Literature and writing were on the table for the fifth Outside the Square gathering at The Old Church on the Hill on July 31st. The event is a perfect lead in to the Bendigo Writers Festival to be held on the 9th-11th August.
The fabulous speakers on the night were Dr. Sue Gillett, who is a lecturer at Latrobe Uni Bendigo and co-founder of Bendigo Writers festival (along with Rosemary Sorensen), and Larissa Romensky from ABC Open 500 Words project.
An energetic group of word-lovers milled in the cosy and crocheted Russell street church. They came in the form of readers, authors, students, librarians, and bloggers, and they nibbled the tasties and drank the wine. (Or the tea and coffee for those like me who wanted to keep their rowdies in control.)
Sue Gillett is a personable speaker with a passion for literature. She spoke of the big picture of The Bendigo Writers Festival, which is in its second year, and what it means for Bendigonians to be a part of this great event. The Bendigo community has been aching for a program like this for some time, and as Sue said, although most booklovers like to stay at home in their cosy chairs with their books, a chance to share ideas and passion with like-minded friends is a wonderful opportunity. Sue also paid attention to the nitty gritty of words with a close look at dissecting poetry into phrases as a way to amplify the meaning in words.
Sue came to Bendigo’s Latrobe Uni twenty years ago and injected new energy into the staid social sciences. As a student of Sue’s Sociology and Women’s studies classes I can tell you they were new and exciting and relevant to a growing Bendigo. So it comes as no surprise that among the many things Sue has achieved in Bendigo, she is also a pioneer of The Writers Festival.
Larissa Romensky melted into a cosy chair for a chat as a representative of the ABC Open project. The project is an ongoing initiative that produces and publishes photos, stories, videos, and sound from regional communities.
Larissa spoke passionately to the Outside the Square group about the 500 Words workshops that are held across Central Victoria in Castlemaine, Bendigo, Kerang, and Woodend.
The workshops assist with online writing, publishing, sourcing pictures, and the technicalities of uploading stories to the ABC open website.
The current topic for the 500 Words project is ‘on the job’, and will be on until Aug 31st when a new topic will begin. If you want to get involved you can get a sneak peek here of work already uploaded.
Each month one story is selected to appear on Radio National on both the Life matters and 360 programs. It’s an exciting endeavour for anyone who takes it on, and a great way for country writers to dabble in publishing.
The Outside the Square meetings are fun but carefully planned events that are run by founders Karen Corr of Make a Change and Bryley Savage of I heart Bendigo. It’s an ideal forum for people with mutual interests to share ideas and set seeds for new projects big or small, or simply a well for individuals to drop into and immerse themselves in what is important to them and/or their community.