During my years in Australia I was a member of Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Center, or KSP as we say. KSP is a wonderful place for any writer. Writers of all kind gathers together under the same roof to read their written pieces for each other, to give and take feedback and to have fun together with other writers.
Katharine Susannah Prichard (1883-1969) was the first Australian novelist to gain international recognition. She has written several novels, collections of short stories and volumes of verse. The Black Opal is a novel about the opel miners of Lightning Ridge, Working Bullocks told the story about the timber workers of the karri forest, Coonardoo was about the Aborigines on the north west cable station and Haxby´s Circus was a story about a crippled bareback rider with a traveling circus. Katharine was a socialist with a warm heart for the poor, the starving, and the homeless. She became a foundation member of the Communist Party of Australia, something she had to suffer for. People living in the same neighborhood asked their children to avoid Katharine and her cottage. Katharine Susannah Prichard died in her home – today the writers center – on the 2nd October in 1969.
The Writing Center
The history of KSP writing center goes back to 1983 when the idea of preserving the cottage Susannah had been living in was born.She lived in Greenmount south of Perth in Western Australia. The house still stands and today it is a great meeting point for writers. The house has an office, a kitchen, a conference room for the all the meeting, and Katharine´s bedroom is still in use by the writers in residence. There is at least one group activity almost every day of the week. The center depends on volunteers helping out with everything from tours, cleaning, open house activities, gardening, office duties and restoration. It´a living community where you give and take.
The center have a huge range of activities with a huge amount of writing groups. Pick anything you want! All the groups are targeting a different audience, and they have different kind of writing. There are 13 different writing groups meeting at the centre;
- Young Writers Group (age 11-18)
- Homeschoolers Group, (age 9-13)
- Writer´s Circle
- Women´s Writing Group
- Non-fiction Writing Group
- Past Tense (social history) Group
- Special Fiction Group
- Write Free Women´s Writing Wroup
- Script Writing Group
- Poetry Group
- Marathon Writing Group
- Avon Valley Writers – Northam (placed in Northam).
As a member I could join any of these groups, or all of them! We met, we read, we had a coffee brake and socialized. And in the end of the year we would publish and anthology containing the best pieces we had written during the year. But there was much more going on at KSP…
Some groups published an anthology each year. There were writing competitions from time to time, and there was a challenge for writer to join; write a book in a day. Different writers from different groups met, the had a chat about what to write, each and one of them write a chapter, they read it and the corrected it. Deadline was eight hours later. And for anyone who needs to get away to get some piece for their writing, there is a possibility to stay at KSP. And if you´re just curious – take a tour!
Writer in Residence
One of the most exiting things at KSP was that they had a writer in residence almost once a month. A published author would live in Katharine Susannah Prichard´s cottage. He or she would be a guest in the writing groups, read some from a published book, give some feedback on our writing and sometimes also keep a weekend course in writing.
What it gave me
I´ve written some great pieces of creative writing during my membership at KSP. Some of my stories; The Prize, Music and Prey were published in an anthology. The participations I one of the writing groups at KSP helped me to improve my English, find people to socialize with, have fun, improve my creative writing and to get published in Australia.
KSP is a great well of creativity, knowledge and fun for anyone who wants to write anything. For anyone living in the surroundings of Perth I recommend you to join. And if you would like to read more about the history of the center, Katharine or the activities please visit the web age of The Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Center. That´s the source I´ve been using when writing this, together with my own experience of the center.