Stella Schools Coordinator, Bec Kavanagh, addresses the 2016 Girls Write Up event in Melbourne
Share in the experience of Girls Write Up 2016

Share in the experience of Girls Write Up 2016
Aviva Tuffield, 29 June 2016

It's with great pleasure that we announce that Stella's booked-out Girls Write Up 2016 events were an overwhelming success! Girls Write Up (GWU), a gender-inclusive, intersectional, daylong festival of language, gender and power, was held in Melbourne on 17 June, and Sydney on 21 June. Nearly 300 young people attended GWU, and participated in panels, workshops and Ask Me Anything sessions with some of Australia's most talented and trailblazing writers and media personalities.

Both events were kicked off by a bold keynote speech by Clementine Ford, who began by encouraging participants to focus on 'confidently taking up space that belongs to you, and not let anyone bully you into being silent' and ended with this rallying call:

I want all of you to go out into the world and become huge, strident, passionate attention seekers. Don't be afraid to be the smart young women you know you are. You are all valuable and important, and what you have to say matters. You matter.

This set the tone for an inspirational day of workshops and talks that encouraged young people to speak up, helped them find the confidence to do so, and provided them with various ways to express themselves. Highlights included an impromptu performance following a spoken-word workshop with the wonderful Candy Bowers in Melbourne, and a truly life-changing series of readings by Fiona Wright, Kirsty Eagar and Emily Maguire, for the Radical Act of Writing Women panel in Sydney. The atmosphere of the Ask Me Anything sessions with Rebecca Shaw and Clementine Ford in both Sydney and Melbourne perfectly summed up the spirit of Girls Write Up: vulnerable, honest, humorous and, ultimately, defiant.

Alice Pung, who appeared on the Radical Act of Writing Women panel in Melbourne, said:
'Girls Write Up gives high school students an opportunity to hear and meet inspiring authors, artists and performers who discuss art, culture, career, diversity and politics. It makes real the possibility that they too could become creators of art and literature instead of just consumers. It is empowering both to the audience and the participants. This next generation of girls really inspired me – they are smart, focused, political and feminist!'

Hannah Donnelly, who appeared on the On Comics and Unheard Voices panel, said:
'To speak at Girls Write Up was a deadly experience. As a writer I could only imagine how an event like this would have inspired me while I was in school. The level of interest from the intelligent, lit-savvy young people was impressive and I wish there were more events like this for young writers to connect with young aspiring writers.'

Follow these links for more Girls Write Up coverage on Daily Life, the Guardian and the Conversation.

The feedback:

Brigid Delaney in The Guardian: 

Camilla Nelson in The Conversation: 

Clementine Ford in Daily Life: 

The Nelson Meers Foundation supported the inaugural 2016 Girls Write Up events. According to Aviva Tuffield, Executive Director & Co-Founder of The Stella Prize, there are calls to do them again in other states and regional areas and they are now working on a program of GWU workshops for 2017.

Learn more about Girls Write Up