The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc - Interview (December 2020)

How did The Society of Women Writers NSW begin?

In 1925, four distinguished women journalists signed a letter convening the first meeting of what was to become the Society of Women Writers NSW. Florence Baverstock, of the Bulletin, became the first president with (Dame) Mary Gilmore one of four vice – presidents. The Society’s original aims were to promote the knowledge of literature, to encourage Australian women writers and to foster their social contact. It is now the oldest continuing literary association of women writers in Australia.

What are the goals of The Society of Women Writers NSW?

Our goals remain the same today as they were in 1925, although the means by which we achieve them have changed. During 2020, like the rest of the world, we have had to embrace new technologies and meet ‘virtually’ rather than in person.

Please tell us about the resources, including courses, offered by The Society of Women Writers NSW.

The Society hosts live workshops and literary events every month (except January). Before the current pandemic, these were held on the second Wednesday of the month, at the State Library of NSW. There would be a ‘hands-on’ morning writing workshop, given by an experienced writer, and a light lunch to follow, at which there would be a member speaker, a keynote speaker and the opportunity for members and guests to network. People could choose to attend the workshop or the lunch, or both. However, during the pandemic our workshops and speaker events have been offered over Zoom. That has had the unexpected benefit of making them accessible to writers in any region, state, territory or country. We are hoping to be able to return to offering ‘in person’ events at the State Library of NSW in 2021 (subject to public health guidelines), while retaining an online offering too.

The Society also usually offers evening and weekend workshops a few times a year, with an occasional weekend retreat (every few years).

At the moment, we are looking at ways to provide accessible events for regional members. A lunch is being held in the Southern Highlands soon, at which Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell will be the special guest speakers. We are hoping to be able to facilitate similar events in other regions too.

The Society distributes a quarterly magazine to members, runs writing competitions, offers book awards and also offers an annual three month writing residency in the UK (generously provided by our Patron, Professor Emerita Di Yerbury AO). There are opportunities for members to contribute to publications such as our quarterly magazine and occasional anthologies. We have just published an anthology of nature writing for children (Splash, Slither, Squawk!), in celebration of the Society’s 95th anniversary and to raise funds for bushfire relief and wildlife charities.

Further information about our activities and resources can be found on the Society’s website (www.womenwritersnsw.org), which will be upgraded shortly to offer more online resources for members.

Is The Society of Women Writers NSW suitable for writers from all genres?

Yes, definitely. Our members write in all genres and our programme of workshops and events is designed to cover all genres. This year, our events have covered writing for children, short story, poetry, crime fiction, memoir and nature writing, for example.

I’m just beginning my creative journey. Is your organisation suitable for beginners?

Yes! We have a mix of published and unpublished, new and more experienced authors in our membership and at our events. It is a wonderful place for a beginner to find friendly encouragement and advice. Alongside beginners, our members include eminent authors of children’s literature, such as Libby Hathorn and Susanne Gervay. As longstanding and loyal members of the Society, they frequently give workshops and talks, and attend our lunches. Readers of your website will find our Society to be a welcoming and supportive place for women writers of all levels of experience, particularly in the area of children’s literature.

Where are your branches located?

We do not have ‘branches’ as such, although we have sister organisations in other states and countries. Mostly, our ‘in-person’ events are held at the State Library of NSW, or the Women’s Club, in Sydney. But as noted above, we are keen to facilitate more ‘in-person’ events for regional members too.

How is The Society of Women Writers NSW funded?

We do not receive government funding. Our funding mostly comes from membership fees, attendance fees for our events and fees for participation in competitions.

How can we find out more about The Society of Women Writers NSW?

The best place to begin would be our website (www.womenwritersnsw.org).

  • 'CKT is a great resource for both established and emerging authors. I like the way you're always coming up with new and exciting initiatives at your site. And I love reading the fascinating journeys and achievements of the writers you profile here.' - www.deescribe.com.au

    Dee White
  • 'Creative Kids tales is the perfect place to go for inspiration and to recharge the creative batteries.'

    - www.franelessac.com

    Frané Lessac

  • 'The Creative Kids Tales site is great fun and full of information about authors and their books!' - www.isobellecarmody.net

    Isobelle Carmody
  • 'Everything you need is here, on Creative Kids Tales! Oh, how wonderful this would have been for the young Emma Quay, knowing she loved children’s picture books but not knowing a soul in the industry. Down to earth, comprehensive, friendly, realistic and encouraging advice — this is an invaluable resource. Bravo!' - www.emmaquay.com

    Emma Quay
  • 'Creative Kids Tales would’ve been mighty handy to know about back when I was sitting about drawing and writing and having no idea what to do with any of it! Go explore and create knowing you have such an amazing resource at your back!'

    - www.heathmck.com

    Heath McKenzie

  • Writing can be a lonely profession. By necessity, you need to work alone much of the time. But it is wonderful to have a website which eases that by connecting creators with each other and with a wealth of information and resources.
    Bravo! - sallymurphy.com.au

    Sally Murphy
  • "What a wonderful website and wealth of resources. I wish I’d discovered it sooner - but I can still enjoy it now, and have added it to my list of resources for new writers."
    "Keep it up, Georgie!" - www.wendyorr.com

    Wendy Orr
  • 'What a great asset you are to the children's book industry, Georgie.
    Long may Creative Kids Tales rule!'
    www.paulcollins.com.au

    Paul Collins
  • 'If there's anything emerging authors struggle with (beyond the dreaded writer's block), it's receiving recognition or even acknowledgment of their work – battling for a slice of that incredibly elusive publishing pie. Georgie Donaghey has created a priceless promotional and networking station that allows new authors to not only share their work, but gain the courage and nous to take their work to a whole new level. Creative Kids Tales is a valuable addition to Australia's burgeoning children's book market.' - www.taniamccartney.com

    Tania McCartney
  • 'I would have loved to have had access to creativekidstales.com.au when I was starting out! It's an invaluable source of information, inspiration and encouragement for both emerging (and fully-emerged!) writers.' - www.andygriffiths.com.au

    Andy Griffiths
  • 'Georgie and the team at Creative Kids Tales have a wonderful passion for children’s stories, and this site is a wonderful place to visit to find and share ideas!
    Well done guys!' - www.nick-falk.com

    Nick Falk
  • 'This is a great website. Nowadays, when getting published is so hard and staying published not much easier, everyone needs all the help they can get. And here's Help with a capital H!' 'Go Georgie! Creative Kids Tales is an inspiration for all writers of children's and YA fiction.' - www.richardharland.net

    Richard Harland
  • 'Creative Kids Tales offers new writers the joy of publication on their journey of craft and creativity.'
    'It’s a warm and wonderful home.'
    www.sgervay.com

    Susanne Gervay
  • 'The details available on this site, for emerging writers (or those emerged) is incredibly helpful. From creating stories- plotting, dialogue and character building- to the support writers can seek for their work, be it mentoring or seeking a publisher, it’s all there. An excellent easy-to-access writers’ site!'

    - libbyhathorn.com

    Libby Hathorn

  • 'This site is such a wonderful resource for writers and illustrators at every stage of the journey. I've learned more about some of my favourite people in children's literature here, but also had the joy of discovering whole new worlds of talent.' - annabranford.com

    Anna Branford
  • 'Thanks for being such a strong advocate for children’s literature, the power of stories, and reading.
    Keep fighting the good fight and call on me anytime.'
    www.tristanbancks.com

    Tristan Bancks
  • 'What can I say? Well if you have clicked this far and uncovered these words you KNOW that this (Creative Kids Tales) is a terrific resource full of ideas and connections.
    SO dig deeper and get connected!' - www.chrischeng.com

    Christopher Cheng
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a unique and valuable online resource for new and established authors. The site provides a wealth of information and insight into the children's writing world.' 'Thanks for all your support, Georgie, and keep up the good work.' - www.aleesahdarlison.com

    Aleesah Darlison
  • 'The thing I like about the Creative Kids Tales website is that the authors come across as real people who face the same problems that beginning writers do and that there’s plenty of practical advice.' - www.duncanball.com.au

    Duncan Ball
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a treasure trove of resources and insights, compiled with dedication and enthusiasm. A wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in picture books and children's literature.' - sarah-davis.org

    Sarah Davis
  • 'Once you find an easily-accessible, up-to-date and vibrant source of writing help and encouragement, you should value it and use it! Thanks to Creative Kids Tales, that’s all available, just with the tap of your finger: www.creativekidstales.com.au
    Well done, CKT team!' - janeenbrian.com

    Janeen Brian
  • 'Georgie Donaghey’s Creative Kids Tales is deservedly going gangbusters! What a wonderful forum and multi-storeyed resource for shiny new authors, legends of the industry and every writer in between!'
    dcgreenyarns.blogspot.com.au

    DC Green
  • 'Wow! Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for writers, no matter what stage of their writing journey they are at. Congratulations, Georgie, on your attractive, easy-to-navigate website, your generosity to your fellow writers and your constantly evolving ideas. Thanks on behalf of all of us.' - wendyblaxland.com

    Wendy Blaxland
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fabulous community of passionate, hardworking and committed writers. If you're looking for new and exciting talent that's dedicated to the children's book industry - look no further than CKT!'

    - www.waichim.com

    Wai Chim

  • 'I wish Creative Kids Tales had been around when I was first starting out! What a brilliant way to connect with other authors and find out about the lovely world of kids books.' 'Go Georgie! I think you're amazing.' - www.deborahabela.com

    Deborah Abela
  • 'Having been a publisher and an author and now proprietor of Pinerolo, the Children’s Book Cottage, I am passionate about promoting children’s books. Creative Kids Tales is such a welcome part of this network and I salute them for their support and their inspiration to so many. On their seventh birthday I wish them many, many happy returns.'

    - www.pinerolo.com.au

    Margaret Hamilton

  • 'Creative Kids Tales deserves all its accolades. Thanks to its creator, the site provides brilliant support, inspiration and encouragement for anyone who loves creating children's books. I have no hesitation in passing on your link.'
    Well done, Georgie! - www.sherylgwyther.net

    Sheryl Gwyther
  • 'The long-distance marathon of writing, illustrating and publishing usually begins along a very foggy road, in the dark, shoeless. But wait! What's that light on the horizon? A glowing little cafe, full of a bunch other runners plotting out mud-maps on napkins and exchanging anecdotes, warning about ditches and praising short-cuts. Stop for a while, have a cup of tea, maybe even a shoe-fitting, then get yourself back on the road for the long slog to sunrise.' - www.shauntan.net

    Shaun Tan
  • 'CKT is informative, relevant, recent and fun! It’s an exceptional resource for anyone involved in children’s literature.'

    - www.timharrisbooks.com

    Tim Harris

  • What a terrific, enthusiastic, informative and creative resource - of value and interest to so many people.
    I'm delighted to be a part of it.
    ursuladubosarsky.squarespace.com

    Ursula Dubosarsky
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is such a great website for navigating this industry – not just for authors and illustrators, but for parents and teachers and librarians and publishers and kids and storytellers of all sorts. It’s awesome!' - www.julesfaber.com

    Jules Faber
  • 'Buckets of thanks to Georgie for creating Creative Kids Tales. There’s a wealth of wonderful information and resources for everyone interested in creating books for kids – and a warm sense of community.'
    www.meredithcostain.com

    Meredith Costain
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is great. You can pick the brains of people who make stuff without having to stalk them or do anything illegal.' - www.aaronblabeybooks.com

    Aaron Blabey
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a brilliant resource – for established writers and those just starting out. I wish it had been around when I was a new writer. There are lots of invaluable tips and great advice.
    Congratulations Georgie – it’s fabulous.' - jacquelineharvey.com.au

    Jacqueline Harvey
  • "Whether just starting out or with many books under your belt, Creative Kids Tales is the perfect place to go for all things writerly. Sharing the inner world is a wonderful thing for solitary writers, and it's all there on Georgie's website.
    Happy reading!" - tashibooks.com

    Anna Fienberg
  • 'If a website can be described as 'homely' or 'a friendly place for emerging writers to visit' then that's how I would describe Creative Kids Tales. It's probably the only Australian website for children's writers that I visit regularly and actually feel part of. When I need motivation, interesting writers to read about, or just a peek at my own 'baby steps' towards being a published writer, I visit the Creative Kids Tales family.' A big thank you to Georgie and Rod for a great website. - www.patsimmonswriter.com.au

    (Pat) Patricia Simmons
  • 'It's easy to feel alone when writing, and clueless about what happens next. Creative Kids Tales offers answers and community - invaluable resources.'

    - www.clairesaxby.com

    Claire Saxby

  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a lovely online meeting space brimming with support and ideas for writers.'

    - katrinagermein.com

    Katrina Germein

  • 'It's about time that we had something like Creative Kids Tales. It's a treasure trove for information and news, plus it showcases talent from aspiring writers. It's a wonderful springboard for anyone who wants to dive into the Children books world!'
    Keep up the fabtastic work! - www.oliverwriter.com

    Oliver Phommavanh
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a great forum for people who spend most of their working time alone. It is interesting and inspiring to see and hear what other authors and illustrators have to say.' - www.maisyfun.com

    Lucy Cousins
  • 'Emerging from one's chrysalis of anonymity into the prodigious world of creative children's writing and publishing is a daunting prospect. Georgie Donaghey's Creative Kids Tales is a superlative source of inspiration and information for the bourgeoning writer and illustrator. She has created an invaluable platform from which writers, both developing and established, can view, promote and share each other's work, and most importantly aspirations. A fun, friendly, and informative forum that everyone in the kids' lit industry can benefit from.' Keep it up Georgie! - dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au

    Dimity Powell
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is an awesome resource you should totally check it out.' - raspratt.com

    R.A. Spratt
  • 'What a wonderful website Creative Kids Tales is, supporting and helping Australian authors in their quest through the dark thorny forest of the publishing world. Georgie should be congratulated for all her hard work and fearless leadership!' - www.kateforsyth.com.au

    Kate Forsyth
  • Creative Kids Tales offers a brilliant platform for established and emerging creators to keep in touch and learn from each other. That is a great thing for this most isolated of all professions (apart from On-site Antarctic Penguin Imitators). - www.terrydenton.com

    Terry Denton
  • 'What a great site! We all tend to work in isolation in our own little caves. It’s great to see all the other cave dwellers out there and realise we are not alone. What a great resource!'

    - brucewhatley.com

    Bruce Whatley

  • 'Creative Kids Tales will jump-start adults seeking to become writers!' - www.wimpykid.com

    Jeff Kinney
  • 'Creative Kids Tales has inspired, encouraged and supported not only the published, but also us hopefuls still learning the ways of the publishing world. Thanks for providing not only an amazing site to scroll and learn through, but also providing friendship and a real sense of chasing our dreams.' - gardenbabyfaeries.webs.com

    Kelly McDonald
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is a fantastic resource for aspiring writers that showcases emerging and published authors and illustrators and provides links to publishers' websites, helpful hints and competitions.'

    Rachel Keyes
  • 'Creative Kids Tales is ambitious, specific and professional - the Top Tips section alone is a must-read for every aspiring children's writer.' - jackheath.com.au

    Jack Heath
  • 'Creative Kids Tales contributes a wonderful sense of community to the Australian kids’ book scene, from sharing insightful interviews, to writing competitions and now a conference. It’s a great organisation to follow online and be a part of!'

    - www.onemorepagepodcast.com

    One More Page podcast

  • 'Wow! What a wonderful resource.
    Congrats to everyone involved with Creative Kids Tales.'
    georgeivanoff.com.au

    George Ivanoff
  • 'Thanks for having me on Creative Kids Tales. It's a great resource for emerging writers and illustrators and I hope it will have a long future.'
    www.sallyrippin.com

    Sally Rippin
  • 'CKT is like the friendly and helpful colleague I could have done with when I started out. Back then I didn’t know anyone who was a writer or illustrator of books.'

    - www.tohby.com

    Tohby Riddle

  • 'CKT is such a valuable site for anybody wanting to learn a bit more about making children’s books. When time travelling becomes possible, I’ll steal all the info from this site and deliver it to my younger, aspiring self.'

    - petercarnavas.com

    Peter Carnavas

  • 'I love the grumpy cat videos, hahaha it's so grumpy ... oh, wait, wrong website. Ah yes, Creative Kids Tales. Brilliant! Getting published is an amazing, frustrating, brilliant, lonely, creative journey, and www.creativekidstales.com.au is awesome in that it helps both published and pre-published authors by providing support, inspiration, a community, and by allowing authors to learn from other authors, and who better is there to learn from .. .except maybe that grumpy cat, hahaha, hilarious.' - www.adam-wallace-books.com

    Adam Wallace
  • 'Congratulations on a brilliant site, and a superb first year!'.
    Jackie French is Australian Children's Laureate for 2014 – 2015
    www.jackiefrench.com

    Jackie French
  • 'Creative Kids Tales provides such a valuable service. Writing can be a lonely business at times, and seeking publication can be daunting. So it is especially wonderful for writers to be able to access such a comprehensive site where information, experiences and the ups and downs of writing for kids can be shared.' Well done, Georgie! - www.suewhiting.com

    Sue Whiting
  • 'I stumbled on to Creative Kids Tales by accident. I thought it was kid's tails. I'd been doing some research about goats and how their tails were actually a fifth leg, a very long time ago. Or did I just dream that? In any case, I was bitterly disappointed at first to find not tails, but tales. However, while I was at the site I had a wander around, and soon discovered that it was even better than a goat's site - no kidding! This is a brilliant haven for writers, new and not so new; a place to showcase their work and to learn from others.' Well done, Georgie. You've done a fantastic job. - www.enterprisingwords.com.au

    Bill Condon
  • 'I’m thrilled to be Creative Kids Tales author of the month.' 'I hope in some small way by me taking part, I might help and inspire young authors and artists to follow their own artistic path.' 'The key I believe is to seek to enjoy what you do. Even though doing your best is a constant challenge I find it is a worthwhile one. So, get drawing and / or writing.' Good luck ! - www.leighhobbs.com.au

    Leigh Hobbs
  • 'Congratulations to Georgie Donaghey for her hard work and enthusiasm in setting up a site that has been sorely needed to promote current Australian children's writing. Not just for the established, but for up and coming, Creative Kids Tales showcases talent and provides information essential for anyone in the industry.' - www.enterprisingwords.com.au

    Dianne (Di) Bates