About Qwiller

Qwiller is committed to assisting students in Australia and around the world in telling their unique stories in ways that inspire the writer themselves and those who are fortunate enough to read their stories.

All the resources on this website are built around the simple premise that everyone can express themselves clearly and uniquely in creative writing with appropriate guidance and inspiration.

The resources are easy to follow, creative in their design and are based on strategies developed from current research into teaching creative writing and developing secondary students’ skills in creative writing. 

The creative writing resources available to students are suitable for school or personal purposes. Most of the resources for teachers and students are inspired by the Australian English Curriculum. Because creative writing is universal, teachers and students following curriculums from other English speaking countries will find the resources worthwhile as well.

More details about Shelley McNamara

Arggh, a dreaded career summary! Well here goes. I have been teaching since 1994, mainly in the NSW public system, but I have dabbled into teaching at Christian and independent private schools.

Out of teaching grew my personal love of writing and creating stories. I had a niggle to write, much like an involuntary twitch that consistently returned till I paid attention to it. So I began to grow a writing garden.

The funny thing was that when I decided to write seriously, I realized that I had an enormous amount of writing laying dormant on my computer – both for educational and personal purposes. These seeds, in fact were already trees and shrubs well on their way to maturation.

The website came about because I wanted to share these resources in the hope that they could assist students to find their own love of stories and creative writing. Valuing creativity is at the heart of all the resources on this website. It’s like sun and water for me – I need them for survival. It is still my intention to create resources to guide students to express their stories in a way that makes them feel proud.

At the beginning, I wanted to add a little bit of sophistication to my garden. I looked around for opportunities available to teachers in the research/publishing industry. In my case I hooked on to the NSW Premier's Teacher Scholarship and in 2005 I was awarded a scholarship for my international research on teaching creative writing using ICT. My report was published in the 2005 NSW Premier’s Teacher Scholarship Reports and is available here. I’d had my first taste of the publishing pie and I wanted another bite.

I am a bit of a study freak, so I embarked on a Master of Arts in Creative Writing at UNSW. I finished that in 2007. By then my love of writing was well and truly rooted in my being. Shrubs were sprouting up everywhere. The hundreds of little yellow writing folders on my laptop reminded me of sunny daffodils in my imaginary writing garden. 

It was through the university course that I started to realise the value of solid guidance as a writer from people who have a love of writing themselves and are more than happy to pass on their knowledge to any one who will listen. Writing is a solitary pursuit most of the time and contact with other writers is therefore extremely important.

By the end of the course I had developed a significant body of creative work as well as a research project on innovative creative writing teaching strategies for Stage 4 students. (I too am happy to pass on my knowledge to anyone who will listen, or read, as the case may be). I grew another tree when my research was published in English in Australia: The Journal of the Australian Association for the Teaching of English, published by the ETA (NSW English Teachers Association) in 2009. In 2011, the article was published in EnhanceTV. You can download the article for free by clicking here.

But still, I wanted a real publisher, much like Pinoccio who wanted to be a real boy! And so my first harvest was in the form of a textbook for the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC). It’s called HSC English Area of Study: Belonging, a student workbook, and was published by Macmillan Education Australia in 2008. This allowed me to present my research on teaching strategies for ‘Belonging’ at the ETA Conference and student and teacher workshops about ‘Belonging’ to various students at schools and ETA regional conferences. From there I facilitated creative writing workshops for both junior and HSC students at various schools across NSW. By then, I had a well established, small but peaceful, garden.

In 2012 I was employed by TTA (Teacher Training Australia)to create and facilitate online and face to face English courses. My courses are not only about creative writing, but other aspects of the English Curriculum such as teaching the Area of Study. Check out their website for more information on the courses I currenty run. Log on to www.tta.edu.au, click on 'browse courses' and follow the links for English. Remember that some of the online courses can be completed by any English teacher around the world. 

Good on you for reading this far down! There’s just a couple of other things before you go. In 2009 I co - authored QLD English Essentials 3, which was published by Macmillan Education Australia. I am currently co-authoring a series of textbooks for the Australian English Curriculum published by Macmillan Education Australia. The first two in the series (for Years 7 and 8) were published in 2011 and Year 9 and 10 will be published in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The books are also available digitally. Log onto Macmillan English Education website by clicking here for more information and to purchase the textbooks.

Oh yeah, in 2001, I completed a Master of Arts in Egyptology at Macquarie University and in 1993 I completed a Bachelor of Education in English and History at Wollongong University. Like I said, a study freak. 

So this website is about me sharing my writing garden with young writers. I chose to focus on young people, not only because I’ve been working with them for many years, but because they have a unique way of seeing the world. I want to help them create their own garden, their own way.

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