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Eugen Bacon: An Opportunity to Cherish.

Eugen was a KSP 2021 Emerging Writer-in-Residence.

It was with trepidation that I checked in two pieces of luggage, carried my laptop and boarded QF 773 Melbourne to Perth. My G2G Pass to Western Australia said I was approved to enter the state. Masked, I declined inflight snacks and beverages, and was famished by the time I arrived at 11 Old York Road to begin my KSP writer’s residency.

On day 2, I woke to bird sound like the soft peal. Perhaps it was a rainbow lorikeet or a corella… I still felt flat after my flight and established routine with a daily morning swim in Midland, a 5-minute drive. I visited Perth’s Valley of Taste—the gift of time and space, and new experiences, like the indulgence of Margaret River Chocolate Factory and a few wineries, stoked my creative muse.

By day 4 at KSP, I was in the zone and churning words. My list of project tasks was dwindling, up to 2000 words on a good day. Time raced and by the second week of the residency, I was focused.

In my second week of the residency, I fell into a tall brown man with velvet green eyes at the aquatic centre in Midland. Turned out he’s Mohammed Massoud Morsi whose The Palace of Angels was shortlisted in the 2020 NSW Premier’s Literary Award, and Voss Literary Prize. We had an earnest chat about writing, and the experience of being a black writer in Australia. I was very pleased with the find, and took selfies to remind me of a wonderful connection of minds.

My time at KSP was rapidly nearing its close, and some highlights include an Author Talk event, in which I shared readings of black speculative fiction with participants. We had an earnest conversation about writing, and speculative fiction in general.

I also ran a workshop named ‘Seduce Your Writing’, in which I reiterated that editing is not just about fixing—it’s about enhancing. As a writer, you are your work’s first reader, and your work’s your work’s first editor– you know what feels right. We discussed how to train and develop text, riding the shape of the work with the right hook, keeping the writing tight, saying more with less, adding texture to writing through specificity, and shaping robust characters through taut dialogue. I enjoyed the session as much as the participants, who were most engaged, and included a broad audience of adults, new adults and teenagers passionate about writing.

It was with trepidation and fond memories of KSP that I packed my luggage, locked away my laptop and prepared to wear a mask, social distance and board my flight from Perth to Melbourne. My Victorian border entry pass said I was approved to return home.

I am grateful for the experience of the writer’s residency, the people I met, including other writers, the KSP staff and board. It’s an opportunity I will cherish.


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