Canberra author and film executive Sarah Mason has ticked a few impressive items off her to do list this year: being appointed director of the ACT Writers Centre; seeing Blue World Order, a feature film of which she is co-writer and co-producer, previewed at the Canberra International Film Festival; and completing the writing of 1.75 books.
The 34-year-old was thrilled to learn in September this year that she would follow in the footsteps of former Writers Centre directors Anne-Maree Britton, Kelli-Anne Moore and Ellen Harvey.
Ms Mason has written over the years for publications including Mamamia, Canberra music magazine BMA, local feminist publication Lip Magazine and the University of Canberra’s student magazine Curieux, formally known as Curio.
A passionate poetry lover, her work has been published in a variety of anthologies.
Ms Mason officially wrote her first short story in kindergarten. She says writing is like breathing for her.
“I have been writing for as long as I was able to write,” she says.
“I was so excited to receive the call about my successful application for the director’s position.
“I feel the role is perfect for me as I believe that writing is for everyone and not only essential for individual human expression, but writing is integral for the broader development of our whole society.”
Ms Mason says Canberra’s writing community is strong, and that she is grateful to have landed the position working within it.
The top priority for Ms Mason as director of the centre, which is based at the Gorman Arts Centre in Braddon, is to continue to build upon its established networks in the community. This includes fostering longstanding relationships with the Australian Government, ArtsACT, the Australia Council, the Noted Festival and the new Canberra Writers Festival.
“I am so lucky to join a team of talented and wonderful staff who have been so supportive of me entering this role,” she says.
“As Director I join a list of powerful, strong and creative women who before me built the foundations and structures that made ACT Writers Centre an essential part of the Canberra community.”
Ms Mason has almost completed writing her second novel and remains mum about the first book’s contents, only sharing that it is set over two distinct eras.
“I will vaguely say the first book is kind of a historic fiction that takes part in the early 1900s in Sydney and the present day,” she says.
The location of the present day in the book remains a secrect but she assures excited and anticipation-filled readers that 2017 might just be the year they can sink their teeth into some of her fiction.
She is more open about her involvement in the feature film Blue World Order, which will be released in the local and international market from May 2017.
The 2017 Program for the ACT Writers Centre will be available in early January and it includes a new program for professional writers called “Between the Lines”.
Professor Jen Webb from the University of Canberra will lead bi-monthly conversations for professional writers focusing on more of the technical aspects of writing.
“A need was discovered after consultations with our members for a discussion group specifically for professional writers,” Ms Mason says.
“There are many other groups and courses available and no matter what type or where your skill set is currently as a writer, we are here to help.
“We are aiming to build confidence, introduce writers to networks and helping develop skills whist continuing to build upon our established writing communities.”
When asked what Ms Mason would be doing in December 2017 she replies with no pause: “Planning programs for the ACT writers centre for 2018”.
The ACT Writers Centre will tonight hold its annual Christmas Party and Awards night, featuring the announcement of the winners of the ACT Book of the Year and ACT Writing & Publishing Awards. Cost: $10 (+b.f.) member, $15 (+b.f.) non-member. Bookings are essential via Eventbrite.
Pictured above are Sarah Mason and Zhenshi Van Der Klooster at the Canberra International Film Festival. Photo: Konrad Lenz.