“A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is.”

Jeanette Winterson


How many moods did you experience today?
Did your heart feel real joy at the sight of a child laughing
a pure white cloud passing
over a field of rape-seed.
Did your heart bleed
when a young mother swore at her child
and a wild-eyed man
stood on a corner beating himself
with his fists.
Was it despondency you felt
in the season of mists

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The Freedom To Write

Anna Akhmatova (Russia), memorised all her poems to avoid persecution and death.

In his Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture in 2012, the author Salman Rushdie said that, “no writer wants to talk about censorship.” Of course, he knew all about censorship and how it can cripple creativity, especially when it comes with a death threat.

During my incarceration at Parramatta Girls’ Home an officer confiscated some poems I’d written and tore them up in my face. The poems were an honest account of life inside the institution and how it affected the girls. Those words were lost forever and I felt that somehow I was “bad” for trying to express myself on paper. It took a long time to get over.

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Great News – Parramatta Girls’ Home Precinct Heritage Listed

This morning I woke to the news that Parramatta Girl’s Home Precinct has been Heritage listed by the Australian Government. However, the footprint they propose to preserve is small and large sections of the site are still being targeted by developers as perfect for building new homes. This would be a tragedy as it is … Read more

The Lionel Shriver Hoo-Ha Over Cultural Appropriation in Writing

The Lionel Shriver Hoo-Ha Over Cultural Appropriation in Writing

Lionel Shriver’s recent keynote speech at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival has caused a huge international discussion, and reminded me of the angst I put myself through when writing The Past Is A Secret Country, the story of three Australian Aboriginal sisters (triplets) who find one another as adults after being separated at birth. One of the sisters is white. Freya also has an innate spirituality, the origins of which dumbfound her. That is until one of the sisters tracks her down in London. At last the truth begins to unravel.

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