Author Archives: Jessie Seymour

Call for contributions—TEXT Special Issue.

Deadline: Wednesday 15 April 11.59pm (EST)

The in/completeness of human experience…

Dear all,
I’m writing to invite you to contribute to a Special Issue of TEXT, to be released alongside the standard issue, in April—The in/completeness of human experience. The Special Issue will consist of AAWP members’ creative responses to the current health crisis and its impacts—it is an opportunity for us to come together as writers.

We are deeply interested in capturing a composite “picture” of what people are writing about. Now. Please send creative work—short-short fiction, “sudden” fiction, “sketchy” stories, creative nonfiction, poetry, short pithy scripts, as well as hybrid forms.

We are accepting submissions on the following scale: up to 400 words prose (including submissions in script format), 40 lines for poetry (approximately 200 words for prose poems), and the equivalent for hybrid forms. Submissions must be previously unpublished. We will accept a maximum of two submissions, per author. Please send your most polished work, without delay. The aim is to capture the immediacy of people’s “thinking positions”. The call opens on Tuesday 7 April and closes on Wednesday 15 April 11.59pm (EST).

In ace news: Recent Work Press (RWP) has agreed to publish a selection of entries in a hard copy collection, following the Special Issue. This will be launched and offered for sale at our 25th annual gathering: Rising Tides (Griffith University, Gold Coast, 16-18 November 2020).

Please note that this opportunity is open only to current AAWP members. You will be prompted to provide membership details, when you submit:
 For inquiries re. the status of your membership please contact:
 If you are a student, or in precarious employment, and the membership fee presents an issue, please contact Julia:
Write boldly. Go gently. In solidarity.

Dr Julia Prendergast
Senior Lecturer, Writing and Literature
Major Discipline Coordinator: Professional Writing and Editing
Swinburne University
Chair of the Executive Committee
Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP)
AAWP Portfolio: Partnerships and Prizes


For the second issue of Axon for 2020, we are calling for work that addresses the topic “Manifestos, diatribes and interventions”, in manuscripts that take on the big issues of the day: natural, environmental and epidemiological disasters; questions of social, economic and environmental ethics the place of creative practice in contemporary culture (including in cultural and higher education institutions) and the capacity of creativity and creative engagements to intervene in and help remedy individual and collective crises.

For this issue, we are inviting submissions of:

  • scholarly essay up to 6,000 words
  • manifesto or diatribe/rant up to 750 words
  • photo essays incorporating a contextualising statement of up to 500 words (send up to 12 images, and the editors will make a selection from those images)
  • creative essay incorporating poetry, short fictional prose, images, sound, up to 4000 words; attach a contextualising statement of up to 500 words

Submissions can be lodged at our Submittable site: here.

Deadline Extended – Meridian: The APWT Drunken Boat Anthology of New Writing

By popular demand the deadline for Meridian: The APWT Drunken Boat Anthology of New Writing – APWT’s first book length publication featuring the best fiction, non-fiction and poetry from APWT members – has been extended. Submissions now open until April 1st 2020. The anthology will be edited by preeminent editors in their fields Ravi Shankar (poetry) Tim Tomlinson (fiction) and Sally Breen (creative non-fiction). There is no theme for the collection, so please send us your best unpublished work. They are looking for bold and original voices and welcome work which features Asia Pacific perspectives. Open to established and emerging authors, poets and translators. This opportunity is only available for current or new financial members. To make a submission visit:

Call for Papers – AAWP 25th Anniversary Conference, 16-18 Nov 2020

The Australasian Association of Writing Programs was a milestone in the history of university creative writing teaching a quarter of a century ago. We celebrate that milestone at the 25th anniversary AAWP conference to be held at Griffith University, 16-18 November 2020. Proposals are invited for academic papers, panels, performances and/or creative presentations of up to 15 minutes duration that explore the conference theme of ‘Rising Tides’.

Although travel plans may be delayed due to Covid-19 concerns, we anticipate that the conference will go ahead in November as planned.

Links to the conference registration and AAWP membership pages are provided here:

Please email abstracts and proposals (150 words approx.) by 24 April 2020 to: 

Submissions should also include your name, university affiliation, e-mail address, the title of your proposed paper, and a short bio (100 words approx).

We encourage participants from Australasia and around the world, from all backgrounds, including university lecturers, postgraduate candidates and undergraduate students of writing – who are working in all genres, modes and styles, theories and practices of creative writing. If you’ve never been to the AAWP conference before, we encourage you to take the plunge!! If you are unable to make it, we hope you’ll encourage your colleagues, associates and students to embrace the opportunity.

Please note that all conference presenters must be AAWP members. To renew your membership please go to:

New $30,000 Australasian literary prize celebrating historical fiction genre

Microsoft Word – HNSA ARA Historical Novel Prize Media release

Australia’s leading infrastructure and facilities service provider ARA Group has partnered with The Historical Novel Society Australasia (HNSA) to announce a new major literary prize, set to award $30,000 to an outstanding historical novelist. The new ARA Historical Novel Prize gives Australian and New Zealand historical novelists the chance to be recognised in a class of their own, with the most significant prize money for any genre-based prize in Australasia. Entries will be judged on excellence in writing, depth of research, and reader appeal.

ARA Group Founder, Executive Chair and Managing Director Ed Federman said as a patron of historical literature, he was honoured to partner with HNSA to launch ARA Group’s first-of-its-kind major literary prize. “ARA Group has been involved in advocating for and celebrating the arts for many years through our Principal Partnership of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Monkey Baa Theatre, the National Institute of Dramatic Art, and our workplace giving program, the ARA Endowment Fund. We are hopeful this prize will have a profound impact on the life of the winning author in this increasingly popular genre, and create a lasting legacy. It’s important we help foster the arts in Australasia not only to enrich people’s lives, creating a culture of reading and writing, but also to ensure our stories and history live on.” he said.

Applications are open to all authors — whether traditionally or self-published — who are residents or citizens of Australia or New Zealand, with books published between 1 January 2019 and 30 June 2020. Entries may be submitted by authors, publishers and agents.

HNSA Chair and Author Elisabeth Storrs said the award recognises and rewards authors with both literary acclaim and a tangible benefit. “After building a community of writers, readers and publishing professionals over our past three biennial conferences, the HNSA is delighted to be given the chance to raise the profile of a genre that values creativity, authenticity and discovery,” she said. “We are grateful to the ARA Group for its financial support, which will make a substantial contribution to the winner’s work.”

ARA Group and HNSA are also pleased to gain the assistance of the New England Writers’ Centre (NEWC), based in Armidale NSW, which will administer the submission process. Author and Chair of NEWC, Sophie Masson, said: “As a dynamic regional arts organisation in an area rich in literary history, the New England Writers’ Centre has always supported great writing and opportunities for writers. We are absolutely delighted to be involved in the inauguration of such a major new fiction prize, which will highlight the strength of a most exciting and diverse genre.”

The definition of the genre set for the prize will ensure a breadth of talented writers is eligible to enter. Historical fiction will be defined as a novel written at least 50 years after the events described, or by an author not alive at the time of the events described, who therefore must approach those events only through research. Various historical subgenres, including Children and Young Adult, are also eligible.

Submissions open on 1 May and close on 30 June 2020. The longlist will be released in mid-September with the shortlist announced mid-October. The prize winner will be announced on 18 November 2020. More information about the prize can be found at HNSA Media Contact: ELISABETH STORRS 0414 867 673

The Big Picture: Subject English across Secondary and Tertiary Education in Western Australia (Part One: Creative Writing Pedagogies)

Survey link:

We invite you to participate in a survey, as part of research into creative writing pedagogy at both secondary and tertiary levels in Western Australia. This project aims to understand the way in which creative writing is currently taught as a subject/discipline in both the secondary and tertiary setting with Western Australia.

With a focus specifically on pedagogy, this project will combine a review of current teaching practice with consideration of the writing practice of established and professional creative writers, in an effort to understand the factors that influence the teaching of creative writing in a classroom setting. This project looks to consider the nexus between secondary and tertiary teaching, and support our ability as educators in scaffolding students’ transitions from one educational domain to the other.

The survey aims at identifying the base tenants of your pedagogical and teaching practice in creative writing. The survey will be conducted via an online survey portal, and should take no more than 10 minutes. The survey will not seek to identify you, and all responses will be considered confidential. No identifying details will be collected or disclosed at any point.

If you would like to participate or discuss any aspect of this study please feel free to contact Dr. Catherine Noske on (08) 6488 2063

Claire Jones and Dr. Catherine Noske

24th Annual Conference roundup!

We had a fantastic three days at UTS in Sydney.

The papers were engaging, the food was good (though the haloumi wraps were sadly absent), and the weather was decent – thunderstorms and smoke not withstanding.

We have a few changes to the running of the AAWP and its executive, which will be coming in a later post. For now, please enjoy these pictures collected by the delegates and social media officers!

AAWP/ASSF Emerging Writer’s Prize 2019

The AAWP / ASSF Prize is a publication pathway for emerging writers. The prize is open to short stories. The Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) is delighted to partner with the Australian Short Story Festival (ASSF) to provide this publication pathway for emerging writers. Heartfelt thanks to the judges for managing the judging process with such integrity—thank you for so generously donating your time in the interests of emerging writers.

2019 Winner: Anne Hotta for ‘Kanreki’

Judges’ report:

Anne Hotta’s ‘Kanreki’ is a quietly funny and heart-warming story about an older Japanese woman finding a new passion in dancing the Tango after her husband dies, much to her conservative son’s chagrin. It’s a story about going against traditions and finding ways to be happy within yourself. With writing that is spare but detailed, the reader is gently brought into the foreign universe of the story through the thrill of a crush, which most of us can relate to. ‘Kanreki’ is a multi-layered story that the judges loved reading and re-reading. The standard was high and the judges would like to commend three other entries. Congratulations to the winner and the commended writers.

Commended entries:

‘Sean’ by Judi Morison

‘Freeing Yasmin’ by Wendy Riley

‘Infinite Scroll’ by Rebecca Bryson

About the winner:

Anne Hotta is an Australian now living in Victoria. Anne spent fifteen years living Tokyo and five in New York. She is a teacher with various hobbies, the most important being creative writing. She has written nonfiction articles for newspapers, journals and magazines, but would like to be a successful writer of fiction. In a short but dedicated career, she has had a few stories published by literary magazines in Australia and has received five, now six, awards in both Australian and international competitions.

AAWP/SC Emerging Writer’s Prize 2019

The AAWP / SC Prize is a publication pathway for emerging writers. The prize is open to creative nonfiction. The Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) is delighted to partner with Slow Canoe Live Journal (SC) to provide this publication pathway for emerging writers. Heartfelt thanks to the judge for managing the judging process with such integrity—thank you for so generously donating your time in the interests of emerging writers.

2019 Winner: Anna Kate Blair ‘Marguerite Duras at the Tepid Baths’

Judging is despairing. Not because there are so few good pieces, but because there are so many that are so near to being fully realised, that never quite arrive, however much they promise that they will. There are of course, inevitably, bad pieces too, that feel like so many small electric shocks. That is meaningless. Every writer, perhaps, arguably, I would say, particularly those who are on to something, that are reaching for something, will in the beginning write poorly or ungenerously or wrongheadedly. I can think of a handful of writers that seem to have been born fully realised, though more likely they were born knowing how to hold off until they were. Maybe Anne Carson, definitely J.M. Coetzee: writers who themselves don’t quite feel real, who don’t have volume, particularly inconstant volume, the way the rest of us do.

So when you are judging, and you’re reading piece after piece, and you come across a writer who clicks words into sentences, and then clicks those sentences into paragraphs in a way that feels unquestionable, it’s a shock. It’s a little bit amusing. It makes you remember why you spend the time doing what you do. You don’t quite hear the back parts of your brain saying thank youthank you, to the author as you read, but that is what’s being said back there. I think of funny Louis Kahn, the architect, asking brick what brick wants to be and saying, in front of a hall full of students, brick wants to be an arch. A good sentence, a good piece of writing, is simply one that feels as though it wants to exist, wants to be.

The winning entry of the inaugural AAWP SC Creative Nonfiction Prize, ‘Marguerite Duras at the Tepid Baths’, by Anna Kate Blair, is a very fine piece of writing. It’s about what it’s about and has to be read, but, in a simple, not quite right sense, it’s about the author taking up an activity, or inhabiting an obsession, of a person they’re experiencing the loss of and a tangible grief for, while they are also experiencing an apparently lesser, yet more immediate, grief, of a relationship breakdown. It works beautifully – as a cohesive block it’s quietly moving and quietly funny; it carefully and elegantly builds both a physical and conscious reality. But it also takes control of your reading – it has that tensile slow urgency that drags you far enough into itself so that you experience its elements, in the small and limited way that’s available to us, as the author does. I look forward to seeing what Anna Kate Blair does next. 

I would also like to acknowledge another excellent entry: ‘The Price of Perfection’, by Helena Gjone, about a personal experience of the cruel rigour of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and questions around weight and beauty around dance more generally. This is an excellent piece of writing, showing genuine, early promise.

About the winner:
Anna Kate Blair is a writer from New Zealand. She holds a PhD in History of Art and Architecture from the University of Cambridge. Her work has appeared in publications including LitroThe AppendixKing’s Review and 10 Stories: Writing About Architecture. She is currently a Grace Marion Wilson Fellow at Glenfern Writers’ Studios in Melbourne. 

About the commended author:
Helena Gjone recently completed the bachelor of psychological science and is currently undertaking honours in creative writing at Griffith University.

AAWP/UWRF Emerging Writer’s Prize 2019

The AAWP / UWRF Prize is a publication pathway for emerging writers. The prize is open to fiction or poetry. The Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) is delighted to partner with Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) to provide this publication pathway for emerging writers. Heartfelt thanks to the judges for managing the judging process with such integrity—thank you for so generously donating your time in the interests of emerging writers.

2019 Winner: Annabel Stafford for ‘Acid’

Judges’ report:

The winning entry for this year’s contest is Annabel Stafford for ‘Acid’. The voice is fresh and raw, intent on unpeeling the mystery of a child’s pain. Stafford presents early, if not primitive, aspects of life in dramatic and uncompromising ways, stripping the world of easy sentiments, highlighting the visceral qualities of experience, its haunting and its premonitions of disaster. The intensity of the story, and its focus on multiple ways of understanding the word ‘acid’ in a medical and societal frame of reference is tempered by the Stafford’s deeply human engagement with the topic. Like smoke rising from a candle and casting shadows and lights that shift and evade, the story will draw you in, hold you firmly there as the story unfolds and in its wake.

About the winner:

Annabel Stafford is a casual teacher in the creative writing program at the University of Technology, Sydney, where she completed her Doctorate of Creative Arts in 2018. She was formerly a federal political reporter for The Australian Financial Review and The Age and Sydney Correspondent for The Age. She has also been published in The Griffith Review, Meanjin, The Good Weekend, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Tablet among other publications.