The Varuna Alumni Monthly Feature is prepared each month by Varuna's Alumni News Editor Diana Jenkins.
There are interviews and articles and we encourage you to express your views using the Comments form at the end of each Feature.
Please drop the News Desk a line if youâre so inclined â your feedback is ALWAYS welcome and very much appreciated.
For details on what format to send download this pdf.
A few years back my sister attended a panel discussion in which Margaret Atwood was a member. In answering a writerâs question she replied that one of the fundamental starting points for any story (and this can apply to poetry and essays as well) is to be clear on who is telling this story to whom about what. This is a solid piece of advice and to which I would like to add âand whyâ. What is the compulsion to tell that story to that particular audience and at that particular time?
Almost every writer, no matter her or his critical standing or commercial success, will experience rejection at some point, and most of us will experience it time and time again. Rejection takes many different forms, and comes from an endless bounty of sources: other writers, loved ones, friends, mentors, literary agents, editors, publishers, readers, critics, scholars, and the occasional born arsehole. We should probably find a fun word for rejection, because it recurs so frequently in the average writerâs life that the one weâre stuck with can really start taking its toll. Rejection.
At this yearâs Sydney Writersâ Festival Afternoon Tea, back in May, moderator and veteran broadcaster Geraldine Doogue opened discussion following guest author Brian Castroâs reading â from his new, critically acclaimed novel The Bath Fugues â by declaring that the classical, literary and philosophical allusions across Castroâs oeuvre ââŚjust arenât us.â
Elisabethâs blog, Sixth in Line, includes regular posts on issues concerning the genre. In a post written back in April 2010 â Why I write autobiography â Elisabeth notes that the task of writing "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" is an impossible one, saying, "there is no such thing as absolute truth, only multiple variations of it, and multiple perspectives."
Alumna Gillian Turner was one of last year's Varuna visitors to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig in Ireland. She sent us this stunning report of her time there.
The view from Gillian's room at AnnaghmakerrigThere were men on the road with guns when I set off for my last walk around Annaghmakerrig.
Turning onto the Stuart Highway, I press down on the accelerator and donât let up until the needle reaches 130, arriving at Erldunda in record time an hour and a half later. Tourists sit on picnic tables in front of the roadhouse, dazed by all the space. There are Indian women in bright pink saris, looking like exotic lotus flowers that got blown off course. There are Japanese couples in khaki outfits, regarding the world at armâs length through cameras. There are Germans sporting brand new Akubras and grey nomads comparing mileage. A few people are clustered near a fence at the edge of the parking lot, looking at emus that turn their flat heads on long, skinny necks, first one way and then the other to stare back with each uncomprehending glassy brown eye.