Bernard Cohen's The Writing Workshop runs after-school, school holiday, online and in-school creative writing workshops and activities for children and young people. All our courses are led by published authors.
School holiday courses take place every school holidays at Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush Bay. July 2013 holidays: eight individual courses offered for young people from ages 5 to 15. Now booking. Recent holiday workshop feedback.
Please join our email list to keep informed of the latest course information.
News: Congratulations to Seren, Sabrina, Gabriel, MacKenzie and Rebecca, whose ghost stories were professionally recorded and featured in The Performance Space's "Nightime: Twilight" held very spookily at St Stephen's Cemetery on 15th September 2012. Seren's piece was extracted for ABC Radio National's Books and Writing program.
News: Congratulations to Silvia, whose prose poem "Sometimes It Feels So Bright at Night" won the 14-15 years section of the 2012 Bill Coppell Poetry Prize. You can read her poem here.
News: Congratulations to Diya Pacheco for attaining the 2011 NSW HSC Top Achievers list in English (Advanced), finishing 6th in the state! Diya attended a number of courses including our first ever holiday program in 2006 and an HSC Belonging unit of studies creative writing course. She writes:
News: Congratulations to all those who received (and kindly let us know about their brilliant results) in the 2012 ICAS Writing test, including two in a row (2011 and 2012) High Distinctions for Mia in year 4.
News: Congratulations to Tara, shortlisted for the 2011 Tim Winton Award for Young Writers, presented annually in Western Australia. Tara attended our online workshop in 2010 and her Mum writes, "Tara LOVES to write and it is a fact that your course's approach definitely showed her (and her sister Brooke) a completely different way to plan, what to include and how to have a little more fun with their writing."
Participant comment: "The best day I have had this year." Oliver, aged 8.
Parent comment: "Happy child, happy Mummy!" (Survey response from parent of 6-year-old).
Our holiday workshops take place in the Field Studies Tower at the Education Centre Tower in Bicentennial Park, Homebush Bay (within Sydney Olympic Park) as part of Sydney's largest school holiday program, Kids in the Park. Free parking is available at the venue (Carpark P10f).
You will find school holiday creative writing workshops suitable for ages 6-15 and for all skill levels. We're proud of our record in switching previously reluctant children onto the pleasures of writing and in helping ambitious young writers fulfil their literary ambitions. Please join our email list to keep informed of the latest course information.
News: The Writing Workshop receives 100% satisfaction rating. According to the most recent survey conducted by Sydney Olympic Park Authority (October 2012), 100 per cent of respondents were satisfied overall with The Writing Workshop course their child attended in the October 2012 school holiday program at Sydney Olympic Park. All were satisfied with organisation, suitability of activity and value for money. Read comments from survey respondents.
News: Congratulations to Lauren, Sydney Youth Writing Competition writer of the year 2012.
July 2013 Holiday Workshop Timetable and Summary
Can't make it this time but want us to keep you informed of future courses? Please click here to join our e-mailing list.
Enquiries: please phone 0468 543 933 or use this form.
One-day "Fantastic Beasts" creative writing workshop for 8-13 year-olds, Sunday 7th July, 10am - 3.30pm. Create an unusual and fantastic creature and let it loose in your own story world. Dragons, griffins, elves and all manner of imaginary living things. Invent the magic. This course is always very popular and great fun. $132 inc GST. Places available. Please click here to book (opens PDF in new window).
The Writing Workshop @ Kids in the Park holiday workshops for ages 6-9. Monday 8th - Wednesday 10th July, 10am - 12 noon each day at the Education Centre, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park. (Note: age overlap with following group is for your convenience and judgment. We're happy to discuss the most appropriate group for your 8 or 9 year-old.) As part of the Kids in the Park program, our fun and popular regular creative writing workshops will take place. Create imaginary places, amazing characters and edge-of-your-seat events, and write superbly serious or fantastically funny stories and poems - all in your own brilliant literary style. $160 inc GST. Places available. Click here to book (opens PDF in new window).
The Writing Workshop @ Kids in the Park holiday workshops for ages 8-12. As part of the Kids in the Park program, our fun and popular regular creative writing workshops will take place Monday 8th - Wednesday 10th July, 12.30pm - 2.30pm each day at the Education Centre, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park. (Note: age overlap with previous group is for your convenience and judgment. We're happy to discuss the most appropriate group for your 8 or 9 year-old.) Invent your own country, travel in time, invent wild new machines (and use them). Create world-changing events, and write superbly serious or fantastically funny stories and poems - all in your own brilliant literary style. $160 inc GST. Places available. Click here to book (opens PDF in new window).
**NEW** One-day "Future Fiction" creative writing workshop for 8-13 year-olds, Thursday 11th July 2013, 10am - 3.30pm. Decide the future, not just for yourself but for all humanity, or the entire planet or galaxy! Will we have all travel in spaceships with our reliable robotic dogs? How will we communicate? What could there be when screens become redundant? Utopia? Dystopia? What makes stories of the future believable and engaging? (Hint: there's more to it than technology.) $132 inc GST. Places available. Please click here to book (opens PDF in new window).
One-day "Skilled Young Writers" workshop for 10-15 year-olds, Friday 12th July 2013, 10am - 3.30pm.Try out new ideas and techniques in a supportive and enjoyable setting. Stretching your metaphors, testing new poetic forms, and slowly, so very, very slowly adding to the excruciating suspense. This full day (bring your own picnic lunch) will build your skills and help you find new sources of inspiration. Held at the Education Centre, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park. $132 inc GST. Places available. Please click here to book (opens PDF in new window).
Selective High Schools Placement and ACER Scholarship Tests preparation writing workshop for students entering year 6 in 2014. Saturday 13th July, 10am - 1pm. This three-hour workshop complements other more broadly based workshops and is directed towards students entering year 6 in 2013 and intending to sit the NSW Selective High Schools Placement Test to be held early in 2013 or ACER scholarship tests. The workshop will cover skills for the test's creative writing component, including scenario development, planning and test practice. Includes materials. We recommend that children first learn to write well, and secondly how to direct their writing skills towards a twenty-minute test. Unlike our other courses, this workshop focuses on the second of these! $99 or $75 when booked with any other holiday workshop. Places available. Click here to book (opens PDF in new window).
**NEW** "Poetry: Images and Forms" for 9-14 year olds. Saturday 13th July, 1.30pm - 4.30pm. We love poetry! The course will present new ways of using metre, help you create lush, vivid imagery and introduce advanced poetic forms and techniques. Build your skills as well as your powers of observation. $75 inc GST. Places available. Click here to book (opens PDF in new window).
One-day "Write Your Own Book" workshop for 8-13 year-olds, Sunday 14th July 2013, 10am - 3.30pm.How to set, plan, build and finish your own extended story. Creating atmospheric settings, memorable characters and gripping plots. This full day (bring your own picnic lunch) will give you all the skills and inspiration you need to write your own book. Held at the Education Centre, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park. $132 inc GST. Places available. Click here to book (opens PDF in new window).
Parent comment: "Thank you for all the positive energy you put into the writing course. You really have a talent for engaging young writers. My son had a great time and it's great to see him write outside of the realms of his comfort zone. He has come home writing and already I can see some development in the area of characterisation and plot formation. He has asked to do another course which is fantastic. It was wonderful seeing so many children with a passion for writing in the same room." (email from parent of 11-year-old, April 2010)
Other Available Courses (not offered in July hols)
One-day "Write Your Own Book: The Hundred-Year Mystery" workshop for 8-13 year-olds. (Not offered in September 2012.) Invent an event so powerful that its repercussion are still felt 100 years later - a crime, discovery or secret passed from generation to generation. This full day (bring your own picnic lunch) will give you all the skills and inspiration you need to set, plan and build a gripping mystery story. Held at the Education Centre, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park.
One-day "Skilled Young Writers" workshop for 10-15 year-olds, Friday 21st December 2012 10am - 3.30pm. Try out new ideas and techniques in a supportive and enjoyable setting. Stretching your metaphors, testing new poetic forms, and slowly, so very, very slowly adding to the excruciating suspense. This full day (bring your own picnic lunch) will build your skills and help you find new sources of inspiration. Held at the Education Centre, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park.
One-day "Nearly True Story of My Life" creative writing workshop for 8-13 year-olds, Sunday 28th April, 10am - 3.30pm. Amaze your friends and family with your powers of stretching the truth into frightening or hilarious new shapes! Turn everyday events and schedules into something extraordinary. This workshop will help you transform your skills and habits (wonderful or woeful) into entertaining and nearly believable stories.
Rhetoric: The Art and Science of Imaginative Arguing for 10-15 year olds. Persuasion, argument and logic. Prove that the world is flat and that gravity is a figment of the imagination, or that humanity would be better off through electing you mayor. Fill your writing with dogmatic and reasonable characters. Ancient and modern methods of persuasion (words only!)
**NEW** One-day "Tales of the Bizarre and Supernatural" workshop for 10-15 year-olds, Friday 26th April 2013, 10am - 3.30pm. Create tense and haunting stories of the bizarre and unknown. Learn how to describe the creepiest atmosphere and to give your characters (and readers) a real sense of dread. Surely now is not the time to step outside… but for some reason they always do. Not for the faint-hearted. $132 inc GST. Places available. Please click here to book (opens PDF in new window).
Story-Making Fun workshop for 5-8 year-olds. Saturday 20th April 2013, 10am - 1pm. Held at the Field Studies Tower, Bicentennial Park, Sydney Olympic Park. Three hours. For very new young writers: this course includes plenty of individual and group creative writing work and time to illustrate your own stories. $80 inc GST.
Bookings are now open for Term 1, 2013 after-school creative writing workshops — we offer workshops in Cammeray; Eastwood; Summer Hill, Annandale and NEW Darlinghurst for school years 1 to 6, booking forms below. Evening workshops in Leichhardt for school years 7 to 12 by application.
Enquiries: please phone 0468 543 933 or use this form.
News: Congratulations to Thomas in year 5, whose book "Harry the Huntsman Spider" was published by Willoughby City Council in its Wildlife Story Books series, July 2012.
News: Congratulations to Ella and Julia whose short stories won 1st and 2nd places at the 2011 International Grammar School Arts Day.
News: Congratulations to Samuel whose short stories were awarded 1st AND 2nd prizes in the 2010 Sydney Youth Writing Competition. Congratulations to other participants (including Angelique) whose stories and poems were also highly rated and included in the SYWC anthology Thunder and Lime.
Mondays at Eastwood Public School. Commences 6th May 2013. Years 1-2 from 3.15 to 4.10 pm; years 3-4 from 4.15 to 5.10 pm; years 5-6 from 5.15 to 6.10 pm. Limited places available in all groups. Please contact us for further details or click here to download a booking form.
Mondays at Darlinghurst Public School. Commences 6th May 2013. Years 2-4 from 4.00 to 4.55 pm; years 5-6 from 5.00 to 5.55 pm. Places available in both groups. Click here to book for Term 2, 2013 . Or please contact us for further details.
Monday evening course for school years 9-11, Leichhardt 7.00pm-8.30pm. Commences 4th February 2013. By application only, when places available. (Group full.)
Tuesdays at Summer Hill Public School, Moonbie Street, Summer Hill. Commences 7th May 2013 (week 2). Years 1-2 from 3.05 to 4pm; years 3-4 from 4.05 to 5 pm. Please contact us for further details or download a booking form.
Tuesdays at Cammeray Public School. Commences 7th May 2013 (week 2). Years 1-2 from 3.30 to 4.25pm; years 3-4 from 4.30 to 5.25 pm; years 5-6 from 5.30-6.25pm. Please contact us for further details or download a booking form.
Thursdays at Annandale North Public School, Johnston St, Annandale. Commences 2nd May 2013. Years 1-2 from 3.05 to 4 pm; years 3-4 from 4.05-5 pm; years 5-6 from 5.05 to 6 pm. Click here to book for Term 2, 2013. Or please contact us for further details.
News: Congratulations to Frankie, aged 14, whose poem "The Bird and the Beast" was exhibited at the 2010 “Not Violent, Not Silent” Art Exhibition of the White Ribbon Foundation.
News: Congratulations to Erin and Ben, gold and bronze award-winners respectively in the 2010 Write-On Competition conducted by the NSW Board of Studies.
News: Congratulations to poet Silvia, aged 12, for an excellent third in the 2010 Gold Coast Writers' Association Children's Writing Competition (from many entries) and to Ella, 14, whose Vietnam War short story won the 2010 Junior Writing category at her school.
In Term 1, 2010, all groups wrote about ancient times. Here is 8-year-old Livinia's description of life as a slave in Ancient Egypt. In term 2, school years 3-9 created new lands and fascinating narrators. From Term 2, here is 13-year-old Ella's official analysis of her land from the point-of-view of a professional CD stacker.
Enquiries: please phone 0468 543 933 or use this form.
News: Following numerous enquiries, we're delighted to offer a new Children's Online Writing Workshop for young people aged 7-10. Comprising 12 writing tasks (and second drafts, please) over 6 months, you will invent your own story world, populate it with unique and interesting characters and make brilliant events occur. This course complements our ongoing course for ages 10 and over. which has attracted young writers from all over the world. To enrol, click here (opens PDF in new window). For further enquiries, please use this form.
Online Creative Writing Workshops for ages 10 and up. Can't make it to current venues for any reason? The Writing Workshop's internet creative writing workshop for young people aged 10 and up takes place anywhere in the world through our password-protected blog interface. The workshops involve regular writing exercises and mentor feedback, as well as the chance to read and discuss your work with your peers (all comments are moderated). Click here for an enrolment form (new window, pdf). Use this form to ask for more information.
News: Congratulations to Tara shortlisted for the 2011 Tim Winton Award for Young Writers, presented annually in Western Australia. Tara attended our online workshop in 2010 and her Mum writes, "Tara LOVES to write and it is a fact that your course's approach definitely showed her (and her sister Brooke) a completely different way to plan, what to include and how to have a little more fun with their writing.I know that what Tara and Brooke learnt from [course leader Emily Maguire] was of great value as both have been doing extremely well in creative writing."
Enquiries: please phone 0468 543 933 or use this form.
TWW offers schools high-quality workshops and courses ranging from a single session to term-length residencies. Our senior high school workshops address creative writing elements of the NSW HSC English curriculum, with particular focus on recent markers' comments. We also offer high-quality in-service and planning days for teachers.
Previous school days and workshop series include Newtown North Public School (in-service for all staff + year 5 workshop), Queenwood School for Girls (HSC "Belonging" unit of study workshops), Forest Lodge Public School (in-service for all staff), Bourke Street Public School (In-service for all staff + Term 2, 2009), St Joseph's Primary School (Taree), Athelstane Public School (in-service for all staff + Term 2, 2009), Malek Fahd Islamic School (HSC workshop: "Belonging"), Matraville Sports High, Penrith Anglican College Enrichment Day (PACED), the Whitlam Institute (UWS) "What Matters!" school workshops, Gardeners Road Public School, St Joseph's Primary School (Denman), Glebe Public School (Years 2-6 - click for information and writing), Marrickville Intensive English Centre, La Perouse Public School, Marrickville Public School, St Peters Public School, Summer Hill Public School. Castle Cove Public School, St Fiacre's School, Croydon Park PS kindergarten groups, Annandale North PS (K-3), Marrickville West Public School, Pittwater High, MET Meadowbank (HSC workshop: "Belonging") and Tempe High (Year 8).
We welcome bookings from other organisations, and love working in libraries. Recent library workshops for teenagers include Blacktown, Leichhardt and Pittwater Public Libraries.
News: Authors in Priority Schools programs: The Writing Workshop offers in-school programs tailored to priority and disadvantaged schools. Our programs boost literacy and enjoyment of writing. Read about the pilot program, set up by the Australian Society of Authors, Federal Department of Education, Science and Technology and NSW Department of Education and Training.
The Writing Workshop now offers planning days, in-service courses for teachers of all school levels from K to 12, as well as modelled lessons. We will run courses in your school any time including on pupil-free and professional development days.
Our in-service courses focus on planning term-length creative writing programs. These are practical days requiring teachers to access and apply their own creative skills. No PowerPoint. Courses cover education for creativity and creative writing within a quality teaching framework.
Enquiries: please phone 0468 543 933 or use this form.
Feedback from recent In-Service Courses
August 2011 course held at Moree Christian School, involving twelve teachers from that school, Moree East Public School and Moree Secondary College. Eleven feedback forms were returned, and here they are.
January 2010, Staff Planning Day for Newtown North and Forest Lodge Public Schools (all teaching staff from both schools). Participant comments:
April 2009, Athelstane Public School Planning Day for all school teaching staff, K-6 plus IM. Participant comments:
November 2008 Gifted and Talented Creative Writing Planning Day at Penrith Anglican College and invited nearby schools. Participant comments:
News: In 2008, The Writing Workshop further contributed to "Priority Schools". Bernard Cohen was once again visiting author at four "priority schools" under the NSW Education Department's Priority Schools Program. The schools were Alexandria Park Community School, Matraville Sports High School, Gardeners Road Public School and Athelstane Public School. Priority Schools are defined by high levels of community welfare dependence and need. In 2007, Bernard presented term-length workshop series at Marrickville Intensive English Centre, Marrickville PS, Glebe PS and St Peters PS.
News: Bernard was keynote speaker at the Primary Principals Association (Port Jackson & Bondi areas) Annual Conference in mid-June. The conference theme was "Magic Happens".
News: Writers Talk, a resource developed by the NSW Department of Education's Centre for Learning Innovation for the Sydney Writers Festival, features an interview with Bernard Cohen — and Bernard's masterclass with year 8 at Tempe High School, in which students transformed the school library into a museum. Other interview subjects include Deborah Abela, Ursula Dubosarsky and Emily Rodda.
More parent emails:
News: Congratulations to Lily Edelstein, 2009 winner of Burwood Girls High's inaugural Young Writer's Award. Lily, in year 8, has attended The Writing Workshop since 2006.
News: Congratulations to Rosie, aged 9, winner of the 7-9 year-old division of the 2009 Leichhardt Library children's writing competition.
News: Welcome to Vogel Award winner and television scriptwriter Jennifer Kremmer. Jennie will run in-school courses on the central coast and Newcastle area. She began at Raymond Terrace Public School in term 3. Jennifer has 20 years' experience teaching creative writing at university level.
News: Congratulations to workshop leader Catherine Therese, whose book (for adults) The Weight of Silence: A Memoir (Hachette Australia) was shortlisted for the State Library of NSW's National Biography Award. Catherine is also a stand-out stand-in for The Writing Workshop.
News: Congratulations to Darcy, aged 8, March 2009 Kids' Editor of Burke's Backyard magazine.
News: Congratulations to Willem Proos, runner-up in the 2008 Sun-Herald's "The Ultimate Story" competition. Kay (Willem's Mum) writes: "Willem had a great time at your course and learnt a lot." The competition attracted over 1000 entries.
Congratulations to Holly (year 5) and Nicholas (kindergarten) from TWW who won junior and senior sections respectively of the Annandale North Short Story competition. Claudia and Laine also won prizes, and Ella was highly commended. Congratulations to Alex from Drummoyne PS who won a school award for his story writing. Read Holly's truly remarkable story here.
What do participants think of Bernard's workshops? This is what they've said.
Click here for The Writing Workshop's approach to learning creative writing: why we do what we do.
According to the NSW Department of Education website, "Priority Schools Programs support government schools serving the highest densities of low socio-economic status families in New South Wales. The programs are underpinned by principles of equity and are part of the NSW government's commitment to social inclusion." For more information, here is the Priority Schools Program website.
Dr Bernard Cohen is a novelist and picture book writer and director of The Writing Workshop. Bernard's writing has been published around the world. His awards include the 1997 Vogel Prize, 2001 Arts Council of England Writer's Award, 1997 University of Technology Alumnus of the Year Award, and a unique three inclusions in the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists.
Amongst Bernard's recent publications for grown-ups: "The Chinese Meal, Uneaten" (short story) in Asia Literary Review Autumn 2011; "War against the Ungulates" (short story) first published in Heat 17 and included in Best Australian Stories 2008; "Hunter is Writing" (feature) in Australian Author 39/3; "Storm" (poem) published in FourW Nineteen. His latest publication for children is a Korean edition of the picture book Paul Needs Specs for the education market (published by Booxen 2011). He recently completed his Doctorate of Creative Arts. His fifth novel for adults, The Antibiography of Robert F. Menzies, will be published by 4th Estate later in 2013.
Bernard has over 25 years experience conducting writing workshops for young people, and founded The Writing Workshop in 2006. Please click here to read comments on Bernard's creative writing workshops from participants, parents and teachers. For more information, please contact The Writing Workshop.
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The Writing Workshop ABN 23 452 921 203 postal address PO Box 223 Annandale NSW 2038 AUSTRALIA
Images and text on this page and throughout this website are copyright © Bernard Cohen and The Writing Workshop 2006-2012 unless otherwise stated.
This page was last updated 29/5/2013.