Ready for work: educating literary professionals in a region
Hawryluk, L, Doolan, E & Costello, M 2019, 'Ready for work: educating literary professionals in a region', Text, Special issue, no. 54.
This paper is a small case study with a brief description and evaluation of regionally based, largely extracurricular professional writing activities by staff, and the opportunities provided to students in the Writing Program, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Southern Cross University. There may be a perception or assumption by some students that creative-writing opportunities are limited in the region, in terms of number and variety, or difficulty of access. This may be due to their own limited experience of the ‘writing world’, which is directly tied to the student cohort demographics. One of our concerns is to prepare students for the rigors of a professional life of writing or other related fields in a literary industry. We provide our students with professional training or work experience opportunities: to read, to write, to publish, to be a publisher/editor, to work in a literary industry context. As well, Hartley (2014: 2) argues ‘for building on regionalism’s concern for place, space, and identity’. Writing and literature are key ways to explore and develop regional specificities. We think that the Northern Rivers is generating a regional literature, a literature of the Northern Rivers Gothic. As teachers, mentors, and residents in a regional area, we recognise that one of our tasks is to help students make connections to existing networks of opportunity, or create them ourselves, through teaching about the literary industry, participating in festivals, holding readings, providing information about publication and competition opportunities, celebrating achievements and engaging in regionally based creative research.