Express Media is pleased to present Toolkits: Live, a series of live streamed events for young writers across Australia to kickstart their creative writing.

Toolkits is a program in which a select group of young writers develop their skills in a unique and exciting online environment, with facilitators Jennifer Down, Tom Doig and Melody Paloma.

But Toolkits doesn’t stop there. Toolkits: Live is an accessible online opportunity for all young writers to learn from the best and brightest wordsmiths in Australia. Through a series of live streamed YouTube sessions and an interactive social media conversation, participants can develop their writing skillset and hone their craft—all in the comfort of their own homes.

Participants will learn the ropes of writing memoir with Fiona Wright, cover literary journalism with Royce Kurmelovs, learn how to write authentic characters with Mirandi Riwoe, and discover world-building, setting and identity with Claire G. Coleman. Toolkits: Live offers the opportunity to ask burning questions and engage live on social media, using the hashtag #EMToolkits. Best of all, the sessions are totally free and open to the general public.


Tuesday April 17 

For some of us, character-writing comes naturally. For others, it’s one of the trickiest parts of the gig.  This week, acclaimed author of The Fish Girl, Mirandi Riwoe joins us to discuss strategies for writing believable, fleshed-out characters that stay with you long after the story ends.

Mirandi Riwoe is a Brisbane-based writer. Her novella The Fish Girl won Seizure’s Viva la Novella V and was recently longlisted for the Stella Prize. Her debut crime novel, She be Damned, was released in 2017. This year she is Peril Magazine’s prose editor. Her work has appeared in Best Australian Stories,Review of Australian FictionRexPeril and Shibboleth and Other Stories, and she has received fellowships from the Queensland Literary Awards and Griffith Review. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies (QUT).

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.


Wednesday April 18 

How should you represent events and experiences from your own life? Does writing memoir have to be exposing? Join award-winning writer, poet, editor and critic Fiona Wright to explore writing from real life.

Fiona Wright is a writer, editor and critic from Sydney. Her book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction. Her poetry collections are Knuckled, which won the 2012 Dame Mary Gilmore Award, and Domestic Interior (Giramondo, 2017). Her new essay collection is forthcoming from Giramondo this year.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.


Tuesday May 15 

This week, author, essayist and Black&Write Indigenous Writing Fellow Claire G. Coleman joins us to talk about world-building, environment and relationship to place in fiction. How does setting inform a narrative—and its characters? What role does climate and environment have in storytelling? How can we bring a place to life, even it it’s imaginary?

Claire G. Coleman is a Wirlomin Noongar woman whose ancestral country is in the south coast of Western Australia between Esperance and Albany.  In 2016 she was awarded a Black&Write Indigenous Writing Fellowship for a manuscript she wrote while travelling around the continent now called Australia in an old troop-carrier and a ragged caravan.  Her debut novel Terra Nullius was published in September 2017 with Hachette Australia.  Since then her poetry, short prose, essays and opinion have been published and the novel Terra Nullius has been longlisted for the Stella Prize.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.


Wednesday May 16 

How do you know if an event is worth researching and developing into an extended narrative? How do you balance the aesthetic possibilities of literature with the factual demands of journalism? Join internationally acclaimed author and journalist Royce Kurmelovs to learn about writing compelling literary journalism.

Royce Kurmelovs is a journalist and author of The Death of Holden (2016) and Rogue Nation (2017). His work has been published by The ABC, The BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera English and other publications.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.


In 2017, participants learnt the ropes of voice, setting and editing in fiction from Omar Musa, Tony Birch and Elena Gomez, the history of Indigenous stories in poetry with Evelyn Araluen, and the intricacies of visual art and poetry with Bella Li. Toolkits: Live offers the opportunity to ask burning questions and engage live on social media, using the hashtag #EMToolkits. Best of all, the sessions are totally free and open to the general public.


Whose story are you telling? How are you (or your characters) telling it? What makes dialogue sound real? Join Omar Musa – poet, spoken-word superstar and author of the Miles Franklin-longlisted novel Here Come the Dogs – to look at strategies for crafting an authentic, strong narrative voice. Challenge your understanding of the ethics in storytelling and get in tune with sounds of your story.

Join the conversation and livestream this event.

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 released four hip hop records, three poetry books (including Parang and Millefiori), 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 published by Penguin Australia in 2014. Here Come the Dogs was long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award and Miles Franklin Award and he was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Novelists of the Year in 2015. He is currently working on a novel that is set in Malaysia and Indonesia.


Why is it so important to create space for Aboriginal voices in our literary institutions? Join Evelyn Araluen to explore the history of Aboriginal writers in Australian literature; from ancestral songs and stories to contemporary poetics; and learn why everyone benefits from the ethical representation and reception of Aboriginal writing.

Join the conversation and livestream this event.

Evelyn Araluen is a poet, activist, teacher, and researcher working with Indigenous Literatures at the University of Sydney. She is the coordinator of Black Rhymes Aboriginal Poetry Night in Redfern and has spoken at the Sydney Writers Festival, Newcastle Writers Festival, and the National Young Writers Festival. She is the 2017 winner of the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, and her poetry and criticism has been published in Overland, Southerly, Rabbit, and Best Australian Poems 2016. Born on Dharug country, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung nation.


Setting is about more than just a story’s location – it’s the time period, environment, climate, landscape and culture of your writing. How can we create a sense of place without physical descriptors? How can we write about places we’ve never seen, or make up our own locations? Can we write place as its own real and convincing character? Join Tony Birch, award-winning author of Ghost River, Father’s Day and Blood, to discover the intersections between setting and environment, and their relationship to place.

Join the conversation and livestream this event.

Tony Birch is the author of the books Shadowboxing (2006), Father’s Day (2009), Blood (2011), shortlisted for the Miles Franklin literary award,The Promise (2014) and Ghost River (2015). His new short story collection, Common People, will be released in August 2017. Both his fiction and nonfiction writing has been published widely in literary magazines and anthologies, both in Australia and internationally. He is currently the inaugural Bruce McGuinness Research Fellow within the Moondani Balluk Centre at Victoria University.


Now that you’ve finished a draft of your story, what do you do with it? Join poet, essayist and book editor Elena Gomez to break down the nuts and bolts of fiction and learn how to edit out the guff and bring out the detail you need to make a story sing. Learn how to self-edit, refine and revise your work, the dos and don’ts of submission processes, and how to approach your favourite publications.

Join the conversation and livestream this event.

Elena Gomez is a poet and book editor, currently at Text Publishing. She has published poetry, criticism and essays at Overland, The Lifted Brow, Cordite, Mascara Literary Review and Scum Mag, and in 2015 she was a Firstdraft Writer-in-Residence. She is the author of a number of chapbooks: Per, with Eddie Hopely (Make Now Books), A GLAZED WINDOW W/FAT BORDERS//[TAUT & DISCOLOURED] (Stale Objects dePress) and CHILL FLAKES, and is currently completing an MFA at UNSW Art & Design.

If you have any questions about how you can view and take part in Toolkits Live, email Express Media’s Creative Producer, Bethany Atkinson-Quinton, on

Toolkits is generously supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

Toolkits: Poetry is presented in partnership with Australian Poetry, with the generous support of The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

Toolkits: Live is presented by Express Media in partnership with Regional Arts Victoria as part of the Arts Connect Series funded by the Federal Government’s Regional Arts Fund.