Irina Dunn, Executive Director, NSW Writers' Centre:
25th August 2003
Dunn of the NSW Writer's Centre, does an interview
with Greg Tingle, who incidentally is also a member
of the Writer's Centre.
explore of the world of writing, from a leading authority.
readers will no doubt be inspired to write their next
piece, after reading this interesting and educational
is your background, and that of the NSW Writers' Centre?
NSW Writers' Centre was inaugurated in 1991 as a resource
and information centre for writers. It now has about
3,200 members and is the largest writing organisation
Dunn became Executive Director of the Centre in December
1991. She is the author of The Writer's Guide : a
Companion to Writing for Pleasure or Publication (Allen
& Unwin 2nd ed 2002), which was shortlisted for
the Australian Publishers¹ Association National
Education Awards in 2003. She has an English Honours
Degree from the University of Sydney, and a Graduate
Diploma in Russian from Macquarie University. She
has worked variously as a tutor in the English Department
at Sydney University, as a journalist, book editor,
film-maker, school and TAFE teacher and university
lecturer. She and two co-authors won a prize for her
text A Natural Legacy: Ecology in Australia, which
she co-wrote and co-edited with two scientists, and
received an international prize for her documentary
"Fighting for Peace". She represented NSW
as an Independent Senator from 1988 to 1990. Irina
was born in Shanghai China, and is of Russian, Irish,
Portuguese and Chinese background. She has conducted
several cultural tours to Russia, the Baltic States,
Mongolia and China.
are your aims and objectives?
To promote writing-based culture and the rights and
interests of writers.
2. To act as an information and liaison centre for
writers, literary agents, publishers, writing organisations
and educational institutions throughout New South
Wales in pursuit of these aims.
3. To manage a centre for the promotion of writing
in New South Wales by hosting readings, book launches,
workshops, seminars, festivals and other related activities
and also to collaborate in Association with other
organisations to present such activities and events.
4. To seek the co-operation of other writers¹
centres and organisations in NSW, interstate and abroad
so as to facilitate the exchange of literary culture
5. To provide information about writing and writers
to the public through the dissemination of information
about services which may be provided by writers, and
through the publication of a regular magazine providing
information about the Centre.
6. To provide meeting spaces for writers¹ groups
and literary organisations.
7. To provide a resource centre for writers which
offers a library of resource materials, as well as
training opportunities, use of equipment, publishing
expertise and advice on professional development.
8. To encourage the promotion of Australian books
and literary magazines.
9. To engage in any business transactions and activities
which directly or indirectly benefit the Centre.
10. To do all things necessary to ensure the continuing
operation of the Centre.
writing be for self or for the benefit of others?
springs from a deep need to express oneself and to
communicate with others, so in that sense it might
be said to be a mutually beneficial relationship with
rewards for both writers and readers.
a love of writing be developed and nurtured?
is no doubt that a love of reading can be developed
and nurtured from childhood, but whether a love of
writing can be nurtured is another matter. Individuals
probably come to writing by themselves when they feel
an inescapable urge to express themselves in writing.
is the best approach, and some of the steps you need
to take, to write an autobiography?
best approach to writing an autobiography is to develop
a voice that is uniquely your own so that readers
will engage with your story.
are some of the main achievements of the NSW Writers'
NSW Writers' Centre has assisted many writers to develop
their writing skills and to find appropriate publishing
outlets. The congratulations page of the monthly magazine
is a testament to the successes of members who were
previously lacking in confidence and who doubted that
they would ever make it to publication.
spectrum do the members of the centre cover? (diversity
remarkable thing about writers is that they come from
every part of society, from every part of the professional,
political and social spectrum, and from every ethnic,
religious and racial category. The ages of our members
varies from 9 years to 90 years, with the bulk of
our members between 25 and 65.
are the highlights of the Writer's Centre calendar
NSW Writers' Centre runs several festivals each year
which attract large numbers of people to the Centre.
These are dedicated festivals aimed at showcasing
the particular genre or subject of the festival.
WRITING FESTIVAL 1st or 2nd weekend in March
A weekend of readings, panel session, book launches
and author talks by new and emerging writers in the
beautiful heritage grounds of the NSW Writers' Centre.
Bar open all weekend and plenty of parking available.
WRITING FESTIVAL 1st weekend in July
Held in conjunction with Selwa Anthony Literary Agency,
this is a weekend of readings, panel session, book
launches and author talks from Australia's most popular
writers in the beautiful heritage grounds of the NSW
Writers' Centre. Bar open all weekend and plenty of
AND FANTASY FESTIVAL 2nd weekend in September
A weekend of panel sessions, readings and talks by
Australia's best sci-fi and fantasy writers.
PUBLISHERS AND AUTHORS BOOKSHOW 3rd weekend in October
A weekend of readings, panel session, book launches
and author talks from Australia's culturally diverse
writing community held in conjunction with the Australian
Publishers' Bookshow which features Australia's independent
publishers and self-publishers in the beautiful heritage
grounds of the NSW Writers' Centre. Bar open all weekend
and plenty of parking available.
are the benefits of membership?
benefits of being a member of the NSW Writers' Centre
are that you have access to resources and information
that are of critical importance to a writer and could
not be obtained easily by an individual working alone.
Moreover, you have contact with a community of writers
who understand your enterprise and are sympathetic
to the work writers do and the isolation of being
a writer. There are also significant discounts for
members (workshops, seminars, bookshops, etc).
are your main supporters?
members are writers who are interested in improving
their craft skills and who are looking for appropriate
publishing outlets for their work.
about "Doing the write thing!"
How have technologies like the
internet helped and hindered you and your members?
members have been enormously benefited by the internet
which helps them make and maintain contact with other
writers and writing organisations, as well as research
their interests in a comprehensive global fashion.
other important information should our readers know?
readers should call us on (02) 9555 9757 to get a
complimentary copy of our monthly magazine Newswrite
as well as check out our website www.nswwriterscentre.org.au