Writing NSW – Interview (July 2020)

Writing NSW

How did Writing NSW begin?

We were established in 1991 as the NSW Writers’ Centre to support writers and writing culture in our state. In 2018, we changed our name to Writing NSW to reflect our aim to serve writers across the state through face-to-face and digital programs. Our physical home is at Garry Owen House in Callan Park. It’s a fantastic space where members can come and use our rooms to write and participate in writers’ groups. We also hold our face-to-face courses and workshops there.

What are the goals of the Writing NSW?

We aim to make a difference to writers, to help them develop their skills, find their community, and build sustainable careers.

Please tell us about the resources offered by Writing NSW

First and foremost we provide a community for writers, a place for sharing of skills, knowledge and ideas. Alongside this, we also offer:

  • Courses – Each year we offer a suite of courses, workshops and seminars for writers of all levels, led by industry experts, writers and leaders in the literary sector.
  • Events – We run a lively program of events for writers including festivals, our Talking Writing events, First Friday Club morning teas, and more.
  • Mentorships and Assessments – Writing NSW can connect writers with a talented industry expert for one-on-one feedback on their work.
  • Grants and Fellowships – Writing NSW provides a number of opportunities for writers including our Writing NSW Varuna Fellowship and the Boundless Indigenous Mentorship Program.
  • Writing Groups – We facilitate dozens of Writing Groups who convene at Writing NSW, as well as providing a directory for groups across the state. Get in contact with Writing NSW to find a group to suits you!
  • Resources for Writers – We provide information for writers including resource sheets and Writing NSW publications.
  • Space to Write – Visit us at Garry Owen House and use one of our writing rooms – a great place to go when you need to find that much needed peace and quiet.

By becoming a Writing NSW member, you can access many of the resources above free or at discounted prices.

What courses are available through Writing NSW?

Right now we are building on our online courses program – just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t keep developing your writing! This will be expanded again to face-to-face courses once the NSW government advises us we can do so.

We have online courses to suit everyone, ranging from one-day seminars to five-month online courses. Each course is tailored to suit writers at different levels, aspiring, emerging and developing, so you can continue to add to your writing toolkit wherever you are in your writing journey.

Do you offer scholarships?

We offer payment plans for our longer courses. You can chat to our memberships officer about tailoring a plan to suit you by giving us a call on 02 9555 9757.

We also offer concession prices for members, so if you’re a student, regional member or hold a seniors card, you can access discounted course prices.

I’m just beginning my creative journey, are your courses suitable for beginners?

We have a lot of courses suitable for those just starting out on their writing journey, both online and face-to-face (though we’re only doing online at the moment – stay tuned!).

You can check them out here: writingnsw.org.au/whats-on/courses

We’ve also developed our first on-demand course, Getting Started with Picture Books, which is perfect for those who aren’t sure if they’re ready for a full course.

This type of course is self-paced and can be completed from your own home. It’s a great way to start and get a feel for the world of picture books.

We are also currently working out when we can run our Kids and YA Festival (either later this year or in 2021), it’s perfect for writing beginners to meet fellow writers at all stages of careers, listen to industry professionals and gain inspiration to starting their journey.

Can you share any student success stories with us?

We have so many! A great example is children’s author Shelly Unwin. Shelly is part of a writing group here at Writing NSW:

‘The first and most important thing I learnt as part of this group was how to take constructive criticism and make it work for me, and how to edit, edit and re-edit before submitting. I also learnt about all of the networking opportunities, festivals and publisher critiques that were available to me.’

She ended up landing a publishing contract through a networking event in the group, as well as valuable critique from like-minded writers. She’s now published 6 books with another one coming soon!

Success Story - Shelly Unwin

How can we find out more about Writing NSW?

Right now we’ve had to close Garry Owen House to the public until NSW has lifted public health restrictions, but we’re still online and by the phone!

Head to our website to find out info on who we are, what we do and how we can support you on your writing journey.

For weekly news, events and opportunities for writers, sign up to our e-newsletter.

If you have a question for us on how we can help you, email us at  or give us a call on 02 9555 9757.

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