Ms Georgina Canty
Dean of English
It is now 20 years since the inaugural Isobelle Carmody Creative
Writing Competition at Ruyton and this year we were honoured to
have the original judge, Isobelle Carmody herself, return to speak to
the girls regarding the craft of writing.
While the whole school was fortunate to hear Isobelle’s stories of
how she became a storyteller, students in Years 7 and 8 were treated
to writing workshops during her visit. She entertained and educated
with a focus on how to direct emotion in writing and the importance
of editing and structure.
Isobelle focussed on body language, unspoken communication
and tone. ‘Trust your audience and don’t think they are fools,’ she
suggested, ‘they understand subtle implications and emotional cues.’
She taught the girls how to direct the audience to the emotion, not
just show them how to respond.
Another focus of Isobelle’s workshop was how to gather the
ingredients of the story and she reiterated that one must get to the
detail through one’s senses, ‘Paint a picture and make your audience
do some work, this draws them into your story, trust your detail.
Most details arise out of the ‘where’ of your story, what can we see?’
Isobelle encouraged the students to draw from something deep
and profound; she explained that the students needed to find a link
to themselves. She admitted that it requires courage when you write
by ‘using yourself deeply’, yet the story will be more powerful. ‘You
need to care about your writing and explore something deep, true and
real,’ she stated. Similarly, Virginia Woolf believed the importance of
“every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality
of his mind, [be] written large in his works.”
The students were inspired by Isobelle Carmody’s enthusiasm
and expertise, which has then translated into their writing, the fruits
of which are on display in this, the seventh volume of
I would like to acknowledge the help of the following staff who
assisted in making this anthology possible: The English teachers who
have aided in supporting and focussing the creativity of the students:
Mrs Diane Berold, Ms Danielle Cooper, Ms Tracey Glen, Ms Alison
Paisley, Ms Alison Shackell, Mr Paul Upperton, Mr Walter Zavattiero
and Ms Tonya Peters, Director of Development for her involvement
in helping us publish these wonderful examples of student work.