5 May – Environmental Writing Workshop

March 10th, 2015 by inga

shallow crossing

As part of Olvar Wood’s inaugural nature writing retreat at The Escape, near Bateman’s Bay, I’m leading a workshop on the art and business of nature and environmental writing. It is ideal for those new to nature writing as well as professional writers working in environmental fields.

Whether you’re writing for your local government publication, volunteer newsletter, or just want to capture place more effectively in your fiction or non fiction – this one-day intensive in a gorgeous setting will inspire.

You’ll focus on techniques for bringing landscapes, flora and fauna to life for your audience, including: evocative description, effective use of emotion, and the importance of story. You’ll also consider issues such as anthropomorphism, culture versus nature, and the challenges faced when writing with an environmental message.

The workshop uses a combination of instruction, inspiring examples of nature writing, practical writing exercises, with plenty of opportunity for group discussion. You’ll come away with a stronger understanding of nature writing, contemporary environmental writing, and a practical toolkit for sharing your love of nature on the page.

Date: Tuesday 5 May (9.30am-4pm).

Cost: $125, including lunch and morning tea (the food, by the way, is fabulous!).

Booking close 17 April. For all enquiries and bookings, please email admin@olvarwood.com.au

Shallow Crossing is about 2hrs from Canberra or 30 mins from Bateman’s Bay.


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Nests taking over Townsville

March 4th, 2015 by inga

The good people of Townsville have chosen Nest as this year’s One Title One Townsville book. It’s a massive bookclub event run by the Townsville Library. The city’s bookish folk will all read Nest and discuss, tweet, Fbook etc about it. Then, at 6.30pm on Friday 22nd of May, I’ll be talking about the novel and answering questions afterwards at the Mercure Inn.

This year it’s all part of the Savannah Writers up North Literary Festival, which runs from 21-24 May. David Malouf, Samuel Wagan Watson, and Judy Nunn are among the writers appearing.

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Protected: In the Wake of the Raftsmen

March 2nd, 2015 by inga

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Nest longlisted for the Stella Prize

February 15th, 2015 by inga

Stella2015Nest has been longlisted for the 2015 Stella Prize. It’s among fine company, including Helen Garner’s This House of Grief, Maxine Beneba Clark’s Foreign Soil and Ellen Van Neerven’s Heat and Light.

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7 Feb – QWC Whispers Salon: A New Day

January 29th, 2015 by inga
QWC1On Saturday, February 7, I’ll be taking part in the Queensland Writers Centre’s February Whispers event, ‘A New Day’.The salon will feature readings from Emerging creative non-fiction writer Warren Ward and poet and short fiction writer Carmen Leigh Keates, followed by a Q&A with me. I’ll also be reading from a work in progress  – my (as yet untitled) next novel.The salon will conclude with a musical set by O’ Little Sister.

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19-22 Feb – Perth Writers Festival

January 20th, 2015 by inga


I’ll be taking part in the lovely Perth Writers Festival this year. It looks like a great line up, including Maxine Beneba Clarke, Brooke Davis, Kristina Olsson, and Ellen van Neerven. I’m looking forward to Bob Brown’s opening talk  and Elizabeth Gilbert’s hook up with Hillary Mantel.

I’ll be talking with Emily Bitto about small communities and secrets of the past, and Annamarie Weldon and Deb Fitzpatrick about nature as muse.

I’ll also be teaching a workshop on how to develop your first draft into a finished manuscript.

And I’ll be reading from Nest along with some of the other authors longlisted for this year’s Stella Prize as part of the Domestic Double Standards panel.

Details and bookings here.

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Nature Writing @ Reality Bites

September 12th, 2014 by inga

Inga will be teaching a nature writing workshop as part of the Reality Bites Writers Festival at Cooroy Library on Friday morning, 24 October. Reality Bites is a wonderful non-fiction festival (though touches of fiction are creeping in, showing how blurry that line can be), which this year will be held in Eumundi as well as Cooroy.

The workshop is designed for fiction and nonfiction writers with a passion for the natural world, as well as professional writers in environmental fields. You’ll focus on techniques for bringing landscapes, flora and fauna to life for your audience, including: evocative description, effective use of emotion, and the importance of story.

The workshop combines instruction, writing examples from the world’s best nature writers, and a range of writing exercises to help you hone your craft and learn more about the inspiring genre of nature writing.

You can book your place in the workshop here.

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Developing Your Novel masterclass @BWF14

August 26th, 2014 by inga

Saving the manuscript, “Just in cases” (from Love Actually).

I’ll be teaching a masterclass about how to develop your novel from zero draft to masterpiece at this year’s Brisbane Writer’s Festival.

We’ll be looking at a mix of practical techniques for structuring and mapping your story as well as some more playful ideas for developing your themes and characters – finding the magic in your story.

You can find details about the workshop, and the other sessions I’m involved with at the festival here:










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On Rooks

August 11th, 2014 by inga

I’ve kept this picture of two Lewis chessmen on the wall by my writing desk for more than ten years. There’s something about the beserker, crazy-eyed and biting his shield.

Seventy-eight chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis, in the outer Hebrides, in 1831. They date back to the twelfth century, and are thought to have come by sea from Trondheim, Norway. Perhaps that’s the appeal; I’m of Scots descent, with suspected Viking influences, and a medieval obsession.

Today, the chessmen and women (eight queens) are held between the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland. This has been controversial, with Scotland believing the pieces should come ‘home’ – even more relevant given this year’s Scottish independence referendum.

I long to hold one piece, to smooth the walrus ivory, the carved detail, all that history. And … slip it into my pocket.

The picture inspired a gift from my former partner: a replica Lewis chess set. She was upset that the beserker’s teeth are not as prominent as the originals, but I handle them – the rooks – most days.

This month, my mother returns from a tour of the Scottish Isles, including the Isle of Lewis. I’m hoping a chessman makes one more journey.



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BBWF: Nature Writing Workshop

July 8th, 2014 by inga
I’m heading south for the Byron Way Writers Festival at the end of this month, hoping for the blissful Byron weather that the tent festival nearly always manages to delivers up. I’m looking forward to seeing Jeanette Winterson’s Keynote address on the Friday, as well as Maxine Beneba Clarke, Robert Hoge, and drifting into some other great sessions and conversations.
I’ll be teaching a workshop on my pet subject, Nature Writing, on Thursday 31 July. You can book in here .
I’m also participating in the following panels:
Books that Shaped Me, with ML Stedman, Lisa Gorton and Claire Scobie. 10.15-11.00am, Sat 2 August.
A Wide Brown Land: Writing Australia, with Tony Birch, Alex Miller and Ashley Hay. 11.30-12.30am, Sun 3 August.
In Conversation with Lisa Walker and Jessie Cole. 3.45-4.30pm, Sun, 3 August.
I’ll be signing copies of Mr Wigg and Nest (hot off the press) after each session.
You can access the full BBWF program here

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About notes from olvar wood

Notes from Olvar Wood is the title of a work-in-progress, my acount of living among trees in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. This blog features some of my observations of the Wood's non-human inhabitants, the too often forgotten genre of nature writing, and occasional reviews and publishing news.