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Going Gonzo with John Safran

Join John Safran for a this informative workshop on writing longform non-fiction, talking about opinion vs slander, how far is too far in the pursuit of a story, and the fun steps to narrowing down the subjects of your own reporting.

Called an extremist, a satirist, and a sleuth, John is also a writer and filmmaker. The last five or six years has seen John publish books such as Depends What You Mean By Extremist, God’ll Cut You Down (winner of a Ned Kelly True Crime Award), and a new book titled Puff Piece, an exploration into the dying tobacco industry.

Not your typical journalist, radio announcer or documentary maker, John goes to places and pulls stunts other media professionals might not. He says and writes things others might not get away with, but how and why? What makes these types of opinion pieces more than a political or radical vent on paper? For anyone who’s heard of Gonzo reporting, you might be familiar with the concept but is there a line? And who gets to draw it in the sand and tell you to stay one side of it?


Participants will get a better understanding of:

  • Storytelling vs pure journalism/op-ed/activism
  • Leaving things unsaid – when it’s right to do so, when it’s inadvisable
  • Capturing the evolution of your thoughts in a longform narrative
  • Understanding yourself as a character in your book
  • How to read books and watch films/TV to soak up ways to tell a story
  • Playing the long game vs getting petted on the head
  • Gen X creative axioms vs those now.


About John Safran

John Safran is a writer and filmmaker who always gets in too deep for his own good. His debut book, Murder in Mississippi, won the Ned Kelly Award for best true crime. His follow up, Depends What You Mean by Extremist, found him lost among radicals and was shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards. His wild and hilarious documentaries, such as ‘John Safran vs God’ and ‘Jedis & Juggalos’, have received accolades from the Australian Film Institute and Rose d’Or Festival. His latest book is Puff Piece: How Philip Morris set vaping alight (and burned down the English language).



—Writers SA members must be logged in to receive the member discount. If you would like to use a workshop credit to book in, please contact [email protected] at least five working days before the workshop commencement date. Our staff don’t work full time and we don’t want you to miss out!

—Registrations will close 4pm on the Friday prior to a weekend event and 5pm the day of for an evening event to ensure all participants have the relevant links and information during Writers SA business hours.

—Members of other writing centres in the National Writers Centre Network can access our member discount. Contact [email protected] with your membership number to make your booking.


Price: Writers SA Member $35/Non-member $50

Venue: Zoom


  • Starts: October 26th, 2021 7:00 PM
  • Finishes: October 26th, 2021 8:30 PM

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Going Gonzo with John Safran

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