Women of Words 2019-2021 Book Launch

Before I go into the details of the book launch I woulds like to update this blog with all the Women of Words projects since my post of November 2016. Here are the events organised since that date by the tireless Janette Hoppe.

Women of Words 2017
25 November 2017
Hudson Street Hum

Women of Words (Newcastle Writers
Festival ) 2018
8 April 2018
The Press Book House

Women of Words 2018
25 November 2018
Hudson Street Hum

Women of Words 2019
24 November 2019
Hudson Street Hum

Women of Words 2020
29 November 2020
Hudson Street Hum (cancelled
due to COVID

Grant: The Gender Network
Research of the Newcastle
University and the Newcastle
City Council $500 donation

Here is some background of this worthwhile project:

The Women of Words Project was created in 2016 in response to the high death toll of women, 74 women had died due to domestic violence by October of that year. Submissions were sought to create a collection of poems that explored domestic violence and abuse.  In 2016 Women of Words – Eat Stray’d, Love was published through Papatuanuku Press.  A book launch was held in November 2016 (4 November 2016 at The Vinyl Café).  After the book launch acclaimed poet Judy Johnson asked how she could be involved if domestic violence was not her story.  A subsequent event was organised for the following day and more poets (women) came forward wanting to contribute.  Since that time all the events above have been held. 
Between 2016 – 2018  Papatuanuku Press has absorbed all of the costs of hosting events and publication of Women of Words – Eat, Stray’d, Love donating all monies raised to local women’s refuge’s that are at the front line of helping women and children escape domestic violence.  In 2017, the last Sunday in November was claimed to host Women of Words. The Women of Words event features two local poets and two poets from out of town.  Since 2018 Papatuanuku Press has ensured that poets have been paid for their time.  In 2019 poets were paid through The Y Project who created an event called ‘Bank Your Words’.   The Women of Words Project has featured in The Newcastle Writer’s Festival twice since conception.  In 2020 The Women of Words Project was supposed to be featured again in The Newcastle Writer’s Festival and launching: Women of Words 2016-2018; published through Puncher & Wattman and Papatuanuku Press.

On Sunday 27 November Janette Hoppe launched the latest book in the series.

The following four poets gave readings:

Two poets were featured on a zoom session and after a break several poets at the launch including Judy Johnson gave readings of their work. Please buy a copy of this marvellous book and “know that you are part of the collective of hearts, minds and voices that aim to heal women who have experienced and may still be experiencing domestic violence.” hoponin@bigpond.net.au

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Whale Tales exhibition at Lighthouse Arts

Photo by author

Last weekend I visited the Lighthouse Arts exhibition Whale Tales at Nobbys Lighthouse. The exhibition is a wonderful blend of poems, a story and artwork, all inspired by whales. The artists involved are:

Kelly Barlin
Fiona Clark
Charmon Cummins
Belinda Dorey
Saretta Fielding
Emily Lloyd
Wanda Matthews
Belle McKenzie
Leigh Nankervis
Michelle Robinson
Malvika Satelkar
Peter Simmons
Lisa Skelton
Sian Staley
Justin Threadgate

The poems interspersed between the artworks adding layers of meaning are by:

Magdalena Ball
Robert Edmonds
Judy Johnson
Diana Pearce
nicole rain sellers
Anne Walsh

with a story by Bronwyn Frost and Awakabal words by Shane Frost.

The exhibition is well worth a visit but with reservations for older art lovers. It is a round trip walk to the lighthouse and back of an hour from the closest carpark, including a steep incline. And when I visited last weekend there were no toilets on site and no food and drinks available to buy. So I recommend taking a thermos and picnic lunch because there are places to sit and enjoy the view. I was heartened to see books and artwork by local Hunter writers and artists for sale in the shop and I’m looking forward to the next exhibition. Whale Tales runs until 18th September.

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Women of Words: 2016-2018

Image courtesy of Papatuanuku Press

The Women of Words Project was created in 2016 as a response to the alarming death toll of women and children by the hands of their loved ones. The initial project sought submissions from women to share their voices and shine the light on Domestic and Family Violence through a collaborative chapbook of poetry. In 2016 Papatuanuku Press published Women of Words – Eat, Stray’d, Love’. The poems collected in this volume are responses to the project written between 2016 and 2018.

Contributors are: Dael Allisson, Magdalena Ball, Lisa Barron, Louise Berry, Kelly Blainey-Murphy, Lisa Callister, Jan Dean, Gloria Demillo, Meg Dunn, Anna Forsyth, Debra Hely, Janette Hoppe, Ivy Ireland, Linda Ireland, Judy Johnson, Gabrielle Journey Jones, Jean Kent, Catherine Knight, Taschka Galactika Lawlor, Chris Mansell. Jenny Markwell, Jill McKeowen, Alex Morris, Shaylie Pryer, Rhiannon Pryor, Debbie Robson, Michelle Seminara, Kerri Shying, Melinda Smith, Sherynne Smith, Beth Spencer, Gillian Swain, Sarah Temporal, Peta Van Drempt, Anne Walsh, Cecilia White, Georgina Woods.

Copies can be purchased from Janette Hoppe. Please support these local poets and a wonderful cause.


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The Virtual War Memorial

Virtual War Memorial

Virtual War Memorial Courtesy of Virtual War Memorial Australia

Yesterday I had the honour of having my talk on the Scottish Women’s Hospitals of WWI broadcast on Radio Adelaide 101.5 and when I was notified I received a link to this marvellous website.

As a writer interested in both world wars this is an invaluable tool and I am very happy to share it now. It includes on the front page a daily honour roll and as you can see, much more. Happy searching.





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Book Launch – Anna Forsyth Beatific Toast – Wednesday 6th Jun

Girls on Key presents the book launch of Anna Forsyth’s poetry collection, Beatific Toast.

Please note, this is not a licensed venue. Cold drinks and light refreshments provided.

Note, this is now a free event. Books available at the special launch price of $20.

Doors 7pm, event starts 7.15pm at The Dungeon, 228 Brunker Road, Adamstown.

Girls on Key features women and non-gender conforming poets in a relaxed, safe and inclusive space. All genders welcome in the audience and on the open mic.

Hope to see you there!

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Girls on Key presents Girls to the Front – Female Poets

Girls to the Front

A celebration of female-identifying poets from Newcastle/Hunter region and Sydney. Come and be inspired by the poetry and spoken word presented. Witness the fantastic spectrum of expression.

Reading on the day:
Magdalena Ball
Emma Graham
Anne Walsh
Gillian Swain
Janette Hoppe
Jenny Blackford
Kerri Shying
Bee Perusco

A charity book raffle on the night supports Writing Through Fences, so remember to bring spare change.

Doors open at 4pm, reading starts 4.30pm
Door sales only $10. All welcome!

For more information, check out www.girlsonkey.com or www.facebook.com/girlsonkey

See you there!

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Newcastle Writer’s Festival 2017

It’s this weekend and I’m very excited. This is a cross post with my other blog Researching and Writing Historical Fiction and for lovers of literature and writers there are a lot of events to help keep the wheels turning. Here is my selection:

Friday 7th April
11am to 12pm Yarn Spinners. A celebration of Dymphna Cusack, Florence James and Miles Franklin. Marilla North in conversation with Ann Hardy.

2pm to 3pm From the Page to the Screen. With Vanessa Alexander, Mark Barnard and Michelle Often. Host George Merryman.

Saturday 8th April
11.30am to 12.45pm Inside Publishing. With Meredith Curnow, Benython Oldfield and Geordie Williams. Host Jane McCredie.

2.30pm to 3pm Book Launch. Jan Dean will launch Magdalena Ball’s new book.

3.15pm to 4.15pm Book Launch. Judy Johnson discusses and reads from Dark Convicts her new book. Host Jenny Blackford.

4.15pm to 5.15pm Short and Sweet: Reviving the novella. Nick Earls in conversation with Chris Flynn.

Sunday 9th April
10am to 11am Time Travellers. Historians on their craft with Tom Griffiths and Grace Karskens.

11.30am to 12.30pm Drawn from Life. Poetry inspired by the everyday. With Eileen Chong, John Foulcher and Maggie Walsh. Host Jenny Blackford.

1.15pm to 2.15pm The Importance of Women’s Voices. With Emily Maguire, Sara Mansour, Tara Moss and Tracey Spicer. Host Jane Caro.

3.00pm to 3.00pm Crossing Boundaries. Jaclyn Moriarty in conversation with Emily Booth.

I can’t wait and I might see you at one of the many events!


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Women of Words Wrap-up

Four dresses

Four of the 68 dresses from the Remembering the Women project

What a great success these events have been and I’d like to personally thank Janette Hoppe for creating the Women of Words project and organising the poetry readings.
The last event was at Good Brother Espresso Shop and $210 was raised for the White Ribbon Organisation on the day.

Dennis Outram from the Maritime Union was the White Ribbon representative and he spoke about the history of the organisation and how the Maritime Union was working hard to raise awareness of the organisation and also to implement policies and procedures in the workplace to make it safer for women.

Lisa and Megan from the Remembering the Women project lent us the four dresses which hung on the wall above the poets and represent only a few (to date 68 women) who have been killed by domestic and family violence in Australia in 2016.

At Good Brother the place was packed and we had six very special poets to wrap up the month of readings, Georgina Woods, Jean Kent, Kerri Shying, Dael Allison, Linda Ireland and Meg Dunn with introductions and reading by Janette Hoppe. During the first three poetry events a total of $530 was raised for the Hunter Women’s Centre. Hopefully more to come in 2017 and thank you everybody who came along and supported this very important cause.

The Women of Words Eat, Stray’d, Love Papatuanuku Press anthology can be purchased from Janette Hoppe at hoponin@bigpond.com or at Pay Pal under the same email address. The books are $20 with $10 going to the Hunter Women’s Centre and $10 to the White Ribbon Organisation.


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Women of Words Event 4

White Ribbon Organisation Image source: Mermaid with a Message

Come along to Good Brother Espresso Shop 4-6pm Sunday 27th November to hear some great poetry. Please note that this event is registered with White Ribbon. Please share and spread the word. Thank you for your support. Mauri Ora (In Sacred Breath).
Janette and Debbie.

Here is the lineup:

Georgina Woods is an activist and poet who was born and raised on Awabakal land, in Newcastle, where she still lives. She has a PhD in English literature from Newcastle University and works in conservation and advocacy against the expansion of the mining industry. Her poem “Water Song” was short-listed in this year’s Newcastle Poetry Prize.

Jean Kent has published five full-length collections of poetry. The most recent is The Hour of Silvered Mullet (Pitt Street Poetry, 2015). Her awards include the Anne Elder and Mary Gilmore prizes for her book Verandahs, and the Josephine Ulrick Prize, Somerset Prize and runner-up for the Newcastle Prize for individual poems. She has also received several fellowships from the Australia Council, including two Overseas Residencies in Paris. Paris in my Pocket, an illustrated chapbook of a selection of her Paris poems, was published by Pitt Street Poetry in 2016.

Kerri Shying: I am a writer, artist, and mother who belong to the Wiradjuri Jacobs family, and the Chinese Shying family (whose ancestor first came to this country in 1817 and left us behind to thrive). I have won awards for my poetry and prose and write daily on the Project 365 blog. I am nothing without my family and live peacefully in Newcastle with my dog Max and my garden. I live with a chronic illness which disables me – without community nothing comes.

Dael Allison is a writer and editor who is undertaking a Doctorate in Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle. Her work is widely published and poems from her book Fairweather’s Raft featured as a soundscape on ABC radio’s Poetica.

Linda Ireland has had work published in several anthologies including ‘A Slow Combusting Hymn’, ‘Collecting Cobwebs’ and ‘All These Presences’. In 2016 she was invited to be a Community Teaching Assistant with Modpo, an international online course on modern American poetry developed through the University of Pennsylvania. A member of Blue Room Poets, Linda has helped establish poetry in the pub in Western Lake Macquarie. She received a Hunter Writer’s Centre award in the 2016 Grieve Competition.

Meg Dunn is the offspring of a lighthouse keeper and a mermaid. She believes that poetry when fresh is unacceptable and colours outside the lines – therefore making it the ultimate artform. Even more than painting, it releases the truth in the most personal of ways. Anyone that gets up to speak its truth is ultimately brave and should be heard. Hopes that all who write in their bedroom though to those who have written an opus will be heard and venerated because they dared to accept this way to the truth.

The proceeds of the $10 entry fee will go to the White Ribbon Organisation.

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Women of Words Event 3


Another chance to hear some great poetry and help the Hunter Women’s Centre!
The third event is again at Vinyl Cafe, our wonderful supporters, this Saturday 19th
4-6pm. Gracing the stage with pure feminine energy are the voices of Judy Johnson, Gillian Swain, Anne Walsh, Debbie Robson, Chris Mansell and Louise Berry.
Come along and bring a friend or three.

Judy Johnson is a prize winning poet who has published five collections with another forthcoming early in the new year.

Gillian Swain has performed in many settings from Newcastle Poetry At The Pub to Northern NSW venues, Woodford Folk Festival, The Nimbin Performance Poetry World Cup (where she won some cash! She was pretty chuffed with that!), Newcastle University Howl events, The Brett Whitely Gallery, The Wharf Theatre in the National Poetry Slam, Newcastle Writers Festival, just to name a few.
You can find her work in various Poetry At The Pub Anthologies and in a collection of poems called “Sang Up”, published by Picaro Press.
Gillian now lives in East Maitland with her husband and their four children, where they run a successful Coffee Roasting business and an Espresso Bar.

Anne Walsh is a poet and a story writer whose work falls somewhere on the border of those two countries. Sometimes she’s a dual citizen and sometimes she has no country at all. Most of the time she is illegal everywhere. All the time she’s a local nowhere.

Debbie Robson began writing poetry after the birth of her daughter in the late 1980s. Since then she has had her poetry published in Australia, the UK and the US and performed in Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Newcastle. She has recently returned to writing poetry after a long break.

Among Chris Mansell‘s latest publications are Verge, Stung, Stung More, Spine Lingo, and Schadenvale Road (Interactive). Seven Stations (a song cycle with music by Andrew Batt-Rawden) was released by Hospital Hill on CD in 2014. She won the Queensland Premier’s Award for Poetry, Amelia Chapbook Award (USA) and the Meanjin Dorothy Porter Poetry Prize and has been short-listed for the National Book Council Award and the NSW Premier’s Award. Her site is chrismansell.com.

Louise Berry is a member of Australian Poetry, Australian Society of Authors, Fellowship of Australian Writers, Hunter Writer’s Centre Poetry Group and formerly a member of Parakeet Poets. She is currently the Convenor of Blue Room Poets and Third Wednesday Poets. She has had her poems published in various anthologies including those from Central Coast Poets, People of the Valley, Wood Brick and Stone, Eucalypt, various Poetry at the pub anthologies, Women’s Work, Food for Thought, Grevillea and Wonga Vine, We are Australians, the first Blue Room Poets’ anthology, Third Wednesday Poets’ Anthology, A Slow Combusting Hymn and Home is the Hunter. She is currently putting together a Third Wednesday Poets’ anthology, Girt by Words, with an expected publication date later in 2016. She is long listed for the Adrian Abbot prize 2016.

The proceeds of the $10 entry fee will go to the Hunter Women’s Centre.

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