Big opportunities aren’t just for those peddling their pens in the big smoke. Young writers from across Australia can apply for Toolkits Connect– a series of intensive, craft-specific online writing programs.
In season 2 2022, Toolkits Connect is a 12-week program for writers aged 30 and under to develop their skills, workshop their work and connect with other writers. Express Media is excited to present three streams: Graphic Narratives, Digital Storytelling and Poetry with stream facilitators to be announced soon!
The program includes specialised presentations from guest artists and industry experts, the opportunity to connect with and learn from an established writer and network with other young writers in the same literary form, as well as to contribute to an outcome towards the end of the program (format to be determined by the group and facilitator).
Writers will meet as a group with their facilitator fortnightly on Wednesday evenings, connecting young Australian writers and offering opportunities for skill sharing and development. These meetings will foster community, encourage writers to develop a regular working practice and open a space to receive encouragement/guidance. During the off-weeks, the group and their facilitator will connect and share their work via a private online Discord channel, fostering connection and establishing relationships across the full 12 weeks.
Toolkits Connect will present six live special events with guest artists and industry experts sharing their craft and hints for young writers. These events will be streamed for free on Express Media’s YouTube channel.
Season 1 (March – June 2022)
Toolkits LITE: Poetry
Toolkits LITE: Fiction
Toolkits LITE: Nonfiction
Season 2 (August – November 2022)
Toolkits: Graphic Narratives
Toolkits: Digital Storytelling
Applications to Toolkits Connect are free for Express Media members. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up here.
Applications to Toolkits Connect: Poetry require a joint Australia Poetry and Express Media membership which you can find here.
Have a question? Need help with your application? Send an email to Express Media’s Creative Producer at email@example.com.
Our 2022 Facilitators
Annie Zhang | Toolkits: Fiction
Annie Zhang is a writer and editor. She was the recipient of a WestWords Western Sydney Emerging Writer Fellowship and her writing was shortlisted for the Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction. Her work has been published by Kill Your Darlings and Sweatshop Women, amongst others. She has edited various publications and is currently a fiction editor for Voiceworks. In her day job, she works in book publishing.
Hasib Hourani | Toolkits: Nonfiction
Hasib Hourani is a Lebanese-Palestinian writer, editor, and arts worker living on unceded Wurundjeri Country. His practice disrupts expectations of place, archive, and the relationship between the two.
Hasib is a 2020 recipient of The Wheeler Centre’s Next Chapter Scheme and is currently working on a book of poetry about suffocation and the occupation of Palestine. You can find his work in Meanjin, Overland, and Going Down Swinging, among others.
Manisha Anjali | Toolkits: Poetry
Manisha Anjali is a writer and artist. She has been a recipient of BLINDSIDE’s Regional Arts & Research Residency at Mooramong, a Writer-in-Residence at Incendium Radical Library and a Hot Desk Fellow at The Wheeler Centre. Manisha is the founder of Community Dream Project, a research and documentation platform for dreams, visions and hallucinations.
Eloise Grills | Toolkits: Graphic Narratives
Eloise Grills is an award-winning writer, comics artist, poet and critic living on unceded Jaara land. Her work has been published widely in literary journals and anthologies including Meanjin, The Nib, The Rumpus, Going Down Swinging, Kill Your Darlings, Sydney Review of Books, The Lifted Brow and Borderless. She has been the recipient of many grants, including competitive funding from the Australia Council, the Copyright Agency and Creative Victoria. Essays from her illustrated memoir, big beautiful female theory (Affirm Press 2022), won the Melbourne Prize for Literature in 2021 and the Lifted Brow and RMIT non/fictionLab Prize for Experimental Nonfiction in 2018. She co-authored the graphic memoir Dog Park (Glom Press 2021) with Radha O’Meara and wrote and illustrated the graphic memoir, Sexy Female Murderesses (Glom Press 2018) and tweets and grams at @grillzoid
Maddie Godfrey | Toolkits: Poetry
Rory Green | Toolkits: Digital Storytelling
Rory Green is a writer, editor and digital media artist living and working on unceded Wangal land. Their interactive digital poetry has been published in Running Dog, The Lifted Brow, Cordite Poetry Review, and Taper, as well as presented at festivals including BLEED, National Young Writers Festival, Freeplay Festival and Cementa. Rory is an enthusiastic advocate and mentor in the digital storytelling space, having facilitated Express Media’s online learning program Toolkits: Digital Storytelling from 2020-2022 and mentored through Ainslie and Gorman Centre’s Live Art Lab program. They have also delivered workshops on digital storytelling for Writers SA, Queensland Poetry, Emerging Writers Festival, and Digital Writers Festival. Rory was previously editor at Voiceworks Online, and is currently Games Literature Editor of Cordite Poetry Review.
Our 2022 Toolkits Connect Guest Artists and Industry Experts
Safdar Ahmed is an artist, musician and writer who lives on the traditional lands of the Gandangara people, known by its colonial name of Hornsby. He is a founding member of the not-for-profit community art organisation Refugee Art Project, for which he conducts regular art workshops with people of a refugee background in Western Sydney, and is a member of eleven: a collective of contemporary Muslim Australian artists, curators and writers. In 2011 he published Still Alive, a graphic novel about Australia’s refugee detention system, which in 2022 won the Multicultural Award and Book of the Year in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the Eve Pownall Award for the Children’s Book Council Australia. He sings and plays guitar in the anti-racist death metal band Hazeen.
Jacinta Le Plastrier is a poet, editor, publisher and essayist, and lives in Melbourne. She is also the Chief Executive Officer of the national poetry body in Australia, Australian Poetry, based at the Wheeler Centre.
Rae White is a non-binary transgender writer, educator and zine maker. Their poetry collection Milk Teeth (University of Queensland Press 2018) won the 2017 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, was shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and commended in the 2018 Anne Elder Award. Rae’s second poetry collection Exactly As I Am is out now through UQP.
In 2020, Rae completed a Wheeler Centre Hot Desk Fellowship for their YA verse manuscript Welcome Home. Their short story ‘The Body Remembers’ placed second in 2019 Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction.
Rae’s poem ‘The last tourist’ won the Highest Queensland Entry in 2020 Arts Queensland Val Vallis Award. They have been shortlisted in the 2021 and 2020 Woollahra Digital Literary Awards. Rae’s poem ‘hussshhh’ won Highest Queensland Entry in the 2019 XYZ Prize for Innovation in Spoken Word. And their poem ‘what even r u?’ placed second in the 2017 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize.
Rae’s poetry has been published in Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Meanjin Quarterly, Overland, Rabbit and others.
Jini Maxwell is a curator and writer based in Naarm. They work at ACMI, where they focus on the curation of digital and interactive art, including videogames. In 2021 they were awarded Best Gaming Journalist at the Samsung IT Journalism Awards.
Mohamed Chamas is an artist, independent game developer and poet based in Naarm (melbourne). Mohamed’s work holds magickal, spiritual and mystic practices in both friction and synergy to emerging technological phenomena.This unseemly tension reconstitutes the borders of heresy and divine convolution, led by the ‘dijital djinni‘ ; a speculative research tool. The entanglements that emerge are framed by religious and occult studies, language, ludology, gamification, and the military-entertainment complex. Mohamed’s illusory workings emerge as image, sound, writing, utterance, interaction, virtual reality (VR), artgames, installation, performance, and often as hybrid forms that dance across these mediums. Mohamed’s location-based VR altars are made for the healing of orientalised (and otherwise marked) bodies. Namely,’سايبر تصوف (cyber tasawwuf)’ (2018), which received two Freeplay Independent Game Festival nominations in 2019. Mohamed has exhibited at Siteworks, Testing Grounds, Seventh Gallery, Trocadero Arts Space, Incinerator Gallery and MARS Gallery. Mohamed’s literary work has appeared in Co-, The Lifted Brow, Liminal Magazine, Cordite Poetry Review and Running Dog.
Elizabeth MacFarlane (she/her) is a writer and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne where she teaches Short Fiction, Graphic Narratives and Thinking Writing: Theory and Creativity. She is co-director of graphic novel publishing house Twelve Panels Press, and co-directed the artists’ residency Comic Art Workshop from 2015 to 2019. She writes short fiction, experimental fiction, and autobiography, and has published several articles and a monograph on the work of J. M. Coetzee. Elizabeth is the Lead Investigator on the Australia Research Council Linkage Project Folio: Stories of Contemporary Australian Comics and recently co-published the AusCo report Graphic Storytellers at Work. Elizabeth lives and works in Naarm, on the sovereign unceded land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation.
Toolkits Connect is generously supported by Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and Australian Poetry.