Fiona WrightNEW COURSE: Your Brilliant Writing Career

with Fiona Wright, Pip Smith + guests.

11.00am - 5.30pm

Allen & Unwin
83 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Get directions
(Please note access is via stairs)

Course fee:
$195 / $165 alumni

What does it mean to be a writer? What does it really mean? What do you have to give of yourself, and what will you see in return?

In this special symposium, memoirist and poet Fiona Wright – the author of four critically acclaimed and award-winning books – will chart her course from aspiring writer to published author sharing the joys, the pitfalls and the lessons she learnt along the way.

Throughout the day Fiona will be joined by fellow writer Pip Smith and industry experts, as she helps you understand what life is like for a new writer and what opportunities are out there. How do you manage work and life, while finding time for the work of writing and the writing life? How do you as an individual connect to the wider industry? To answer these questions and more, Fiona will be joined an editor, publisher and agent to look at the bigger picture of being a published Australian writer. Each session will have time for question and answers to ensure you get the most out of the day.

This unique symposium features an exclusive networking session at the end of the day and a chance to meet your fellow writers over a light lunch.

About the Presenters

Fiona Wright is a writer, editor and critic from Sydney. Her book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance (Giramondo Publishing, 2015) won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction. Her poetry collections are Knuckled (Giramondo Publishing, 2011), which won the 2012 Dame Mary Gilmore Award, and Domestic Interior (Giramondo Publishing, 2017),which was shortlisted for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award. Her new essay collection The World Was Whole (Giramondo Publishing, 2018), has recently been longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize.

Pip Smith is a SMH Best Young Novelist of 2018. Her debut novel Half Wild (A&U, 2017) was recently shortlisted for the 2018 Voss Literary Award, and her first poetry collection, Too Close for Comfort (SUP, 2013), won the inaugural Helen Ann Bell Award. Pip ran the monthly writing event Penguin Plays Rough, for which she published and edited the multimedia anthology, The Penguin Plays Rough Book of Short Stories (2011). Her first picture book, The Making of Theodore, will be published by Scholastic in 2019. She was a Faber Academy Writing a Novel scholarship recipient, has been a co-director of the National Young Writers' Festival, and holds a doctorate in creative arts from Western Sydney University. She is one quarter of garage-punk band Imperial Broads and can often be found pushing a baby in a pram around the parks of the Inner West.

About the guests

Nick Tapper is Commissioning Editor at Giramondo Publishing, where he works on literary titles in fiction and non-fiction. He has a particular interest in formally challenging and genre-crossing works, and writing in translation. Outside Giramondo, he has recently edited and written introductions to the artist monographs Ngarra: The Texta Drawings and Shane Pickett: Meeyakba. His work beyond publishing has traversed visual arts, theatre, festivals and cinema.

Phillipa McGuinness is an acclaimed non-fiction publisher at NewSouth Publishing/UNSW Press where she has worked for more than a decade publishing books of history, politics, popular science, biography and memoir, many of them prize-winners. She is the author of The Year Everything Changed - 2001 (Penguin Random House, 2018) which was shortlisted in the Queensland Literary Awards, and editor of Copyfight (NewSouth, 2015). She has been published in The Guardian, Meanjin, the Sydney Morning Herald, Inside Story, Griffith Review and elsewhere.

Tara Wynne, with an MA in English from Edinburgh University, joined Curtis Brown UK in 1998, and moved to Curtis Brown Australia as a Literary Agent in January 2002. She represents a broad range of writers from commercial (romance, thrillers, crime, fantasy) to literary fiction and non-fiction (travel, memoir, history, self-help) to young adult fiction and children’s. She is also Vice President of the Australian Literary Agents Association.

Tanya Vavilova is an emerging writer preoccupied with liminal spaces and outsider perspectives — by life on the margins. She has published essays and short stories in Meanjin, The Lifted Brow, Seizure, the Mascara Literary Review, Slow Canoe and the UTS Anthology, among other places. Her short story Artichoke Hearts won the Wollongong Writers Festival Short Story Prize in 2018. She was recently awarded the Writers NSW Varuna Fellowship for 2019 and will be a Bundanon Trust artist-in-residence later this year. Her debut collection of essays We are Speaking in Code is forthcoming from Brio in early 2020.

Please note in the event of unforeseen circumstances, courses - including tutors and venues - may be subject to cancellation or change.

Course Program

Session 1: The Beginnings of a Brilliant Career (Fiona Wright)
11 am – 12pm

They say getting started is the hardest part. How do you get a break in the writing world? What does that first publication credit bring with it? How can you position yourself?

Session 2: Where the Writer and the Editor Meet (Fiona Wright, Nick Tapper)
12pm – 1pm

What is the relationship between a writer and their publisher? How do the two roles intersect and work together to produce the best quality work? Is it more collaborative than we think?

LUNCH BREAK (1pm – 2pm)

Session 3: The Support Networks Around You (Fiona Wright, Pip Smith and Tanya Vavilova)
2pm – 3pm

How do other writers collaborate and work together? How do writers support each other through the years?

Session 4: The Wider World of Words (Phillipa McGuinness and Tara Wynne)
3pm – 4pm

What does an agent bring to the table and how can they help you navigate the complex world of publishing?

Session 5: Wrap Up
4pm – 4.30pm

A brief final word from Fiona Wright – what does the future hold for her, and for you – before we begin our networking session.

Session 6: Networking (and Champagne)
4.30pm – 5.30pm

Join us for an exclusive networking session over a glass of champagne with the guest writers, editors and agents. This is your opportunity to ask questions and make connections with publishing professionals who know how the industry works.

Book here:

N.B. You will be charged a booking fee of 50 cents ($0.50)

For further information contact us: or (02) 8425 0171.