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