2018 AGM information and nomination forms

Our AGM will be held on Tuesday February 13, at the Bunch of Grapes hotel from 7pm. The outgoing committee will be there early to gather feedback and ideas, and to answer questions from those who might be interested in taking Ballarat Writers forward.

If you would like to be involved with the committee, this is how you do it!

Forms will be available at our next members’ night on the 31st of January.

Click here to download a nomination form.

Nominations must be emailed or delivered to current chairperson Irene Warfe (see form for details) by Tuesday 6 February. Voting will take place at the AGM, at Bunch of Grapes Hotel, 401 Pleasant St South, Ballarat, at 7pm. The outgoing committee will be at the room early to gather feedback and ideas, and to answer questions from those  interested in taking Ballarat Writers forward.

Also available on the website is a proxy voting form for those unable to attend the AGM. This should be carried by the proxy on the night.

Click here to download a proxy voting form.


Please note: Some members of the committee will be stepping down, so volunteers to fill the posts of secretary and treasurer would be greatly appreciated. Nominations are open for the positions of chair, competitions, treasurer/membership, secretary and publicity. The committee will be available to aid the transition with handover documents and advice.


The gritty details:

Nominations of candidates for election as Officer Bearers of the Committee must be:

  • made in writing, signed by two members of BWI and accompanied by the written consent of the candidate (which may be endorsed on the form of nomination); and
  • delivered to the Secretary of BWI not less than 7 days before the date fixed for the holding of the Annual General Meeting.

A candidate for election as Officer Bearer may only be nominated prior to the Annual General Meeting. If the number of nominations exceeds the number of vacancies to be filled, a ballot must be held.

The ballot for the election of Officer Bearers of the Committee must be conducted at the Annual General Meeting in such manner as the committee may direct.


Little Bridge Street Poetry Pocket Park

The City of Ballarat is seeking responses from interested poets to create a public display of their poetry at Little Bridge Street Pocket Park.  The poem(s) will be incorporated into new seating in the Pocket Park design. The selected poet will work with selected street furniture designers to successfully incorporate the poem into the selected seat design.

The commissioned poetry will reflect the stories of the local community. The selected poem will reflect the theme of contemporary life in urban Ballarat.  The commissioned poet should consider the broad appeal of the poem they submit, noting that the area is used by a cross section of the Ballarat community including families.

A sum of $2,000 and will be paid to commission the poem.  The City of Ballarat will provide and install seating for the poem(s) and will cover the cost of integrating the poem to the seats up to the value of $3,000 (as arranged by the seat designer in collaboration with the poet)

The selected poet will work with the selected designer and seat manufacturer ‘Street Furniture Australia’ to produce the poetry seating.  The selected poet will work with an existing seat design and input into the seating colour, spacing and layout of text and the integration of the words onto four seats (for example this may be etched or printed, an audio recording or another creative integration).  The poet will be asked to strongly consider how public interaction may affect their work and include in their proposal how their design addresses threats of graffiti vandalism, incidental and wilful damage and any ongoing maintenance requirements.


Submission date and requirements

Interested poets should provide one PDF file containing the following to publicart@ballarat.vic.gov.au  by 5pm Monday 29 January 2018.


  • The full name and contact details and CV of the poet (maximum 2 pages)
  • A one paragraph biography of the poet
  • Up to four poems for selection for the poetry seats (i.e. one poem across all seats, or one per seat)
  • A one page description/design of your concept for the poetry integration onto the seats including an indicative production cost (to be confirmed once seat design is selected)


If you have queries or concerns about these requirements, please contact Kate Gerritsen on 03 5320 5199 for assistance.

Can’t keep a good thing down: Words Out Loud returns for January 2018!

Words Out Loud returns for 2018 at its new venue, the Printers Room, in the basement of Sebaastians at the corner of Mair and Lydiard streets, on Thursday January 18.
To mark the new venue’s former life as a printery/book bindery (check out the graffiti on the columns!), the non-binding (heh) theme for the night is ‘hot metal’.
The spoken word event encourages poets, writers and raconteurs to share their work, or favourite pieces by others, for five-minute open mic sessions on the third Thursday of each month (unless otherwise advertised).
Enter via Mair St. Drink and food available. Enjoy the show from couches, the tables or a seat by the bar. Gold coin donation appreciated. Performances begin from 7pm. This is a great opportunity to road test new material, celebrate a success or share some inspiration.
Keep in touch at facebook.com/wordsoutloud

2017 Southern Cross Short Story Competition Results


Ballarat Writers Inc. would like to thank everyone who submitted to the 2017 Southern Cross Short Story competition. Two entries were read aloud at our final members’ night for the year, and they were both stunning yet incredibly different.

All cheques and certificates for the winners and honourable mentions are now in the mail.


Maurilia Meehan’s Judge’s Report.

Thank you to each participant in the 2007 Ballarat Short Story competition.

It is an achievement in itself to finish your story and to send it out to make its own way in the world. You are already one in a thousand, as so many lack the basic writerly discipline of finishing a task. So, congratulations to all 119 entrants for taking your commitment to writing this far.

Our dedicated team of pre-readers whittled the field down to 13 stories, each of which display promise. Kangaroos hopped about more than once. Settings ranged from Africa to Ararat.

Themes frequently concerned childhood memories and grief for lost loved ones. Many were related in the first person. Although these stories were sensitive and touching, they were also static and lacked momentum.  Many stories presented a potentially creating an interesting character, setting or mood of foreboding that needed to be further developed.

However, few delivered what most readers demand in a story.

And that is Reversal.

Reversal of reader’s expectations at the end of the story. The sting-in-the-tail. The twist in the plot and/or character that we thought we were familiar with. In short, the element of well-crafted surprise.

Which brings me to a consideration of the outstanding entries.


The Man with the Dolphin Teeth.       By Suzannah Churchman – Perth WA

The writer of this story is, I suspect, the love-child of Angela Carter and Stephen King.

A story full memorable detail and vivid imagery, it is set in a waxworks in a bygone Melbourne. This story is elevated from being simply a genre horror tale about ‘monstrous’ characters because of the writer’s control of pace and compassionate humanism.

It is filmic in its cumulative effect, as we watch a stranger enter a closed world, on a quest for truth. And, importantly, it is structured around not one, but TWO, Reversals. I do hope it is published.


Safari.              By Kathy George – Indooroopilly QLD

Locked into an external environment which she perceives as a death trap, the central character overcomes her parallel emotional fears of falling in love. Classic structure where a change in the protagonist’s emotional life is the Reversal we are waiting for.


Follow Suit.                By Maryanne Ross – Ballarat VIC

This story is structured around a quest for truth, this time set among the op-shops and rooming houses of St Kilda. Refreshingly, it features the milieu of an ageing, feisty woman. A gold jacket she buys in an op-shop leads her into a world of ageing ex-TV stars and the unravelling of a mystery.


THREE HONORABLE MENTIONS, in no particular order.

Shazza’s Sheep.                      By Tee Linden – Sutherland NSW

Interesting psychological study of an artist whose painting of her beloved sheep comes to life and wreaks revenge.


The Devil’s Food.                   By Susan Bennett – Warragul VIC

An eagle, a Scottish laird, food and mushrooms, moodily evoked, lead to a satisfyingly murderous Reversal.


The Trials Of Saint Lurlene.   By Heather McKenzie -Capalaba QLD

A domestic setting. An internal monologue, delivered by a wife about her husband. Lurlene mixes so many clichés that the author makes her unwittingly comic. Excellent control of voice, each of her twisted cliches providing the reader with a mini-Reversal.

Southern Cross Short Story Competition Update

As our awards presentation draws closer, Ballarat Writers is proud to present the shortlist for the 2017 Southern Cross Short Story Competition.

The shortlisted stories, and their authors, listed in alphabetical order according to the story’s title are:

Big Red                                              Fiona Lewin                         Carss Park NSW
Bounds                                              Tee Linden                            Sutherland NSW
Burned                                              Jane Smith                            Toowoomba Qld
Every Shiny Thing On Fire     Keren Heenan                    Montmorency Vic
Follow Suit                                      Maryanne Ross                  Redan Vic
Hole In The Wall                          Ron Schroer                        Canberra ACT
Pain                                                      Andrew Scobie                  Auburn NSW
Safari                                                  KW George                           Indooroopilly Qld
Shazza’s Sheep                              Tee Linden                            Sutherland NSW
The Beacon                                    Helen Carmody                  Stawell Vic
The Devil’s Food                         Susan Bennett                     Warragul Vic
The Man with The Dolphin Teeth          Suzannah Churchman      Perth WA
The Trials Of St Lurlene          Heather MacKenzie          Capalaba Qld

Please check out website after the 29th of November when the winners will be announced, or feel free to turn up to our final member night for the year to see the announcement live!

Ballarat Writers Festival Feedback

As you all know (hopefully!), our festival is on the 21st and 22nd of October — if you’ve had a chance to come along, we’d love to hear what you thought of your time with us.

You can complete our festival survey at this link.

If you could fill out our survey, we promise we’ll use your feedback to make our festival even bigger and better for the future.

Thank you for coming, and thank you for helping us out.

October Words Out Loud

Words Out Loud draws the curtain on its run at Ballarat’s wonderful Babushka bar in October, but we’re seeing the awesome venue out in style.

Special guests Steve Smart and Jessica Wilkinson will get the party started, and there will be five-minute slots available on the night for others to share poetry, prose and yarns.

With Babushka having been sold, this is likely the last chance to attend a Words Out Loud at the bar.

This free night of spoken word is on Thursday October 19, 7–9pm, and writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited to join in the fun and farewell this special venue.

The theme for the night is “the last shout”, and, as always, performers are encouraged to take the theme and run with it — or ignore it altogether.

Find out more at the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/

September Words Out Loud

Words Out Loud gets its equinox on with a theme of ‘light and dark’ at Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, September 21, 7–9pm, for its next session of spoken word!

Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer.

With Babushka having been sold, time is running out to enjoy this fabulous venue, so if you’ve been wondering what Words Out Loud is all about, now’s your time to do it! Air your writing, share someone else’s, just enjoy and encourage the work of your fellow scribes.

As always, performers are encouraged to take the theme and run with it for their five-minute slots — or ignore it altogether!

Entry is free, though a gold coin donation would be appreciated for this non-profit, community event.
Keep up to date at the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/

Words Out Loud August — In the Winter Dark

Words Out Loud strikes a light ‘in the winter dark’ at Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, August 17, 7–9pm, for its next session of spoken word!

Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer. You won’t find a friendlier venue.

As always, performers are encouraged to take the theme and run with it for their five-minute slots — or ignore it altogether!

Entry is free, though a gold coin donation would be appreciated for this non-profit, community event.
Keep up to date at the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/

Southern Cross Short Story Competition 2017

It’s that time of year again!

Southern Cross Short Story Competition 2017

Ballarat Writers Inc invites writers to enter the 2017 Southern Cross Literary Competition.

The competition asks for short stories to 3000 words, with an open theme.

First prize is 1,000 AUD, second prize $400, third prize $100.

The judge in 2017 is Maurilia Meehan. Maurilia is an award-winning Australian author. Her novels include Madame Bovary’s Haberdashery, The Bad Seed, Adultery, The Sea People and Fury.

The winning stories will be announced and read at an award presentation in Ballarat in November 2017.

Entries are open now and close October 16, 2017 at 11:59pm.


For competition terms, entry forms and further information, please head to this link.