To young writers everywhere
looking for your authentic voice
and to create authentic voices
look into herstory for inspirations
listen and observe your
mothers, sisters, daughters, and yourself
whatever gender you are
you can do the following (see poem).
To write with authenticity is
to write with truth
putting aside any
shackles, biases, and oppressions
being honest, courageous,
creative, skilful, and
It’s moving to where there is
finding our voices in all their
winging their ways into
every writing genre;
popular to poetic,
academic to artistic, protesting,
respecting and remembering those
paved the way for us.
(c) June Perkins
To find out more visit the reflection on the panel at
Sharon Orapeleng is a behavioral change expert and a mental health professional. Through Psyched Solutions Training and Consultancy – Sharon is on a journey to create a much more compassionate community that cares by embedding the African philosophy of ‘Ubuntu’’ – I am Because We Are, in all she does. A renowned speaker and community advocate, Sharon works with workplaces, businesses and communities delivering workshops on mental health awareness and wellbeing as well as facilitating cultural diversity conversations. She also works for the Queensland Government as a strategic policy and…
A recent week of Book Week workshops via zoom, at the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, was wondrous.
Students were willing to imagine and open their eyes to a sense of wonder, to explore other worlds within worlds, from nature, to rivers to the moon and outerspace.
We began with learning about cheeky Cassowaries hungry and looking for food after a cyclone, and imagining what they might say or think, and advanced to humourous dialogues within the river and exploring a sense of wonder, through sensory adventure poems.
Students learnt about the power of working in pairs and in groups and how many voices combined can create, extend and then joyously and confidently perform their creations.
Throughout I used my own illustrated poetry book, Magic Fish Dreaming, as the main mentor text with a storytelling session also of Michelle Worthington’s Book, Possum Games.
Both had kindly been posted and provided to the school by Tina from CYA. This meant we could read together, and as I have dialogue poems and question and answer structures this was fantastic to have each student have the book on the other side of the zoom.
I was impressed by how the students worked with each other on some in the river dialogues and their humour and inventiveness throughout the week began to shine through.
I am delighted the school community (families and staff) gave permission for me to share their work.
More important than products though, is the process of creativity that the children undertook within their classroom. By reflecting on that stories can come from that which you know through your senses and take you to places you might only imagine.
I hope these children, will create many more poems or stories and strengthen and contribute to building a publishing community within Papua New Guinea, beginning from anthologies within their school and moving beyond the anthologies for their communities. Building perhaps collectives for theirs and future generations.
With many thanks to the school, students , staff of the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, and Tina of CYA.
Photographs courtesy of the Higaturu Oil Palm International School, shared with their permission
I never expected that my first trip back to Papua New Guinea, since I moved to Australia as a one year old, would be in my fifties and via zoom and would be working with writers based in three different countries.
Yet, none of us knows our future, and so it was that the last week my first ever Book Week experience, occurred this way.
I was invited by Tina Marie Clark, to join a CYA team, including her, Albert Nayathi, Phil Kettle, Caroline Evari, (and works from Michelle Worthington and Dannika Patterson) that has been mostly going to the Higaturu Oil Palm International School there in person for the last ten years.
The last two years they have had to conduct the visit via zoom, because of COVID19.
Although I haven’t done Book Week before, I have done several workshops in libraries, environmental centres, and schools, to mentor creatives of all ages from kindergarten through to people all backgrounds in their seventies, in poetry. Something which became such a passion I ended up writing and publishing a poetry book, Magic Fish Dreaming, for children.
I wrote Magic Fish Dreaming, to express a sense of the place I was living in at the time, which was the Cassowary Coast, in Far North Queensland, as well as to demonstrate different poetry techniques which might appeal to children but also extend them. At the time of composing this work I was facilitating workshops in the community and needed to create original materials with a sense of the place I was living in, not just use what was already out there.
Magic Fish Dreaming, represents all the beauty, grandeur, magic, and heartache and I saw whilst living in that area, all captured for families to relive some of that and hopefully fall in love with poetry.
During this visit, I was able to bring all the experiences of the last few years, in designing workshops, as well as my recent enrolment training as a teacher (although for highschool) together into my contemporary practice.
I was delighted to see the effect of the workshops on the students and their teacher and teacher assistant. I can truly say I had as much of a feeling of joy out of this as out of being published.
My heart soared to see them engaged with the activities and WRITING! And finally confidently performing work they had collaborated on composing together.
What did we and the school do during the week to reach this point?
So happy to recieve two signed books this week, from Canada.
My dear friend Kim who was like an Aunty when I was growing up in Tasmania, gave Magic Fish Dreaming to her friend, Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak, author of Northern Lights the Soccer Lights and he gave her a signed copy of this and another one of his books, Hide and Sneak to give to me.
Thrilled to receive these today, with a note and some lovely photographs, card and pot holder from Kim herself, who is creative.
Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator? Drawing and painting have always been a natural part of our lives as we grew up in a family and community that really encouraged creativity as an important aspect of everyday life and avenue for learning and reflection. We painted and drew a lot with our siblings growing up and it has just continued to evolve as we seek out opportunities to collaborate with growing number of like-minded individuals.
For the rest of this story visit Meet Ruha and Minaira Fifita at
Images Courtesy of Maria Parenti-Baldey, Tina Maria Clarke and June Perkins
On the weekend BookLink member, and Magic Fish Dreaming Illustrator Helene Magisson and author Janine M Fraser launched a courageous book about peace and respect of others’ cultural and interfaith stories, Sarah’s Two Nativities at the Where the Wild Things Are Bookshop.
There were visitors from Canberra and Victoria in attendance as well as many locals, from many cultures and faiths. At least 80 people gathered, with a quarter of them being children.
Sarah’s Two Nativities is a story of a young girl who loves listening to both her grandmothers’ nativity stories – one from the Koran and one from the Bible. Young Sarah is concerned at first about which story is true because they’re so similar. She realises however, her family’s unity will never force her to choose between the two stories, but accept both.
Tina Marie Clark, CYA coordinator, launched the book as it was CYA which launched Helene’s illustrator career. She warmly endorsed the themes of the book and shared some of her experience as a South African familiar with the celebration of many religious festivals with friends and family.
Janine Fraser, the author, told the story of the background to her motivation for writing the book. Sharing that she had a challenging upbringing in a restricted spiritual environment, which later led her to leave that environment and become an ardent student of comparative religions. During her lifelong journey she observed many instances of multifaith families. She explained how she sees all religions as sharing the message of love and the question of the ‘mystery.’
Janine gave thanks to her family, especially her grandchildren and to Maryanne Ballantyne who championed the book as well as to the wonderful Helene for her illustrations which exceeded all her expecatations.
Janine read from the book in a gentle and softly spoken voice, with small musical interludes throughout provided by Marie Baguelin from France who played the guitar and Azadeh Shamee from Iran who performed the Oud (Arabic for wood). They brought a sense of both cultures at the event through their inspiring performances.
Helene shared journey to understand the background of the book more, and work on a sensitive way to illustrate it, respectful of both the Koran and the Bible. She did this through extensive research, with the goal of honouring both.
Helene thanked June Perkins, for being her creative sister and both June and Renee Hills who contacted other faith communities to invite them to the launch as well as the community, friends, neighbours and family present and the musicians at the event. She warmly thanked Janine for her inspiring story and invited us all to an exhibition of the art works on October 9th, which will include her work alongside other talented illstrators. There were a few original art works from the book available for people to view. Helene also gave a big thank you to the Where The Wild Things Are event coordinator Genevieve Kruysse.
Everyone was invited to craft their angels, with the assistance of Helene’s lovely daughter, and partake of koftas and delicious cupcakes. Many people decided to buy additional copies for their schools, libraries and friends.