Clunes Writers’ Group celebrates first-time authors with Unmasked: An Anthology

When Robert Sidler joined the Clunes Writers’ Group, it was with a degree of trepidation. Now he is a published author whose works feature in an anthology from Australia’s famed book town.

Each autumn, the tiny town, 36 kilometers north of Ballarat, is the destination for writers and readers to share their stories during the annual Clunes Booktown Festival.

It seems appropriate then that there is a book that shares the stories of Clunes’ own writing collective.

The Clunes Writers’ Group officially launched Unmasked: An Anthology at the Clunes Neighborhood House in May.

It is a collection of the group’s short stories, poetry, prose and haikus from the past two years.

Group helps build confidence

A bald older man with jeans and a jacket stands in front of a mike, reads out of a book in his hands.
Sidler reads his poem, Once Again, at the Clunes Neighborhood House. (Supplied: Judi Palmer)

For many of the 18 contributors, including Sidler, it was their first time as a published writer.

Clunes Writers’ Group convenor Patsy Skinner said people who joined the group were often surprised, not just that they had a story to tell, but also by how others were in those stories.

When Robert [Sidler] first came to us from Ballarat, he didn’t know anyone here.

“In the early days when he was coming, there weren’t a lot of men either.”


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