Honoured to be awarded bursary to attend Writers Victoria workshop (@Writers_Vic @ShivaunPlozza)


Here in the State of Victoria, Australia, Writers Victoria (@Writers_Vic) is the largest organisation supporting Victorian writers and literary activities. A not-for-profit incorporated association, Writers Victoria supports and connects writers at all stages of development. It has been a leading provider of information, resources and skills development for Victoria’s writing community for more than 20 years.

I have always liked Writers Victoria’s D-Writers program. Recognising the fact that writers often face barriers in the development of their literary careers, the organisation initiated a series of programs in recent years to support regional writers, young writers, writers with disability, and writers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers.

I came to know the D-Writers program in 2015, after seeing a series of beautiful postcards produced for Writers Victoria’s “You, Your Story and the World: Writing the Refugee Experience” project back in 2013. At that time I didn’t know the project provided free workshops for writers from refugee and new arrival backgrounds. Nor did I realise that hosting the workshops was Robert Hillman, an author renowned for his many writings about the marginalised people of the Australian community, particularly of refugees and asylum seekers.

On that day I saw those postcards, I was attending an interview for the position “Diverse Writers China Project Officer” at Writers Victoria. That position later went to Wing Yi Chan, a talented and capable writer who developed and launched the Directory of Chinese-Australian Writers in February 2016. Wing Yi also augmented Writers Victoria’s partnership on the Chinese-Australian Writers Festival in August that year.

I didn’t get to attend the festival. However, thanks to Wing Yi and the Diverse Writers China Project, I was commissioned to write an article for The Victorian Writer magazine, a widely recognised resource for Writers Victoria members and aspiring writers across Australia. Titled “Independent Publishing and Australia’s Writers with Chinese Ancestry”, that article was published in November 2015. You can read more about it here.


As part of its efforts to support Victorian writers of diverse backgrounds, Writers Victoria recently offered a series of professional development opportunities to women writers of colour and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. According to its website, this will include “paid commissions, bursaries to attend a range of Writers Victoria courses, and a free training session for established writers on how to run writing workshops”.

I applied for both paid commission and workshop bursary, and will surely keep an eye on information about the forthcoming training session. Then, on September 6, I received news that with a bursary, I will be able to attend The Art of Criticism – Giving and Receiving Feedback workshop with Young Adult author Shivaun Plozza (@ShivaunPlozza) in January 2018. You can read Writers Victoria’s full announcement here, which was published earlier today.

In my application, I detailed my continued efforts to read and review books by Australian and international authors, especially my participation in the Australian Women Writers Challenge since 2016. I also mentioned some of my reviews that were published by various literary journals. Then I wrote:

Presently I sense a need to further develop my critical approach. I trust that Plozza’s workshop, the only one listed on Writers Victoria’s Events Calendar that focuses on giving and receiving literary feedback, will help me extend my practice as a reviewer of Australian and international authors from diverse cultural, ethnic, linguistic and/or religious backgrounds.

I attended Plozza’s talks on “autonomous adolescence” and “engaging the Internet generation” at the Reading Matters Conference after winning an A$550 Early-Career Scholarship from the State Library Victoria’s Centre for Youth Literature in June, and found her insight as an author extremely valuable. I look forward to having an opportunity to learn from her, how to give constructive criticism and to interpret/evaluate feedback from others. 

Here’s what I learned from helping to raise funds for various non-profit organisations in the past. I applied this to the writing of my application for a workshop bursary:

From time to time we all need help, and there is nothing wrong about asking for financial help. What we need to do is to honestly explain what we have done in the past as relevant and specific proof that we are serious about our work. Then, based on the kind of financial help we are seeking, clearly state what we will do, step by step, with the money if it is granted to us. Finally, elaborate on the reason(s) why our plan, if financially sustained, will help us achieve our goal. The more truthful yet precise details we can provide, the better our potential supporters will see how our goal, when achieved, can benefit us and them, as well as the whole community that both parties care about.

I look forward to attending “The Art of Criticism – Giving and Receiving Feedback” workshop in January 2018. Again, my gratitude goes to Writers Victoria for this generous support. I am certain that this valuable workshop will help to enhance my knowledge and skills as a book reviewer whose constructive criticism can benefit my fellow writers and impact positively on our literary community.



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