Monday, August 28, 2006

New England Australia - Writers and Writing Continued

Robert Drewe and Michael Sharkey, New England Regional Art Museum, photo New England Writers Centre.

I mentioned Michael Sharkey in New England Australia - Writers, my first post on New England writers. Michael has sent me a very kind email saying that he likes my new England site: "very classy."

I had not intended to run another immediate post on New England writers and writing, but Michael's email included some interesting material.

Michael pointed me to the AusLit data base, an electronic bibliographic database project currently maintained at the University of Queensland. I mention it here because while I did know it and had referenced it, it is a useful public data base, if most accessible to those in tertiary institutions. It requires a subscription for full access.

Michael also pointed me to another site, one that I knew nothing about, lyrikline, a German based poetry site. A German site? It is actually an international poetry site with poems in four languages. The site also includes poets reading their own poems, although for some reason I have yet to work out I could not download. Les Murray (and here), another New England poet, and Michael were the first Australians to be included.

Subsequently other Australians were included including Peter Skrzynecki, another writer with New England connections, teaching at at Jeogla on the Tablelands, Kunghar on the Tweed River. Peter also completed a BA plus a Master of Letters at the University of New England. You can find out more about Peter's fascinating history here.

Returning to Michael, I had forgotten that he was chair of the New England Writers Centre and had been so since its formal inception in 1993.

The Centre is actually an example of the two definitions of New England that I referred to in early posts, the New England Tablelands and North Western Slopes as compared to the broader New England area covered by the Northern or New England separation movements.

The New England Writers' Centre opened in 1994. Funded by the NSW Ministry for Arts and formally opened in 1964, the Centre is situated in Armidale but serves the New England Tablelands and Northern Slopes from Wee Waa in the west, Bellingen in the east, Tamworth in the south, and Tenterfield in the north.

The inclusion of Bellingen is interesting because the town is actually located on the Bellinger River in the humid coastal zone, not the Tablelands as such. However, Bellingen is only two hours (153 kilometers) away from Armidale and has become a significant centre for those seeking alternative life styles.

The Centre maintains an active program of activities using local writers, while also bringing the best external writers for readings, forums and workshops. The Centre's contact details are:PO Box 1219, Armidale NSW 2350, Email, Ph 02 6772 2710.

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