Here’s an exciting opportunity for adventurous writers. The record label Elefant Traks is a great Australian institution, founded by The Herd over a decade ago and supporting top-class Australian music and writing ever since.

A few months ago GDS editor Geoff Lemon joined forces with The Herd rapper Ozi Batla on a new project. Ozi assembled a supergroup under the ET aegis, with members of The Herd and Metabass joined by ace rapper The Tongue, soul singer Candice Monique, and spoken word legend Adam Gibson. The whole crew is heading to Newcastle in a couple of weeks to offer an intensive workshop combining writing with music. And it’s free.

This is part of the National Young Writers Festival, which Geoff is co-directing, so all kinds of writers are welcome. Rappers, short story writers, poets, slammers, spoken word artists, anyone else who says things aloud. Quiet or loud, cynical or sincere. The workshops want people who don’t think their style belongs there, then they want to make it belong. It’s about giving writers the opportunity to work with some of the best musicians in the business, people who really understand how to blend speech and sound.

Spaces in this workshop are extremely limited – as few as 10, a max of 15. So you need to sign up ahead of time. If you are a writer who’d be into this, or know a writer who’d be into it, get them to sign on. It’s an unprecedented chance to work with this calibre of musician, in depth, at no cost.

The workshops will run over two full days, on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 September. You’ll develop your work in small groups, with support from the rappers, singers, and musicians. Then on the Saturday night, you’ll perform the finished product, with the Elefant Traks band backing you up, at the NYWF Saturday Night Ball. Your work will be recorded for posterity. You’ll need to get yourself to Newcastle, but this is something well worth travelling for.

Recording a piece with Elefant Traks is a pretty special opportunity, but you need to apply, and REALLY soon. Send an expression of interest by Wednesday September 19 – that’s this Wednesday.

Send it to, along with a sample of your work. An mp3 of you reading would be handy, text will do, both would be ideal. Quality isn’t an issue, just record a voice note on your phone and send that. Something that gives an idea of your style.

You’ll learn if you’ve got a place by September 21. Do it. Or tell someone else to. As the great sage Marshall Mathers warned us, you only get one shot…