The hall was huddled with a larger audience than it could handle. Taking the little spaces on the seamless carpet, more people chimed in. The writing workshop organized was titled as ‘The Power of Realism’. Julia Prendergast headed the 2-hour long workshop. Julia is a lecturer in Writing and Literature at Swinburne University, Melbourne, and Deputy Chair of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP), the peak academic body representing the discipline of Creative Writing in Australasia. Julia was the 2019 Director of the Australian Short Story Festival, held for the first time in Melbourne. Julia Prendergast’s novel, The Earth Does Not Get Fat was published in 2018 (UWA Publishing: Australia). Recent short stories feature in Australian Short Stories 66 (Pascoe Publishing 2018).
Julia initiated the workshop regarding the effect, time has on stories. During the initial fragment of the workshop, she states, ‘write what is gut wrenchingly significant to you.’ She discussed about the idea of ‘register of intelligence’. She broke down the entire workshop into 3 divisions. Initially, she asked the audience to write about an ‘unresolved incident’, then from the perspective of the character and later from the introduction of a new character. Julia gave details on how the same story can be written in multiple perspectives. She went ahead and engaged the audience in a story writing session. She encouraged many to come forward to read their stories for the small pack huddled in the hall. At various stances of the workshop, she took the time out to read a few stances from her book, ‘The Earth Does Not Get Fat’. The excerpts proved to be effective examples to help the audience understand character perspectives over the space of time. Julia elaborated that a reader would not be interested in the author’s thoughts. Rather the reader wants to experience it. As the workshop progressed, Julia also mentioned languages are meant to make a reader feel. She also recommended the idea of simple language. And how the usage of language makes the reader experience the emotions within the stories.
As final notes, she recommended aspiring writers to set self-imposed deadlines. This helps writers to complete their writings within the allocated time frame and build on their skills. She urged the audience to get to writing than to merely aspire about writing. Stressing on the fact that an aspiring writer is one who polishes their skills consistently, Julia made a divine impression on the audience.
About the Author: A modest graphic designer and an amateur blogger – Liyana believes in weaving stories that come as a ‘solace on a late winter night’. She loves climbing mountains and can be seen spending hours looking at the night sky. She blogs at liyanashirin. She currently writes for TheSeer.