Help writing mothers get to a special writers' retreat that will provide childcare and scholarships for women on a tight income.
BRILLIANT + AMAZING + WRITERS + MOTHERS is a diverse online community of mothers who write. We support each other in our writing projects through resource sharing, encouragement, advice, writing partnerships, networking, workshopping and solidarity.
The group is international, and open to any mother who writes, in any capacity. The founders, and the majority of our members are New Zealanders.
The group includes novelists, poets, journalists, academics, bloggers, editors, essayists, playwrights, songwriters, science communicators, and children’s writers and illustrators, published and unpublished. What we have in common is that we are juggling writing and family life, most of us with young children.
Mothers with young children are responsible for some of the best writing in New Zealand, despite the challenges of finding time and getting enough sleep to produce excellent work.
Our proposal is to hold the kind of writers’ retreat that our members could realistically attend, in a family-friendly environment with childcare provided.
We are seeking outside funding because writers with young families often have little disposable income. This is all the more true for the large number of our members who are single parents. Our group is a diverse one - in terms of ethnicity, wealth, physical ability, sexual orientation and family structure - and we are committed to creating a retreat that meets the needs of all members, including those with disabilities, and those who are under financial stress.
We want to provide significant subsidies and to meet travel costs according to need.
A childcare programme will run alongside the retreat so participants are able to bring their families with them as necessary or appropriate. Mums can eat with their kids and put them to bed at night, but still get the nourishment that comes from stimulating adult conversation with colleagues.
In 2017 already, members of our group have published bestselling and award-winning work, such as Emily Writes’ Rants in the Dark, Emma Neale’s Billy Bird (shortlisted for the Ockham Awards), Jessica Berentson-Shaw’s Pennies from Heaven, Holly Walker’s The Whole Intimate Mess, Juliette MacIver’s We’re Off to Find a Kiwi, and Maria MacMillan’s The Ski Flier.
We also have many members who write for award-winning and high-rating New Zealand websites such as The Spinoff, E-Tangata, The Sapling, The Pantograph Punch and Tusk; and many members who publish in academic journals, online and offline.
Mothers with young children generally struggle to find time to write. Between the demands of looking after children, doing paid work to support the household, and coping with perpetually broken sleep, for many of us, there’s just too much else in the day to squeeze much writing in.
This retreat will give a much-needed boost to some of the many published and unpublished writers in Aotearoa New Zealand who are juggling writing with motherhood.
As well as providing peaceful and inspiring surroundings for writers to work on their current projects, we will host industry professionals, allowing writers to meet and form productive relationships with agents, editors, publishers and others. This will help support a richer, more diverse pool of published writers in Aotearoa New Zealand.
In Aotearoa New Zealand women are still disproportionately responsible for childcare and household tasks, and disproportionately likely to be the only adult in the household.
All of this adds up to a lot of talent but not much time or headspace for channelling it.
Writers’ retreats are marvellous opportunities to meet with other writers for inspiration, learning and motivation, and to get away from daily responsibilities. They are also impossible for many writing mothers to attend.
I'm one of the founders and admins of the group, and one of the team putting the retreat together.
The funds raised will be used to provide:
- a childcare programme for writing mothers' children
- scholarships so women on tight incomes can attend