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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.