ZW 17 Editor’s Award:The Big Black Thing Chapter. 1

Stephen Pham, Winnie Dunn, Maryam Azam, Shirley Le

When we have a strong idea for a story, or a promising few lines of poetry, we want to crack open the possibilities. We won’t be satisfied with an easy, clichéd product. More likely we want to be honest. But good writing is a steep hill and being honest makes it steeper. The steady, patient build on inspiration/knowledge can be the answer.

Recently at NEW Writers Group inc we used an example given by director of Sweatshop, Michael Mohammed Ahmad, in his keynote speech at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival “Forest for the Trees”. Mohammed began by reading a school student’s piece from Sweatshop’s latest title, The Big Black Thing – Chapter. 1. Mohammed explained that the initial text was very brief. He kept asking the writer to include “more detail” and the result is a fetching story of a house and its people (or of people and their house). When war strikes the house and the people, we the readers know the loss, feel the fear.

The Big Black Thing Chapter. 1 is a vigorous contribution to the growing record of Western Sydney voices. It’s also fun to read. I love this volume because I’m busy at the moment. I can pick it up and take in two or three works, all different, and put it down again knowing that tomorrow I’ll be interested in the next story, the next poem. Contributors come from diverse cultural and language backgrounds. Members of the Western Sydney Writers Group, school students, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, have all been wonderfully featured in this first of a series – a great way of advancing literature and community in Western Sydney, and I trust, beyond.

The Big Black Thing Chapter.1 will be the Editor’s Award for ZineWest 2017. Published by Sweatshop: Western Sydney Literacy Movement. Edited by Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Winnie Dunn. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writing edited by Ellen van Neerven. Project photographer – Socorro Cifuentes. Available from sweatshop.ws

‘Sweatshop was tired of waiting to see more cultural diversity in mainstream Australian literature and media, so we decided to create The Big Black Thing ‘ Michael Mohammed Ahmad.

SE Crawford, ed ZW

Art for ZineWest 17 due 25 June

Geoff Sellman’s ZW16 winning image

NEW Writers’ Group inc is once again seeking artwork for our annual Western Sydney publication, ZineWest. There is a $100 award for Best Image.Our judge, Sophia Kouyoumdjian,sees all entries and advises on which images will reproduce best in the A5 zine.

The zine features around ten artists (and thirty writers – writing entries now closed). We are open to theme and style. Entry is free and all contributors retain copyright of their work. You need a connection to Western Sydney – work, study, residence, engagement with local cultural org …
You are invited to offer up to three images produced in the last 18 months. We need colour for the cover and centre pages, plus grayscale images for other inside pages. We don’t choose work that has already won an award, but previous publication is fine.
 If you would like to join us in the ZineWest project, please download and complete the form and email to us as an attachment (address is on the form) together with your attached jpeg entries (1-3) by 25th June 2017.
The zine is launched on Sunday, 8th October, at UNE FutureCampus, Parramatta.
FutureCampus Parramatta

FutureCampus Parramatta