supporting the Manus men


Last Wednesday we conducted a Vigil for the Manus Island refugees, detained by our own heartless federal government and Papua New Guinea. The event was organised by Juan Garrido Salgado, his son Lenin and the Pablo Neruda Cultural Committee SA and sponsored by Writing Through Fences. We sat – or stood – on the steps of Parliament House and read and listened to chilling poetry from the men held in the Manus concentration camp (for that’s what it is) for over four years. I joined SA poets Ali Cobby Eckermann,  Amelia Walker, Ian Gibbins, Sergio Holas and Juan Garrido and speakers Lenin, Jaimie Newlyn, a whistle-blowing Manus nurse (whose name I’m embarrassed to say I’ve forgotten!) with beautiful music from Jen Lush.

I read my poem the bird leaves its cage and enters another (dedicated to Juan Garrido) and an extract from Manus detainee Mohammad Ali Malecki’s Truth in The Cage

the opening of more little windows


Last Tuesday night I went to the launch of the latest series of Little Windows Press poetry books by publishers Alison Flett and Jill Jones at Howling Owl in Adelaide. The lovely little hand-made books are The Aura of Loss by Yankunytjatjara woman Abi Cobby Eckerman, The Body That Holds by Kathryn Hummel, Mortis & Tenon by Jen Hadfield from the Shetland Isles in Scotland and Notes on The River by Sydney poet Adam Aitken. The books were launched by local poet and academic Jill Jones – who also read some of Adam’s work and Alison who read a selection of her friend Jen’s work. Ali and Kat read their own.

There were a lot of local poets and writerly-types there, all keen to witness the birth of this superb little collection.

Promoting Kat

Ali & Kat

australian short story festival

My gratitude to Tony Birch for his motivational 3 hour workshop on short fiction at the first day of the Australian Short Story Festival at UniSA CityWest this morning. Thanks to all the other participants for their contributions and ideas too. So many ideas to put into action!

It was a great evening opening too. Tony Birch’s “key note address” was more stand-up comic routine than academic discourse – yet he still managed to make some seerious points. I met and spoke with Kaurna elder Uncle Lewis O’Brien, Lynette Washington, Anna Solding, Stephen Orr and Andy Kissane and caught up again with Peter Goldsworthy and Lisa Temple, Alex Skovron, Kristin Martin, Gay Lynch, Beccy & Mike Lucas, Michael Bollen, Sharon Kernot, Amelia Walker and Annie Fox!

Tomorrow’s panels promise to be interesting too…