22 March 2020

Meet the young writers of Toolkits: Memoir 2020

We are pumped to be kicking off our second ever Toolkits Memoir program with 8 talented young writers from across Australia. This year we received many applications, making the selection process a difficult one.  For 12 weeks, these young memoirists will unpack the fundamentals of memoir storytelling, focusing on developing their work from conception to a first longform-draft.  The program will also cover the forms, skills, and ethics of writing memoir, combining theoretical approaches and practical exercises, and how to pitch ones’ work to publishers.

Toolkits: Memoir will be facilitated by award-winning writer and editor, Zoya Patel. Zoya is the Founding Editor of independent feminist journal, Feminartsy and her memoir No Country Woman is out now.  Zoya will facilitate the programs online sessions and workshops, providing one-on-one mentorship and individualised feedback to each young writer.

For more information on our Toolkits and Toolkits: Live program (which you can participate in right now!) visit our website.

But for now, say hello to the class of 2020!

Jack Rowland, 21, (Macedon Ranges, VIC)

Jack Rowland is a non-fiction writer, critic and editor living in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria. He is currently completing the final unit in an Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT, through which he has learned (among other things) that he should never attempt to write fiction. In 2019, Jack was co-editor in chief of Visible Ink’s 31st issue Again! Again! Again! His literary criticism has appeared in Australian Book Review, the Big Issue and The Garret: Writers on Writing. Jack is currently working on a longform essay tentatively titled At a Certain Angle, In a Certain Light which examines his relationship with the writing of Gerald Murnane. He hopes to work further on this essay through his participation in Toolkits: Memoir, and to become more comfortable with taking the piss out of himself. He tweets @jackrowland_

Danny Baulch, 26, (Birrarange/Melbourne, VIC) 

Danny is a 26-year-old university student, support worker and creative nonfiction writer. For now, she writes memoir focusing on the body, family, sexuality and grief. More broadly, she is interested in how personal and collective histories intertwine, and why unspoken stories get handed down from one generation to the next. During Toolkits: Memoir, Danny will develop a braided essay she has been working on and start drafting an experimental memoir piece. She particularly hopes to engage with some of the ethical dilemmas of memoir and nut these out in relation to her own work. Danny studies professional writing and editing at RMIT University and international development at Monash University. She is a recipient of a 2020 Rosie Scott studio residency and her recent work has appeared in The Suburban Review. When she is not writing, Danny likes to read, run, go camping and is learning how to swim. She can be found at @danny_sun_b. 

Mason Wood, 22, (Birrarange/Melbourne, VIC)

Mason lives and writes on unceded Wurundjeri land in Melbourne. He recently completed his Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Media Communications at the University of Melbourne. He writes confessional essays about the food he’s eaten, the places he has slept and the sex he hasn’t had.

For him, memoir serves an important function with how he reconciles himself with the world and makes peace with all of its terrible inconsistencies. Often writing about experiences that he is currently in the midst of, Mason is hoping that Toolkits will help him refine how he approaches proximity and objectivity. Mason’s on Twitter @masinwould and Instagram @m.asonwood.

April Rasmussen, 25, (Birrarange/Melbourne, VIC)

I am a Melbourne-based writer and illustrator from the US. I enjoy writing and reading science fiction and fantasy, exploring new worlds, and diving deep into research about plants and animals. Another aspect of writing that I enjoy is exploring relationships and how we can all strive to be more compassionate to one another. For me, writing memoir has felt dirty or selfish, as I don’t see my life to be exceptional. After receiving positive feedback from a piece about my dad published in Voiceworks last year, I realized that what was special to people is not my experience at all. Instead, it’s about how the reader relates and contextualizes their own experiences in new and interesting ways. Through this course I hope to learn how to navigate the ethics of writing about my life and the people close to me.

Alix Palmer, 29, (Birrarange/Melbourne, VIC)

Alix Palmer is a writer, broadcaster and creative queer originally from Bundjalung country northern NSW. She volunteers at 3RRR, reads non-fiction submissions for Overland Magazine, and works in market strategy at RMIT.

Creative non fiction is her chosen form and bodies and mental illness are her subjects of choice. She’s currently working on a memoir about love, substance abuse, and the anxious body. She hopes to use Toolkits for motivation to write and to improve on structure, voice and confidence.

Rose Barnsley, 24, (Birrarange/Melbourne, VIC)

Rose is 24 and lives in Melbourne. She did a philosophy degree with an Honours thesis on the distribution of free time in late capitalism, and now she is studying law. Things she has written appear in Lor Journal and Queen Mobs Teahouse. In her spare time before the apocalypse she volunteered at community legal centres and went to gigs. Through the Toolkits program, she is hoping to learn how to sit still better and write things down more.

Georgie Harriss, 25, (Wodonga, VIC)

Georgie Harriss is a writer and theatre producer hailing from the town of Albury (not Wodonga). She holds an Honours degree in screenwriting from the Victorian College of the Arts where she specialised in television comedy. Since graduation she has concentrated her efforts on the craft of playwriting. Her debut play Love Bird enjoyed successful seasons at both the Butterfly Club and La Mama. She has since been the recipient of Australian Theatre for Young People’s Fresh Ink Mentorship, a Tessa Waters Mentorship and a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship. She is currently Co-Artistic director of Curtain Kill Theatre, a company dedicated to telling queer, female and gender diverse stories with complexity and joy. Georgie hopes Toolkits: Memoir will help her refine her prose writing skills as she makes the transition into to the complex and fascinating world of Life Writing. She is also looking forward to a bright future of correct semicolon usage.

Isobel Andrews, 23, (Birrarange/Melbourne, VIC)

Isobel Andrews is a twenty-three-year-old librarian who lives above a hot pot restaurant. She’s only eaten there once — it was just okay. She grew up in the Sydney suburbs, moved to Melbourne for love, and writes poetry and memoir to get her wriggles out. She’s hoping Toolkits will help her nudge her wriggles into a recognisable shape, and she’s looking forward to meeting other young writers (and wrigglers) in the process.

Her newsletter exploring Melbourne’s suburbs one by one comes out every Sunday unless she has to vacuum. You can subscribe at https://tinyletter.com/zasobel or follow her @zasobel almost everywhere.