Diaspora Panel – WQ 275

(Pictured above: Sharon, Dimity and June)

Delighted to be on a panel with these two insightful women, Sharon Orapeleng, and Dimity Powell, to discuss the challenges and gifts of Diaspora to – community, writing, and publishing.

The session is fully booked out, and is happening before the Queensland Writer’s Centre, Christmas Party in a couple of weeks.

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 program lead for mental health community support programs delivered by non-government organisations.

Dimity Powell is the Managing Editor for Kids’ Book Review. Amongst her 30
published stories and six books are the recent Oswald Messweather (2021), and
the forthcoming This is My Dad (2022), Discover more at dimitypowell.com

June Paisa Perkins, author, poetry advocate, educator, and director of gumbootspearlz press, defines herself as a world citizen in the diaspora ocean whilst looking outwards from Brisbane. She has edited two community collections themed Cassowary Coast and recovery from cyclones, and independently published two poetry collections. WQ 275 is her first commissioned editing position.

A huge thank you to the Queensland Writers Centre for their support of Diverse communities.

Beyond Individualism

Sandra, June and Minaira (artist).

There is so much power in the connection of artists within community. It keeps me optimistic no matter what else happens. The conversations, the friendships, and the thoughtfulness.

Behind the scenes, for a few months now, I have been connecting with Sandra, Minaira and several other people to work on a special publishing project to be out at the end of the year.

It is my first guest editing spot with the Queensland Writer’s Centre, and has been a wonderful experience.

You will eventually find out the significance of this Ngatu, which Sandra was picking up from Minaira to take to be scanned.

I don’t want to share too much just yet, saving it for the editorial.

I’ve also been to a super special poetry workshop on the Art of Invisible Mending, (poetry editing) with Felicity Plunkett. It was tremendous to learn about Felicity’s process and have four lines of poetry edited, in what became a magnificent master class in editing, with sensitive listening, and questions.

We also had to do a spot of feedback to our fellow participants. Special thanks to Queensland Poetry for organising poetry workshops on zoom.

Well, that’s all for now. Back to work!

Book Week With the Students from Higaturu Oil Palm International School


Magic Fish Dreaming

Work from the students of the Higaturu Oil Palm International School which became a class anthology, Escape to Wonder

A recent week of Book Week workshops via zoom, at 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…

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Returning to the Motherland 2#

Part 2 of the blogs on Book Week in PNG via zoom.

Magic Fish Dreaming

So, continuing on from my last post on zooming to PNG for a most memorable book week, here is more about the classroom itself. This image is what it looked like from the point of view of the students in the main zoom room, before we were allocated to our learning zoom room with the students and their teacher.

Image Courtesy HOPIS school

So how did we end up with a confident performance of a group poem by the end of book week (despite the challenges of working via zoom and classroom learning space combined) and a wall full of beautiful art and sense poems?

This is where the immense dedication of the teacher, her assistant and children, going with the flow of a physically distant author communicating and coming to terms with being on a large screen, and stuck there, makes a massive difference.

As I communicated, using voice…

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