ABC Radio Collaboration

Finishing School will be collaborating on a podcast series with ABC Radio National that will begin to air later this year. Here are some pictures of us learning the craft from the ABC’s head of story Sophie Townsend:


Hajer write HALAL Gurls For ABC iView

Hajer will be working on a new online TV series for iView called HALAL Gurls. HALAL Gurls is a 6x6 minute comedy series offering a candid look into the lives three twenty-something Hijabis living in Bankstown as they endure the unseen and everyday culture clash between their faith and desire. Congratualtions Hajer!


Mireille Juchau runs a day long Workshop on Writing and Experimentation for The Finishing School

MIREILLE JUCHAU visited our collective to run a workshop on Writing and Experimentation.

Mireille is a Sydney-based writer of novels, short fiction, essays, scripts and reviews. She is currently Writer in Residence at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

Her third novel, The World Without Us is published internationally by Bloomsbury in Australia (2015), the UK and US (2016). It won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Fiction and was listed for the International Dublin Literary Award 2017.  It was shortlisted for The Stella Prize 2016, the Christina Stead Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2016, the Adelaide Festival of Literature Award 2018 and the Australian Book Industry Award 2016, and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2016.

Her second novel, Burning In (Giramondo, 2007),  was published in France – Le révélateur (Mercure de France, 2012) and Croatia – Potamanjivanje(Hrvatsko filolosko, 2013).

In Australia Burning In was shortlisted for the 2008 Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Age Book of the Year Award and the Nita B. Kibble Award.

Mireille’s first novel Machines for Feeling (University of Queensland Press, 2001) was shortlisted for the 1999 Vogel/Australian Literary Award.

Mireille’s short fiction, plays, art reviews and essays have appeared in international and Australian anthologies and journals.  She has a PhD in writing and literature and teaches at universities and in the community.


Zarlasht Sarwari speaks at Picture Books Event

Zarlast Sarwari spoke at Studio Stories about the process of collaborating illustrator UmaJeyaseelan through their fellowship at Lost In Books in order to create a multilingual picture book which draws inspiration from Zarlasht‘s Afghan storytelling traditions. Featured panellists included Libby Gleeson AM, author of over 30 books for children and the Chair of WestWords. She will be joined by Wayne Harris who works as a designer and editor for Walker Books in addition to being a multiaward winning illustrator of many children’s books.


Lee Kofman

Lee Kofman visisted The Finsihsin School to run a workshop on writing women’s bodies. Lee Dr Lee Kofman is a Russian-born Israeli-Australian author of five books and editor of two anthologies, writing teacher and mentor based in Melbourne. Her first three books, the novels Scars (1994, Tamuz)and I will love Christina (2003, Hed Arzi – Ma’ariv Guild), and a short story collection Single Woman, 32 (1999, Hed Arzi – Ma’ariv Guild) were published in Israel, in Hebrew. Since 2003, Lee has been writing exclusively in English.

Her numerous short stories, short creative non-fiction and poetry have been published widely in Australia, Scotland, UK, Israel, USA and Canada in such publications as Best Australian StoriesBest Australian Essays,Harper’s Bazaar, Griffith ReviewMamamia, Meanjin, Creative NonfictionMalahat Review and Brand (UK). Lee also contributed to the anthologies Mothermorphosis (2015, Melbourne University Press, ed. Monica Dux), Culture is… (2008,Wakefield Press,ed. Anne-Marie Smith), Families: Modern Australian Short Stories (2008, Five Mile Press, ed. Barry Oakley) and A Revealed Life (2007, ABC Books, ed. Julianne Schultz).

We were so lucky to have her!


Sydney Writers' Festival Event- Talking Bodies

Faith Chaza, Eda Gunaydin and Chloe Higgins packed out The Parramatta Artists Studios for thier Sydney Writers' Festival Event Talking Bodies. In a night of storytelling, performance and spinning turntables, these three women explored their experiences with sex and grief, morphing genders, moving countries and taking back their lives. Check out the event here on the Sydney Writers' Festival page or watch our trailer here:

Zarlasht Sarwari recieves fellowship from Lost In Books

Zarlasht Sarwari has recieved a fellowship from Lost In Books to work on a piture book with artist Uma Jeyaseelan, the pair will develop illustrated children’s stories, drawing inspiration from Zarlasht‘s Afghan storytelling traditions.

Here's an excerpt from an interview about her picture book from The Fairfield City Advance.

Her son Isaac is her inspiration. “As a child growing up the only thing of Afghan culture you see are narratives of terrorism and asylum-seekers,” she said. “I had an idea to write a children’s story that reflected Afghan narratives and culture and oppose the terrorism and asylum-seeking stories as a way to connect my son to his culture."

“I want to draw on Afghan folklore tradition and the stories older relatives used to tell and capture the golden nuggets of wisdom in their story and how it’ll tell a timely message in an indirect way,” Zarlasht said. “When I went to look for books like this there weren’t many that were relatable. So we want to use the Afghan story tradition but place the story here with common imagery, names and locations so kids can relate to it.”

Zarlasht Sarwari.jpg