  The students enjoy meeting prominent authors as well as like-minded peers from other schools,” says Ms McLean.

Felicity Castagna

The day began with a keynote address by Felicity Castagna, who is currently undertaking a doctorate with the Writing and Society Research Group at UWS. She is the recent author of ‘The Incredible Here and Now’ along with many other novels. Her work has been featured on television, radio and print publications and she has been the recipient of several awards for her writing. 

Felicity shared with the students and accompanying teachers her experience in writing her latest book, which is a young adult novel about Western Sydney.  She highlighted various aspects of the creative process and looked at the importance of storytelling; felicity also conducted a workshop on how to create a sense of place. 

“I sincerely enjoyed talking to the students and learning about their interests during the workshop. I hope my influence helped them develop stories that are enriched with a deep sense of place,” says Ms Castagna.

Following the keynote students took part in two workshops, with a choice of 11 practical and interactive sessions where they enhanced their writing with exercises designed and run by industry professionals.

Workshops include:
  • Coming to Voice - Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Director of SWEATSHOP, Western Sydney Literacy Movement
  • Writing the News - Barbara Alysen, Senior Lecturer in Journalism at UWS
  • A Sense of Place - Felicity Castagna, author and undertaking a UWS doctorate
  • People Make Places -   Brent Clough, broadcaster, writer and TV producer
  • Fictional Beings - Dr Bernard Cohen, award-winning author of five novels and children’s picture book
  • Spinning a Story - Jen Craig, a PhD candidate from the Writing and Society Research Centre at UWS and also teaches writing at UTS
  • Fact and Fiction - Lynn Garlick, background as a social worker and journalist.  Doctor of Creative Arts candidate in the Writing and Society Research Centre at UWS
  • Persuasion and Advocacy - Writing to change minds, defend ideas and incite action! Emily Maguire, author or four novels and two non-fiction books, also named the Young Australian Novelist of the Year in 2010 and 2013 by the Sydney Morning Herald
  • Writing for the Theatre - How monologue and dialogue drive action and emotion Murray Robertson, trained as a speech drama teacher, he is currently an academic and doctoral candidate at UWS
  • Write, Breath, Perform – Candy Royalle is a performance artist and poet
  • Starting a Poem - Fiona Wright, award-winning poet who is currently a doctoral candidate with UWS’ Writing and Society Research Centre.

The day also featured an optional workshop tailored for accompanying teachers delivered by award-winning author, journalist and critic Anna Maria Dell'oso. 


18 October 2013

Photos: Nicholas Smith

Contact: Tanya Patterson, Media Officer

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