Budding bards 

IT’S the perfect time for seniors to write that best-selling book they’ve always talked about, but never got around to, says award-winning Perth poet Peter Jeffery OAM.

Mr Jeffery hopes we’ve had time during lockdown to dust off any half-finished manuscripts or come up with new ideas for novels, poems and plays.

“From what I have heard it has led to a productive time of tidying up extant writing, imagining new projects, poem swapping by email, preparing for contests, and I am sure you will have publishers, after clear time, having a picking feast.”

The Mt Lawley bard knows a thing or two about writing: he’s won prestigious poetry competitions including The Tom Collins Prize, published several books of poetry, appeared in magazines like The Bulletin, and edited several poetry journals. 

More recently he’s headed up the Vincent Writers Centre, where budding authors, including plenty of seniors and retirees, meet-up to share and critique each others’ creative writing.

“After our very successful launch of our second anthology, that was produced at a professional level with State Library registration and placed competitively on the shelf of the Bodhi Tree Cafe, it returned a very handy profit and some of this had been planned for the third anthology, until ugh, corona arrived.

“The good news is that we will be able to resume on June 5 with our regular Thursday meetings between 10am and noon at the lesser North Perth town hall.

“If we have stability by say July, we may resume our work on the anthology for a Christmas launch and maybe some poetry and prose cards, and chap books.”

If you do beaver away for months and complete a book, what are your chances of getting published in the post-Covid-19 economic landscape?

Fremantle Press CEO Jane Fraser says small publishers are used to doing it tough and she hasn’t furloughed any staff.

“We have had people asking us if we’re still taking submissions during Covid-19 and the answer is yes – we’re still here and we’re still reading them,” she says.

“I would say that we might see an increase in book submissions in about a year or so because people may start working on novels or memoirs during this time at home. We brought some titles forward to make sure local booksellers had new releases for families needing more books at home, we pushed some books to later in the year, and a couple have gone into 2021.” 

Ms Fraser says that Christmas is going to be huge for smaller publishers.

“In many ways smaller and radical publishers are the cultural and intellectual lifeblood of the industry and we shoulder much of the risk associated with publishing new and emerging local authors. 

“So, with smaller backlists and cash reserves to draw on, smaller publishers will need public support more than ever to keep going. 

“Our award-winning crime list is going through the roof: Along with new books from Alan Carter (Doom Creek), Dave Warner (Over My Dead Body) and David Whish-Wilson (Shore Leave) we have a cosy crime novel by debut author Alexander Thorpe called Death Leaves the Station.”

If you fancy having a stab at creative writing then go to https://wapoets.com/vincent-writers-centre.

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