West Writers Group, based out of FCAC, is a collective of storytellers from Melbourne’s Western suburbs and we come from various marginalised backgrounds: varied by way of race, class, ability, gender, sexuality and education. WWG is a decolonising space and aims to dismantle White supremacist patriarchal systems so indigenous, non-white and non-male members will have greater weight within the system; but we accept members from all races and aim to be inclusive in this way.
We have the usual ambitions – to be published (or broadcast) and to reach a wide audience with our work. West Writers Group creates space for writers from underserved communities to come into this scene and feel they have a clear pathway into the industry, and to not feel like they are constantly having to fight for space.
Fatimah Ashgar in a recent twitter thread, quotes Jomama Jones, saying ‘Circles rise together’. WWG swears by that principle: if one rises, we all rise. We care for one another and we break down barriers not just for ourselves, but also for each other. What we feel has made us successful is our immense pride and support for all members of the West Writers Group.
To be heard by our own communities is paramount. We write for the West, geographically (a region in Melbourne that has historically been more working class and industrial; a first port of call for immigrant and refugees; a cheaper place to live for those of low incomes) and figuratively – we write for the queer, the disabled, the vilified and the unrepresented among us.
Our work aims to claim our right to exist in the centre. We do recognise that we will be read with a lens that politicises our work according to the dominant culture’s preoccupations and we understand that. The existence of our work is always political, and many times the politics of our work will not be recognised by a white readership.
We also question the accepted wisdom which positions the wider literary scene as mainstream; when inside the totality of cultural artistic work, it may be a niche. WWG has ambitions to be known by the popular mainstream; and many WWGers work in popular fields such as television and genre writing.