Progressive writers

I’d like to introduce you to some of the writers who also participated in the Overland Masterclass for Progressive Writers, a week-and-a-half ago. Simonne and Maxine have written summaries of the workshop, if you want to know what it was all about. The dynamics were interesting – the  ‘progressive’ themes varied greatly, and were executed differently by each writer. We began to discuss – amongst ourselves, with Overland’s Rjurik Davidson, and with the guest writers Tony Birch, Cate Kennedy and Lucy Sussex – how one’s political interests might be resonant in fiction, without being didactic (unless that was the aim of a specific piece – i.e. propaganda).

Personally, my thematic concerns came about through writing fiction, and through reading. This is how I learnt about what is important to me, and what I would like to explore, engage with ideologically, and have other readers’ eyes opened to. I managed to sneak a bit of what I write ‘about’ in fiction, into my Melbourne Writers Festival biography.

But enough about me. Following are some writers you should definitely keep an eye on. All have talent, and different ones’ work may appeal to you, depending on the kind of genres and themes you engage with and enjoy…


Koraly Dimitriadis

My name is Koraly Dimitriadis and I am a fiction writer. I was raised in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and originate from a Greek-Cypriot background. I have always been creative and have a deep passion for the arts. I have been a serious writer since 2007 and currently study professional writing and editing at RMIT. With the guidance of my mentor Christos Tsiolkas, I submitted my first novel Xenos to the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and currently await the results. I have also written numerous short stories and poetry. All my work is of a progressive/political nature as I am driven to provoking change within our troubled world. More information about Xenos, my short stories and also my blog can be found at my website.

simonneSimonne Michelle-Wells

I have a background in theatre and write theatre reviews for Australian Stage Online. Currently I’m squirreling myself away with another draft of my first novel, which landed me a residency at Varuna in 2008. I’m also the blog administrator, with Charlotte Wood, for the newly launched Varuna Alumni Writers’ blog. Recently I was the recipient of the 2009 Ada Cambridge Prize for biographical short story writing. This story, ‘Broken Light’ has just been picked up by the Director of the Immigration Bridge project in Canberra and will soon be featured in their campaign.

My writing, despite (no doubt) efforts to be otherwise, usually comes back to themes of gender or immigration, often with an underlying element of spirituality that creeps through. I guess, if you want to get to bottom line stuff, I write about hope. This has countless traps and pitfalls, of course! The tendency towards sentimentality being the obvious one. I often find myself killing characters off – maybe it’s my subconscious effort to be as unsentimental as possible, who knows? I was one the writers for the 24 Hour Play Project in WA a few years back and ended up writing a 15 minute play loosely based on my father and grandmother and ended up killing the old man off. He was somewhat surprised at his gruesome demise. Toughen up, Dad, was my response, this is business.

I also write Numerology Charts for people and have recently started writing charts for my fictional characters, which is proving rather intriguing thus far. I’ve been writing a blog called into the quiet since 2007, which has links to all of my reviews for Australian Stage, and can be found here.

The Overland Master Class was a fantastic experience; one I would do again without hesitation, and one I’d recommend to any writer.

alec_patric1A.S. Patric

Talking about myself is a bit difficult. I feel like I’m creating a character called Alec Patric – He’s a writer of stories and poetry, dabbling in something called Literary Fragmentalism, and all kinds of word experiments. He can write ‘normal’ as well, he is quick to assure you. He’s got a wife and they both love Elwood, though occasionally concede that moving somewhere more affordable might be necessary with the advent of children. And when asked what his motivations or principles are, feels souls glazing over like so many 7-Eleven doughnuts, because this kind of stuff feels like making loving physical contact via sporadic internet connections. A.S. Patric is an emerging writer, publishing in Quadrant, Going Down Swinging, Etchings, Blue Dog, Etchings (again), and Wet Ink – that’s Alec Patric. I stand behind the ventriloquist doll and assure you I’m a lot less interesting than the characters I create, and a lot less beautiful than some of my best poetry.

warwick_sprawson_pic3Warwick Sprawson

Hi, (imagine something witty here). After incarnations as a cleaner, engineer, bushland regenerator and general dogsbody I completed RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing course last year. Since then I’ve had short stories published in Southerly and Wet Ink. My non-fiction, mostly hiking articles, has been published in The Age, Wild and Great Walks. In January, Red Dog books will publish my book on Tasmania’s Overland Track – it’s going to have photos and maps and pictures and everything. As I can’t direct you anywhere on-line to read my stories, I virtually don’t exist.

daan_spijer_200_pxDaan Spijer

I have escaped from full-time paid work and insist that I am a full-time writer.  I am passionate about putting the world to rights, especially railing against injustices and bullying, as well as stupidity and dishonesty.  I express this through short stories, verse, plays and essays and am working on laying it all out in a ‘serious’ book and two YA fiction books.  In the past four years I have had almost twenty pieces shortlisted in competitions – which means anything from winning to being commended.  Apart from competition anthologies, I have a story (title ‘Dead’) in Award Winning Australian Writing 2008.  One of my plays won a prize and has been publicly read.  I edit a writers’ magazine for the FAW and used to edit a medical journal.  I post my weekly musings at and have some of my writing and photos on .

rjurik1_thumbnailWorkshop leader and Overland associate editor Rjurik Davidson, who did this all in his own time, is a writer himself:

Rjurik Davidson is a writer, editor and teacher. He mainly writes speculative fiction, ranging widely across surrealism, magic realism, fantasy and science fiction. He has won a number of awards.  He is also Associate Editor of Overland magazine and writes a great deal of non-fiction, mainly on Australian film. He has traveled widely, speaks crippled french in a perfect accent and is particularly interested in political fiction. His collection The Library of Forgotten Books will be published by PS Publishing later in the year.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a bio from everyone. Do check out Maxine Clarke’s blog though – she’s amazing. I’ll have to try and feature her in a different way down the track…

5 thoughts on “Progressive writers

  1. All these writers sound so exciting. It’s cool to see some other political speculative fiction writers too. And now you’ve got me thinking about RMIT’s course again…even though I convinced myself I couldn’t study, work and be a political activist at the same time…

    And one day I’ll be in that class.

  2. Hi Angela. Sorry I was such a slacker about getting you my bio! Excellent post, as usual. I loved that you featured a poet here the other day too! Hope your story is progressing well.

  3. Hey Ange. I don’t know if I thanked you for this, so here’s a little note of appreciation. Pretty selfless of you to just let us present ourselves this way. So thanks again.

  4. Pingback: Raising the Dead – Maxine Beneba Clarke « Verity La

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