Our students’ success in this year’s Slade Literary Awards

Three students from 9L were finalists in this year’s Slade Literary Awards, a writing competition that has been run for more than twenty years by Richmond Rotary Club.

The topic this year was ‘Making a Difference’ and Hoangan Le, Henry Mann and Vlad Monakhov all received certificates of merit for their essays. Hoangan’s essay, ‘Second chance fairy’ was about Nobel Peace Prize winner MalalaYousafzai; Henry’s essay was about the difference that can be made by quantum computing; and keeping with the technological theme, Vlad’s essay was titled ‘How the internet changed the world.’ Henry was performing in the Winter Concert, so was unable to attend the awards night, but Hoangan and Vlad were able to experience the event and meet the other finalists.

Congratulations, Hoangan, Henry and Vlad! Thanks to Mr Blair Mahoney for organising this opportunity for our students.

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Katherine Brabon, winner of The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award for her first novel, The Memory Artist, launches Laureate 2016

On Wednesday, 24 November members of the school community celebrated the launch of the 2015–16 edition of the English Faculty’s literary magazine, Laureate.

In what was a very special occasion, staff, students and parents gathered in the school library to recognise the outstanding creative writing and artworks of Melbourne High School students. Australian author and winner of the 2016 Vogel’s Award for her novel The Memory Artist, Katherine Brabon, presented copies of the 2015–16 Laureate to those students whose work appeared in the magazine. In her speech, Katherine noted how impressed she was by the imagination and flair displayed by MHS writers and she commended them for their dedication to the craft of writing.

The English Faculty extends its congratulations to the students whose work appeared in the 2015–16 edition of Laureate.

Appreciation should also go to the English teachers for their tireless work in nurturing the students in their creative endeavours, providing them with advice and feedback, and also for proofreading the work submitted for this publication.

Special mention and a big thank you must go to Sam Bryant who has continued in his role as editor for the 2015–16 edition. Sam has spent many months co-ordinating, collecting, collating, reading, and editing the student work, as well as designing the layout and assembly of the magazine.

The Melbourne High School community extends its appreciation and recognition to Sam and all English staff for their dedication and commitment in showcasing and immortalising our students’ talents. In Horace’s words the English Faculty has created a ‘monumentum aere perennius’ (‘a monument more enduring than bronze’).

Copies of the Laureate 2015–16 and our past editions are available for borrowing from the school library. Access to electronic copies are available on the ‘news’ page of the English website.

– George Marotous, Head of English

It was wonderful to see so many parents attending!

A great opportunity to catch up with former students (2015)

Contributing student authors were presented with a copy of Laureate.

We are so fortunate to be supported by our assistant principals at such events!

Thank you to Katherine Brabon for inspiring our student writers!

Great job, Mr Sam Bryant! Keeping our literary publication alive and enabling our student writers to be published.

Feast on writing – MWF16

You could hear the pens scratching in the air. It’s the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016. There is a mix of writers; professional, emerging and students.

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Oliver, Year 12, shares his notes on Adam Curley, writer and musician:

The world of music magazines is filled with people interested in writing and music, but also gives you an opportunity to be published, and get feedback.

Song lyrics sit in a strange place – harder to study with less of a history – less a form of writing, differing styles between different writers. Began as storytelling, branches out.

For Adam, he is a vocalist, and lyricist, collaborating with his band Gold Class to write songs collectively.

Usually starts with a catalyst, a beat or rhythm in what his band members are writing – always has a notebook or his phone ready writing ideas, words, phrases, that could be used.

Melody can craft lyrics, and lyrics and melody. Inspiration – can be found anywhere! For his inspiration, Adam tends to look inside for his inspiration, taking from his feelings on issues, world or personal. However, other writers he knows write third person narratives, long abstract phrases, really it can be anything.

Style – impressionistic language surrounding a key idea or feeling.

Songs don’t have to follow on line by line, don’t have to be linear narratives.

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Reagan, Year 11, reflects on Meg Rosoff:

“Creating Great Characters” conducted by Meg Rosoff was perhaps the highlight of the Writers Festival. When entering the presentation, most of us witnessed Meg lounging about comfortably on the couch with her interviewer, giving little hint of the brilliant personality that lurked beneath. Excited chatter gave way to enraptured silence, broken only by the open laughter which greeted every deprecating remark she made of herself.

Meg spent the entire workshop detailing her own troubles with writing and rowdy dogs, her anecdote of the years she spent bluffing a book to her editor reducing the audience to a laughing wreck. Throughout the workshop, there was never a dull moment, the presentation being refreshing in that she genuinely downplayed all of her own achievements and awards. Meeting her afterwards, I could not help but purchase one of her books simply for a chance to meet her. Throughout her question session, she never made a single attempt to promote her works, but her warm and sincere thanks when I brought the book to be signed revealed more than a witty and humorous speaker, it exposed her as a writer with a true connection to her readers.

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Ayush, Year 9, shares his thoughts:

At the Melbourne Writers Festival 2016 we had the chance to see and listen to many writers and authors. One in particular stood out. Meg Rosoff, the author of How I Live Now, was a particularly interesting and entertaining person to listen to. She was a very funny person and her thoughts and ideas always caused the audience to chuckle. She was very fun and open as well which always kept the audiences attention. She was also very willing to talk about herself with a group of relative strangers which helped us understand her and her books in greater depth. Out of all the authors we watched and listened to this was, in my opinion, the best as she had intriguing ideas and stories and wasn’t afraid to put herself out there.

Noah, Year 11, writes:

One of the highlights of our day at the Melbourne Writers Festival was hearing author Meg Rossof talk about her writing process and how she worked on characters. Hearing her reminisce about her friend helping her with crucial plot points, how the characters got away from her with minds of their own at times, and how her story about characterising animals went off onto a long tangent about her own dog were all delightful, and her dry sense of humour punctuated every piece of advice or story, making it all the more enjoyable. I am certainly looking forward to reading some of her work, and I’ll be taking her advice on characters to heart. I must say, her admission that she often didn’t know where the book was going to go when she sat down took a weight off, and contrasted with the over-planning toted by many other writers. I would recommend the Writers Festival to anyone, especially with panels like this one!

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Frank, Year 11, writes:

At the Writers Festival is where I met Meg Rosoff, an accomplished author winning both the Guardian Prize as well as the Printz Award. She was one of the most inspiring writers, possessing great wit and was always charming. Yet despite winning prestigious awards, she was charming and incredibly down to earth.

She began the workshop of ‘Creating Great Characters’, by professing her love of dogs. She told us that “writers don’t have a sociable lives, that’s why I love dogs.” In her book Jonathan Unleashed (2016), all of the central character’s many problems, are all curiously resolved through two dogs. Although she laughingly admitted that dogs seldom solve the problems we experience in real life, “Dogs make good characters in books because you can make them into whatever you like.”

She then proceeded to give insight into the often-enigmatic writing process of an author. For one, there is no one definite way of writing, and that writing habits tend to differ from person to person. For Meg, she uses her ‘unconscious mind’, where a lot of the writing comes from the place in the brain responsible for dreaming. Where the conscious mind is compared to as a horse rider, the unconscious is mind is the horse itself, and sometimes, it may be better to let the horse lead for a change.

Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the day, her unique advice in combination with her wonderful sense of humour really inspired us, hopefully, to take step towards a future filled with a little bit of creativity, and a little bit of writing.

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Daniel, Year 9, captures John Marsden’s creative writing session:

“In fourteen words we wrote our story. Without one vowel we described our view.”

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 Our pens will certainly be writing furiously following these inspiring sessions.

 

Developing female characters – workshop with Kirsty Murray – and reading awards

Exciting day today with the annual Year 9 and 10 Reading Assembly celebrating reading. Prizes are awarded to students whose reading is prolific, demonstrating depth and breadth.

Some of our winners

A less serious pose

A highlight of the day was Kirsty Murray’s much anticipated writing workshop in which she focused on the development of female characters.By the end of the workshop students had created 20 unique female characters which they now have the opportunity to develop and integrate into a story.

Kirsty shared with us her criteria for good writing:

  • originality, a fresh perspective, using your own voice
  • good use of language – how words work; poetry sharpens use of language
  • good characters – driving force in all fiction; characters define the shape of the story
  • structure – the shape of the story

Students lead co-curricular groups and share expertise – Competition Writing Group

The talent and depth of knowledge amongst the Competition Writing co-curricular group is remarkable. Will Lim, one of the co-captains, spoke to the group today about perspectives in writing. It’s a shame I could only record a section of his talk – more than halfway through.

Words, poetry, action!

The Immigration Museum was the venue for our select group of students attending the  Melbourne Writers Festival writing workshop. The Museum has wonderful stories from people all over the world who have migrated to Australia. With it’s outdoor memorial area and fascinating exhibitions, it’s certainly worth a visit.

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15057356342_3b7f20234a_zWe explored the exhibition Identity: yours, mine, ours – who we are and who others think we are…….

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…… and added a wish for our future life to the Japanese wishing tree.

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Then the workshop with author Arnold Zable began! Our task was to interview him and compile an interesting report. Questions from the group included ‘What is your heritage? What inspires you to write? Was it hard for you when you came to Australia?’

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Some of our really interesting notes from the interview ……

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…. and Andre’s writing, which Arnold termed Painting with words.

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Thanks to Arnold for his inspiration and the Immigration Museum for hosting the workshop.

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Our next stop was Federation Square where we joined other students at the Poetry Slam finals. Congratulations to Melbourne Girls College for being The greatest poets in all the land!!

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Treasures from the archives of Melbourne High School’s magazine, OURS (1920s)

One of the most delightful aspects of Melbourne High School library is its archival collection which includes the school magazine, OURS, dating back to the early twentieth century.

Take a look at a bygone era which had its own language and humour, old-fashioned advertising and unique school activities. These magazine issues date back to when the school was co-educational – before it split in 1927.

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Sorry about all the different sized photos. Hope you can still read most of these blurry shots.