The Last Supper

Blogland, oh it has been a while. I’m way behind with my blogging and owe you all reviews of the amazing books I’ve been reading lately (among which are “Floundering” – Romy Ash, “Red” – Libby Gleeson and “Preloved” – Shirley Marr. I can only apologise for my slackness and promise that there will be a wealth of new words on here for you to read soon.

In my defence, I’ve been one busy lady – writing (as always), recovering from jetlag (killer), falling in love again with my city now that I see her again with fresh (post holiday) eyes and really, having some much needed discovery time with myself (especially after a rocky 2011) to really feel whole, inspired and confident again.

Tonight was a bittersweet parting of ways at Faber Academy. It feels like only yesterday that I wrote the first post in this series, full of inspiration and wide-eyed excitement. How it has fulfilled and surpassed my expectations.

Three months ago I stepped into a room full of strangers ready to write. It’s quite a personal thing, writing, especially at the first draft stage, and I remember looking around this room, ready to read my first exercise and trusting that the group would be supportive.

They were. And their feedback and support has carried me through these last few months, and pushed me to write more often, more imaginatively, and generally, just better. Our fearless leader, Sally Rippin, guided us through three hours a week, offering advice, wisdom, exercises and encouragement. Tonight we thanked her with cakes and gifts, but really she deserved much more than that for being so so generous with her time and her thoughts. And of course a special thanks to the complete legends at the Onion HQ. Allen & Unwin are so very clearly passionate about nurturing Australian writers and it is inspiring just to be around them. Plus they make delicious cakes for us (and blog about them sometimes here)

Before we cracked open the wine and started stuffing our faces (quite literally), there was one last order of business. The pitch. My new friend, writing buddy and co-conspirator and I had worked on blurbs to pitch over coffee and it was clear that others had put an equal amount of effort into their pitches. The culmination of our work over the months were reduced to a few sentences, packed with promise and read aloud in our enthusiastic (if slightly quivering) voices. The recipient of these pitches was the very lovely Erica Wagner, publisher at A&U and one of the women that Sally had credited as an inspiration in her early years. Even though I’d met Erica a bunch of times before, and knew how warm she was, and even though this was an informal chat about the pieces we were working on, it was with shaky hands that we each raised our papers and read aloud our pitches.

And they were wonderful. To hear all of that work by people who were no longer strangers really marked the moment. I hope to have published copies of them all adorning my shelves very soon.

So that’s it. Well not exactly, as we’ve all got plans to meet and write, plus I’ve just arranged a writers retreat in the Grampians (which will be another blog post for another time my friends). But that’s it for this part at least.

So thanks Sally, for being amazing and thanks to Erica, Elise, Hilary and Faber for having us. It’s been real.


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