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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.

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.

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.

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.