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Photos from the PCWC 20th Anniversary High Tea

We all had a great time at the high tea celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Peter Cowan Writers Centre.

Highlights included a few words from the newly appointed ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman, the Head of the School of Communications and Arts at ECU Mt Lawley Professor Clive Barstow as well as Professor Glen Phillips. We also enjoyed listening to Liana Joy Christensen recite a poem she wrote during her time in the Advanced Poetry workshop here at PCWC and which is also published in the Homecoming coffee table book.


Thank-you to everyone who made this day possible.


  1. A few words from Professor Clive Barstow
  2. Group under Marquee including Mayor of Wanneroo Tracey Roberts and Professor Glen Philips
  3. Snapshot of PCWC Volunteer Nicole Waddilove, Liana Joy Christensen and Lynne Cohen
  4. PCWC President Susan Stevens talks to Cr Tom from CoJ
  5. PCWC Member Sue Henderson and PCWC Volunteer Robyn Negus
  6. PCWC President Susan Stevens and Professor Clive Barstow

Do you want to kick-start your writing life?

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
– Isaac Asimov

Dr. Maureen-HelenDr Maureen-Helen is back at PCWC with a workshop to help kick-start your writing life. If there is a single part of you that wishes to write, whether that be professionally or simply as a hobby then this workshop might be right up your alley. You will learn about a number of proven techniques and approaches to help you tame that writing beast to your complete satisfaction.

The workshop will take place on 28th June 2015 at 1:30pm-4:30pm but registrations close on the 23rd of June at 5pm.

As the Greek Philosopher Epictetus once said “If you wish to be a writer; write!” and it’s this workshop that will help you achieve this simple advice.

Please find further information and the application form here

Another poetry workshop

Shane McCauley is back with another poetry workshop called Editing Your Poetry, which is about…editing your poetry!

If you went to Shane’s beginners poetry workshop, Introduction to Poetry, in March then this workshop is the other half of your poetry education.

Shane has made this workshop to be purely practical. So, applicants will be immersed in methods of how to shape a poem, what to include and exclude, how to utilize imagery to the best effect, how to incorporate sounds and rhythms in both traditional and free poetic forms. Applicants will also examine examples of the good and the not-so-good.

photo shaneIf you were not an applicant of Introduction to Poetry you may not be familiar with Shane’s work.

Shane McCauley has been a TAFE/University lecturer since the mid-1970s and seven of his books of poetry have been published, most recently The Drunken Elk (Sunline Press, 2010) and Ghost Catcher (Studio Press, 2012). He was awarded the 2008 Max Harris Poetry Award. So your poetry will be in good hands!

We have several places still available so the closing date for registrations to this workshop has been dropped for now to allow for any interested parties to apply at a time that’s appropriate for them. But make sure you get in soon because Editing Your Poetry will be taking place on the 30th of May. You may apply via phone, email or through our new online application process on our website! 

Short Stories on Stage

Stages WA and PCWC collaborate to adapt Peter Cowan’s short stories into plays

West Australian arts organisations, the Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre Inc (PCWC) and Stages WA, are pleased to announce a collaboration to adapt the short stories of WA Living Treasure Peter Cowan into ten-minute plays.

The project forms part of PCWC’s 20th anniversary celebrations with the centre named after Peter Cowan (1914–2002), an esteemed international short story writer, WA Premier’s Book Award for Fiction winner (The Color of the Sky, 1986), novelist, teacher and former co-editor of Westerly. PCWC Acting President Susan Stevens said, ‘We are thrilled that this collaboration with Stages WA will see Peter Cowan’s stories adapted for play readings for the public to access during our anniversary year.’

Six playwrights from PCWC will create the plays under the guidance of Stages WA dramaturg, Polly Low, in preparation for play readings by actors at the Joondalup Library on 9 August 2015. Ms Low commented, ‘I am delighted to be working on this playwriting project and look forward to vibrant discussions and creative explorations.’

Peter Cowan’s short stories are renowned for their themes of isolation, loneliness and despair set against West Australian landscapes or in contemporary suburbs. The short stories: ‘The Red- Backed Spiders’, ‘Mobiles’, ‘The Corner’, ‘Love and Affection’, ‘A Touch of Love’ and ‘Film’ have been selected from Cowan’s eight volumes of short fiction for adaption for the play readings.

Stages WA Director Marie Rodger said, ‘Stages WA are excited to provide this developmental opportunity to the PCWC playwrights. Dramaturgical support and a facilitated play reading are crucial elements in the development of a script, and an integral part of advancing a play to a professional stage for performance.’

The play readings at 2pm at the Joondalup Library on 9 August will give the audience the opportunity to hear West Australian stories and provide the playwrights with important feedback on how they can further refine their plays.

Call (08) 9301 2282, or email cowan05@bigpond.com for more information about the play readings.

What makes a beautiful poem?

What makes a beautiful poem? Emily Dickinson described it like this:

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”     (1870)

To write a memorable poem one must first learn how to express emotion in their poetry that envelopes readers and audiences in the same way Emily Dickinson has so vividly described.

JaJackson pic 26-11-2014ckson – facilitator of the workshop Writing Powerful Poetry – will help you achieve this. Her poetry has been published many times, she has a wealth of teaching, mentoring and poetry editing experience and in 2014 she won the Ethel Webb Bundell Poetry Award.

Her workshop will take place on Sunday the 17th May at the Peter Cowan Writers Centre and will cover the ways in which strong emotion can be transported through poetry as well as analyzing the ways in which famous poets construct mystery and magic.

To quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves”      (1865)

Further information about Writing Powerful Poetry

Jackson’s Facebook event page for Writing Powerful Poetry

Wanneroo Times joins PCWC 20th Anniversary

As we celebrate 20 years, there are a number of wonderful events that have been planned, which include an anniversary High Tea on Sunday 31st May with an address from the Vice Chancellor; Dinner celebrations in November with our Patron Emeritus Professor Andrew Taylor and Professor Glen Phillips. We are very much hoping that Trudy Graham our Founder will also be present.

We are delighted that the Wanneroo Times has featured our celebration.

Click here to read the article.


PCWC Homecoming

Since my association with PCWC in 2007, I have joined its evolution as a thriving centre for people who live in the northern suburbs. The Centre is run by volunteers who work tirelessly to achieve the objectives of the Centre: to encourage new writers; sustain exiting writers, and to promote Peter Cowan as its namesake…

As we celebrate 20 years of northern writers, it has been a great opportunity to take stock of all that has been achieved and to look forward to a bright future. My thanks to all who have gone before and to all of those who continue to work in providing ongoing services to our members and the community.

— Susan Stevens, Afterword excerpts, Homecoming


The book contains selected stories of Peter Cowan, especially his progression as a writer throughout his life. His personal interviews, and testimonials from his friends and colleagues are also included in the book.

Homecoming is a revelation of the history and establishment of the Peter Cowan Writers Centre. It also highlights the Edith Cowan House and the fascinations from esteemed literary personalities of Australia.

Dust Covered Limited Edition is $35 (plus postage of $7) 

Standard Book is $25 (plus postage of $7) 

Reserve your copy now, click here. Or, call (08) 9301 2282 or Email cowan05@bigpond.com

Under the Pines – Edith Cowan House

Edith Cowan University,  Joondalup, Western Australia …

… and was once the home of Edith Dircksey Cowan(1861 – 1932) OBE, a social campaigner, philanthropist, and the first woman elected to an Australian parliament.

The house was purchased by the university in 1991, taken apart, transported north (from its original location at 71 Malcolm Street, West Perth) and then rebuilt  and relocated on the ECU campus in a park named Joondalup Pines…

Edith Cowan 50While it was interesting to learn more about a woman whose portrait appears on the reverse side of the reverse side of every Australian fifty dollar note…

… my main reason for visiting was to check out the typewriter owned by her grandson, Peter…

… my main reason for visiting was to check out the typewriter owned by her grandson, Peter …

Peter Cowan Study Peter Cowan Typewriter

Born in Perth, Western Australia, Peter (Walkinshaw) Cowan (1914 – 2002) published five novels, eight volumes of short stories, and was a prolific essayist, biographer and literary critic.

Peter’s typewriter, writing desk and chair are on display in the Centre’s Library room.

To view the full article, check out Under the Pines.

Changes at PCWC

2014 realised the networking of the PCs at the Centre, which should make us operate more efficiently for the benefit of all our members. Michael Clark has recently signed on as a volunteer and is going to take on coordinating publicity. He is currently in a steep learning curve.   His wife Vicki is keenly working with Marg as a trainee centre coordinator.

Elizabeth Brennan author of “A Different Shade of Seeing”

Elizabeth Brennan author of “A Different Shade of Seeing” Accolades.

Congratulations to PCWC Member, Elizabeth Brennan, author of A Different Shade of Seeing. This is a delightful combination of memoirs and philosophical reflections; an account of Elizabeth’s visit to her ancestral homeland of Ireland where history and folklore are discovered.

For more details, click here.

Or if you like to purchase the book, it is available at Equilibrium Books. The print version price is  $26.00 while the eBook is $4.00.