Letter from the President 28 March 2021

It was an exciting week this week. The Society held it first face-to-face since meeting in over a year and it was wonderful to see some regular and some new faces.

Maureen Lane, our guest speaker, gave an interesting and insightful presentation on her approach to researching and writing biographies and the importance of retaining the authentic voice of the subjects. Maureen gave an overview of the books she has written, including her latest publication Angels: Life in an Australian Motorcycle Gang in the 60s and 70s, co-written with her husband David King (who also attended the meeting) who was only ten years old when he met the Angels and was taken under their wing. The Angels protected him from violence in the home and taught him the value of ‘safety in numbers’.

The second part of the meeting was a workshop on memoir writing, led by Society member Leigh Hay. Leigh guided us through what to include and what to leave out of a memoir and emphasised the importance of being truthful and writing from the heart without embellishment.

Thank you Maureen and Leigh for your high-calibre and interesting presentations.

This week’s postcard is from Valerie Pybus, reminiscing of the time she spent in Cornwall, UK, as a recipient of the Di Yerbury Residency Award, an award managed by the Society of Women Writers NSW.

Members have also been invited to attend the online launch of Susanne Gervay’s latest book, Heroes of the Secret Underground. 

Book Chat is on this week at 10.30am on Wednesday 31st March. If you haven’t yet joined a Book Chat, you are very welcome to do so. It is an informal group with no set reading, just log on and chat about the books you have recently been reading.

Finally, I would like to welcome new members Joan Lane, Lella Cariddi, Jenny Cook, Attie Lam and Jennifer McInnes, and I look forward to finding out more about you and your areas of interest at a future meeting.

Until next week, happy writing, Caroline

This week’s postcard is from Valerie Pybus, who remembers being blown away by the wind and washed with sea-spray in St. Ives. Thank you Valerie.

One could be forgiven for thinking of St. Ives in Cornwall as a sunny vista of deckchairs, sunburn and fairy floss. It is so much more.

Its incredible natural lighting, long discovered by artists, boasts an impressionable art centre virtually on its foreshores.

Tate St. Ives became famous as a centre of abstract art after the second world war. Exhibiting iconic art works by celebrated figures including Barbara Hepworth, Peter Lanyon, Sandra Blow and Patrick Heron. The displays reveal the relationships between artists associated with St Ives and wider events in art history, also featuring work from the Tate Collection by Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko, Pablo Picasso, Bridget Riley, Pauline Boty and Lahaina Hamid.

One small section of the sea wall protected by a railing to safeguard reckless tourists was especially interesting. During stormy weather the Atlantic Ocean gathers its strength and assaults the huge granite sea-walls. Overflowing vindictive waves and froth cascades over the walkway.

The foolhardy, delightedly dash through the spray, entirely unaware that the ocean often scoops up large head-sized boulders. Decades ago, it was known as Evacuee’s walk, for the countless pasty-faced children who sought sanctuary from the war in St. Ives. There is a lot of history behind the abstract art scene.

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