Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

From the President's desk

Xmas dinner this year was not only our final WITS get together for 2009 but also the venue for the exciting announcement of our illustrious Poetry Competition Winners.

Equal first prize winners were:

Dianna Messervy from Yungabuura “Molly Taylor 1934”

Dianna gave me permission to read out her poem. Thank you Dianna it was a lovely piece.

Jennifer Garvey “At the End”. We had the pleasure of having Jenny attend our dinner and read out her poem.

Second Prize went to: Casey Salt :“Ex Libris”

Congratulations to all three winners & Honourable mentions.

Aimee Norton’s “Jewel Case/ For An Electric Landscape”

Andy Frost “Cyclone Watch”

“Beneath the Camouflage of Spear Grass” Melanie Busato.

General Comments from our judges Dr Mary Cassolin & Dr Sylvia Kelso

A number of poems surfaced at the top of the entries for this competition, all very evenly matched, and making final choices, as the results indicate, quite difficult. Some poets also submitted several poems, and among these were strong bodies of work rather than outstanding single pieces, though one such appears in the honourable mentions, with the experimental and very interesting but not yet quite finalised “Jewel Case / For An Electric Landscape.”

The prize-winning poems prevailed because they were the most polished of strong but fresh variations on very well-worked topics, age, death, and the fate of readers, writers and books. We congratulate the winners, but also, and very warmly, the honourable mentions, and we would like to thank everyone who entered the competition. Your work may not be mentioned here, but it was read and appreciated.

As President of WITS I am so proud of what we have accomplished this year, thanks to our very hard working and dedicated committee. Peter Hurst Secretary, Stephen Ryan treasures, Kerry Ashwin events co-ordinator and Nikesh Muralli for his wonderful efforts at keeping our blog site up to date. I am going to list some of our achievements for the year. Not necessarily in chronological order.

  • Justine Wilkinson’s Strategic Planning Workshop gave us inspiration and helped keep us on the right path.
  • Sylvia Kelso’s Fabulous February Fantasy workshop; which lived up to its title.
  • Shaun Allen’s stimulating discussion on researching background informtion for novels or short stories involving battle scenes. He showed us the amount of material out there which will give authenticity to your work. We did a time trip back to medieval times and worked our way forward to the nitty gritty of modern warfare.
  • Thalia Klonis’s workshop on developing a professional approach to performance readings and general oral presentation of our work has given us guidance and added confidence.
  • I was proud of the quality of WITS members’ performances at the City library, Aitkenvale and lastly the Thuringowa library. It was a great learning experience for us all and next year though we’ll be spacing the events out over the year we will also be a lot more aware of what needs to go into making our events even more successful
  • Performance readings help promote WITS as a writing group while showcasing the talent of our members. Recently we have had several very talented members join our group and we look forward to welcoming them as new members and sharing their work.
  • Dr David Reiter was a guest speaker along with Ann Jones. David provided insight into the world of small independent publishers and also the alternative option of self-publishing.
  • Thanks to Kerry Ashwin who won our competition to come up with a new logo, we now have a very impressive Logo on our letterheads, application forms and of course on our fabulous new banners. WITS is setting itself up as a brand name.
  • We have to hand quite a number of copies of Telling Townsville WITS latest anthology. At $15.00 each they make wonderful and inexpensive Christmas or birthday gifts and particularly for ex-Townsvillians. Please let someone on the committee know if you would like to purchase a copy.
  • A few of us did a Sunday morning stall at Cotters Market and it was quite an involved process, so instead we may have to call for all hands on deck for next years Heritage Day stand. It means giving up a few hours of your Sunday (it’s a great outing for the kids) and it provides a great opportunity to raise money. We had to miss out this year because of lack of support- BUT I’ll be calling for volunteers early in the piece.
  • We’ve had very positive feedback on the professionalism of our blog- site. While this started out as Kerry Parkes baby and she did exceedingly well, Nikesh and Kerry Ashwin have taken it one step forward; re-laying it out- in fact re-inventing it.
  • Our inaugural poetry competition has been an outstanding success with nearly fifty entries submitted. We plan on making this an annual event and once a procedure is put in place for the setting up of not only this event but all others, life gets much easier there’s no point in continually re-inventing the wheel.
  • Thank you Andy King for your time and effort in promoting the competition so effectively and special thanks to Dr Mary Casolin & Dr Sylvia Kelso for their valuable assessment of the entries.
  • One of the highlights of our year was the Literary Dinner hosted by WITS and held at the Townsville Motor boat club. Kerry Ashwin put a lot of time and effort into co-ordinating the event with QWC who bought our literary guests: Belinda Jeffries, Matthew Condon and Greg Rodgers up to Townsville for the Writer’s train journey out west.
  • Behind the scenes the tireless workers go on. The secretary’s job is continually keeping a finger on the pulse and without a good treasurer it doesn’t take much for things to go awry.
  • BUT… and I can’t emphasise this enough. The success of WITS depends on our members.
  • It doesn’t matter what your particular dedication is- Poetry, Screen plays, prose, short stories- novel writing. We can all encourage and learn from each other.
  • I know it’s an old saw, but the truth is writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration but take into account the friendship, knowledge and feedback you gain from a writer’s group and you have 100% motivation. .
  • And last but not least I have some very inspiring news to share. Nikesh Muralli’s brainchild T’ville, a fantasy anthology based on Townsville, purely in a topographical sense is being published by Publish America one of the biggest independent publishers in the U.S.
  • While this started out as a WITS project it became too unwieldy and so six authors Nikesh, Kerry Ashwin, Stephen Ryan, Casey Salt, Peter Hurst and Lori Hurst pressed on till the end. Following all the blood, sweat and tears and after two years of editing collating and formatting we are now as proud as new parents. We are at present having the contract checked over and hope T’ville will be printed fairly early in the New Year. T’ville will be dedicated to WITS.

    Our recommencement next year will be the first Wed in February (3rd) and we have something very special planned. More on that later.

    Please note the date right now in your 2010 diary. Invitations will be sent out with a RSVP date.

    Yours in Writing

    Lori Hurst

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Poetry of WITS member Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

I Love You, But I Need My Friends

My bed is all yours tonight, it's warm,

I'm meeting Merlin in his favourite

gay bar in South Melbourne.

On the tram there I persuade a woman

reading Milan Kundera's latest novel

to kiss me and accept my hardback

copy of Coleridge's Collected Poems

in exchange for her underpants.

In the bar this wealthy blonde guy

is trying to get Merlin interested.

Merlin wants a woman tonight,

but he's left his wand in a saucepan

of lasagne at Silvio's house.

(We must visit Silvio. I'm worried.

His habit of pissing in his goldfish pond

is killing the goldfish.)

I lend him a chopstick, and at 1AM

he leaves for a brothel near Camelot,

telling me to sleep in the Botanical Gardens

because it's warm and the statues need company.

On the tram there I persuade a woman

reading Goethe in translation

to give me her underpants

in exchange for the other chopstick.

In the Gardens it's too late to have

an earnest conversation with King George,

so I ask him his star sign,

and to my delight he's an Aries, like you.

To learn more about the poet and his books visit

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lori commended by judges for the CJ Dennis Literary Awards

Lori Hurst has received a High Commendation for CJ Dennis literary Short Story Award

The judges were unanimous in their praise for her story "Kathy doesn't live here anymore"

Congrats Lori!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Andy King wins Pauline Walsh Award for Fiction

WITS member Andy King has won the Pauline Walsh Award for Fiction instituted by Eastwood/Hills FAW


Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Kerry Parke reports from the Poetry Slam venue

Thursday night at Riverway The Poetry Slam was attended by Lynn Tyson, Phil and Lyn Heang, Anita Berry, Rae Enever myself and Tim. Was very entertaining to say the least. Lots of kids represented which was wonderful to see. Phil went close to a top score by our calculations but missed out. Never mind...there is always next year!

Thanks and cheers

Kerry P

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Aesthetica Annual and International Competition

The Annual is comprised from the winning entries to the Aesthetica Creative Works Competition 2008.The 2009 competition is now open for entries of artworks and creative writing. Burgeoning Californian talent, Jacquelyn Noelle Unpinco, headlined the artwork category of last year's Creative Works Annual and received prize money of £500 (apx $1,010).

For more info and submission guidelines for the magazine visit

Meet author Nigel Krauth in Cairns

festival fare at literary lunch

Multi-award winning Australian writer Nigel Krauth is the Tropical Writers guest author for a long literary lunch as part of Festival Cairns from noon on Sunday 30 August at the Shangri-La Hotel, Cairns.

Published in Australia, UK, Germany and USA, he first came to prominence as co-winner of the Australian/Vogel Literary Award for authors under 35 for his book Matilda, My Darling.

Since then he has published 4 novels, 5 other books, numerous short stories and articles, teaches Creative Writing at Griffith University on the Gold Coast, and is is a founding editor of Inprint: the short story magazine , and the Griffith Review, a national journal renowned for both good writing and the promotion of public debate on the issues of the day.

He regularly reviews for The Weekend Australian, and has also won two Premier’s Literary Awards. Recognised in Brisbane Literary Walk, his Cairns visit has been sponsored by the Queensland Writers Centre.

While in Cairns the author will also hold a workshop for writers at Arts Nexus on from 9.30-12.30pm on Saturday 20 August . Bookings for both events are essential. Phone Shangri-La Hotel on 4052 7639 or Arts Nexus on 4051 4433.

Click on image for larger version.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Australian Poetry Slam 2009 – Queensland heats

The State Library of Queensland is pleased to announce the return of its exciting national travelling public events initiative – The Australian Poetry Slam 2009 – which is again available to public libraries to participate in QLD between August and October 2009.

In 2008 nine public libraries throughout QLD took part by hosting a Poetry Slam heat & workshops (see details below). Two winners from each heat then travelled to the State Library in Brisbane in October last year to compete in the QLD final in front of over 220 people. The top two QLD finalists - poets from Brisbane and Longreach - were then flown to compete in the national final in December in The Sydney Opera House.

What is a Poetry Slam?

  • Slam is a poetry competition with a live audience open to all people and all forms of poetry
  • Each contestant has two minutes to impress the judges with their own original word artistry – using spoken-word, poetry, hip-hop, monologue and even story.
  • Contestants can choose to speak, sing, scream, rap, howl or whisper their words.
  • Contestants may not use props or musical instruments
  • Poetry Slam heats are limited to 20 contestants that sign up on the night.
  • Five judges are picked randomly by the host Slam MC. The Five judges hold up score cards and give performers marks out of 10. Only the middle three scores for each performance are calculated.
  • The performer with the highest score on the night wins
  • Two winners from each QLD heat will compete in a state final, to be hosted by the State Library of Queensland in October 2009. In 2009 the state winner will also receive $500 and the runner up $100, as well as both being flown to the Australian final in Sydney in December.
  • The National final will be held at the Sydney Opera House in December 2009. Over $10,000 in cash and prizes will again be on offer nationally including significant performance and mentoring opportunities to the winner and runner up/s.
The History of Slam

Since its creation in the 1980’s by Marc Smith in Chicago, slam has spread throughout the US and across the globe. Each year, teams from American and European cities compete in the US National Poetry Slam, an extravagant festival which attracts audiences in their thousands.

Australia Slam

In the past three years, Poetry Slams have increasingly attracted the imagination of audiences and the media in Australia. Slams have been hosted by the State Library of NSW, The Sydney Opera House, The Festival of Sydney, The Sydney Writers & Melbourne Writer’s Festivals, ABC & Triple J radio as well as the highly regarded Performance Poetry World Cup held annually in Nimbin, NSW.

Queensland has one of the largest poetry slam scenes in Australia. Monthly slams are held in Brisbane as well as two major slam competitions: the Australian Poetry Slam – QLD heats and the Woodford Folk Festival WordFood Slam. Both of these 2007 events attracted final audiences of 200-300 people of all ages and backgrounds and received media coverage in The Courier Mail and on ABC & Triple J radio.

Who will be involved?

Australian Poetry Slam 2009 - Queensland will be run by three facilitators: slam coordinator David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger who will be assisted by award-winning performance poets Benedict Coyne (2008 Queensland Winner) and Tessa Leon who will run one heat each.

David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger will again coordinate the QLD leg of the Australian Slam 2009, following on from him establishing this event in QLD on behalf of SLQ in 2007. Recognized as one of Australia’s premier performance poets and slam mc/workshop facilitators, his work has been widely published internationally and he has performed at a number of major festivals including the Sydney Writers Festival, Brisbane Writers Festival, Woodford Folk Festival, and in 2008 as part of the NightWords festival at The Sydney Opera House, the Tasmanian Poetry Festival, and the Byron Bay Writers Festival.

Tessa Leon is one of Brisbane’s most exciting new slam voices. In 2007 Tessa won Brisbane City Council’s Poetry Unearthed competition, as well as being a finalist at the Australian Poetry Slam – SLQ heats, QLD Poetry Festival and Woodford Folk Festival slams.

What will they do?

At the time of each heat either David, Benedict or Tessa will visit their designated Library for 2-3 days. They will facilitate two workshops: one x two (2) hour youth writing and performance workshop plus one x two (2) hour adult writing and performance workshop. Your delegated host poet will also coordinate the running of and MC the slam heat and perform a feature set of their own work. Additionally they will be on hand for assisting in the final set up of the heat venue & local media interviews.

What promotional material will be provided?

The State Library of Queensland will provide all participating venues with media kits, templates, branding, images and promotional materials such as postcards. David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger will also assist in arranging and making him self available for any media interviews in the lead up to the slam.

Why get involved?

• This is a great opportunity for both state and public libraries to work cooperatively and participate in one of the fastest growing national poetry slams.

• The competition is a fun way for libraries to engage with young and diverse members of the local community

• It presents a great opportunity for public libraries to work closely with local writers/performers, writers’ centres, venues and festivals

• It encourages your area to develop its own spoken word/poetry scene community.

When do the heats need to be held?

Heats are to be held between August and September 2009. Target dates for potential heats have been worked out for each area in this period but can be negotiated further directly with David Ghostboy Stavanger.

Are there any special requirements?

If suitable, the slam heats could be held inside or on the grounds of your public library. However, working with a suitable local venue or linking the slam heats to a local festival or literary event is another good option.

Running the workshops within the library and the actual slam heat at a local partnered venue or festival proved to be highly successful in 2007 & 2008. This can all be discussed in greater detail with David Ghostboy Stavanger, who will assist your library with seeking local support and developing partnerships with venues and festivals in your area.

What costs are involved?

In 2009 The State Library of Queensland will cover all marketing, workshop and coordinator fees, travel and accommodation for host/performers as well as travel and accommodation to Brisbane for the State Finals in October for the top 2 heat winners.

Catering at the heat events is an option for libraries and any catering costs incurred would be paid by the individual library themselves. Another optional cost at the heat is the booking of a local emerging act to feature & promote local talent at the actual heat.

Again, this can all be discussed in greater detail with David Ghostboy Stavanger.

Please note: a $500.00 contribution fee has been requested by the State Library from each participating Library (unless otherwise agreed).

What are the next steps?

Our slam coordinator David Ghostboy Stavanger will be in contact by phone within a week of this letter to discuss your initial interest in hosting a heat as well as being available to answer any questions you may have. His contact details are:

David Ghostboy Stavanger

Slam Coordinator 2009

Phone: 0409 66 9391


Public Libraries interested in hosting a heat in 2009 will then need to respond to this invitation in writing by Monday 30 March 2009. Your response should include:

  • Description of heat and workshop venue and capacity
  • Contact details of two representatives from your library who will act as liaisons for the heat & workshops.
  • How you plan to publicise and promote the heat in your local area (including distribution of slam postcards)
If you are not able to provide all this on the date stated, a simple letter confirming your intention to participate will be acceptable.

Please send your written (or emailed) response to:

Katherine Gardiner

Events Co-ordinator

Public Programs

State Library of Queensland

PO Box 3488 South Brisbane QLD 4101 Australia

Phone: +61 7 3840 7307

Fax: +61 7 3840 7860




Can’t find time to write?

Can’t get enough of our writing exercises?

Need space and quiet to escape the daily grind and embrace your creativity?

Would you love to escape to a retreat on the banks of a river to work on your masterpiece twice a month?

Writers in Townsville Society is proud to announce the introduction of WRITING DAYS on alternate Wednesdays. 2 Hours of quiet writing time at the Riverside Community centre from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm & then tea/coffee and open session to discuss the craft and your projects with fellow writers from 9.30 pm onwards.


For further enquiries contact

Please note WITS sessions following The Regular Format will alternate with the WRITING days.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nick Earls in our neck of the woods.

The Big Book Club with Nick Earls

Each month The Big Book Club selects a book and this month it is Nick Earls' latest release,

The True Story of Butterfish.

When: 7pm, Monday 20 JulyWhere: Thuringowa Library, 86 Thringowa Drive, Thuringowa Cost: Free. Call the library to make a booking .

writing competition and it's local.



Short Story and Poetry COMPETITION


Open to all writers resident in Australia

1. Open theme short story no longer than 1000 words. Poetry Max 60 lines
2. Stories and Poetry must be original, unpublished and must not have won a monetary prize in any other competition.
3. Entries must be typed, double-spaced on one side of A4 paper, with pages numbered.
4. Author’s name must NOT appear on manuscript; name, contact details and title of work to appear on a separate page. Only the title should appear on the manuscript.
5. Maximum of three entries per person.
5. Categories in both Short Stories and Poetry: Junior: Age 10 to 16
6. Keep a copy of work. Entries will be destroyed after judging. Judge’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
7. Results will be announced in The Gazette on 3rd September 2009 and winners will be notified. Prize-winning stories and winning Poem will be published in the Gazette.
8. Entries close on Friday 14th August 2009.
9. Email entries to: or post to:
The Gazette Reef Writers Writing Competition,
PO Box 917, Port Douglas, Queensland, 4877.
Or deliver to: The Gazette Office, at Saltwater Building Macrossan St, Port Douglas

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

don't give the cold shoulder and vote now

Hi All My Wittie Friends! I have a favour to ask of you if I may be so bold?
I have entered a writing competition to win a Quark Expedition cruise to The Antarctic and all I need is the most votes. So if you can click on this site

and register and then vote for me. It’s easy! Thank you...

I also don’t mind if you feed me back some editing. I did it last night in a hurry with excitement and thinking who else can I ask to vote!! I have friends but not as many as a couple of the entrants already up around 500 mark so I have some work to do. Going to Antarctica has been a full on dream of mine since before I started tripping around on those other cruises. Expedition...that’s the key word. Adventure and amazement others...all before I kick the bucket! (And while I can still KICK a bucket too!)CheersKerry

Saturday, July 4, 2009

THE SHACK: 19/06/09

Laurell is a true battler

Read this one carefully (especially good for people who nurture fantasies of becoming writers without spending too much time hunched over a keyboard and who also believe they need to go through an initial phase were none of the basic tenets of the craft apply to them)

Penguin T.V. one suspects

Harry Potter and dumbing down of literature. (What do you think? Let us know using the comment link)

More at
The BookDepository

TED: Showcasing creative ideas from around the world

Link submitted by member Michelle Clark

To submit links to writing related videos/podcasts/articles/posts email the editor

You gotta laugh.

Proofreading is a dying art, wouldn't you say? These are doing the rounds of the email.

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

This one was found in the SGV Tribune the other day. They put in a correction the next day.

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

No crap, really? Ya think?

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Now that's taking things a bit far!

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

What a guy!

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

those good for nothing, lazy so-and-so's!

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendent

See if that works any better than a fair trial!

War Dims Hope for Peace

I can see where it might have that effect!

If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Ya think?!

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Who would have thought!

Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

They may be on to something!

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

You mean there's something stronger than duct tape?

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Weren't they fat enough?!

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

That's what he gets for eating those beans!

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Do they taste like chicken?

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Chainsaw Massacre all over again!

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Boy, are they tall!

And the winner is...

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Did I read that right?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Townsville Library Display

Check this out

Showcase of published work by members of WITS past and present at the Townsville City Library (in Flinders Mall) .

Books, banners, and bling.

Take a look and tell your friends.

The workshop wrap-up

Dr David Rieter Workshop
On Wednesday 10th June City Libraries presented a full day workshop by Dr David Rieter from Interactive Publications Pty Ltd (IP). Thanks to funding from Townsville City Council twenty people attended the free of charge workshop and as well as gaining an inside view of publishing, we were even supplied morning tea and lunch. Thank you Annette Burns from City Libraries for looking after us so well.
David is the director of Interactive Publications. IP has four imprints.
- Glasshouse Books: Biographies & non-fiction.
- IP Kids: Children’s books.
- IP Digital
- Interactive Press: Flagship literary imprint & poetry.
- IP Pics: Is a competition for unpublished manuscripts and is open for submissions from 1st October - 1st December 2009.
Categories are:
Best fiction
Best Creative non-fiction
Best poetry
Best first book any genre.
Interactive Publications is also involved in an Emerging Author Series. Each year they nominate up to seven titles from their forward list to the Australian Council for support under their Presentation of Promotions Program.
David spoke on the importance of presentation and covered independent and mainstream publishing as well as self- publishing. He stressed that publishing is easy - it’s getting noticed that is difficult.
- Do’s and Don’ts of getting started.
- Writing for the reader.
- How to sell your work to a publisher.
- The importance of your Covering Letter and Synopsis.
- Contracts and getting paid.
- Promoting your work- pre-publication.
- Targeting the Media.
Thank you David for a most informative workshop - and for the bonus discussion that evening at our weekly writer’s meeting. For further information on IP visit David’s website on
WITS is looking forward to working in partnership with Townsville City Council and in conjunction with City Libraries to present future workshops and events.

Lori Hurst

Friday, June 26, 2009

THE SHACK: 26/06/09

This week is all about watching and learning from the Masters. So I present to you:
Jhumpa Lahiri and Mavis Gallant

Paul Auster

For more go to
The BookDepository

Friday, June 19, 2009

THE SHACK: 19/06/09

You could make money from your novels this way

But before you get all excited and post your novel online for gold coin donations, you might want to avoid the 38 most common mistakes made by writers of fiction

More at
The BookDepository

Friday, June 12, 2009

Byron Bay writers Festival

this is the link for the writers festival.

if there is one thing you do as a writers it is to visit a festival sometime in your career.
If not now ...when?

Writers and rejection

The most heart-warming publishing story i have read in recent times

More at
The BookDepository

a wednesday nite treat

Writers in townsville was awash with authors last Wednesday as we played supper hosts to Ann Jones and David Reiter.

Ann and David gave an all day workshop at the libary and then were invited to Wits for a light supper and informal chat.

What a delight these two unassuming authors were at the meeting.

We were fortunate to be able to grill them on their methods, the latest in publishing, the how to, the what if and any other questions which popped into our collective heads.

Ann had written a memoir called Put the billy on and several of our bretheren paid for copies and had them signed by Ann. Her reading was a rounding sucess and gave us the wind of inspiration.

David is well into publishing having set up his own company IP (Interactive press) David talked of the need to, the necessary things, the next big thing, and much more. His newly published book Primary instincts is a romp into the world of the primary school teacher and his short reading was a taste of the cynical humour in the volume.

Thank you Ann and David. I'm sure Wits will follow your rise in the Literary Circles with interest.