Testing Grounds: writers go collaborative

Working with other artists, across disciplines, can inform and enhance individual practices, but the experience shouldn't be rushed.
Testing Grounds. A group of artists stand and sit in an arc posing for the photograph.

Increasingly those romantic images of writers like James Baldwin smoking in a corner while he bashed out words on a typewriter, or Joan Didion staring out into space in the vast emptiness of her house while she composed a story, don’t speak to the collaborative processes many writers do engage with or would like to engage with if they had the chance.

My primary practice is a lonely for-the-page kind of practice, but in the last several years, I’ve had all the joy and frustration and opportunity that collaboration affords a writer. By working with artists in a variety of disciplines including dance, multimedia, weaving and sewing and painting I’ve both gained new audiences and learned a lot that has been filtered back into my individual practice as a writer.

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Felicity Castagna has published four novels, including 'Girls in Boys' Cars', which won the Victorian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, was named a CBCA Honour Book and was recently adapted for stage. The film rights have also been optioned. A Miles Franklin Award finalist for 2018's 'No More Boats' and Prime Minister's Award winner for her YA novel, 'The Incredible Here and Now', Felicity's work has also been published in 'The New York Times', 'The Sydney Review of Books', 'Electric Literature', 'LitHub', 'The Griffith Review' and on ABC radio and television. She also currently lectures in Creative Writing at Western Sydney University.