Meanjin Writers Camp nurtures young talent

Young writers Oliver Cameron, Ella Partidge and Mackenzie Evans learn the tips and tricks of creative writing from author Nick Earls.
Young writers Oliver Cameron, Ella Partridge and Mackenzie Burns learn the tips and tricks of creative writing from author Nick Earls.

They say a picture conveys a thousand words but for a group of young students at the Meanjin Writers’ Camp it’s all about words creating pictures.

One hundred school students spent two days with leading Australian authors such as Nick Earls, James Moloney,Edwina Shaw, Candice Lemon-Scott, Angela Sunde, Martin Chatterton and cartoonist David Lovegrove at Griffith University’s Mt Gravatt campus where they learnt the craft of writing fiction.

“The students come from all over Brisbane to attend the camp and we have a group of Indigenous students who’ve come down from Cairns. As well as the authors, there’s also illustrators and cartoonists who assist the children with their writing,’’ said Griffith University lecturer Georgina Barton.

“The students all have a keen passion for writing. They give up two days of their school holidays to come here to learn writing skills and share their writing, so it’s a rush of ideas and collaboration.”

Held by the Meanjin Local Council of the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association, the annual camp is for young people aged between 10 and 15.

The camp has been held by Griffith University, sponsored by the School of Education and Professional Studies over the past few years.

Pre-service education teachers assist in a voluntary role in working with the participants and authors.

“This provides the Griffith students with exciting ideas on the teaching of writing,’’ Dr Barton said.

For fourth-year education student Anthony Belde who will teach English when he graduates, the camp is an opportunity to help in an areahe holds dear.

Group of young students and teachers
Aspiring creative writers at the Meanjin Writers Camp held at Griffith University

“Writing is an essential part of education and learning. You can’t really understand anything without writing or comprehension,’’ he said.

“I hope the students who attend the camp learn some new skills to take home with them.”

Fellow student and soon-to-be English and History teacher Madelyn Catterall agrees.

“I’ve written stories since I was young too, so the camp is a great way to help young people get to the heart of their writing.”

Griffith University offers a range of education and teaching degreesas well ascreative writing degree options.