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A series on creative writing published by The Conversation from April 2016.


On the Life of an Adjective Kevin Brophy , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 12 September 2016;
'Adjectives have always been out there, mobs of them pressing on the outside walls, their faces against the windows, their shoulders at the doors. They just want to be inside close to all the nouns that have gathered indoors over the years. ...'
A Hologram of Light and Love Kevin Brophy , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 13 February 2017;
'I have been editing the unfinished book of a poet friend who died after a too-brief fight with cancer. She kept writing until she could no longer think clearly about what she wanted in her poems. I was easily angered for months after she died. This was a surprise to me.' (Introduction)
Ethics and Writing Jen Webb , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 4 August 2016;

'It comes up, from time to time. Ethics and writing. Two concepts that are chained together in a dysfunctional marriage. How to write, ethically? How to write ethically while remaining true to the aesthetic imperative, the narrative trajectory, a reader’s requirements? And, by the way, what is ethical writing?'


Getting Tense (about Tense in Fiction) Camilla Nelson , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 20 October 2016;
'Writers, over the last decade, have been waxing lyrical about the rise of the present tense in English fiction. But this morning I read something entirely new – for me, at least. I read a manuscript written almost uniformly in the continuous tense and I found myself getting – the pun is irresistible – tense. Rather than the much-vaunted vivifying effects attributed to present tense narration, this piece of formal trickery hinted at a qualitatively different thing – the potential flattening effect of mono-tense fiction.' (Introduction)
The Rise and Rise of the Omniscient ‘I’ Camilla Nelson , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 25 November 2016;
'In an age of uncertainty, in which truth is apparently an illusion and all claims to authority are suspect, it is tempting to believe that a first person narrator telling their own story – in a style that is skewed, fragmentary, and unreliable – is the only point of view that can strike a chord of authenticity with the reader. At least, my students tend to think so.' (Introduction)
The Miles Franklin Winner: a Dark, Sorrowful Story with Moments of Light and Tenderness Jen Webb , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 26 August 2016;

'And we have a winner. Black Rock White City, AS Patric’s dark, sorrowful story has impressed the judges sufficiently for them to award it first prize. I too was captured by the world of the novel, and by the central characters: Jovan, who “had been a poet in Yugoslavia when that was still a country”, and who is now a cleaner at a Melbourne hospital; and Suzana, his wife, who works as a cleaner in Melbourne’s Black Rock, and who comes from White City (“the literal translation of Belgrade”).' (Introduction)

Our Poetic Voice: the Source of Variety, Nuance and Meaning Kevin Brophy , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 15 July 2016;
'Your voice carries your character. You might have a light, strained voice, or you might have a deep, rolling voice, but that is not your voice. It is the prop you were given, and you use it as any good actor would. There are some communications we make with the voice that only the voice can convey. The voice is not even the words you say. The voice is there in how you deal with the air coming up and out, the rhythms and resonances, the intonations, pauses and rushes it makes possible, and the way your muscles work in your body.'
Reading for Moral Self-improvement or Therapy Can Occasionally Feel a Little Grim Camilla Nelson , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 16 May 2016;
'This week’s Sydney Writers’ Festival not only celebrates the art of writing, but the art of reading. Of course, it is difficult not to worry that this might be because the art of reading – that is, deep, critical, transformative reading – has been so radically transformed in the age of big data and Internet skimming that – along with ink and paper – it might be considered to be endangered, too.' (Introduction)
From the Mouth of Babes: How Can I Call My Writing Poetry When It Doesn’t Rhyme? Kevin Brophy , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 6 May 2016;
'I am living in a small, remote Aboriginal community where my wife is a school teacher. I have set myself the task of writing a poem a day for a year, and putting this poem on Facebook for my friends who might want to know what is happening, how I am going, what I am observing, and what sense I might be making of this new experience. One friend who reads the daily poem has a young child who has just started school. We will call him H. He has decided he likes poetry, and has begun to write poems.' (Introduction)
Whose Line Is It Anyway? The Murderer, His Mother, and the Ghost Writers Christopher Kremmer , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 27 April 2016;
'This is a story about stories. Who writes them. Who owns them and what happens when the two things get muddled. It’s a story about true stories, life stories, stories written by amateurs and professionals. It sounds a warning to the growing number of readers who aspire to publish their own memoirs, and those who write the lives of others.' (Introduction)
Wood’s Decision to Keep All Her Prize Money Reflects the Values of the Stella Camilla Nelson , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 20 April 2016;

'Charlotte Wood has won the fourth annual Stella Prize for The Natural Way of Things, a dark and dangerous book shot through with a kind of feminist rage that – after decades of anti-feminist backlash – is long overdue.

In breaking with a nascent tradition of Stella award-winners donating their prize money to charity, Wood also raises the question of whether benevolence of this sort might be an unconscious by-product of the kind of guilt-ridden sense of inferiority suffered by many women writers.' (Introduction)

'First Sentences Establish a Contract with the Reader about What Is to Come.' Camilla Nelson , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 19 April 2016;

'In Albert Camus’ The Plague (1947), an epidemic spreads across Oran, a town on Africa’s north coast, as Joseph Grand attempts to write a novel. Grand dreams of writing a book that will cause his publisher to leap up from his desk (the publishers in this world are men), and gasp in wonder.

'But he can’t get the first sentence right. He worries at every detail, frets over meaning and rhythm. He arranges and rearranges it. There is no possibility of a second sentence. Without the first line, the novel is obstructed'

Talking Ordinary: From Simic to Farrell Kevin Brophy , 2017 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 15 November 2017;

'Where Robert Frost might write a few lines soundly cut from the solid old tree of language and delivered in his mellifluous White Mountain voice...' (Introduction)

On Imagery in Poetry Kevin Brophy , 2016 single work single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 3 June 2016;

'Even the imagery is operating (failing?) this way, as each image is broken off at a line ending and the next one starts in hope of making sense. Just as desire can be heightened by jealousy, just as a dying poet suddenly produces three or four new books, just as a wish granted leads us to making even more outlandish wishes (or regretting all wishes), this poetry’s energy and verve might be symptomatic of the climate crisis that will be too catastrophic even for the poets to want to spend their time making from it one thing that bursts out of another.' (Introduction)

Stella’s Girls Write Up Tells Kids Good Writing Starts with Having Something to Say Camilla Nelson , 2016 single work single work essay
— Appears in: The Conversation , 24 June 2016;

'Clementine Ford is no stranger to speaking out. This makes her a near-perfect poster person for the Stella’s schools program and their latest project Girls Write Up – a day-long wordfest and workshop for high school students – held for the first time this week to sell-out crowds in Sydney and Melbourne. ...' (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Serialised by: The Conversation 2011 website newspaper (769 issues)
Last amended 8 Mar 2017 13:21:55