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Reports from the Chair & the Director, for 2006 to the TWC Annual General Meeting Print E-mail

Chairman’s Report for 2006
Read at Tasmanian Writers Centre’s AGM
Wednesday 18 April 2020,
Republic Bar
North Hobart, Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre continues to undergo development as an organisation, with the continuation of many of its vital programs that provide workshops for this state’s writers. 

2006 welcomed a diverse array of writers to Tasmania under the Island of Residencies Program, so that workshops could be held not only in regions across the state but also across a range of genres, styles and levels of skill. It is highly regrettable that changes to funding policy at the Australia Council may in the long term place the continuation of these workshops under some threat. 

While a simple – but more likely solution is to increase costs (with non-members bearing the greater burden of cost increases), this is not preferable and will be hopefully contained if alternative means of subsidising the costs of these workshops can be secured as part of the Centre’s aim to provide valid and affordable opportunities for the state’s writers. Valuable additions to the TWC’s program of workshops are the longitudinal workshops and courses held both on-line and, thankfully, in real time. 

In 2006 these workshops & courses were been presented by Tansy Rayner-Roberts, Robyn Friend, Sarah Day and Rosie Dub, and have taken the form (in the case of Robyn Friend’s, which I participate in) of monthly meetings over ten months or so, during which time one is expected to write a novel.  These workshops & courses are valuable for many reasons—chief among them the access they provide to an established writer, and the sense of community they establish between a group of writers who are in pursuit of more or less the same goal. 

2006 saw the TWC gain funding for, and subsequently organise and conduct, what is most likely the world’s first Antarctic writer’s festival (Ice Cold Words).  Featuring a compelling program of writers, academics, scientists and performers, Ice Cold Words provided some unique perspectives on Antarctica and its place in the imaginations of those who have visited, or written about it from afar.  

The TWC also provided welcome assistance for the development of two projects aimed at younger writers, The Brew and Being Zine in all the Write Places; the former providing a unique publishing outlet in taking submissions for poetry and prose to be printed and placed on stands on café tables, and the latter allowing two Tasmanian zine-makers to conduct workshops on this process in Hobart and Launceston.   

The pursuit of alternative and additional streams of funding remains one of the ongoing challenges at the Tasmanian Writers' Centre, and one such enterprise has paid dividends with the receipt of funding through Copyright Agency Limited for an expansion to the Island of Residencies program; in 2007, the TWC will host a writer from every Australian state and territory as well as writers from overseas. 

Aside from CAL, TWC Director Joe Bugden will continue to investigate sources of income from other means such as (chiefly) commercial agreements with local businesses or companies.  The most notable of these so far is an ongoing agreement between the TWC and the Hobart Bookshop, while the TWC also continues to enjoy productive relationships with the city councils of both Hobart and Launceston. 

Through great support from Launceston City Council, the TWC has been able to make use of the Launceston Gorge Cottage for writers’ residences.  In 2006 Canadian poet Jacqueline Turner spent four weeks living and writing in the cottage, and in 2007 the Gorge Cottage will again be used to accommodate writers in residence later this year.   

The TWC continues to encourage and support the work of local writers who are fortunate to find publication. 

The Tasmanian Writers' Centre promotes books by Tasmanian writers both through its newsletter, WriTAS, and the Read Tasmania program.  Many authors have gained valuable publicity and promotion for their work through these avenues, and it remains central to the importance of the TWC that it continues to celebrate the success of local writers through publication. 2007 may address issues such as the ongoing pursuit of publicity for the Tasmanian Writers' Centre and its activities, as generated (for example) by the arrival of writers to commence a residency.   

The management of an arts organisation will at the best of times present specific challenges and dilemmas and again throughout 2006 TWC director Joe Bugden has executed his duties with sound good judgement and consummate professionalism. 

The TWC is a small but vibrant organisation which serves a vibrant sector of the Tasmanian arts community and for 2007 I look forward to continued success and an ever-evolving range of possibilities to enhance skills, opportunities and prospects for the state’s writers.    

Cameron Hindrum,
Chairman, Committee of Management.
18 April 2020 

_____________

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Inc. 
Director's Report for 2006 to the TWC Annual General Meeting 
18 April 2020

2006 was an extremely busy year for the TWC. Apart from developing and delivering a packed program of assistance to Tasmanian writers, it was a year that saw us submit our triennial grant application for 2007 – 2009 to the Australia Council’s Literature Board, and our 2007 program application to Arts Tasmania. The first six months of 2006 were largely taken up with the development of the TWC’s three-year business plan, and triennial application. The rigid reporting and formatting requirements of Key Organisations made, what should have been a clear and exciting process, unfortunately confusing and frustrating.  

Despite this, the Tasmanian Writers' Centre was able to attend to the needs of its members, maintaining a membership of just fewer than 500. The TWC sustained its programs to writers living all around Tasmania, and expended its reach to enable Tasmanian writers to travel interstate and overseas for professional engagements.  

Within the first six months of the year, the TWC also developed and presented Ice Cold Words; an Antarctic Writers’ Festival (probably the first Antarctic Writers’ Festival anywhere, ever) as part of the Antarctic Midwinter Festival. Ice Cold Words was a weekend festival of readings, discussions, debates and interpretations of Antarctica. The festival included Australian and international authors who have either travelled to Antarctica or have published fiction, non-fiction, plays, poetry and prose set in Antarctica.

Ice Cold Words was presented by the Tasmanian Writers' Centre, with the support of Festivals Australia, the Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC , The New Zealand Book Council, and the National Archives of Australia. 

Throughout 2006 the Tasmanian Writers' Centre continued to provide time and space throughout Tasmania, to writers from all around Australia, as well as from Canada, New Zealand and Japan. The TWC has been operating the Island of Residencies since 2000, and during that time has hosted writers’ residencies for between 40 and 50 Australian writers, as well as for writers from Canada, UK, USA, Japan, Holland, France, and Indonesia. Not only does the Island of Residencies program provide space and time for writers to work on their projects away from the day to day distractions of domestic and other commitments, these residencies have enable many Tasmanian writers to establish professional networking and other relationships with the residency programs visiting writers. This has in itself already lead to new works being published as well as local authors being invited to interstate and overseas writers’ festivals.

It is of great concern, not just to the Tasmanian Writers' Centre, but to all the state and territory writers’ centres, that the Literature Board has decided to disqualify writers’ centres from applying for Skills & Arts Development Grants, which would ensure that such opportunities for both visiting and host writers are able to continue to flourish.  

During 2006 the Tasmanian Writers' Centre continued its partnership with Varuna, the Writers’ House – a partnership established in 2005 to ensure that talented and committed Tasmanian writers can benefit from the opportunities that a national residencies program can offer.

During 2006, as part of its Island of Residencies program,  the Tasmanian Writers' Centre managed writers’ residencies, including those for international writers, Ken McGoogan and Jacqueline Turner, both from Canada, Mariko Nagai from Japan, and Laurence Fearnley from New Zealand. Interstate writers in residence included Mitchell Joe from the ACT, Emily Maguire and Alice Addison, both from Sydney, Paddy O’Reilly from Melbourne, and Kim Mahood from near Braidwood, NSW.  


In 2006 TWC’s Island of Residencies program expanded to include Laurence Fearnley as writer in residence as part of that year’s Antarctic Midwinter Festival, and Jacqueline Turner as the TWC’s first writer in residence in the Launceston City Gorge Cottage.


Another great addition to the TWC’s Island of Residencies program in 2006 saw Tasmanian award-winning author, Danielle Wood, be the first to take up the TWC/PEI writers’ exchange. Danielle was writer in residence on Prince Edward Island in October, and that writers’ exchange was a great success. As part of this exchange the TWC will be hosting Deirdre Kessler, a poet and children’s writer from PEI, as one of our writers in residence in Tasmania in 2007. 


In 2006 the TWC concluded its Young Writers’ Programs, “The Brew” and “Being Zine in All the Write Places”
. Funding of $4,000 for this program was obtained from the Australia Council, and credit for the idea and its execution must go to Benny Walter, with thanks, too, to Sarah Howell and Ingrid Reynolds for their involvement in Being Zine.  The project was twofold: comprising 1) The Brew, a series of eight issues of new poetry & prose by young Tasmanian writers, and 2) Being Zine in All the Write Places; a series of zine-making workshops conducted in Hobart & Launceston. 

The Brew was conceived and edited by young Tasmanian poet, BENNY WALTER, who was the Tasmanian state finalist in the inaugural Radio National Poetry Slam. 

Being Zine in All the Write Places, saw young Tasmanian zine-makers, SARAH HOWELL and INGRID REYNOLDS, develop and present a series of zine -making workshops, that looked at the history and development of zine-making; production options, and networking, distribution, and other promotional and circulation strategies. The impact of the project was significant for those involved. The Literature Board may well remember the first work they had published, and how important those positive feelings are to an emerging writer! First Publication endows a writer with myriad credentials. It provides a tangible link to the possibility of being a 'real writer'. It is accompanied by recognition from one's peers; one sees one's efforts manifest in the printed and published word; and one receives, through this project, a modest, but nonetheless economic consideration as a consequence of one's creativity. Such things cannot be underestimated. 


The Brew was published in menu stands placed in the tables of two prominent cafes; Sutton's Café (in the foyer area of the Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart) and Café Blue (located at the Inveresk Arts Centre adjacent to the Arts School and Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery in Launceston).Both these cafes have high-volume custom.  One issue of The Brew (comprising up to nine new works) would be printed and placed in the A4 size menu stands on the table of Suttons Café, where they remained for a month.

That issue would be replaced by the next, and posted to Café Blue, where it would be on display in Launceston for a month, and so it went for the eight issues published over eight months.
 

Through this program a whole wave of young Tasmanian poets and prose writers achieved their first publication. 


The Tasmanian Writers' Centre’s 2006 Skills and Arts Development Program continued to provide many, many emerging and developing Tasmanian writers with access to programs
that enable them to improve their craft, contacts and confidence. The TWC’s writers’ workshops program is far-reaching and accessible. This program has been such a success greatly due to the support provided by the Literature Board over recent years.  

In 2006 the Tasmanian Writers' Centre organised writers’ workshops by visiting writers, which  were presented in Hobart and Launceston, and the TWC continued its novel writing courses in Hobart, Launceston and on-line. Workshops and courses were presented by Tasmanian authors Rosie Dub, Tansy Rayner –Roberts, Robyn Friend and Sarah Day.

In 2006 almost  170 Tasmanians participated in the TWC’s workshops and courses through this program. 

During 2006 the TWC also continued to present its lunch-time series of workshops at Women Tasmania in Hobart, as well as its support of the regular monthly readings at the rePUBlic Bar & Café.  
 

Throughout 2006 TWC’s director continued to travel the state to meet with TWC members, individually and in groups, and to give the presentation, What to do with Your Manuscript. During 2006 the TWC’s director visited and met with writers in Zeehan, Latrobe, Devonport, Burnie, Launceston, and Falmouth, as well as meeting with writing groups within Hobart and on the eastern shore. In 2006 the TWC continued providing administrative and marketing support to the ever-growing Tasmanian Poetry Festival. In 2006 the TWC made great progress in the development of Read Tasmania, and this will continue to be a high priority during the 2007 – 09 triennium. As part of Read Tasmania the TWC also increased the number of Featured Books included in Writas (the magazine of TWC members).  

In 2006 as part of the Tasmanian Writers' Centre’s Read Tasmania program the following Featured Books demonstrate the diversity of talent and subjects written about by Tasmanian writers… 


The Last Tourist by JANE WILLIAMS Published by Five Islands Press

Secrets from the black bag by SUSAN WOLDENBERG BUTLER Pub. RCGP Publications

Have Sleeping-bag Will Travel  by BRIAN FOOTE & JOAN MARR  Self-published title.

The Hunt for M.V. Moroccan Star by IAN McLAREN pub Sid Harta

The Controlling Factor by JOAN WEBB Self-published title.

The Watcher’s Dream by LILITH WAUD Pub. BookSurge.

Blood Universe by ESTHER OTTAWAY pub. Five Islands Press.

It All Comes Back to Sheep! by FRANK MADILL Self-published title.

The Gold Coast Settlers by BOB MAINWARING Self-published title.

It is clear that those writers whose books are featured greatly appreciate the increased attention that results from this. 

In 2006 the TWC, again with the support of Arts @ Work, managed the on-going Visiting Literary Agent program.

In 2006
80 proposals were submitted to literary agent Jenny Darling via the Tasmanian Writers' Centre. Jenny Darling met with six local writers; Lyn Jarvis, Janet Lane, Katie Johnson, Neil Cameron, Mary van Liessum, and Alice Hanson, to talk about taking their manuscripts to the next stage, and possible representation.  During her visit to Tasmania Jenny also gave a presentation about the publishing industry, with some really valuable insights being offered.

During 2006 the Tasmanian Writers' Centre was also involved in the development of the inaugural Tasmanian Living Writers’ Week
, an initiative of Arts Tasmania and presented jointly with Arts @ Work. In this celebration of the talents of Tasmanian writers the TWC invested extra staff resources into developing Read Tasmania and other promotional programs to ensure we were able to exploit the intense interest and focus on Tasmanian writing over those ten days in August, which resulted in probably the largest community writers’ festival ever in Australia.

A special grant of $10,000 from Arts Tasmania enabled the TWC allocate resources towards Tasmanian Living Writers’ Week. Of
the Tasmanian writers who participated in writing workshops and courses most, if not all, reported having achieved greater confidence, clarity and skills to be applied to their craft of writing. The number and quality of readings demonstrates success in Tasmanian writers being more competent in reading their works in a professional manner in front of audiences. Increasingly more Tasmanian writers are successfully self-publishing their manuscripts and managing the difficult processes of writing, editing, proof-reading, design and layout and printing. Many more Tasmanian writers are having successful book launches and selling more copies of their self-published works.

Through the TWC’s Island of Residencies program, Tasmanian author DANIELLE WOOD was able to travel to Prince Edward Island in Canada, to work on her new novel. Through the partnership commenced with Varuna in 2005 and continuing in 2006 and ’07 Tasmanian writers HEATHER ROSE and KAREN KNIGHT both achieved great success in being the only two Australia writers selected to be awarded a writers’ residency in Scotland.

As a consequence of having met Dutch poet Fleur Bourgonje, one of the TWC’s visiting writers in residence, Tasmanian poet SARAH DAY, was invited to participate in a poetry in translation festival in Paris in 2006, where she read and spoke to an international audience. In 2006 more Tasmanian writers secured contracts with literary agents or small, medium or larger commercial publishers.


2006 Summary:

But whatever the TWC achieved during the year, it would have not been possible without all those who gave their support to the TWC and its programs. They include the staff, Advisory Board and Panels at Arts Tasmania, the Literature Board and its staff within the Australia Council, the Tasmanian Regional Arts staff, Copyright Agency Limited, Festivals Australia, National Archives (Hobart office), Antarctic Eco-systems and Climate Co-operative Research Centre, the organisers of the Antarctic Midwinter Festival, the members of the Tasmanian Writers' Centre’s Committee of Management, as well as Ellie Taylor, Gabi Robin, and Sue Dilley who gave so much great help throughout 2006, and the Hobart Bookshop, for their continuing support of the both TWC and of Tasmanian writers. 

Our vision remains clear and achievable. The TWC is committed to
"A  vibrant, robust writing and literary culture in Tasmania that is both locally valued and universally recognised." 

So on behalf of the TWC I wish you - our members - and all Tasmanian writers the very best for their writing throughout 2007 and beyond.

Joe Bugden
Director,
Tasmanian Writers’ Centre

 

 
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