Is the art of letter writing dying? Australians Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire don’t think so. In homage to letter writing, they founded the literary salon Women of Letters, which invites women to write in with their own letters: love letters; letters to love itself; letters of revenge; of hope; of political anger; of reportage; whatever women feel moved to write about, addressed to whomever they wish. They have a few brave male correspondents too, some of them writing to the women who’ve changed their lives.
Of course, letter writing no longer means simply putting pen to paper, it can just as easily mean tapping at a keyboard, and then pressing send on an e-mail. Women of Letters embraces the technological changes that have themselves changed letter writing.
Last year, Women of Letters ran a tour in Indonesia. This year, the salon is teaming up with the Ubud Writers and Readers’ Festival (UWRF) in an initiative called From page to homepage: letter writing goes digital.
Here, Marieke and Michaela write you a letter explaining how you can participate, even if you can’t make it to Ubud, either now or for the Festival, which will take place in October. For those of you who have an Asian language as your mother tongue, please note that the language of Women of Letters is English.
Dear readers of Asian Books Blog,
We've curated Women of Letters events in Australia and all over the world to focus on the value of letter writing and reviving the lost art of written correspondence.
Now you can share your letters from Asia with the Women of Letters online letter writing platform on the UWRF website.
Building on the momentum of previous workshops and events held in Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Ubud – which included lit-world luminaries like Anne Summers, Lionel Shriver, Ayu Utami and musician Clare Bowditch – our innovative letter writing portal encourages entries via snail mail, digital upload, video or soundbyte submission. Each month we will explore a different theme, the first being A Letter to a Wish.
It’s easy to do – here’s a simple guide to get you started:
Point your mouse in the direction of www.ubudwritersfestival.com
Head to the About section, click on the Women of Letters button.
Browse the selection of letters already posted, or else submit your own digital version. This can include a postcard image of where you are, and can be personalised with different handwriting styles and letter design. Opt to go public or stay anonymous – it’s up to you.
You can also link to a Soundcloud file or a YouTube video (like an audio/video book, but letter form). Try and ensure these are no longer than 5-10mins.
Finally, for those who want to keep it completely old-school, letters can be sent by post to the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival - the address is on the website - who will then scan and upload the letter for you. This is also a great option if you have a story to share, but no access to a computer or internet connection.
We hope you will use this platform to explore your creative side while connecting with other women writers.
We're so proud that what began as a slightly mad idea to single-handedly revive the lost art of correspondence has spread so far across the world. It's our wish that you will use this beautiful platform to continue sharing your stories and your letters.
We look forward to reading your letters,
Warm regards, Michaela McGuire & Marieke Hardy, Women of Letters
Women of Letters is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia International Cultural Council, an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.