3 August 2016

Tune in to Toolkits Live!


Express Media, in partnership with West Words and Australian Poetry are proud to present Toolkits, a series of intensive, craft-specific online writing programs.

This year 16 young writers were selected to take part in Toolkits: Poetry or Toolkits: Creative Writing and are busy working away on new writing.

But Toolkits doesn’t stop there. We have 5 events with 5 guest artists that will be streamed live and recorded, so you have it at your fingertips. You can stream the event live,  join the conversation and learn from the experts too by tweeting using the hashtag #EMToolkits. Start preparing your questions and  check back soon for links to each event!



Setting and Place with Helen Chebatte

What does setting have to do with your story? Join Helen Chebatte and Felicity Castagna as they investigate how the right details affect your work, and guide you through establishing a sense of place that will strengthen and inform the mood your work.Omar Musa_Square

Helen Chebatte began her career as an actor, working in film television and theatre. Among her many credits she enjoyed roles on All Saints, Crownies, the acclaimed feature film, Cedar Boys and the romantic comedy, Alex and Eve. She also taught Speech and Drama where writing scripts for her students inspired writing stories for children. She has also written articles for local bulletins and CBCA’s iRead.

 Helen’s first Young Adult novel, BRO won The Children’ Book Council of Australia’s Frustrated Writers’ Mentorship Competition, rewarding Helen with a mentorship and the inaugural Charlotte Waring Barton Award. It was published by Hardie Grant Egmont in early 2016.

Tuesday August 16, 6:30pm

Presented in partnership with West Words


Omar Musa_SquarePoetry for Social Change with Omar Musa

Poetry has power. Join social activist and spoken word poet Omar Musa in conversation with Melody Paloma as he explores how poetry can ignite a fire in us that can spark revolutions.

Omar Musa is a Malaysian-Australian author, rapper and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. He is the former winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. He has appeared on ABC’s Q&A and received a standing ovation at TEDx Sydney at the Sydney Opera House. His debut novel “Here Come the Dogs” was long-listed for the Miles Franklin Award, the International Dublin Literary Award and he was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Novelists of the Year in 2015. He releases his new hip hop EP “DEAD CENTRE” on August 5th.

Tuesday August 23, 6:30pm

Presented in partnership with Australian Poetry



Crafting Character and Voice with Luke Carman

Someone once said that characters aren’t invented. They knock on your door, demand to be written and all you can do is listen to them. Join Luke Carman and Felicity Castagna as they look at strategies for carving out memorable characters with strong individual voices. We will also be exploring voice as a writer, what writing in first, second and third person can add to your story, and why point of view matters so much.

Luke Carman is the author of An Elegant Young Man, which was awarded the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writing.

Tuesday August 30, 6:30pm

Presented in partnership with West Words

Benjamin Laird

Digital Poetry with Benjamin Laird

The digital world has opened a whole new realm of possibilities that’s just waiting for poets to tap into. This week, Benjamin Laird and Melody Paloma will take you down the virtual rabbit hole and show us what digital poetry can do, and how we can use the computer to communicate our ideas in new and exciting ways.

Benjamin Laird is a poet and computer programmer. He writes print and electronic poems which have appeared in Peril, Unusual Work, Cordite Poetry Review, and Rabbit. He has written a book-length conceptual poem with US poet Angela Genusa, Composition (2014, Gauss PDF) and his most recent publication is The Durham Poems (2016, SOd Press), a chapbook of biographical electronic poems. He has edited two special issues of electronic poetry for Overland. He was a geek-in-residence at Australian Poetry (2012) and is currently a PhD candidate at RMIT University researching biographical poetry in print and programmable media. He is also the website producer for Overland literary journal and Cordite Poetry Review.

Tuesday September 6, 6:30pm

Presented in partnership with Australian Poetry

Alice Grundy

Editing & Publishing with Alice Grundy

So, you’ve finished a draft of your story. What’s the next step? Together with editor Alice Grundy, we will take a close look at how to carve your writing into being the most refined and publishable work it can be. After this, we will be looking at how to approach magazines, anthologies, websites and radio producers in order to get your work out there.

Alice Grundy is Associate Publisher at Brio. For nearly a decade she has worked in trade publishing with a focus on developing new talent and, more recently, literature in translation. She has presented at writers’ festivals, workshops and conferences in Kolkata, Jaipur, Beijing, Shanghai and on the east coast of Australia. She is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Seizure, an incubator for Australian writing talent, based in Sydney.

Tuesday September 27, 6:30pm

Presented in partnership with West Words

Toolkits: Poetry is presented by Express Media in partnership with Australian Poetry. Toolkits: Creative Writing is presented by Express Media in partnership with WestWords: Western Sydney’s literature development organisation for young people. The program is made possible with the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.