30 December 2003

To all readers

Wishing you all the very best for the Christmas season and a wonderful, peaceful and poetic New Year!
Just an aside:

About the free links at the top of this blog: they come along with the free service that hosts this web site and are not at all related to this site's content. Cheers, Ed.

Important announcement for Australian writers ...

Here goes: the first public announcement of The Write Stuff inaugural poetry and short story competitions: see The Write Stuff web site for details.

The Write Stuff 2004 poetry and short story competitions

During 2003, The Write Stuff featured the Showcase of Tasmanian Poetry, edited by The Write Stuff co-editor, Anne Kellas. Now, thanks to a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous, The Write Stuff is pleased to announce its inaugural short story and poety competitions for writers Australia-wide:

1. The Write Stuff Poetry Competition 2004
This competition is for a poem or suite of poems; total length: between 10 and 200 lines. First prize: $700; second prize: $200 (Australian dollars).

2. The Write Stuff Short Story Competition 2004

This competition is for a short story of 5,000 to 10,000 words (i.e. no fewer than 5,000 and no more than 10,000 words). First prize: $700; second prize: $200 (Australian dollars).

Announcing The Write Stuff Short Story competition, Giles Hugo, the other co-editor of The Write Stuff, writes: "Few, if any, competitions cater for the reasonably long short story. The longest are usually pegged at 3,500 words. Some competitions ask for a mere 1,200 or 1,500 words. It's almost school essay time. Do the organisers of competitions believe that the judges have short spans of attention?"

"But seriously, serious writers like to write, to tell a good story in good time, to develop, delight, reverse and reward the reader for taking the form seriously. Most find the 3,500-word ceilling in most competitions is restrictive and limiting. Which is why, in setting up The Write Stuff Short Story Comptetion 2004 we have decided to set a word limit that takes off long after most other competions have left off, and which cuts off at a respectable altitude for almost all proponents of the art form - namely 5,000 to 10,000 words (ie no fewer than 5,000 and no more than 10,000 words)."


The Write Stuff will publish all prize-winning entries on its web site. The deadline for the competitions is Friday, 30 July 2004 and entries must be postmarked 30/07/2004 or earlier. Entrants agree to their submissions being published on The Write Stuff web site if they are prize-winners -- see the rules of the competitions on The Write Stuff web site , which is where to find the entry forms, at: http://www.the-write-stuff.com.au/competitions/.

Cornford Press

Cornford Press has announced its latest title: High in the Pawpaw Tree by Andrew Hardy.
Andrew Hardy (1974-1997) was not only a poet of great potential when his sudden and unexpected death deprived us of his keen intelligence; with his warm personallity and his idiosyncratic and zany genius, he had already begun to realise that potential. These poems range from the most delicate love lyrics to wry and perceptive social comment. Andrew Hardy's touch is always deft, no matter what the subject, and his sense of tone is exact and knowing. This volume presents for the first time a book-length selection of his poems, enabling a much wider readership to enjoy his combination of quirky humour, compassion and verbal originality than was the case during his life. (Source: Cornford Press)

HERE COME DA JUDGE!

... Giles Hugo, co-editor of The Write Stuff, and one of the judges of the soon-to-be announced Write Stuff inaugural poetry and short story competitions, explains the long, the short and the tall of The Write Stuff Short Story Competition 2004:

He writes:

THE short story is an endangered art form. No kidding. But there is hope.

In September when she read and spoke in Hobart, Annie Proulx confirmed that her next work will be a collection of short stories, and that, in fact, she may have written her last novel, as she intends to devote most of her creative energies to the short story.

I was flabbergasted and delighted that a writer of Proulx's proven excellence in both long and short fiction - including winning the Pulitzer, National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and the PEN/Faulkner Award - should turn her attention so exclusively to the short story. If her publisher backs her decision, it will be a great service to literature.

You've got to be a little crazy to value a marginalised art form so highly.

Some of my best friends are writers of short stories. I write short stories. Most of my literary heroes are writers of short stories. Some of my heroes are those demented souls of publishing who persist in putting out collections and anthologies of short stories, and those happy few editors of literary magazines who have an eye/ear/mind for real short stories - as opposed to ''short fiction'', or simply ''text'', the pissed-modernist's ''equivalent''.

Short stories published in most Australian literary mags, anthologies or collections generally earn their authors very little - anything from a couple of free copies up to about $350 (say $100 per 1,000 words).

That's why I always tell young writers: 'Don't give up your day/night job.'

While writers of short stories struggle on in their quest for legit hard-copy publication,one seemingly booming outlet for output is the plethora of competitions for short stories. Publication may not be part of the winnings, but prizes are considerable in some cases. Within Australia, they vary from tens of dollars to thousands.

However, all writers of shorts stories of my aquaintance agree on one thing: Few, if any, competitions cater for the reasonably long short short. The longest are usually pegged at 3,500 words. Some competions ask for a mere 1,200 or 1,500 words. It's almost school essay time. Do the organisers of competitions believe that the judges have short spans of attention?

But seriously, serious writers like to write, to tell a good story in good time, to develop, delight, reverse and reward the reader for taking the form seriously. Most find the 3,500-word ceilling in most competitions is restrictive and limiting. Which is why, in setting up The Write Stuff Short Story Comptetion 2004 we have decided to set a word limit that takes off long after most other competions have left off, and which cuts off at a respectable altitude for almost all proponents of the art form - namely 5,000 to 10,000 words (ie no fewer than 5,000 and no more than 10,000 words).

I believe that most ''serious'' - and that will be defined anon - writers of short stories have a few stories of such a length languishing in dusty drawers (like some of their authors!) awaiting just such an opportunity to stand a chance of winning up to $700 and achieving publication in this online journal.

Some might be inspired to write something new - exploring the art form at length. Power to your pens! And mouses.

So what will this judge be looking for in such ''serious'' short stories?

I rather like Kurt Vonnegut's injunctions to young writers in his Short Story 101 introduction to ''The Bogombo Snuff Box'' (....), which include:

* Begin as close to the end as possible.
* Something must happen. One notable exception is Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lit Place''.
* Everybody must want something.

To which I would add:
* Most good short stories have a beginning, a middle and an end - though not necessarily in that order. Like chess - and life - much of the skill exhibited in a good short story comes in the endgame.
* Comedy is best avoided if the writer is not a natural exponent - short stories do not carry a canned-laughter track.
* A good title - like a picture - can be worth another 1000 words. Bland titles are a wasted opportunity to stand out and impress.

What is a ''serious'' short story - vs, obviously, a frivolous one? Hard to say. My all-time personal canon of ''serious'' writers of short stories includes, in no particular order and for very different reasons: Edgar Allen Poe, Guy de Maupassant, Anton Chekov, Mark Twain, ''Saki'' (H.H. Monro), Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, Katherine Mansfield, Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Charles Bosman, William Saroyan, Damon Runyon, Colette, Anais Nin, Dylan Thomas, J.D. Salinger, Gerald Kersh, Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft, Anna Kavan, Truman Capote, G.W. Robinson, Geoff Dean, and Annie Proulx.

... ... Giles Hugo

28 December 2003

Turner Hospital Receives Patrick White Award

Janette Turner Hospital was recently awarded the 2003 Patrick White Award (which recognises a writer 'who has been highly creative over a long period, but has not received adequate recognition for their work'.) From the austlit web site: "Prior to this award, Hospital's only major Australian prize was this year's Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Best Fiction for Due Preparations for the Plague." (She has been shortlisted three times for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, but has never won; she lives predominantly in North America but visits Queensland fairly regularly and has been a writer-in-residence at Australian universities. After a publishing hiatus of 7 years, Hospital recently published a selection of short stories, North of Nowhere, South of Loss and the novel, Due Preparations for the Plague.).

27 December 2003

Read all about it
  • Singapore's Wordfeast 2004 includes Australia's John Mateer [link]
  • Unpublished Ogden Nash poem discovered [link]
  • Manners, poetry & injustice [link]
  • "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells: A Philosophical, Intellectual, and Spiritual Study" [humour]
  • US ex-laureate's poem on a billboard [link]
  • Poet accused of murder [news]

18 December 2003

Links of a literary kind

Send me your links ...

The Write Stuff web site currently has links at the foot of each page for Tasmanian literary web sites. I have gone full circle on the issue of having a separate links page. I have had such a page in the long distant past (mid to late 90s) but discontinued the links page because link-rot sets in so easily with web sites and keeping an eye on them adds to the work of a web site. But, after a long email discussion with Coral Hull, who contributed some opionion from John Tranter, I have decided to re-instate a separate web page on the The Write Stuff containing a list of selected links.

So any avid Latte Liners who are reading this, why not send me your favourite literary links? Be as eclectic and specialist as you wish, as long as the site you suggest is literary, and of some value to others writing. Ah. The email address to send them to is Anne DOT Kellas AT the-write-stuff.com.au -- thanks in advance.

16 December 2003

Word gossip
  • NZ poet Mark Pirie [profile]
  • Politically incorrect Enid Blyton [link]
  • Really young poets win [link]
  • Goverment Health Warning: Poetry Can Kill [link]
  • Tasmania: an artist's paradise? [link]
  • Man recovers from POEMS syndrome [health]
  • Thoughts on poetry competitions [link]

8 December 2003

Shorts and briefs
  • Sydney Morning Herald's 2003 best book picks, including poetry [link]
  • Yeats quarrels with himself [link]
  • $100m Poetry bequest creates headache, triples contributor's payment [link]
  • Coetzee overload [link] [link] [link]

6 December 2003

Sunday 7th Dec: Republic Bar and Cafe

Sunday 7th Dec: Poetry at the Republic Bar and Cafe, 299 Elizabeth St. North Hobart, featuring:
* 1 p.m. Barbecue in beer garden;
* 2 p.m. Masala concert, a hybrid of world music sounds;
* 3 p.m. Launch of The Poets' Republic Broadsheet #2;
followed by a reading from Launceston poet Tim Thorne;
* 3.30 p.m. Summer Open Reading Competition (5-minute time limit, literary prizes). For more details, contact Liz Winfield leggs456 @ msn.com, ph (03) 6272 9324.
(Poetry at this pub happens on the 1st Sunday of every month).

1 December 2003

Lit news and goss
  • Two Oz poets, same name, a lot of confusion [link]
  • Appreciating critic Hugh Kenner [life overview]
  • UK MP writes dubious poem [link]
  • Chant Laureate wanted [link]
  • Poet Benjamin Zephaniah snubs OBE [link]

Short story competitions to enter in 2019

Thanks to the Australian Writers Centre, here's a list of s hort story competitions to enter in 2019: https://www.writerscentre.com.au/...