17 June 2015

Recap: Finding Your Words (In The Capital)



On the average chilly Canberra night, Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres hosted ‘Finding Your Words in the Capital’ as part of the National Young Writers Month. The night was divided into three segments, a viewing of a live video panel discussion ‘Across State Lines’, an in-house panel with four established Canberran writers and an informal discussion.

The live screening Across State Lines showed Kaityln Plyley interviewing seven young writers from different states and territories around Australia. The various speakers – Alex Griffin, Sophie Overett, Emily Meller, Lucy Nelson, Katerina Bryant and Caitlin Richardson – talked about the opportunities in their writing communities which are considered small and more isolated than in the metropolitan areas of Melbourne and Sydney. Canberra’s Lucy Nelson discussed organising Canberra’s first writers’ festival Noted which was launched earlier this year. Lucy also listed various publications such as Scissors Paper Pen, Feminartsy and Rip Publishing that Canberra has to offer young writers. There was also a large emphasis on how social media has evolved into a key tool for finding out how to get involved in projects, publications and competitions within your own state/territory and other opportunities across Australia.

The live screening was followed with a discussion with four established Canberran writers. Farz Edraki, Julian Hobba, Claire Capel-Stanley and Rosanna Stevens who have each excelled in different areas in Canberra’s arts and writers scene. They spoke about creating new companies and projects in areas including theater, radio and written publications and they discussed the challenges that they had faced in their own writing and “putting themselves out there” in the arts scene. Stevens, for example, discussed the challenge of juggling her PhD with her creative writing and also in taking care of her physical and mental health – something she suggested all writers should take into consideration. While jokingly referring to the title “established” as another way of saying “old”, or “sometimes getting paid”, their experiences and accomplishments were inspiring for the audience members.

The informal discussions closed the evening. Adelaide Rief, the Creative Producer at Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres, set the challenge of talking with someone you didn’t know about your own writing and the challenges that you face. While this was at first intimidating, everyone participated with enthusiasm. The discussions provided everyone to talk about their own current and future projects and to gain further information about opportunities in Canberra and also in advice on how to tackle challenges such as overcoming being self-conscious about your writing.

The evening overall highlighted the opportunities for young writers both within Canberra and throughout Australia. It was also a fantastic example of the Canberra’s writing scene. While small compared to other cities, it is warm, welcoming and encouraging for new writers.

Rose Maurice


Canberra’s National Young Writers’ Month is presented by Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres in partnership with Express Media

Canberra logos