oh, july

Second hateful July in a row... thankfully close to over!

The next few weeks will be busy. I spent this weekend packing to move to my fifth (!) home in Canberra and tying loose ends. I am so, so close to submitting my 'Writers' Other Jobs' piece...


I always uncover long-lost clippings, and memories, when packing. This time, I discovered: 

– a ridiculous number of notebooks. Friends keep gifting me notebooks, not realising I tend to write electronically. Writing is not at all romantic... ah well, plenty of empty pages to fill!

– 'The career advice I wish I had at 25', published in The Australian last year and given to me as a farewell gift by a supervisor. In case the link fails in future:
  1. A career is a marathon, not a sprint.
  2. Success comes from repetition.
  3. Get your priorities right.
  4. Always act like you are 35.
  5. Management is about people, not things.
  6. Genuinely listen to others.
  7. Never work for horrible b*stards.
  8. Recognise that staff are people with finite emotional capacity.
  9. Don't just network with people your own age.
  10. Take the time to understand what your business does.
  11. Work in an office where you have friends.
  12. Never sacrifice personal ethics for a work reason.
  13. Recognise that failure is learning.

– the speech I wrote below for the Canberra launch of Voiceworks issue #104 a month ago.

BIG belated thank you to everyone who came to support xo


Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land on which we meet – the Ngunnawal Peoples. I extend this respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here tonight.

Thank you all so much for braving the cold and coming out tonight to celebrate the launch of Voiceworks issue 104, ‘Cake’. Tonight we have three talented writers who will be sharing work they’ve had published in Voiceworks but before that, I’d like to tell you a bit about this magazine, Express Media and why both are so important to young writers and artists around Australia.

One year ago, I was 24 and just beginning to test the idea of being a writer. I’d been writing privately for years in my diary and then a private blog. I didn’t study writing so I didn’t know a writing community existed. I didn’t know Voiceworks existed until a friend I’d met through Scissors Paper Pen sent me a Facebook invite to submit to this magazine. So I did, twice. Both times my work was not published but here I am now, part of the editorial committee (EdComm).

What I love about Voiceworks is that is every submission, even if it isn’t published, receives detailed feedback. Everyone on EdComm, like our writers and artists, are aged under 25. We all know what’s like to be just starting out, uncertain, intimidated, doubtful. This is why Voiceworks and Express Media are so important; we know what it’s like to be a young artist and we’re totally in your corner.

Voiceworks is based in Melbourne but it really is a national publication, open to all. You just have to be under 25 when you submit. I’m now going to read a snippet of Lucy Adam’s editorial because I think it perfectly captures what Voiceworks is about:

In a culture that tells young writers what they do doesn’t matter and isn’t valued, Voiceworks provides a safe space – a rebel base, a radiation free zone, a rogue space station. You don’t need a bankable name to be published here or to be welcomed into our community. We hear your voice, and it does matter. When the world has abandoned us and deemed us expendable, we get scrappy, we get resourceful, we build a shanty town out of blasted tin and tell each other stories.

Before I wrap up, I want to mention a few other really cool Express Media things. There’s:
  • the John Marsden and Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers aged 18 and under (entries close next Friday 1 July);
  • the Scribe Non-fiction Prize for Young Writers aged 30 and under (entries close in two weeks Sunday 10 July); and
  • Tracks, a pop-up masterclass program for young writers which will be coming to Canberra on 24 September.

Finally, we’re still taking visual art and comic submissions for our next issue ‘Nerve’.  Submissions close 19 July.

I highly, highly recommend buying a copy of issue 104, subscribing to Voiceworks and donating to Express Media. Express Media was one of 62 arts organisations defunded last month in the most recent round of Australia Council grants last month so your support is very important to us.

One year ago I was attending the launch of Voiceworks issue 100 at the NLA. I never would have guessed I’d be launching issue 104 a year later. So, believe in yourself, make friends tonight and grab a drink from the bar before we have Zhi Yi Cham, Hugo Branley and Hannah Church share their beautiful poetry with us.

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