Turning a new page?

IT’S more frontispiece than full novel, but hopes for a dedicated Vincent Writers Centre have at last turned a page.

Starting later this month, WA Poets will be holding a 16-week trial of workshops in the subset of the North Perth town hall, courtesy of a cultural grant from Vincent council.

It’s been a long journey for the project’s champion, Peter Jeffery, who’s been chair and committee member of WA Poets for more than 13 years.

During that time he’s been searching for a permanent home for the organisation.

Mr Jeffery says WA’s three other writing centres—located in heritage buildings—have been remarkably resilient, and if Vincent could establish a centre it could become a cultural landmark.

“The writing centre can offer something for everyone,” he says.

• Poet and writers centre champion Peter Jeffery. File photo

“This will allow a day session for retired seniors, skill enhancement courses for the unemployed and migrant groups, and self-worth therapy for individuals needing such.”

The daily workshops start on Thursday May 24 from 9.30am-12.30pm and 6.30pm-9.30pm.

Mr Jeffery says the evening sessions will benefit those who are earning a crust during the day.

The WA poet grew up on Oxford Street and says his love of language grew out of necessity.

“As a young boy with a deaf mother I could read before I went to school, for I had graduated through sign language to using the one-hand and two-hand manual alphabets that were developed by a priest and his deaf gardener several centuries ago,” he told the Voice.

He says he and his mother visited the New Oxford cinema—now Luna—three to four times a week.

“For us it was the equivalent of 24-hour television and we would escape into that fantasy world with me interpreting scene by scene. No wonder I fell in love with words and became an English teacher.”

by STEVE GRANT

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