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Monday musings on Australian literature: Australian Writers’ Centre

September 14, 2020

I have written posts now on writers centres in every Australian state and territory, but there is also, would you believe, an Australian Writers’ Centre. Who are they, and where do they fit in?

It seems like they are primarily a provider of writing courses. When you click on the About link on their website, the first thing you read is:

Welcome to the Australian Writers’ Centre

We’re Australia’s leading provider of writing courses and we’re so excited that you’ve found us at last!
If you’d like to improve your writing skills or simply find your inspiration, this is the place.

They say that they offer courses in “in creative writing, freelance writing, business writing, blogging and much more”, and that people love their courses “because of their affordability, short duration and accessibility – a risk-free way to gain new writing skills in a supportive environment”.  Their courses are “created by experts who are active in the industry”. They run in-person courses (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane) and online ones.

Nick Earls, NoHoThey sound and look highly self-promotional, but who teaches their courses? Well, there are some well-known names there, including published (many of them internationally successful) Australian authors, such as Kate Forsyth (best-selling author of fantasy, primarily); Alison Tait (best-selling author, particularly of children’s books); Nick Earls (popular writer of books for adults, young adults and children, and who has appeared here); novelists Annabel Smith (who has also appeared here a few times) and Natasha Lester; plus others including Valerie Khoo, and various journalists and free-lance writers. I notice, for example, that Annabel Smith’s Creative Writing course that started today is sold out.

They also offer other free “resources” or activities:

So, as far as I can tell, the AWC is primarily an organisation offering courses and other resources for writers, both fee-based and free. Unlike the state-based centres it is not a member organisation, but I can’t find anything on their site, not even their FAQs, about their history or governance. (Wikipedia’s article on Valerie Khoo says she founded it in 2005.) This sort of information is not essential, of course. If they are providing a needed and appreciated service, that’s the important thing. But, I’m a librarian-archivist, and I do love it when organisations provide some history on their sites. It’s not hard to do.

A novel works its magic by putting a reader inside another person’s life. (Barbara Kingsolver, from AWC Newsletter, 6/2/20)

Exactly why I love to read (notwithstanding there are some lives I may not want to be in) … what about you? 

Writers Centres posts: ACT, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2020 11:58 pm

    Do you think maybe it’s a commercial site?

    • September 15, 2020 8:14 am

      I think it is Lisa, but the question is, is it good? Also it offers quite a bit of free content.

      • September 15, 2020 8:55 am

        I wasn’t suggesting it wasn’t good… just that it might have a different raison d’être. Angela Savage would know more about this than me, but I’ve done a couple of Writers Victoria courses, and it seems to me that the state-based organisations also support a sense of an ongoing writing community.

        • September 15, 2020 4:01 pm

          Thanks for clarifying that, Lisa – I just wanted to make sure. But, yes, I suspect (or my sense is) that the member-based writers centres probably do have that additional benefit of encouraging community.

  2. September 15, 2020 2:44 am

    I am something of an information addict. With everything online these days there is no reason not to post lots of information online. I get frustrated when organizations do not do this.

    • September 15, 2020 8:17 am

      Yes, I do too, Brian. Particularly with the internet and the amount of serious information, you want to know who people/organisations are, even if the site does “look” ok from other info on it.

  3. September 15, 2020 7:06 am

    I’ve done several courses with AWC and found them to be excellent. The podcast hosted by Valerie and Allison is great as well.

    • September 15, 2020 8:19 am

      Thanks Denise, that’s great to hear … and I guess they offer another income stream for writers.

  4. September 15, 2020 8:51 pm

    People of a certain age will remember and maybe even admit to reading Australasian Post (I wonder how long ago it went out of business). It’s great attraction to me in those years before I got my head together and did a degree was the courses it offered on the back cover. I was endlessly fascinated by the idea of them but never actually did one.

    • September 15, 2020 9:27 pm

      Oh yes, Bill, good one. I do remember the Post though my parents didn’t get it. I remember seeing those course advertisements, and being fascinated by them too.

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