July Newsletter: The value of community and what’s on in July
The value of community: A word each from Jo-Anne and Richard
We’ve never been quite as aware of the value of our All About Writing community as we have during the strange and fearful lockdown of 2020.
I mean you. You’ve been a listening ear and a nurturing presence – everything we could hope for in a family.
Over a hundred of you, from across the world, contributed daily to our Corona Diaries, writing about your lives, sharing your anxieties and supporting each other.
While some of you expressed difficulties in pressing ahead with on-going projects – held back by anxiety, home-schooling, strategising for working from home – most of you continued to practise your writing and express your creativity in any way you were able. We salute you for that, and for being there for us and for each other.
They say that bone, fractured, mends stronger than it was in the beginning – and perhaps, just perhaps, society’ll mend stronger than it was before covid. The evidence here at All About Writing suggests that that’s a distinct possibility.
We’ve seen a surge in interest in creative writing of all kinds. People have flocked to our webinars by the hundred. Others have enrolled for our Saturday morning virtual workshops (creative writing, screenwriting and travel writing) – devised specifically to cater for the needs of those in lockdown. We held a virtual story writing weekend with very pleasing creative outputs. And all that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
Covid and the sequestration that followed seems to have reminded us all that our creative selves are just as much in need of nurturing as homo-economics ever was.
What’s on in July through August
So continuing with what we started as a response to we’d like to offer you another couple of free webinars:
- 15 July: Free Travel Writing Webinar. Ask everything you’ve always wanted to know about any aspect of travel writing, from style, how to tackle a particular piece, ethical questions, how to incorporate narrative writing etc. 16h00 UK time, 17h00 SAST. Sign up here.
- 22 July and 6 August: Free Creative Writing Webinar. This webinar will be specifically and wholly devoted to improving your creative writing skills. You’ll set the agenda: we’ll be responding to your questions and discussing issues important to you. 16h00 UK time, 17h00 SAST. Sign up here.
And we’ve scheduled a few more Saturday Writing Workshops, for 11 July and 8 August. Join us for one, or both! It will be of equal benefit to more experienced writers wanting to augment their skills, and to those with no experience at all, who are looking for a place to start.
If you want something a little more substantial:
- 25 and 26 July: Travel Writing Workshop. Over two days Fred de Vries will help you to create your very own first travel blog entry, complete with links, photographs and a neat layout. Spots limited, book yours.
- Starting 10 August: Virtual Creative Writing Course. This is our famous face-to-face Creative Writing Course, offered with discussion, chat, and feedback – and notes to keep afterward. All we can’t provide is the glass of wine. You’ll have to pour your own. On early-bird sale until 26 July! Spots limited, book yours.
What’s your favourite indie bookshop?
We know our community loves bookstores, and in particular independent bookstores. Now more than ever, we need to support them. We invite you to submit a blog post (ideally with photographs) about your favourite bookstore. Send it to us via email.
It can take any form but why not tell us why you love it, write a profile or do a Q and A with the bookseller, recommend books from the shop or ask the staff to recommend their current favourites in the shop and tell us how we can support it. We would love to hear from you. All submissions will go into a lucky draw, and the winner will receive a place on one of our Saturday workshops.
Congrats to Aimee-Claire Smith, who did our Cape Town Creative Writing Course and has had a poem published in the new non-fiction collection from Kwela Books, Living While Feminist. Doret Jordan, who attended our Travel Writing Workshop in June, wrote and published this wonderful blog post. Back in May, Cathy Park had an article published in YOU magazine.
Don’t forget to join our All About Writing Alumni Facebook group, a private group for anyone who has done or is doing any of our workshops, courses, or programmes. And if you have any fabulous writing-related news to share, big or small, do share it on the group or send us an email. We’d love to congratulate you in our next newsletter.
Winners of the April/May Flash Fiction Challenge
For our April/May flash fiction challenge, if you recall, we asked you to rewrite a favourite fairytale, place it in a modern setting, and imagine it from the perspective not of the traditional Hero, but of one of the other characters.
True to form, you came up with a huge variety of interpretations, many of them amusing, all of them worth reading. But again, as usual, we had to seek out the first among equals.
The laurels go to Shirlaine Douglas for her energetic rewrite of the Aladdin story, written from the perspective of the sly and arrogant djinn. Congratulations, Shirlaine! You win a literary assessment of 5 000 words valued at R2 750 – which you can also, as you know, use as part or full payment on one of our courses.
The runners up, in no particular order, are:
Dimitri Roussopoulos for his amusing mashup of a number of different tales; Shui Hoppy for their up-to-the-minute tale of lockdown and a very stern Rapunzel; Nikki Brooke for her Me-Too take on Snow White and a creepy Prince; Colleen Saunders for her SW and the Seven Opportunistic Dwarves; and finally Sal Carter for her appreciative portrait of a randy granny in her version of LRRH.
Read the winning entries here, and check out our free-to-enter June/July Flash Fiction Challenge, currently open for entries!
Team All About Writing