The official Writing WA podcast, featuring West Australian authors, poets, essayists, booksellers, publishers & other industry professionals talking about their new books, their favourite books … just books, books, books! Hosted variously by Will Yeoman, Lesley Reece & other members of the Writing WA team.
About the hosts
Will Yeoman is CEO of Writing WA. He was Literary Editor at The West Australian before moving into arts and travel; he remains a music critic for Limelight and Gramophone magazines. Will is Artistic Director of York Writers Festival and York Festival. Previously he was Artistic Director of New Norcia Writers Festival and Perth Festival Writers Week. A lover of literature (and comics!) from an early age, Will is also a keen classical guitarist who enjoys collaborating on spoken word and music performances with writers and poets including Stephen Scourfield and John Kinsella.
Lesley Reece AM
Lesley is on the board of Writing WA. For over 27 years Lesley has promoted Australian literature, inspiring thousands of students and teachers through stimulating programmes. Her passion and dedication have broken through the barrier of indifference to bring awareness and investment in her field. There is no-one more supportive or dedicated to the cause of promoting quality Australian literature for children and young adults than Lesley Reece. In establishing The Literature Centre in 1992, Lesley’s consummate vision to nurture quality Australian literature for children and young adults, whilst promoting authors and illustrators has been realized, and her legacy will continue.
Sara Foster on podcasts, mothers & daughters & the art of language
Bestselling WA author Sara Foster has just seen her 2019 novel You Don’t Know Me serialised as a podcast by LiSTNR. She talks to Writing WA’s Will Yeoman about the experience. This sparks a broader conversation about the portrayal of mothers in literature, the joys and pains of being a writer and the freedoms and restraints of language. And much more besides. Including what are some of Sara’s favourite books of all time.
Stephen Scourfield on travel writing, fiction & performance
The West Australian’s Stephen Scourfield has twice been voted Australia’s Best Travel Writer and has a United Nations Media Award for fairness in publishing. But he is also an award-winning writer of novels, novellas and essays, as well as an accomplished spoken word performer. Here, he chats with former colleague and Writing WA CEO Will Yeoman about a life in writing, the differences between writing for the page and for the stage and how a tour itinerary can also be a form of narrative storytelling.
Night Parrot Press’s Linda Martin and Laura Keenan on the art of flash (non)fiction
Flash fiction is small but carries a big stick. Night Parrot Press is small but carries a big stick. It’s a match made in heaven. Especially when the two team up with Writing WA and Raine Square for Flashscapes! The Love to Read Local Flash competition, now in its fourth year. Join Night Parrot Press’s co-publishers and editors Laura Keenan and Linda Martin in conversation with Writing WA CEO Will Yeoman as they discuss the flash phenomenon, the competition, the joys and challenges of starting a small press and their favourite books.
Laurie Steed, author & Partnerships & Development Manager, Writing WA
For the first in our occasional series which focuses on the staff right here at Writing WA, host Will Yeoman talks to Laurie Steed. Laurie is a much-loved WA author, but he is also the Partnerships & Development Manager at Writing WA. We chat about his new role with the organisation – and about inspiration, creativity and writing with your heart while still keeping an eye on the bank balance!
Author Brendan Ritchie on his new novel, Eta Draconis (UWAP)
Join us on Podstreet as host Will Yeoman catches up with WA author Brendan Ritchie, whose latest novel Eta Draconis, winner of the prestigious 2022 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, has just been published by UWAP.
“Eta Draconis is a road novel set in a world besieged by a long and destructive meteor shower. The story follows two sisters as they journey from their small coastal town to the city ahead of the coming semester. The relationship between the sisters is fractured and fading. Turned upside down by the meteorites that arrived at the start of their adolescence and the strange world they have inhabited since. As the showering intensifies and their way forward becomes threatened, the sisters are forced to confront their problems and recalibrate their hopes for the future.”
Kirsty Murray on the ASA and the Copyright Agency
Kirsty Murray is a multi-award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and young adults. Based in Melbourne, she is passionate about Australian stories. Her work is published internationally and includes eleven novels as well as non-fiction, junior fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction and picture books.
Kirsty is also a Director on the board of the Australian Society of Authors and the Copyright Agency. It is this important work which provides the chief topic for a lively and wide-ranging conversation with Writing WA Chair Lesley Reece AM.
Michelle Johnston on Tiny Uncertain Miracles
Michelle Johnston is both an emergency physician and an author, and on good days it is difficult to tell the difference. Her first novel, Dustfall, was published by UWA Publishing in February 2018 and shortlisted for the MUD Literary Prize for a debut novel in 2019. Her second novel, Tiny Uncertain Miracles, was published in 2022 by Harper Collins to critical acclaim. She speaks and holds workshops, for both doctors and normal people, about marrying critical care and creativity, and is occupied searching for the beauty and awe in an often-brutal reality.
This episode is hosted by Writing WA’s Laurie Steed.
Author Kirsty Murray & illustrator Karen Blair in conversation with Lesley Reece
Kirsty Murray is a multi-award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and young adults. Her works include eleven novels as well as non-fiction, junior fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction and picture books. Kirsty is an ambassador and advocate for many reading and writing initiatives and has been a writer-in-residence in schools and universities around the world. She loves books, libraries, bookshops, readers, writers, puddles, puppies, and stories – especially stories about kids.
Karen Blair grew up in Perth and enjoyed a childhood of drawing, playing at the river, jumping on the trampoline and dressing up. She has always loved drawing and creating characters. She loves illustrating children and animals enjoying time in the outdoors. Karen lives in Fremantle, Western Australia.
This episode is hosted by Chair, Lesley Reece AM.
Manveen Kohli on her poetry collection We Need To Talk
Manveen Kaur Kohli is a British-Indian currently residing in Perth. Manveen has performed her poetry at various events including, Neon Readings, Perth Poetry Festival, and Woman Scream. She was a finalist in the Australian Poetry Slam (APS) state finals in 2020 and 2021. Manveen’s debut poetry collection, We need to talk was released in 2023.
In this wide-ranging interview, she talks to author Laurie Steed.
The Literature Centre’s Natalya Hawrylak on children’s literature and education
In this episode of Writing WA’s dedicated podcast, our Chair Lesley Reece AM talks to The Literature Centre’s Senior Education Officer Natalya Hawrylak. The pair talk about Natayla’s involvement in workshops and in-conversations all over WA as the “literary Mary Poppins”, working with memorable authors, children’s literature and education, and creative writing.
Critical Conversations: Classical Music with Bourby Webster & Will Yeoman
Arts criticism is an art in itself. Join classical music critics Bourby Webster (Seesaw) & Will Yeoman (Gramophone, Limelight) for this first in-conversation in our new series focusing on arts criticism in WA and beyond.
Recorded live at the State Library of Western Australia on 7 June 2023.
Kez Wickham St George on her new novel, Jigsaw
A widely travelled artist, author and former tourism teacher, Kez Wickham St George published a motivational work training manual for New Zealand in 2003 and in 2008 wrote and published a children’s book, The Stone Birds, for a community in Northern Queensland. Her illustrated children’s story have all been translated into Italian, Spanish and German. St George’s adult books are primarily written for the romance thriller market. Based in Rockingham, south-west of Perth, Western Australia, she also tutors in ebook publishing and creative writing for children and adults. This episode is hosted by Will Yeoman.
Tineke Van der Eecken on the poetry of art & the art of poetry
Critical Conversations: Terri-ann White & Will Yeoman
In mid-2021, Terri-ann White launched a small imprint, Upswell, to continue her adventures in publishing. All of her working life has been arranged around books and ideas: as a bookseller, writer, publisher and organiser of public events involving literature and writing. After 14 years of shaping a list as publisher at UWA Publishing, she is delighted to be building this new venture of Upswell. Join Terri-ann in conversation with Writing WA CEO Will Yeoman as they discuss not just the often difficult path to publication but the unvarnished truth of what comes next.
Recorded live at the State Library of WA on Wednesday 12 July 2023.
Charlotte Kemp on parenting, anxiety & her first book Mummy Will Be Ok.
As a local Perth resident and a mother of two boys, mental health has always been an important aspect of Charlotte Kemp’s life. It has defined who she is as person both in positive and negative ways.
As Charlotte writes: “I currently suffer with multiple mental health disorders including general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD).
“With these mental health issues I found it hard to describe to my boys why Mummy was having a hard time or maybe not in the best mood. As both my boys are true lovers of books, I started to search for a children’s book to explain to them both my behaviour and actions when my anxiety is good or bad. After months of finding only adult content around this topic, I decided I write my own children’s book. This is where my first book, Mummy will be ok started.”
Glen Phillips on poetry & painting
Professor Glen Phillips is a remarkably prolific West Australian poet and painter with over 50 books now published and a career spanning many decades. Here, he talks to Writing WA’s Will Yeoman about his rural upbringing, his teaching career and the many and varied influences on his work.
Author AJ Betts on One Song & many novels
A.J. Betts is a Fremantle-based author, speaker, teacher, columnist and cyclist. Her latest work is a fun realistic novel called One Song, about a teenage band trying to record a song to enter into the prestigious Triple J Unearthed High competition.
Her earlier books include the two-book speculative fiction series comprising Hive and Rogue (Pan Macmillan 2018, 2019) and Zac & Mia (Text Publishing 2013), which is available in 14 countries and was made into an Emmy Award-winning Hollywood television series in 2017/2018.
Wavelength and Shutterspeed were published by Fremantle Press in 2010 and 2008. In 2019, A.J. was awarded a PhD on the topic of wonder (Edith Cowan University), and won the inaugural Western Australian Premier’s Fellowship. A J. is originally from Queensland but has lived in Western Australia since 2004.
Hosted by Writing WA Chair Lesley Reece AM.
Helen Hagemann & The Five Lives of Ms Bennett
Will Yeoman and our next guest Helen Hagemann discuss self-publishing her novel The Five Lives of Ms Bennett, writing residencies and the rise of AI.
Helen Hagemann has poetry and prose published in major Australian literary journals, including Westerly, Southerly, Cordite, and internationally in a Chinese Publication, … Hymn, Ashbery Mode (Tinfish, Hawaii 2019) and her latest poetry can be found in Phillip Hall’s Burrow 2021).
In 2004, she won an ASA poetry mentorship studying with NSW poet, Jean Kent. In 2008, she won a Macquarie /Varuna Longlines Poetry Scholarship with her manuscript Evangelyne & Other Poems published in 2009 in the Australian Poetry Centre’s New Poet Series (Melbourne). In 2013, of Arc & Shadow was published by Sunline Press, Cottesloe WA. Helen holds a Masters in Writing from Edith Cowan University, writes reviews and has been accepted into writing residencies throughout the world. She is currently working on a children’s collection of poetry titled Miniscule, a prose poetry collection /cross media platform on Instagram titled Bounty. Helen’s debut novel, The Last Asbestos Town, was published in May 2020 by Adelaide Books, New York USA. and her second novel The Ozone Café was published in December 2021, also by Adelaide Books. Her new novel is The Five Lives of Ms Bennett. Her books can be found on Amazon.
Kris Williams on the Children’s Book Council of Australia (WA Branch)
Kris Williams is President of the WA Branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia. On this occasion, Kris is in conversation with Writing WA’s chair, Lesley Reece. Kris and Lesley have known each other for many years, and both have extensive experience in advocating for children’s literature. A must-listen, therefore, for anyone interested in children’s literature and book illustration.
Peter Dowding on Secret Agent, Unsung Hero
Young Australian teacher Bruce Dowding arrived in Paris in 1938, planning only to improve his understanding of French language and culture. Peter Dowding and Ken Spillman’s new book Secret Agent, Unsung Hero draws on decades of research to reveal, for the first time, his coming of age as a leader in escape and evasion during World War II. Dowding helped exfiltrate hundreds of Allied servicemen from occupied France and paid the ultimate price. He was beheaded by the Nazis just after his 29th birthday in 1943.
Peter Dowding is the nephew of Bruce Dowding. He is a prominent Australian lawyer and a former Western Australian Premier. Ken Spillman holds a PhD in history and is a prolific Australian author. His work spans many genres.
Laurie Steed on his new memoir Love, Dad
Laurie Steed talks to Will Yeoman about Laurie’s new memoir Love, Dad, which explores what it means to be a father in the twenty-first century and is a must-read for all anxious parents, sons and writers!
Jenny Simpson & AWESOME Festival 2023
The AWESOME International Arts Festival for Bright Young Things (the AWESOME Festival) is presented annually in the Perth Cultural Centre. This year, it runs from Tuesday 26 to Saturday 30 September.
AWESOME CEO Jenny Simpson tells Writing WA’s Will Yeoman why the Festival’s literature program is just as AWESOME as everything else the Festival showcases, such as theatre, creative workshops, ballet, music, exhibitions and a whole range of free activities!
AWESOME is committed to presenting high-quality, layered programming for children aged 0 – 12 and their families.
Poet Emily Bridget Taylor on her debut collection, Remedy
Emily Bridget Taylor is a poet, artist, writer, and teacher from Whadjuk Noongar country (Perth, Western Australia).
In 2021, Emily began sharing her poetry on Instagram for the first time. What followed was a surprising, magical journey in which her words and images took flight in all different corners of the world, connecting specifically with women. It inspired her to keep creating and sharing her work, and lead to her writing love notes about the creative life alongside her poems, as another online offering.
Soon after this, Emily won a position in the Four Centres Emerging Writers Program 2022-2023, working with Katharine Susannah Prichard Writing Centre and Fremantle Press to develop her first full collection of poetry.
In 2022, Remedy, her debut poetry collection, was released. Remedy tells a poignant tale of love, loss, and redemption, and features stunning illustrations by Perth designer Claire Daley.
Hosted by Will Yeoman.
Gemma Nisbet on The Things We Live With
A former staff travel writer and current books columnist for The West Australian, Gemma Nisbet teaches travel writing at Curtin University and recently completed a PhD in Creative Writing at UWA. Her first book, The Things We Live With, is published by Upswell. Here, she is in conversation with Writing WA’s Will Yeoman.
Poet Lisa Collyer on her debut collection, How to Order Eggs Sunny Side Up
Lisa Collyer is a poet and educator living and working in Boorloo (Perth). She writes poetry about women’s bodies like the jagged edge of a can opened-up. She has been published in Westerly, Cordite, Rabbit, Australian Poetry Anthology and more. She was an Inspire writer-in-residence with The National Trust of WA and was short-listed for The Dorothy Hewett Award for her unpublished manuscript. Her debut collection, How to Order Eggs Sunny Side Up, was recently published by Life Before Man, the poetry imprint of Gazebo Books. Lisa talks to Writing WA’s Will Yeoman.
Anthea Hodgson on her latest novel, The War Nurses
In 1941, country girls Minnie Hodgson and Margot McNee set sail from Perth, Australia, for Singapore in search of adventure, full of excitement and keen to do their part working as nurses to the fallen soldiers in a time of war. What they encounter is an army of new friends and the terrors of a city under siege.
When the Japanese attack and Singapore falls, they are forced to flee aboard the Vyner Brooke. The ship is bombed, resulting in utter devastation. Separated in the mayhem, one group of nurses find themselves in prisoner-of-war camps for the duration of the war, surviving on their wits, with humour, dignity, loyalty and determination. But another group of young Australian nurses – the girls on the beach – are washed ashore on Bangka Island, where they will meet a fate that must never be forgotten.
Inspired by the author’s own family story, The War Nurses is an unforgettable novel of enduring friendship and boundless courage, based on the shocking true events of the Bangka Island Massacre. It is both a riveting tale and an important tribute to our brave nurses who sacrificed so much during World War II.
Anthea Hodgson is in conversation with Writing WA’s Will Yeoman.
Simon Miraudo on the history of film censorship in Australia
BLASPHEMY AND HORROR! SAUCY SWEDES! LUKE SKYWALKER’S CHARRED AUNT & UNCLE!
Australia has censored it all.
Did you know Aussie audiences were originally denied bona fide classics The Night of the Hunter, Breathless and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (to name just a few out of literal hundreds), or that Australians initially saw a watered-down version of Star Wars in cinemas?
Simon Miraudo’s Book of the Banned is a rigorous, rollicking, riotous and righteously-furious jaunt through film history that reveals the shocking stories behind Australia’s classification system and how your favourite movies have been snipped down under, featuring interviews with Margaret Pomeranz, David Stratton, a bunch of ‘banned’ filmmakers and even their censors.
Like any good story, there are heroes, anti-heroes, unexpected criminals and downright dastardly villains, though they’re not always whom you’d expect. But by discussing the movies, scenes and lines of dialogue deemed too extreme for Aussie eyes and ears, we can see how far we’ve come in Australia… and how far we have to go.
Simon Miraudo is in conversation with Writing WA’s Will Yeoman.
Poet Rose van Son on nature, art & and the natural art of poetry
Rose van Son is an acclaimed prize-winning poet with numerous poetry collections to her name. But she is also a person of deep culture, who draws inspiration for her work from music, art, photography, sculpture, nature, history and, of course, language itself. Here, she sits down with Writing WA CEO Will Yeoman at the State Library of WA to discuss just some aspects of her multifaceted approach to the art and craft of poetry.
Alan Fyfe on his novel T and the poetic life
Alan Fyfe is originally from Mandurah, Australia, the unceded country of the Binjareb Nation, whose verse and prose can be found in Westerly, Overland, Australian Poetry Journal, and Cottonmouth. He was an inaugural editor of UWA creative writing journal, Trove, and a prose editor for American web journal, Unlikely Stories. He is a winner of the Karl Popper Philosophy Award, was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, commended in the Tom Collins Poetry Prize, and has been selected as a WA Poets’ Inc Emerging Poet for 2022/23. In manuscript form, T has received shortlistings for both the T.A.G Hungerford Prize (Australia) and the Chaffinch Press Aware Prize (Ireland). Alan is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia, where he is writing a novel in chiastic structure.
Alan is in conversation with Writing WA CEO Will Yeoman.
Ian Reid on his new poetry collection, Breaking the Surface
Breaking the Surface celebrates West Australian novelist and poet Ian Reid’s return to the genre of poetry after a decade-long deviation into fiction, which included five novels along with numerous short stories.
Earlier versions of a few of the poems appeared in previous books but most are recent, published during the last couple of years in a wide range of Australian and international journals and anthologies. Several have been finalists in prize competitions, winning awards or receiving commendations or short-listings. Ian is in conversation with Writing WA’s Will Yeoman.
Natalie Damjanovich-Napoleon: If There Is a Butterfly That Drinks Tears
Exploring one the most personal and politically charged experiences in many women’s lives — motherhood — this collection of poems was born within the vortex of America’s changing social landscape as Obama’s message of inclusion gave way to a wave of Trump emboldened exclusion.
Using various poetic styles ranging from the avant-garde techniques of erasure and cut-up poetry to re- working of traditional forms such as the ghazal, pantoum and sestina, the work encourages the reader to venture beyond the clichés of motherhood to not only explore its intimacy and beauty, but its deep and abiding contradictions.
Exploring subject matter such as the choices we make to become mothers or not, the contents of a little boy’s pockets on wash day, fractured hearts, broken tea cups, and the destruction of a butterfly chrysalis by a toddler joyfully oblivious to consequence, If There Is a Butterfly That Drinks Tears is an unvarnished and revealing recounting of one woman’s journey through motherhood.
Hosted by Writing WA’s Will Yeoman.
Rhuwina Griffiths on Life Writing
Rhuwina Griffiths is a Perth-based ghost-writer who writes life stories and memoirs. She also teaches life story writing either one-on-one or in small groups. She runs in-person and online training courses and is an accredited Guided Autobiography facilitator. She is passionate about helping people write about their life’s journey. If your birth certificate says you were born and your death certificate says you’ve died, it is your life writing that says how you’ve lived. Rhuwina is in conversation with Writing WA’s Will Yeoman.
QUANTUM WORDS FESTIVAL PERTH
Anthony James in conversation with Jo Chandler
During the 2019 Quantum Words Perth Festival, local facilitator, writer & podcaster Anthony James spoke with award-winning journalist Jo Chandler. Jo has grappled with media and climate disruption on the front line, and shares powerful thoughts on the stories that need to be told, and how we can continue to tell them. Their conversation is available to listen to on Anthony’s The RegenNarration website.
Recorded Live at Quantum Words Perth: The Ocean
The ocean is the backdrop to many Australian childhoods. In this conversation, which took place at the Quantum Words Perth festival of science writing, Nov 2019, marine biologist Paul E. Hardisty, historian Joy McCann, and poet Caitlin Maling talk to David Whish-Wilson about our knowledge of and emotional connection to the ocean.
Recorded Live at Quantum Words Perth: Gun Barrels and Blood Stains
This conversation was recorded at the Quantum Words Perth festival in November 2019. Speakers include forensic scientist and author Lynne Milne, and crime writers Ron Elliott and Felicity Young. The session is chaired by David Whish-Wilson.
Quantum Words Perth: Alternative Facts – writing about science in a post-truth world
This session was recorded at the Quantum Words Perth festival in November 2019. Speakers include former WA State Scientist and neuroscientist Lyn Beazley AO, leading climate scientist Joelle Gergis, and Walkley Award-winning journalist Jo Chandler. The conversation is chaired by Quantum Words Perth co-director, Jane McCredie.
Science Friction with Natasha Mitchell, ABC Radio National, Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Thinking Outside the Square
Three acclaimed artists & performers pushing at the boundaries of the imagination and the possibilities of science – NYC rapper Baba Brinkman, Melbourne poet Alicia Sometimes, Perth biological artist Oron Catts – join Natasha Mitchell at the Quantum Words Perth Festival.
A Whole Lot of Poo! – featured on Science Friction with Natasha Mitchell, ABC Radio National
Kids love it. Comedians make us laugh about it. Adults hide from talking about it. Freud had a field day with it. Doctors diagnose it. Surgeons help us keep it flowing. Join Natasha and guests – children’s author & illustrator James Foley of S.Tinker Inc kid’s series acclaim, colorectal surgeon & author of The Happy Bowel, Michael Levitt, and psychologist and author of The Psychology of the Bathroom, Nick Haslam – talking all matters faecal & flatulence at the 2019 Quantum Words Perth festival.