This is a What's My Scene? post by Tabetha Beggs from the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers' Centre.
The art of writing is more than putting words on a page. It is the marriage of imagination and language, and in its most dramatic form, the metaphorical equivalent of opening an artery and watching the blood spill out and seep into the parchment. While all that sounds poetic and idyllic, getting started or getting over the first rushes of starting are often frustrating and the point where so many good writers give up. That is exactly where a Writers’ Centre can be your salvation.
Here in Perth we are lucky enough to boast the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre (KSP Writers’ Centre for short) that is the oldest centre of its kind in Australia. The heritage-listed cottage was the former home of Katharine herself, one of Australia’s first internationally recognised authors. Set among eucalyptus trees in the secluded Perth Hills, the Writers’ Centre offers a wealth of services to emerging and established writers.
A rich program of courses and workshops are scheduled monthly and range from subjects such as How to Get Started to How to Get Published and many varied themes in-between. Keeping a finger on the pulse of the evolving industry in most part thanks to the introduction of the e-book revolution, the centre offers up to the minute workshops on self-publishing, blogging and building a social media presence for authors. All of these programs are taught by experts in their field, with first-hand experiences to share with participants. Whether you are writing a children’s book, poetry, short stories, family history, novellas or novels, you will find great value in attending one of the many activities on offer.
On each day of the week, Writers’ Groups gather in the main work area to undertake writing exercises, share their ideas and if applicable, read aloud their work for feedback and critique. There are 13 KSP Writers’ Groups to choose from, ranging from women’s contemporary fiction, speculative fiction, young writers, poetry, historical and a couple that are more generalised for any genre to attend. A full list of these groups can be found on the KSP website.
One of reasons the KSP Writers' Centre attracts national attention is thanks to its Writer-in-Residence (WIR) program. Each year the committee advertises for applications to the paid Writer-in-Residence program that is open to young, emerging and established authors. The appeal of writing in the world’s most isolated city is an alluring prospect. The Writers’ Retreat facility is also open to anyone wishing to hide him or herself away in a purpose-built cabin in a tranquil bushland setting. Yes, you too can hide away in a real writer’s cabin and get to work on your masterpiece! KSP members receive a significant discount on rental fees.
Literary dinners are a favorite event as part of the guest author’s tenure. Members are invited to meet the author or poet during an intimate evening in the house where the Writer-in-Residence can share a sample of their work and talk about their new projects. The evening is complimented by a hearty three-course dinner cooked by local members.
Other services provided by the KSP Writers’ Centre include; specialised youth programs, literary competitions offering awards and prize money, including the national Write A Book in a Day competition for both youth and adults, publishing assistance through Wild Weeds Press, as well as hosting many literary events including; book launches, open days and festivals.
The centre has a small library and reading room, and holds a collection of works by Katharine Susannah Prichard.
Anyone is welcome to attend KSP regardless of skill level. Signing up as a member offers great benefits with discounts on all the activities and events the centre runs, plus free promotional in the monthly e-newsletter. A loyalty program offers free or half price courses after a number of attendances. Great value.
If you are a keen writer in Perth, looking for a non-threatening, friendly environment to progress your writing, then come along and see what it’s all about. For more information about the KSP Writers' Centre visit www.kspf.iinet.net.au or follow them on Facebook.
Sam van Zweden was Writers Bloc’s Online Editor from 2013 - 2015. A Melbourne-based writer and blogger, her work has appeared in The Big Issue, Voiceworks, Tincture Journal, Page seventeen, and others. She’s passionate about creative nonfiction and cross stitch. She tweets @samvanzweden.