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Carol Millner: Katharine’s Place is magic.

Carol was staying at KSP as a 2022 1st edition Fellow.

In late February 2021 I was fortunate to spend a week in a cabin at KSPWC. The weather was hot and sultry and I was eager to take the opportunity to spend some time at Lake Leschenaultia just up the road as one of the stories that I planned to revise is set there (admittedly swimming was also on my mind). When I arrived at the cabin assigned to me I was delighted to discover an enormous desk under the window and shortly afterwards a text from Josephine Taylor (KSP Emerging Writer-in-Residence) suggesting that she and I and Diane Hopkins, the third guest for the week, meet for a drink on the verandah at six o’clock. After that the time flew by as I moved between the desk, conversations and walks with other writers and an excursion to the Lake.

My main focus as a First Edition Fellow has been polishing my manuscript, a collection of interconnected short stories concerning Western Australia’s immigration history. Four of the stories need a significant amount of extra work and I hoped that I would make real progress on two of them: ‘Trace’ which tells the story of two young women who arrived in the Swan Colony just prior to Federation and ‘Lakeside’ in which a very young couple attempt to negotiate their different ethnic backgrounds and expectations of each other while camping at Lake Leschenaultia. I am returning home after a wonderful week spent reading and revising, considering point-of-view and structure and character, and gathering feedback from other writers. I spent a fabulous morning with the Wednesday group and enjoyed a number of lovely walks with Josephine Taylor and Diane Hopkins in John Forrest National Park and around the KSPWC. I was fortunate too to squeeze in a field trip and swim at the Lake before it closed due to severe fire risk.

Perhaps my happiest memory was waking early on the Sunday morning, having slept with the windows open and the blind up so that I saw the trees and sky as soon as I woke. Early morning light filled the cabin and the air between the trees reverberated with bird song. I felt still and peaceful and ready to write. I was even able to push the fact that I had to leave at 2pm that day to the back of my mind. Why can I not achieve this level of prepared readiness at home? Quite simply, because Katharine’s Place is magic. It’s a home away from home for writers and when I’m here that’s all that I am (not an academic, not an administrator, not a Mum). Thank you, it has been a privilege to be part of KSPWC this week.

Carol Millner

20.2.2022 You can follow Carol on instagram.


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