'The Things We Don't Talk About' - A Writing Workshop and Competition with Helena Fox

by Yvette Gilfillan


Every year, there is an alarming increase in the statistics of young people who are struggling to cope with mental illness, physical disability, or both—and more people are coming forward to share their stories.

You may feel like what you are going through will last forever, or you may not know how to help someone else. The dark side of social media has caused a perfectionistic culture of pressure—of curated captions, glamourised photography and flawless filters, where true feelings are screened and ultimately, switched off.

People photoshop happiness onto their social media accounts instead of focusing the camera on their inner selves.

It’s okay to not be okay. Talking about what you’re going through—or exploring it creatively—will only help you in the long-term, and will give you an emotional outlet.

This October, in partnership with HARP (HIV/AIDS and Related Programs), we are lucky enough to have Helena Fox run a writing workshop on the theme ‘The Things We Don’t Talk About’. Helena has had a wonderful career in the arts so far, and is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.

Her debut YA novel How it Feels to Float will be released in Australia and New Zealand next year by Pan Macmillan, and published in North America by Penguin Random House. It is a profound, moving tale of living with mental illness, with a warm-hearted, funny character named Biz. This makes Helena perfectly positioned to run an amazing workshop for all aspiring writers out there, so come and join us—we’d love to have you!


Saturday 27th of October:

‘The Things We Don’t Talk About’ – A Creative Writing Workshop with Helena Fox

UOW Building 19, Room G020

In a three-hour workshop on the sunny campus of UOW, Helena will guide you through a series of enjoyable writing exercises that will ultimately make you feel more in control. Make friends in this safe space of creativity and learning, and learn about people from all walks of life. With the inspiration you gather from this workshop, you’ll be able to go off and create a work to submit to our literary competition.

Sign up for this awesome opportunity in the summer holidays by calling the South Coast Writers Centre on 4228 0151, or email admin@southcoastwriters.org.au.


Tuesday 20th of November:

HARP Creative Writing Competition – Submission Deadline

In honour of World AIDS Day on the 1st of December, and to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, mental illness and physical disability, we also invite you to submit to our creative writing competition.

Like the workshop, the theme for the competition is ‘The Things We Don’t Talk About’. Submissions can be first-hand accounts or fictionalised stories of people living with mental or physical afflictions. They should speak to the stigma surrounding these illnesses—especially those that can’t be seen.

For a $5 submission fee, you can send in up to 40 lines of poetry or 750 words of prose to admin@southcoastwriters.org.au. Feel free to draw upon any ideas or feedback you received in the workshop—after all, that’s why we have it!

The winners will be invited to read their work at the SCWC Christmas Picnic and will also receive a prize, which includes a FREE one-year membership where you can go to as many local events, workshops or festivals as you like! With permission, we will also publish your work on our website here.

Good luck and happy writing :-)


Written by SCWC

Posted on October 01, 2018