Introducing the teachers of
Mattie Furphy House

A variety of classes and groups are offered at Mattie Furphy House in Swanbourne. Meet the teachers who make it all possible. For details please visit our What's On and Special Events pages. To run a class or a group at Mattie Furphy House please contact us.

Louise Allan
Andrew Levett
 
Marshall Willan

Karen Herbert

Convenor of the Book Length Project Group, the third Sunday of every month, 10am to 12pm, Mattie Furphy House.

Karen is the author of The River Mouth (2021) and The Castaways of Harewood Hall (2022). She is a Board Member of The Intelife Group and Advocare, President of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA), and is the convenor of FAWWA’s Book Length Project Group. Karen has held executive roles in a range of sectors, holds a Master of Science in Applied Psychology, and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

Don’t read your manuscript when you’re feeling down.

What is your favourite book and why?

It’s always the last book I read!

What book/books do you wish you'd written?

The Time Traveller’s Wife

What is the worst dinner party, travel experience, or cooking attempt you have ever had?

My first attempt at a vegan, gluten free lemon drizzle cake. It was flat, salty, and sticky and couldn’t even be redeemed with icecream on the side.

Karen Herbert

Lisa Collyer

Collyer offers poetry classes on behalf of the Out of the Asylum Writers Group, every second Friday, 10am to 12pm, Mattie Furphy House.
Lisa is a poet and educator. She writes poetry with a focus on
women’s bodies and how their experiences shape their everyday lives She
is short listed for The Dorothy Hewett Award for an unpublished
manuscript (2022), is a Four Centres’ Emerging Writer, an invited
writer-in-residence for Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre
(2022), was a writer-in-residence with The National Trust of W.A.
(2021), and the winner of the Annette Cameron Award (2021). Her work
appears in Cordite, Rabbit, Westerly and Australian Poetry Anthology
21-22.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

Advice that rang true for me were wise words from two of the best. Lucy Dougan, ‘art should go to difficult places,’ and Julie Watts, ‘write like you write, not like anyone else.’

What is your favourite book and why?

I go through trends of loving something and then read everything that person ever wrote. Do I have a favourite? Mmm. No. Here’s a few that I’m influenced by and why.

  • Simone Lazaroo, The Australian fiancée – love the lyrical verse and use of jargon of photography juxtaposed with alienation and a love story. These two techniques are my favourites and the ones I rely on the most to craft poetry.

  • Elena Ferrante, Days of Abandonment – I love the helpless and pitiful representation of the woman abandoned and her abject descriptions of her hysterical state and bad sex. I like telling things how they are without glossing or romanticising them, so this speaks to the way I like to write.

  • Dorothy Hewett, Wild Card – I read this recently and love, love, love it. It is an autobiography that appears uncensored. It doesn’t shy away from going to messy aspects of their lives and this makes them all so human. They air their dirty laundry and for me this is important because it’s authentic even though I know that art is censored and constructed.

 

What book/books do you wish you'd written?

  • The Idiot by Dostoevsky. I love the protagonist who is supposed to be naïve but in fact it’s society and the superficial world he lives in that is morally bankrupt and unintelligent.

  • The Bricks that built the houses by Kae Tempest. This is a lyrical novel that sings but from the street capturing the vernacular and concerns of everyday people. I want to write like that.

What is the worst dinner party, travel experience, or cooking attempt you have ever had?

Oh dear, this is show and tell! Well, I was making miso soup from scratch and at the same time having an argument with my then boyfriend. Arguing and cooking do not produce good results. No miso that night. We made up but broke up in the end and I just buy miso in a packet or eat out.

Lisa Collyer