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July Newsletter 2022

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

Dear writers. I hope you’ve been keeping warm this wintry season and finding the opportunity to make progress on your writing projects with joy and inspiration.

Sunday Sessions at FAWWA

I’d like to congratulate all involved in the inaugural Sunday Sessions at FAWWA – attendees, teachers, and organisers. It was a great success.

The Fellowship held a series of six master classes inside cosy Mattie Furphy House over two wintry days in June. The well attended sessions were taught by bestselling authors and publishing industry professionals.

The classes were fun and insightful, and provided a rich opportunity for learning, networking, and connection among aspiring and established writers of all ages. Please click here to see our photo gallery of highlights from the two days.

We look forward to seeing you at the next Sunday Sessions at FAWWA series. We can’t wait! Details to come.

Thankyou, Peter Bibby

Secondly, please join me in thanking long time FAWWA member Peter Bibby for his decades of service. Peter is a stalwart of the Western Australian literary community, and recently stepped down as a FAWWA committee member. Patsy Millett outlines Peter’s vast contribution in her tribute below. Thankyou, Peter, and we look forward to seeing you at Fellowship events.

With the recent retirement from the committee of Peter Bibby, it is time overdue to acknowledge his outstanding contribution to the Fellowship of Writers WA, an association going back many decades.

After his 1949 arrival in Perth as a child migrant, Peter went on to complete various academic qualifications before heading north in search of what could be described as 'work experience' that led him from a Wittenoom asbestos mine to West Kimberley cattle stations. Forming an abiding affiliation with Aboriginal people, in 1987 Peter was commissioned by the Aboriginal Council to publish books from Indigenous life stories and memories. Based in Broome, he became the founder/editor of Magabala Books, which continues a great success story.

First drawn to the Fellowship in the 1970s, he was soon involved in the WA literary scene, turning his multi-talents to award-winning poetry, short stories, stage, radio and film scripts. His work is to be found among some of our best Oz anthologies. Peter's love of drama saw him also performing as an actor and singer — frequently to his own lyrics. Many members have enjoyed his fine tenor voice and gift for showmanship, especially when it comes to humour and satire.

A member of the committee since 2011, Peter took over from long-time president Patricia Kotai Ewers, before going on to serve three separate stints in the FAWWA chair. His dedication to the encouragement of writing and writers over these terms was combined with an admirable capacity for dealing with vital matters of business, such as grants, competitions, workshops and the writers-in-residence programme. He was also a tireless and imaginative promoter for the cause, prepared to give his all to anything that helped raise awareness of what the Fellowship has to offer. We have him to thank for the iconic Furphy water cart that sits outside Tom Collins House and other historic items that have found a place among the rooms. A special mention should go to his installation of the shelves and books from the Ewers library — an invaluable addition to Mattie Furphy House. This monumental task also represents a fitting tribute to Fellowship founding member JK Ewers and his daughter Trisha, the latter the driving force behind the preservation of the Furphy residences.

Keeping his equanimity through a number of difficult times, it was largely due to his

unshakable faith and optimism in the future of the Fellowship that saw us through. The sheer physical labour he undertook, often at the expense of his own creative work, included the upkeep of the heritage houses and it is with gratitude that we should remember the countless occasions he prepared chairs, tables and other equipment for the event and the hours put into the clean-up. Although there have been many individuals going back over the years whose commitment to FAWWA can be said to have been over and above the call of duty, it would be hard to find one owed a greater debt on more fronts than Peter Bibby. With his connection to so many celebrated WA writers now passed and the heydays of the FAWWA, his anecdotes can be counted among the rare first-hand sources for information on its now eighty-two year history. Always modest about his own considerable achievements, perhaps one of the nicest things about Peter is that he never fails to lend a friendly and interested ear to the stories of others — he is that rare being, both a raconteur and a listener. It is to be hoped that he will now be able to put more time into giving us the benefit of his literary endowment and we look forward to his continued esteemed presence at FAWWA events.

— Patsy Millett

Congratulations to Susan Midalia

Susan Midalia, one of Western Australia’s most talented and popular literary writers, has published a collection of short stories entitled Miniatures.

The collection is released by Night Parrot Press and described as ‘provocative, casting an unflinching eye on modern social issues and themes from family dynamics, climate change and the value of reading and writing to national and gender identity.

‘Satiric, compassionate, poignant and witty, these technically deft and inventive stories reveal the vexations, absurdities and hidden desires of parents and children, lovers, politicians, and those who delight in the power of the written word’.

Miniatures will be released July 9. For details about the launch event, please click here.

Annual Memberships

A gentle reminder that annual memberships are now due. FAWWA members receive discounts on groups, classes and special events, and reciprocal benefits at Four Centres members: the Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre, the Peter Cowan Writers Centre, and West Australian Poets Inc. Your membership supports all FAWWA activities at our heritage location in the peaceful surrounds of Swanbourne. Please click here to visit our Eventbrite account and secure your purchase.

FAWWA Writing Groups and Classes

FAWWA offers a wealth of regular classes and groups for writers of all genres and levels of experience. We’d love you to join. For more details please click here, and see below.

Writing at Mattie’s with author of The Sisters’ Song, Louise Allan

Come along every Tuesday fortnight for a fun writing session with author Louise Allan (pictured), either in-person at Mattie’s House in Swanbourne or online via Zoom.

In other words, the sessions will take place once a month at Mattie Furphy House and once a month on Zoom.

Participants write in response to a prompt, and there’s the opportunity to read your work aloud afterwards.

The aim is to provide a positive and encouraging environment in which to practise your writing skills.

Cost: $20 for Zoom sessions and $25 for sessions at Mattie Furphy House.

Dates for Mattie Furphy House: 15 March, 12 April, 10 May, 7 June, 5 July, 2 August, 30 August, 27 September, 25 October, 22 November.

Dates for Zoom: 1 March, 29 March, 26 April, 24 May, 21 June, 19 July, 16 August, 13 September, 11 October, 8 November, 6 December.

To find out more please click here.

Indian Ocean Writers Group

If you’re working on a project or simply love to write, the Indian Ocean Writers Group would love to welcome you. The group of writers meets fortnightly on Tuesday evenings at Mattie Furphy House from 6-8pm.

The next meeting is Tuesday, July 12.

The group offers writing inspiration and the chance to write in a relaxed and supportive environment with others.

For inquiries please contact Marshall on 0408 620 235.

The Story Mentor, Andrew Levett

Author, editor, and teacher Andrew Levett is offering two new classes and a new writing group at Mattie Furphy House.

In Deepening Your Story writers explore techniques to take their writing beyond the surface, especially when tackling an important issue. The eight weekly classes run Tuesday mornings from July 26.

In Plotting Your Novel writers explore the components needed for a complete plot, and how to piece them all together. The eight week course starts October 11.

And the Manuscript Development Writing group offers novelists of all levels of experience time and space to write, share their work, and receive feedback. The group meets the first and third Thursday of each month in the mornings.

For more about each course please click here.

The Book Length Project Group

Join author Karen Herbert and writers of all levels of experience working on a book length manuscript in any genre. The group meets the third Sunday of each month from 10am to 12pm to discuss and share their work, and a mini-tutorial. Cost $5 for FAWWA members, $10 non-members. The next class will be July 17. For details contact Karen Herbert on 0432 622 026. To book your place please click here.

Contact Us

Would you like to teach a class or run a group at the Fellowship of Australian Writers WA? Do you have a few spare hours here and there to join our merry band of volunteers? Would you like an event to be featured on our website and newsletter? We’d love to hear from you. Please email and one of our volunteers will respond as soon as possible.

Happy writing,

Karen Herbert


Fellowship of Australian Writers WA

Pictured above from left authors Karen Herbert, Raihanaty A Jalil,

and Cindy Solonec, after the Writing Multicultural

Australia master class at Sunday Sessions at

FAWWA in June.

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