A one-day writing workshop about finding words and stories in natural places

Most writing happens at the desk, but sometimes we find our strongest ideas when we are moving in the world—especially the natural world. Immersion in natural places can oxygenate our thinking, switch on our senses, enliven our creativity and ignite our imagination.

This one-day writing workshop will explore the power of place in our writing: how to write vivid and immediate settings, how to use place to deepen story and theme, and how to harness the metaphoric power of the natural world.

The day will begin in a private room at the historic Mt Macedon Hotel where we will learn skills and techniques to write powerfully about place. Later in the day we will spend time walking in the state forests of Mount Macedon, engaging in a focused way with the qualities of the environment and exploring how they can be voiced on the page through guided, in-situ writing activities.

This is not a nature-writing workshop as such, but an opportunity to explore how natural landscapes can inform and inspire our writing more broadly and strengthen our observational and imaginative muscles.

The workshop is suitable for poets, fiction and non-fiction writers of all levels and includes a gourmet lunch and a guided walk through local bushland. No bushwalking experience required but track may have a gentle hill section or sections and occasional steps.

Topics covered will include:

  • Writing the non-human
  • The role of nature in narrative
  • Relationship of place to character and theme
  • Use of language and imagery in writing place
  • Techniques for observing and documenting the natural environment
  • Techniques for generating stories and ideas from nature
  • Developing our observations into a longer piece
  • Guidelines as to how to structure a practice around writing in nature

All participants will also have the subsequent opportunity to submit a 500 word piece to the workshop leaders, for feedback and review.


Participant numbers are strictly limited. Book now to avoid missing out.


10:00am to 04:30pm, Saturday 24 April, 2021.


The Red Room, Mt Macedon Hotel, 694 Mt Macedon Road, Mt Macedon VIC.

Only an hour from Melbourne by car or train – free pick-up from and drop-off to Macedon Railway Station available upon request.


Includes gourmet lunch – $315 per person. Concession $225 (those with a health-care card, student card or pension card).



Ilka Tampke and Michelle Scott Tucker are engaging speakers, passionate teachers and experienced authors. Participants in this unique workshop will spend the day learning, listening, talking and laughing. And, of course, writing. We can’t wait for you to join us in the beautiful Macedon Ranges.

Ilka Tampke

Ilka Tampke’s first novel, Skin, was published in eight countries and was nominated for the Voss Literary Prize and the Aurealis Award in 2016. Her second novel, Songwoman, was published in four countries and won the Small Press Network Book of the Year Award 2019. Ilka teaches fiction at RMIT University and La Trobe University and is currently completing a PhD. She lives in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria.

Michelle Scott Tucker

Michelle Scott Tucker

Michelle Scott Tucker’s biography of Elizabeth Macarthur was shortlisted for the 2019 NSW State Library Ashurst Business Literature Prize and the 2019 CHASS Australia Book Prize. Michelle is currently working with Torres Strait Islander Aaron Fa’Aoso, to ghost-write his memoir. She was shortlisted for the 2021 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship for the memoir, which will be published in 2022, by Pantera Press.  Michelle lives in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria.