Category Archives: Events

Hunter Story Creators website launched!

I’ve been part of a writing group for a few years now and, despite being very creative with our writing, we’d struggled coming up with something to call our group.


Our writers group critiquing stories for an upcoming competition

Until now! Yes, we finally committed half an hour to brainstorm some ideas and after considering everything from the ‘Newcastle Writing Collective’ to the ‘Hunter’s Story Gatherers’ we have decided on a name:


The name represents our across-the-Hunter location (not just Newcastle, our members are from Lake Macquarie and the Upper Hunter too), the idea that we don’t write books we tell stories, and that over anything else, we create.

Along with our new name, we have launched a website, where we will re-blog posts from our own websites and let you know about upcoming events and presentations.

To visit our new site, go to

Our group has achieved a lot in the last few years – from published short stories, to competition wins and commendations, to live readings and presentations at the Newcastle Writers Festivals in 2014 and 2015. We have another big year coming up, with our presentation at the Newcastle Writers Festival 2016 called ‘Make your writing pop!‘, a writers retreat in the Hunter Valley, and (hopefully) a few more competition successes.


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FREE EVENT: The Next Level – Taking your writing from hobby to publication (Newcastle Writers Festival 2015)

Square event images NWF 2015 - v0.2 yellow

Presenters: Margaret Jackson, Aidan Walsh and Maree Gallop.

Hosted by: Jessie Ansons.


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YouTube version of our DWF15 session this morning

“ABC Open: From Page to National Stage – writing for the national broadcaster”

Watch how my ABC Open 500 words projects took me from being a solitary writer to having national (and international) publication of my works.

(My section starts at 20 mins 30 secs)


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It’s almost here! #DWF15

At 11am AEDT tomorrow (Saturday) I will be presenting at the Digital Writers Festival, talking about how just 500 words a month took my writing to places I never imagined (one of those places being the DWF itself!)

Anyone can watch the session online by going here and interact via Twitter using #DWF15. Go on! I dare you to ask me a thought-provoking question and watch me squirm!



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Join me online on February 14th at the Digital Writers Festival

What are your plans for Valentines Day this year? Will you be sitting at home, bored and uninspired, looking for something to do?

Excellent! Then you might be interested in this.

As a pre-cursor to the Emerging Writers Festival in Melbourne in May/June, there will be a Digital Writers Festival (DWF) in February. Many of the sessions are FREE and you can attend simply by switching on your computer at home.

At 11am on Saturday 14th February, I will be presenting at the DWF as part of the ABC Open session. We’ll be showcasing all the cool things ABC Open does to support the community to get creative online. I’ll no doubt talk about my 20 short 500-word pieces and how when put together they became My Accidental Memoir. And our session is FREE to attend.

I’ll let you know closer to the date how you can join us and the other sessions happening around that time.

And now you can say you have plans for Valentines Day!


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Julia Gillard ‘My Story’ book tour – Newcastle City Hall


'My Story' by Julia Gillard was released 2 months ago

Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female prime minister in 2010. Reported in the Media as a cold, unemotional, and sometimes heartless woman, I found it difficult to like her. But after reading her book ‘My Story’ and seeing her in person today on her book tour at Newcastle City Hall, my view completely changed.

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Stories at The Mosh Pit a huge success!

At the quirkiest cafe in downtown Cardiff, a group of writers gathered to read their work…

On Saturday afternoon I was lucky enough to MC a brilliant writers event in Newcastle, NSW. The day was informal yet structured, serious yet fun. The Mosh Pit Record Shop and Coffee Bar was the venue and about 30 people squeezed into the bright and eclectic space.

Marg and wall of records

Margaret Jackson opens the event; records of all kind cover the walls

Most of the writers were from our writing group, and there were two guest writers and one young writer. Margaret Jackson, the founding member of our writing group, opened the event.

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E-Book Launch – Mirrors

This beautiful eBook contains short stories from a bunch of local talented authors I met at a WEA creative writing course (and my own story ‘The straight and narrow’) I will be attending the official launch tomorrow night (Tuesday 8th April 2014), 6pm at WEA Hall in Cooks Hill.

The Writers' Life

Mirrors The Cover Mirrors
The Cover

The long awaited collection, Mirrors, will be published tomorrow night!

The authors have put up their feet now, and so can you while you enjoy the read. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find inside the cover.

Mirrors is an anthology of short stories, creative non-fiction and poetry from nine Australian writers. Set in cities, suburbia, and the Far North these authors explore the desires, the humours and the sorrows of life.

Each story is the shard of a mirror that reflects the lives of the ordinary people in extraordinary ways. A man exposes his desire for celebrity and greatness. A girl discovers a dragon in her backyard. A one-way mirror reveals a horror no mother should ever witness. Borrasca is an exotic and flamboyant woman but her true identity is shrouded in dark secrecy. The unlikely friendship between a Chinese gardener and a young girl…

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FREE EVENT: Live reading of 500-word stories – ABC Open, 11:15am Sun 6th April (Newcastle Writers Festival)

Event details

Date: Sunday 6th April 2014

Time: 11:15am to 12:45pm

Where: Mulubinba Room – Newcastle City Hall, 290 King Street Newcastle

Cost: FREE

This Sunday I’ll be doing a live reading of one of my ABC Open 500 word short stories from 2013-14, along with a whole bunch of local talented authors. Me? Performing at the Newcastle Writers Festival? Now, this is exciting!

It sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. ABC Open has been running the 500 word projects for a while now, and I’ve been contributing stories for the last year. ABC Open chooses inspirational topics each month and writers from all over Australia send their stories in. The range of contributors is fantastic: from young budding writers talking about their complicated lives to 90-somethings reminiscing about the old days. They are all true stories and all written in first person.

I’ve found you can learn a lot about someone in just 500 words.

Here’s some of last year’s topics that stood out for me:

An act of rebellion – I wrote about how every Friday night my parents would play loud music, drink beer and consider getting tattoos when I wanted to do was study for my HSC

Failure – I wrote about how I thought my partner would love a bright blue ukulele for Christmas

The things we do for love – I wrote about the pain of having to drink a litre of water before an ultrasound but how it was all worth it when I saw what was on the black and white screen

If you’re in the Newcastle area on Sunday make sure you come along. The short stories you’ll hear are quirky, funny, heart-warming, heart-wrenching and absolutely unique.


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