It’s almost closing time for 2013, so we thought a love-in was in order. Look at all we’ve done! Look at all the world has done!


Geoff Orton - Writers Bloc founder:

Without a doubt, the biggest highlight for me in 2013 was working with the young stars of the National Young Writers’ Festivals Younger Young Writers’ program. I’ve written about it here before but to see young people go from turning up to The Loft, without knowing anyone there, to pitching to publishers and sharing work with NYWF mentors was so heartwarming and humbling. Watching it unfold was the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my professional career. Check out the Inside a Dog Blog posts (1, 2 and 3) and Claire Zorn’s blog post.
Earlier this year we launched the Writers Bloc blog, and seeing it grow into what it is now has been my reading highlight of 2013. Now with the extremely talented Sam van Zweden directing things, I can’t wait for all all the wonderful things that go up there each and every week. I really love that I come back to the Writers Bloc blog not because I’ve got a vested interest but because I’m a fan.
2014 is going to be an even bigger year. We’ve mentioned a bunch of times that the workshopping function is going to be launching early in the year, but one of the most heartening experiences I had was seeing all the keen folks turn up to our Write Here sessions and Writers Bloc Parties. Knowing that there are writers out there that value working alongside other writers, sharing their experiences and basically just getting out from behind the keyboard and hanging out with people that love the same things just makes me all the more excited for what what we’ve got planned next year.
Forgive me if this is hyperbolic because I’ve just literally read the last page, but Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois is the best book I’ve read this year. I bought it with a voucher given to me by one of my students (what a great gift) after reading the first two pages. I once heard Marieke Hardy talking about how she did this rather than reading the blurb, and I haven’t been let down yet.


Loosely based on the story of Amanda Knox, this book is told using fragments of conflicting accounts of the five weeks Lily Hayes spends in Argentina on exchange. It questions what you can ever know about a person and think I still need a bit time for the impact to fully settle. Like Anna Krien’s Night Games earlier in the year, I’m definitely passing this one on to almost anyone that will listen. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I reorganised my holiday to finish reading it.
Thanks everyone for being part of the Writers Bloc community and hope you all have a very festive new year.

Farz Edraki, Writers Bloc podcast captain:

In many ways, I’ll be glad to see the back of 2013 — a year that wasn’t without its share of sleepless nights, too-early mornings and too-long afternoons. But, it was also the year I met talented, fierce young writers at TiNA, started a weekly get-together with two friends in Canberra to swap stories and beers (later re-dubbed as Short Brown Literary Ladies), found an Edgar Keret book on a bus and had an ‘ah-ha!-so-that’s-how-you-put-that-feeling-into-words’ moment and discovered the Small Press Network in Canberra through my own publishing pilot project.

And, of course, this year I also hopped on board the Writers Bloc train, and these guys are pretty darn great.

Sam van Zweden, Writers Bloc online editor:

2013 has been my first year of Being a Writer. I graduated last year, and elected to take a year for myself before returning to Honours. I decided to say ‘Yes’ to everything and, well, here we are. I’m chuffed to be part of Writers Bloc.

My favourite book this year was Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites, for its heartbreaking chill and sense of injustice, and Kate Richards’ Madness: A Memoir was such a great achievement in terms of memoir as a form of advocacy. I also ticked off a few oldies that BLEW MY MIND (The Secret History and The Knife of Never Letting Go, in particular). I read less books this year than I normally do, but there were so many good ones.

I was blown away by the wealth of fantastic things to attend in Melbourne: White Night in February, where the city came alive for 12 hours non-stop, 7pm – 7am. It’s coming up again in February 2014. The Emerging Writers Festival, and the Melbourne Writers Festival (where I interned this year). The Express Media awards. And all the writers’ talks and book launches in between.

The Stella Prize happened for the first time in 2013, and their ongoing work campaigning for gender equality in prizes and our reviewing culture is so incredibly respectable. I look forward to 2014′s award.

I can’t wait to get more involved in all these things in 2014 - Writers Bloc provides an excuse to get to know so many people working on exciting projects! We’ll be sharing as many as possible with you in 2014.


What were your favourite things of books and writing in 2013?

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