Saturday, February 11, 2012



Do you have a manuscript in development, or even completed? Are you looking for a first assessment? Picture Book, Young Adult, General Fiction, Non-Fiction, Memoir?

Authors Glenda Millard and Carmel Bird will host a

SATURDAY of consultation and assessment


On May 5th from 10am to 4pm

GIRRAHWEEN is a enchanting Victorian house filled with books and pictures and vintage toys in the gold-rush town of Maldon, a place that has for years been a source of inspiration to writers and artists.

Girrahween looks serenely out onto a garden of native and exotic plants. This blissful haven has become a favourite destination for writers and illustrators.

The permanent writer-in-residence at Girrahween is Glenda Millard whose many picture books and young adult fiction are among the most beloved of readers, teachers and librarians. Glenda will be joined by novelist Carmel Bird to offer you clear and creative assessment of your work.

A weekend in Maldon places the visitor in the heart of a leisurely world of luxurious B&Bs, fine food and wine, galleries and specialty shops in the goldfields region. One of the literary and artistic events at Girrahween can be the focus of your visit.

The fee for the day is $250 (includes lunch)

See: & &

For enrolment & details: &

GIRRAHWEEN is at 108 High St Maldon

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Fact and Fiction in Memoir

Among the fifteen people in my memoir-writing group at Writers Victoria in January there were two sisters. I set the group a writing exercise where they would recall a significant clock or watch from their early lives, and write about it for ten minutes. After this I invited people to read out what they had written. Both sisters, without consulting each other, wrote about their grandfather’s fob watch. As we all listened to the second sister’s account, we could recognize the grandfather, but the funny thing was that one sister recalled a lovely golden chain, while the other remembered a silver one. Since the chain is now lost, we will probably never know whether it was silver or gold.

Workshops are often enlivened by moments not unlike this one, but I thought this textbook example of the behaviour of memory was worth noting. If these sisters can’t agree on the nature of the chain which they observed in the relatively recent past, just how much can ever be believed? And how much does this matter? When you are writing memoir you are in one sense fabricating a new past from the materials your memory offers you, you are constructing something like a piece of fiction, in some ways, while trying (I suppose) to stick to the truth. The truth as you know it.

Also worth noting is the fact that the group, as groups frequently do, decided to keep in touch with each other by email after the workshop.

I have been astonished by the energy and commitment of this particular group. They continue to write and to share their work with each other, and to offer clear-eyed yet always encouraging criticism of the writing. I think most of them will persevere and will write various kinds of memoir, some for general publication, some for family and friends. And I know they will all remember, in one way or another, the lovely lesson of the gold and silver chains.


In May 2012 I will be Assessing and Commenting on Manuscripts of Memoir as well as Fiction at Girrahween in Maldon, Central Victoria. More details later. Contact me on