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 and Zoya Patel, Mira Schlosberg, Rory Green, Jessica Bellamy and Elena Gomez.

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.

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.

To see our entire catalogue of Toolkits Live resources head to our Video Resource page! 


Thursday 23rd April | Week 3A | Writing family, writing illness with Amra Pajalic: 6.00pm

In Week 3, we speak to author Amra Pajalic about the ethics and challenges of writing about family. Amra will explore the complexities of navigating culture and illness through memoir.

Thursday 7th May | Week 4A | Life as Research with Ellena Savage: 6.30pm

In this Q&A session with author Ellena Savage, we’ll explore how personal experience can inform and become research material in memoir. We’ll also discuss the interplay between confession and boundaries, and how to find a balance between the two.


Wednesday 22 April | Week 3A | All talk: Dialogue, voice and point-of-view with Holden Sheppard, 6:00pm

This week is for those of us who cringe when we have to write a conversation, or whose characters all end up speaking with the same voice, or who worry about how to pace dialogue. Anyone who’s wondered if they’re better off using first- or third-person. Anyone who’s wondered how to make their conversation snappy and realistic. Award-winning writer Holden Sheppard joins us to talk about all things voice—from writing authentic, compelling dialogue.

Wednesday 3 June | Week 6A | Polishing, editing and submitting your work with Adalya Nash Hussein, 6:00pm

The final week of Toolkits is devoted to preparing your writing for submission, ensuring it’s as polished as possible. Joining us is writer and editor Adalya Nash Hussein to talk all things publication. How can you tighten up a story when you’ve read it a zillion times? What does a good pitch look like? What’s it like to be edited? …and any other questions you’ve got.

Digital Storytelling

Thursday 17th September | Week 5A | Community: URL and IRL with Cecil Richard, 6:00PM

How can we engage with communities online and offline to develop digital stories and skills? This week, we’re joined by award-winning game designer Cecile Richard to discuss dev scenes, meet-ups, and communities of practice. We’ll talk about the dynamics of collaboration and co-creation, and explore how to get involved in, contribute to or grow your own storytelling communities.

Thursday 1st October | Week 6A | Pitching and Publishing with Hannah Jenkins, 6:00PM

How do digital storytellers pitch, share or get rewarded for their best work? This week, we’re joined by digital writer and editor Hannah Jenkins to discuss where and how to pitch, the process of editing digital work for publication,and avenues for self-publishing and applying the skills you’ve developed beyond digital publishing.


Wednesday 26th August | Week 4A | Ecopoetics with Nandi Chinna, 6.00PM

What is ecopoetics? This session we will unpack what ecopoetics is, and the connection between environment and poetry. We will explore its usefulness in thinking about poetry and the land, and the tensions between settler and First Nations poetry. Nandi will share how her own career as an environmental activist intersects with her poetry, and how it informs her practice.

Wednesday 9th September | Week 5A | The poetry of the everyday with Ella O’Keefe, 6.00pm

Poetry offers a linguistic space to explore deep emotions (love, grief, longing), but it is also a way to explore the quotidian. In this week’s session we look at the poetics of the everyday, and how we as poets might attune ourselves to the small, seemingly banal details that can inform our poetic sense of the world. Focusing on poetry of Alice Notley and Bernadette Mayer.

Graphic Narratives

Thursday 13th August | Week 3A | Digital Illustration – Editing & Colouring with Marc Pearson, 6.00PM

This live edition of Toolkits: Graphic Narratives features guest artist Marc Pearson as he guides us through the basics of digital production and editing.

We’ll discuss ways to make Photoshop less overwhelming. How to customise it to work for your own practice and outline tips and tools you can use to explore digital colouring for graphics. The lesson will be structured around taking a line drawing from paper through to a finished fully coloured jpeg.


Thursday 10th September | Week 5A | Who? What? Character, Plot and Development with Lee Lai, 6.00PM

There is a narrative that weaves and winds its way through the panels on the page. What happens when visual art interacts with storytelling? What drives an event in comics that makes it unique from text and prose? And what unique techniques are available to us if we choose to tell our stories pictorially? 

This live edition of Toolkits: Graphic Narratives features guest artist Lee Lai in an exploration of all things character, plot, and development in graphic storytelling. 

Regional Playwriting

Wednesday 19th August | Week 3A | Creative Structure with Fleur Kilpatrick 6:00PM

There are conventional ways of structuring plays: given circumstances, inciting incident, conflict, climax and resolution. However, how should we structure plays that reflect the actual subject material we’re exploring, and the complex worlds we wish to evoke? Playwright, director, arts educator and arts advocate Fleur Kilpatrick takes us through a discussion of creative and intuitive play structure. 

Wednesday 16th September | Week 5A | Edit It….There: Dramaturgy with Tasnim Hossain 6:00PM

Tasnim Hossain will explain the role of a dramaturg, from the unique perspective of being both a playwright and a dramaturg, with examples from her own practice. She will discuss how she approaches a script and offers feedback, the running of creative developments of new plays, and ways of helping playwrights with redrafting. She will discuss ways of working out the central question of a play, and unique models of dramaturgy she has encountered.

If you have any questions about how you can view and take part in Toolkits Live, email Express Media on

Toolkits is generously supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

Toolkits: Regional Playwriting is presented by Express Media in partnership with Country Arts SA and Carclew.

Toolkits: Poetry is presented in partnership with Australian Poetry.

This project was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund Strategic Initiatives, which supports the arts in regional and remote Australia.