Hi all,

As we’re steaming into 2021 and have a few new names among us, I thought it might be a good time to quickly run through the CSFG sub-groups and give a quick brief on the February meeting. If you have any news of your own to add – publications, comp wins, or anything else exciting – please feel free to add it below.


Regarding groups, there are four main satellite groups that form the CSFG. In no particular order, they are the Novel Critique Group, the Short Story Critique Group, the Novel Writing Group, and Novel Vague. Each of these groups meets monthly in addition to the main monthly meeting.


Novel Vague is the newest of the groups, and is currently run by Gillian Polack. It’s also the most agile of the groups, with timings and topics set by those attending the previous meeting to try and assist with the more immediate struggles of members. It’s run online which makes it pretty Covid-proof, has been personally very useful in dealing with topics such as appropriation (or more to the point, avoiding it), and welcomes all members who can log on.


The Short Story Critique group basically is what is says on the cover. Any member can submit a short story (monthly folders in the ‘Files’ tab) by the last Wednesday of a month, and the stories are critiqued on the first Wednesday of the next month. Digital critiques are fine, and our co-ord, Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga, will co-ordinate the times and location (whether in loc or online is month to month dependent).


The Novel Critique and Novel Writing groups, run by Simon Cobcroft and Louise Pieper respectively, are all about the longer form of the craft, and are undergoing some changes in format at the moment. I’ll let Simon and Louise explain how they’re going to run it once they’ve ironed out the details, but from the proposal put forward it looks like a great service to any writer who wants to put their work forward.


Finally, the February meeting – the first meeting back from 2021 will be on the topic of Ethics and the Militarisation of Space, with Dr Nikki Coleman (and possibly her assistant, Dr Stephen Coleman), at 7:30pm, 17th Feb. Dr Coleman is a Yale Research Fellow and Military Space Bioethicist publishing in the fields of moral status, Just War, the impact of unlimited expectations on military personnel, and space as a Global Commons. Nikki also teaches at UNSW and at the Canberra based Space Camp, and occasionally pilots her hot air balloon as close to space as is safe.

Nikki is keen on a more interactive style of chat, so if you have any questions – anything from protocols of meeting new species, to possession and responsibility of space junk and/or claimed land, to travel restrictions and contamination – her only request is ‘the curlier the better’.

She has also asked if people can bring their evil genius mindset along, which I’m sure we all have lying around somewhere.

Location for the February meeting is TBD, however we’re aiming for somewhere in the city to make it convenient for as many people as possible. Once we’ve confirmed a location, I’ll let people know ASAP.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again in a (hopefully) calmer 2021.