Since February, we’ve been receiving bulk emails from panicked students, universities and parents about whether our upcoming overseas writing workshops will go ahead. The safety of our fellow humans, especially those more vulnerable than us, is always our absolute priority, and we hear and understand everyone’s concerns. What’s more, our programs take a lot of pre-planning and require us to pay for bookings months in advance, and with so much global uncertainty and mass hysteria, the financial hurdles currently being presented are insurmountable for a small business.
Following this, with utter devastation, we have decided to cancel our 2020 June/July workshops in Bali, Japan and Spain. Doing so means we run at a massive loss, but the alternative – running them anyway with such low numbers and participating in the spreading of a virus to immunocompromised people – would be much, much worse.
So what to do instead? We have many students still itching to do something this June/July. Obviously, what is important right now is flattening the curve of new infections by avoiding unnecessary overseas travel and large-group events in line with yesterday’s recommendations from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer. Health takes priority over the economy, but the knock-on effects of this to the travel industry are going to be monumental, and even in Australia, destinations that haven’t already been ravaged by bushfires are about to be crushed by a drop in tourism.
Following this, we’ve decided we’re going to spend Aussie winter locally: in Tropical North Queensland, to be precise. In Gimuy/Cairns, we will run a small-group workshop from a big ol’ Queenslander. The writing element will be identical to our overseas workshops, with a particular focus on long-form feature writing, creative non-fiction, pitching and starting your own publication, but the cultural element will be different. Next year, provided the world has returned to at least a semi-normal status, our workshops will resume as usual in Bali, Japan and Spain.
If anyone would like to discuss any of the above with us further, especially if you are a prospective student who wishes to join us in Cairns this winter (places are strictly limited), please do not hesitate to get in touch via our contact form — you can read more about the program here.
And for chrissakes – wash your hands!