I can’t begin to express my gratitude to the writers I’ve met over the last 15 years who have offered me a ‘hand up’. More than that, I’ve made such wonderful friends.
For starters there is this web site and the ROR group.
But you may not want to plunge in by starting your own group. There are Writers Centres in every state and these are a good place to start. I went to many QLD Writer Centre workshops when I first started out and really enjoyed them.
And there are quite a few writing groups already established. I’ve been trawling the internet looking for writing groups. If I have missed yours, let me know and I’ll amend this post. (With thanks to everyone who emailed me with the names of writing groups).
These are specifically Speculative Fiction writing groups dedicated to helping their members polish their craft and achieve publication. In no particular order.
ACT – The Canberra Science Fiction Guild.(est?)
The CSFG helps science fiction, fantasy and horror writers and illustrators develop their craft through critiquing, and sharing news and experiences. They have produced six anthologies which have been open to writers throughout Australia. (I couldn’t see a ‘history’ page so I’m not sure when they were established).
Queensland – Vision Writers Group (est 1996 – on Father’s day to be exact. Marianne and I abandoned our husbands to the children and ran away to the QWC to attend the first meeting because we were desperate for a Spec Fic writing group).
They say: VISION was formed to give science fiction, fantasy and horror writers in Queensland a chance to meet their peers, have their work critiqued and critique the work of others. We’re about writing, critiquing, sharing experiences and expanding the opportunities for speculative fiction writers in Queensland and Australia. And that’s what we do.
The group is centred on our monthly meetings and the Discussion List but there are lots of other things we do that you can become involved in, if you like. Our aim is to foster a literature-based speculative fiction community that produces good stories and good writers.
There is the Vision discussion list for those who can’t get along to the meetings.
South Australia – Ad Astra (est 2006)
They say: We are a group of dedicated and supportive writers of speculative fiction who meet regularly to critique work submitted by members, and to discuss industry news, information, problems, and specified topics. (limited to 12 members).
They don’t have a ‘mission statement’ on their web sites, but they seem pretty serious about the craft of writing.
Victoria – SuperNOVA (est 1999)
They say: We have around 20 members who meet regularly (although usually not all at once) to talk about SF writing-such as aspects of structure, expression, inspiration, publishing markets and conventions. Whereas the atmosphere is informal, SuperNOVA’s intent is serious, with most members striving to make writing their day-time job (as opposed to part-time addiction). If nothing else, SuperNOVA provides a social forum for SF writers, freeing us periodically from the otherwise solitary struggle of storytelling.
Tasmania -(Let me know if there is a writing group in Tassie)
Tansy tells me the ‘Invisible College’ is pretty much defunct, but they do haved a regular Hobart writing group. Only it more a meeting-to-write-in-company, than a critique group.
Western Australia – I know there is a strong contingent of writers and fans in WA. (Please let me know if there are any Spec Fic writing groups).
Update. Satima tells me the Stromatolights no longer exist as a writing group, although it still has a mailing list with a little traffic. (If anyone has the address let me know. I couldn’t find it).
AND There is an active group (which was mentored for a while by Dave Lucket) at the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre. It has run a biennial mini-con since 2006. This is the link. (Thanks to Carol for bringing it to my attention).
Egoboo WA is a bunch of writers who are working together to crit, learn, and inspire each other. We all live in Perth, Western Australia, and found we have heaps in common.
New South Wales – Infinitas Bookshop Writers Group (est?)
They say they meet to foster:
- greater understanding of our writing’s strengths and weaknesses;
- donation of suggestions for improvements to particular stories; and
- free exchange of information and experience relevant to writers.
As a secondary objective the group provides a social forum for writers to converse with others who share an interest in, and understanding of the issues of, speculative fiction writing.
Edwina thinks there might also be a writing group in Western Sydney so if you know about it, let me know.
Chris tells me there is the Thorbys Writing Group. Most of the members have attended Clarion South and the group was originally started from one of Terry Dowling’s Workshops. For more details see Chris’s comment below.
Northern Territory – If you know of a Spec Fic writing group, please let me know.
Australian Groups - now we are getting into groups with a different aim from just developing their writing craft.
The Australian SF Foundation (est 1976).
The Australian Science Fiction Foundation (affectionately known as the Foundation) was formally established in 1976, partially to carry on the work of Aussiecon, the first Australian World Science Fiction Convention.
Its main purpose is to sponsor and encourage the creation and appreciation of science fiction in Australia. The Foundation does that through the sponsorship and administration of writing workshops and short story competitions, seed loans to national conventions, and the publication of its newsletter, The Instrumentality. The Foundation has, since its inception, been a resource centre for everyone involved in Science Fiction in Australia.
The Aurealis Awards were established by Chimaera Publications, the publishers of Aurealis magazine, to recognise the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.
A lot of people have worked very hard over the years to keep these awards going. A complete list of award winners is available for download on this page.
Clarion is an intensive six week workshop for writers preparing for a professional career in speculative fiction. Clarion has been described as “boot camp” for speculative fiction writers.
In 2002, a new organisation was established in Queensland, Australia to bring the Clarion experience to the southern hemisphere. The first two Clarion South workshops were held in 2004 and 2005, before it became biennial, with subsequent workshops hosted in 2007 and 2009.
Anyone can apply to attend Clarion South (they must be accepted). It is a great experience. See here for FAQs.
Australian Horror Writers Association (est. 2003, incorporated 2005)
(This group is incorporated in Victoria, but its focus is Australia wide so I have listed under Australian groups). They say:
AHWA aims to become the first point of reference for writers and fans of the dark side of literature in Australia. AHWA aims to spread the acceptance and improve the understanding of what horror is in literature to a wider audience, and in doing so gain a greater readership for established and new writers alike.
AHWA aims to offer new writers:
- Mentor Programs
- Critique services
- Informative tips by authors, agents and editors on how to get published
There will also be:
- Genre news on the Australian scene
- Links to horror-related and writing resources
- Regular articles on writing and the horror genre
- An active presence at Australian speculative fiction conventions
- A continued online community for discussions of the horror genre
To reach these goals we welcome all suggestions, comments and ideas. For further information, please contact AHWA
- This association has not been established yet. This will be a not for profit entity with an annual membership fee similar to the standard set by the AHWA.
The point of this page at the moment is to gauge the interest and support of the community and to encourage ideas and debate about what should be included.
- What we will do when we set this association up:
* Support and promote Australian science fiction and fantasy writers
* Assist writers of any level of skill or any number of publications in their activities
* Having a place online for people anywhere in the country to be involved in the community and establish new relationships
* Create a new place on the internet for all members to promote their works
- Australian web sites which foster the genre by offering reviews, information on markets etc.
- ASIF – Australian Spec Fic in FocusASIF is a voluntary group run by booklovers who love reading speculative fiction.
- InkspillersMagazines, Anthologies, competitions, editors, publishers, awards, conventions, resources, foriegn resources.
- SpecusphereThe Specusphere is an independent website created by people who want to explore the speculative world as a creative industry.
- WORLD SF CONVENTION Aussiecon 4The 68th World Science Fiction Convention will be held 2-6 September 2010 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Our Guests of Honour are Hugo-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson, award-winning Melbourne artist Shaun Tan, and dedicated fan Robin Johnson. Melbourne has also hosted Worldcons in 1975, 1985, and 1999.
- The annual Worldcon brings together science fiction and fantasy professionals and fans from around the world. All forms of SF&F are represented – film, television, comics, costuming, gaming, and especially literature. Programming includes panel discussions, lectures, science demonstrations, films, readings, and autographing.
For information in what is happening in the Australian scene see the Australian Science Fiction Bullsheet. (You can subscribe to this for free).
For a list of writing groups across Australia see here. (This list is not complete).
For a list of Specialty Bookshops see Eric Lindsay’s list here. (This list may not be complete).
I am just about ‘listed out’ now. I started compiling this because I had to write an article on fantasy – The Power of Fantasy. And I could not find a definitive list of Australian fantasy writers, let alone speculative fiction writers. So I began making lists.
(Please note all care has been taken to find and include writing groups from small local groups to associations which foster the genre. If I have missed a group, please let me know and I will amend the post).