Western Sydney writing project for culturally diverse women

The Western Sydney literary group, Sweatshop (opens in a new window) – a partnership between the University’s Writing and Society Research Centre and Westwords, a Western Sydney Literary Development Organisation – has started a new writers’ initiative for culturally diverse women, which has been funded by Create NSW.

The Writers’ Collective for Diverse Women will run monthly writing workshops in Parramatta and Bankstown starting in February 2018. The project is being organised by Tongan-Australian writer from Mount Druitt, Winnie Dunn, and is open to all Western Sydney women from culturally diverse backgrounds. Each month, prominent female authors will also attend the workshops as special guest facilitators.

Winnie Dunn, who is a manager and editor at Sweatshop, said that Australian literature often overlooks stories written by women from non- English-speaking backgrounds.

“This exciting new project will help create a safe and critical space to foster literature that is written, edited and designed solely by culturally diverse women,” she says.

“As a Tongan-Australian from Mt Druitt, I’m thrilled to bring together such a dynamic and diverse mix of established and emerging female authors from all over New South Wales.”

Special guest facilitators for the project will include an incredible line-up of award-winning female authors, including, Michelle de Kretser, Julie Koh, Michelle Cahill, Randa Abdel-Fattah and Sarah Ayoub.

The outcome of the workshops will be a published anthology which will showcase the stories and poems of participants. The book is scheduled to be launched at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2019.

Sweatshop founder and director, Dr Michael Mohammed Ahmad, said that the project is a unique opportunity to empower female writers from Indigenous, migrant and refugee backgrounds.

“This initiative will give diverse female writers from our region a chance to learn from Australia’s best authors, who between them have received the most distinguished Australian literary awards, such as the Miles Franklin Award, the Stella Prize, the Prime Minister’s Literary Award and the Premier’s Literary Award,” he says.

Sweatshop had Create NSW to thank for the funding to kick-start this initiative. The grant of $25,000.00 will provide wages for Winnie Dunn to run the project, fees for guest authors and funds to cover expenses for publishing the new anthology.

Culturally diverse women from Western Sydney are encouraged to contact Sweatshop if they are interested in attending the workshops: www.sweatshop.ws(opens in a  new window)

For media enquiries please contact Winnie Dunn E: winnie.a.dunn@gmail.com P: 0422 560 781