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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

October's Literary Tryptych at Mentone Public Library for Kingston's Senior Citizens Festival: Mary O'Rourke, Mordialloc Writers Group and Suzanne McCourt: Sat 11th and 25th October 2014

October 2014 at Mentone Public Library will be remembered as a glorious month of memories. From a fascinating how-to program with Mary O'Rourke in writing your own life story and why you should, to an afternoon- filled array of hilarious, heart-warming and heart breaking prose and poetry from the Mordialloc Writers Group, to a moving retrospective coming-of-age tale of timeless challenges in family dynamics with Suzanne McCourt's stirring tale of loss and learning in The Lost Boy.

We invited our talented guest writers for the month of October to reflect on their experience promoting their works and ideas before our Mentone library patrons...

Mary O'Rourke (Appeared Saturday, 11th October 2014)
Thank you Tony and Julia for the opportunity to take part in one of your library events. I have attended a few over winter and it really is a wonderful space with a great group of warm and supportive people, sharing their love of the written word, in all its forms. I felt honoured to be asked to come and give a talk on memoir writing for the Kingston Seniors Week. 

Thank you also to Janice Munt and Lesley McGurgan for their introductions which moved me and caught me off-guard in their generosity and warmth. I hope the participants will enjoy using the DIY Memoir questionnaire/ starter kit and think of writing their own life stories. The library has a few more copies so please feel free to visit and obtain one for yourself or anyone you know who has led a life worth capturing on the page. I also wanted to pass on my thanks to the dynamic writers of the Mordialloc Writers Group whose showcase was more like a Masterclass in first rate literary offerings; I could have listened to theirreadings all day. Funny, emotional, witty, passionate - now where else can you get all that entertainment in exchange for a gold coin donation? Take care all and keep your beautiful creativity coming...

Pictured: Janice Munt
Pictured: Mary O'Rourke (seated) with Lesley McGurgan

Mari Neil of the Mordialloc Writers Group (Appeared Saturday, 11th October 2014)
On Saturday, October 11th, during the celebration of the SeniorsFestival in Kingston, several remained interested and engaged. It helped, of course, that our readings followed an inspirational presentation by memoir writer Mary O’Rourke! Because we knew we would be sharing the day with Mary, the writers chose pieces to suit the age group of the audience with much of the prose and poetry reflecting our life experience and being semi-autobiographical in content.
Dr Glenice Whitting shared an insightful personal essay on her reflections of growing up in Kingston, Coral Waight read about growing up in an era when women struggled for the most basic of equal opportunities, a well-written piece published recently in the Weekend Australian. She also shared a travel story from her many solo trips around Tasmania and New Zealand. Maureen Hanna read a short story inspired by an overheard conversation on a bus and set in a time when sex education was non-existent and ignorance had tragic consequences. Barbara Davies shared the hilarious story of having a ‘cocktail partyfor her 50th birthday, and a travel tale of her recent visit to New Guinea to visit her son. Steve Davies (no relation to Barbara) read two delightful poems –– a poignant reflection on his many years of working as a carer and a clever piece about having a conversation with his cat. The cat poem generated lots of laughter, applause, and warm discussion over morning tea.
Pictured Left to Right: Steve Davies, Glenice Whitting, Coral Waight, Maureen Hanna, Barbara Davies
I read a short story about farewelling the family home after the death of my parents and a couple of poems reflecting on the games of childhood as well as memories of my mother.
People were able to buy our latest anthologies for a gold coin donation and we sold a couple of books. We also gained a new member to our Tuesday night workshop group, and another person enrolled in one of my creative writing classes. This personal development for our group, and the networking and sharing within the community, would not be possible without the wonderful support of the team at Mentone: thank you Julia, Tony and Sue! Local writers owe you a debt of gratitude. 
Off the Rails : An Anthology by the 
Mordialloc Writers Group can be purchased via contacting

The Mordialloc Writers Group meet fortnightly to workshop pieces as well as present special public readings entitled "Reading by the Bay" on the last Sunday of the month. Both the workshops and readings are open to all. For further information, please contact

            Suzanne McCourt (Appeared Saturday, 25th October 2014)
Suzanne McCourt (photo courtesy of Yvette Bentata-Moore)

There is something dangerously intimate about speaking at Mentone  Public Library! Since the launch of my novel, The Lost Child, I’ve spoken at many gatherings—libraries, literary festivals, book shops, book clubs, in conversation at a university, and many times on radio. Yet in all my previous talks and interviews I have managed to hide behind my fictional story and keep my real ‘lost child’ a secret.

All that changed when CouncillorRosemary West introduced me last Saturday. She spoke so openly and honestly about the loss of a child in her own family that I felt my defences—and my secret and shame—begin to crumble. And as many in the audience shared their own family stories of ‘lost’ children, it became only natural—and such a relief—to speak publicly for the first time of ‘losing’ a child (and grandchild) at the very time my fictional child was being fated.
Suzanne McCourt  (standing) with Cr Rosemary West (seated)

I  can’t imagine this wonderful sharing and understanding being able to happen anywhere else. Thank you, Julia, and your committee, for providing such a safe, caring and intimate venue. It was a privilege to attend and to receive so much in return.

Suzanne McCourt's works are all available for purchase by visiting the following links:


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