Writers Victoria: a new name + the 2012 program

Writers Victoria is launching its new name (formerly the Victorian Writers Centre) and 2012 program tonight. Unfortunately I can’t make it as I’ll be out in the country for a wedding (of two writers!) but I had a chat with WV director Roderick Poole about the changes…

The Victorian Writers Centre has changed its name to Writers Victoria. How and why did this change come about? Is it just a name change or is the organisation having a full makeover?

Moving to the Wheeler Centre in late 2009 was highly anticipated, to say the least; it was going to answer all our questions, cure all our ills and open the gates to Valhalla. Perhaps we got a little too excited. As it happened, we got a little lost and were overshadowed by the new guys on the block. Many of our traditional ‘in conversation’ events and panel sessions lost out to Wheeler Centre events. We battled to increase our profile and the similarity of the two organisations’ names caused confusion. It led us to much more carefully focus what we did and who we did it for. This year, we made sure all our activities and courses had writers at their centre. It worked. Our courses this year were better attended than ever before and we added lots more along the way, due to huge demand. Changing the name was a great way to reflect what was more a re-focus than a full makeover.

WV director Roderick Poole

I see that Writers Vic has some great courses in 2012. What are your top picks?

As always, the ‘Year Of’s are a key part of what we do in the course program. Spending a year with a great teacher, whilst working on your project is a great experience. Checking in with your comrades every month or two creates a focussed and supportive community. Many of our Year Of classes stick together for years after the course has officially finished. We now have extended versions with PD Martin (Novel) and Maria Tumarkin (Non-Fiction).

The ‘Tuesday Tutorials’ are a new element and I’m excited by these. They will be quite specialised, alternating between fiction and non-fiction, giving writers a chance to do a one-off tune up of a particular area of their writing, such as setting, character, dialogue etc, or to embark on a complete series.

‘Ask the Publisher’ is a series of five sessions where we have publishers from different genres form panels to talk about what they are looking for. This is essential stuff for writers to know.

Will the magazine change?

We will publish one more edition of the magazine to take the total to 10 for the year. Still looking at ideas for its design. Stay tuned…

Team Writers Vic

Great photo shoot for the launch of Writers Victoria. Tell us about the outfits…

I’m so sick of bad writers’ photos! We thought we’d raise the bar and embrace our 2012 theme of ‘The Writer’s Journey’. I think we might have got somewhere. We certainly look like we’re going somewhere – but where?! … and when?!!

What’s your favourite thing about being the director of Writers Victoria?

We have a very busy Manuscript Assessment Program. Every now and then we get a MS that leaps up out of the pack. I’ve just finished reading one and am starting another and I’m sure both are going to do really well. There’s nothing like seeing a writer get some recognition for all their hard work and kick a goal or two. That’s why we set off on this journey of ours, after all.

Thanks Roderick, best wishes for 2012.

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