The Wild West

I’m bunkered down in the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre and loving the energy of the place. I flew over to Western Australia on Sunday night and met up with the dynamic director of the Centre, Lesley Reece, before traveling on to Albany for a day of workshopping with young writers. Then we flew back to Perth so I could start my residency here in Fremantle.

I’ve always loved WA. It has a distinctive spirit that always lifts my mood. Something about the quality of the light and vivacity of the people. Fremantle, in particular, seems to capture so much of what I like about the west.

I’ve stayed at the FCLC a couple of times in the past few years but this visit is especially fun because at the end of a day of workshopping, I’ve got great company as Matt Ottley and Boori Pryor are also in residence. When I’ve stayed here in the past, I’ve always had the run of the place to myself but as the Centre is inside the old Fremantle Prison, it’s much nicer to have someone other than the ghosts to hang out with in the evenings. Between Boori’s brilliant story telling and Matt’s music and deep conversation, I suspect I’m going to suffer a bout of ‘un-homesickness’ when I finally head back to Melbourne. (Unhomesickness is what you get when you’re homesick for the home that’s not your home – or so my kids used to tell me when I dragged them around Europe).

Next week Lesley Reece and I will head down to Bunbury for two more Youth Literature days working with young WA writers. It’s no surprise that WA produce a disproportionate number of talented young writers with all the innovative programmes that FCLC organises.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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