Letter from the President 17 April 2021

I hope you found some time to write during the busy Easter holidays. I know many of you have been away, have been looking after children and grandchildren, or have been spending time catching up with friends and family.

Last week I went to see Peter Rabbit 2 at the cinema, which was released for the Easter holidays. It was quite a fun film but it was extremely far removed from the original Peter Rabbit books. In fact, the only thing that remained true to the original books, as far as I could tell was the blue jacket Peter Rabbit wears. I started thinking about adaptations of children’s books and the different ways Peter Rabbit had been depicted since Beatrix Potter wrote the stories – from Frederick Warne, through Disney and now the latest adaptation. 

While I understand the need for language, ideas and society to evolve, I still think the original Peter Rabbit books are the best. Of course, Australia boasts a number of notable children’s writers from May Gibbs to Ursula Dubosarsky with a host of other writers in between, including our Patron Hazel Edwards OAM, and member Caz Goodwin, who both spoke at our recent Writer’s Festival. (One of Caz’s books was recently read by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, who launched Storytime with Fergie and Friends during lockdown last year. Well done, Caz! You can watch the reading HERE.) Shortly, the Society will be circulating details for nominations for this year’s Nance Donkin Award.

I held my breath when the COVID cases in Queensland were announced and braced myself for another lockdown that fortunately did not materialise into much. Victoria has been doing very well with the COVID cases and the snap lockdown in February that flipped the launch of the For the Love of Writing Festival online seems like a long time ago now. In fact, the entire Festival seems a long time ago now. I hope those of you who purchased tickets for the Festival have enjoyed watching some of the sessions again or have been able to view the recordings of the sessions you missed the first time. Recently you will have received an email via Eventbrite with a link to complete a survey about the Festival. Please do complete and return the survey if you have not already done so. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete.

Surveys are an important way for the Committee to make sure the Society’s program is meeting the needs of the members. Last year we conducted an extensive survey of members and the results will be circulated shortly, along with details of how the Committee has responded to suggestions and ideas from members.

Something Society members always respond well to is the call for submissions to Sparx, our annual publication of members’ writing. This year the theme of Sparx is COVID and you can find details of how to submit your work in this newsletter and on the website. Sparx will also include the winning entries from the Society’s biennial award, the Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize. Details of how to enter have been included in this newsletter and I look forward to reading your entries.

Until next time, happy writing,

Caroline

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