IAN IRVINE is well placed to know just how rich a region Bendigo is for writing.
The Bendigo TAFE lecturer has spent months sifting through more than 200 submissions for an anthology of writing to be launched at the inaugural Bendigo Writers Festival next month.
He and fellow-editor Tru Dowling had to reduce that number to about 75 pieces from 52 contributors, to create a fat book that celebrates the achievements of former students at the TAFE as well as the support of many writing professionals.
“Although we knew anecdotally that Central Victorian writers contribute a great deal to both the local and national literary scenes, we still experienced something of an epiphany in bringing so many of these people together in one publication,” Mr Irvine said.
“The anthology also stands as a testament to the quality of public arts education for adults on offer in Central Victoria.”
Scintillae 2012 includes poetry, short stories, essays and interviews. Mr Irvine said it’s a sample, showing the diversity of creative writing and thinking in the region.
It brings back to Bendigo many people who have grown up, studied and worked here.
“Bendigo Writers Festival and to some extent this anthology represent something of a coming of age for writers across our region,” Mr Irvine said.
“We have a unique perspective on the world up here, it’s different to Melbourne and we’re beginning to celebrate that difference.
“The difference is partly a response to the impact of our unique ecosystem on our creative consciousness – you are never far from the bush here even if you live in central Bendigo.
“It also has something to do with the sense of community integration evident in some smaller communities.”
The new anthology will be published in print, but also as an ebook. Mr Irvine said the technology revolution has also assisted literary change inBendigo.
“Global knowledge reaches regional writers as quickly as it does urban writers these days,” he said.
“There are no real geographical regions in cyberspace, so there is no need for Bendigo writers to feel inferior due to a lack of access to international avant garde innovations.”
Scintillae 2012 will be available at the Bendigo Writers Festival, following the launch on Saturday August 11 at 4.30pm, in the Banquet Room of The Capital, for $15. It will also be available as a Kindle e-book for $4.99.