Looking for Olive. Member’s Talk at SWW on Olive Muriel Pink by Colleen Keating




I .00 PM–2.15 PM



Looking for Olive – the radical and idealistic life of Olive Muriel Pink

by Colleen Keating


Colleen, author of five poetry books  with Ginninderra Press and 5 poetry chap books  with Picaro Poets will talk about the inspiration, development and publication of her latest book,  A Poetic Journey with  an Australian women Olive Muriel Pink .  Colleen first became curious after visiting the Olive Pink Botanical Garden  in Alice Springs on a holiday and unable to find local information about Olive.  Back home she became immersed in the passions and struggles of Olive Pink’s story, a pioneer Australian woman of the first half of the 20th century.(1884-1975).  Here was a justice warrior, an advocate for the rights of the Indigenous people, a trained anthropologist, artist, gardener, botanist and curator.  And one whose song needs to be sang.  



A woman writer’s journey – the restorative justice of writing Australian Indigenous themes

by Julie Janson


Keynote speaker – Julie Janson: A woman writer’s journey –  the restorative justice of writing Australian Indigenous themes

Julie is a Burruberongal woman of Darug nation, Hawkesbury River NSW. She grew up with an Aboriginal father and mother of English descent in Boronia Park, Sydney.
She is a teacher, artist, novelist, playwright and poet, and a recipient of the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Poetry Prize and the Judith Wright Poetry Prize.
Julie’s published novels are The Crocodile Hotel (Cyclops Press 2015), The Light Horse Ghost (Nibago 2018) and Benevolence (Magabala 2020). This latest novel will be published by Harper Collins in USA and UK 2021.
In a career as a playwright, Julie’s plays have been produced in Australia, Indonesia and USA:
  *  Two plays-Black Mary and Gunjies (Aboriginal Studies Press 1996)
Gunjies, nominated for an AWGIE
The Crocodile Hotel, nominated for Patrick White Award and Griffin Award
  *  Black Mary produced by Company B Belvoir St Theatre 1997
The Eyes of Marege, Sydney Opera House Studio, Adelaide Festival Centre 2007 and Makassar, Sulawesi
Julie was fortunate to present at the Adelaide Writers Festival 2021, Bendigo Writers Festival 2021 and Byron Bay Writers Festival.
She has also experienced Asialink Literature Residencies Indonesia 2000, 2003; Varuna residency; Tyrone Guthrie Writing Residency, Ireland 2006; Australia Council BR Whiting Residency Rome 2013; Listowel Ireland Writers Festival and Belfast Book Week 2016.

To book and pay:
$10 members, $15 non-members

Book via TryBooking: https://www.trybooking.com/BTSFK

or by direct debit:

The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc
BSB: 062 018
Account:  00950433
Code:  VM (for Keynote Speaker) or VMW (for Workshop)

Email Amanda Mark – Email Amanda –
with your name, receipt number and date of event




The Society of Women Writers NSW by Colleen Keating

Proud to be called Winner today

The Society of Women Writers NSW.

The stars of the Society’s Biennial Book Awards take a bow. The poet Collen Keating received the highest accolades with two wins for her 20 year journey writing the verse novel – ‘Hildegard of Bingen’ – Winner, Poetry, Society of Women Writers (NSW) Awards 2020; Winner, Non-fiction, Society of Women Writers (NSW) Awards 2020 – published by the boutique award winning literary publisher Ginninderra Pess https://www.ginninderrapress.com.au/

Society of Women Writers NSSociety W Inc

At the Society’s Biennial Book Awards, the poetry was judged by eminent poet, writer, reviewer, academic and critic Margaret Bradstock. The Poetry collections were outstanding with the 20 year journey writing ‘Hildegard of Bingen’ as the winner.
‘What an oeuvre! What a superb and elaborate work! These nine books of poems by Australian poet Colleen Keating tell Hildegard’s story in a stunning way. The reader feels put into the landscape and ambience of Hildegard’s medieval cloistered world. Thus I highly recommend reading, tasting and meditating on this poetic journey with Hildegard of Bingen.’ – Dr Annette Esser, Founder and President of the Scivias Institute for Art and Spirituality, Germany.
The shortlist was Pip Griffin’s ‘Margaret Caro’
Collen Keating’s ‘Desert Patterns’.
Tricia Dearborn’s ‘Autobiochemistry’.
What an outstanding list of poets!

5 Write Answers: Women’s Ink by Colleen Keating



To read my poetry out loud and listen carefully for meaning and rhythm.

When I am stuck, I record it and play it back to myself. I know there are modern methods to do this on our iPhones these days, but I still have an old portable tape recorder on the shelf above my desk which I read into and listen back, checking out the lyrical bent.

I get so much insight from this process.


Colleen Keating is an award winning Sydney-based poet. She has four books of poetry including her latest poetry book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey, awarded the Silver Nautilus Award 2019 Better Books for a Better World USA.



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Further dotting and mentions I am proud of in Women’s Ink  from  the Society of Women Writers in recent months.

Desert Patterns

Colleen Keating

Ginninderra Press, South Australia

When we listen, this land sings to us, holds us, nurtures us. This land is the common ground that we share. This small blue planet is the common world of our existence.
Desert Patterns is a collection of poetry that touches the membrane between two worlds with the breath of wildness and our inland journeys. In its striking imagery, we have a revelation of the significance of the land and of the burden of our Australian history.

‘Colleen’s poetic journey invokes the deep spirituality of our landscape.
She immerses us in “a multitude of gorgeous images” as we stand in Tunnel Creek remembering Jandamarra, marvel with Monet at Kakadu’s “blazing-blue lilies” and dream with cicadas:

“is it a place the gods keep/to seduce the lost like me?”
Every step of the way, Desert Patterns will entrance you.’ – Pip Griffin


Mood indigo

Pip Griffin and Colleen Keating, shared poetry collection

Picaro Press an imprint of Ginninderra Press 2020

In days of uncertainty mood Indigo with its 24 succinct and lyrical poems gives the reader time to retreat to a pocket-sized poetry book with an inner covenant of peace.


My Congratulation note read at the 95th Anniversary celebration of SWW

I felt honoured to be invited to put together a few words   for the 95th Anniversary of  the Society of Women Writers .

It is said,  You have to know the past, to understand the present, and to informs the future 

The milestone of our 95th Anniversary as a Society of Women Writers, is a good moment to pause, acknowledge where we have come from , to reflect on our present and be encouraged to walk forwards.

We are proud of our story  from when a small group of pioneer women journalists banded together – united, to support and encourage each other and we can only imagine  the journey to now from 1925 .

We are at an impasse with the pandemic that exacerbates the reduction in funding for the Arts. This enables us to appreciate even more the line of Presidents and the women who believed  in our Society and have kept the flame burning  through depressions, wars, vacillation of funding  and many internal struggles. Pressing forward is a woman’s way. 

We are proud to say we are about lifting each other up.  Writing is a lonesome vocation and fraught with internal demons. Meeting monthly for lunch in the State Library, the heart of Sydney’s writing and research world, with workshops, guest speakers and sharing with like minded people encourages us with new incentives on our writing  journey . 

Then our writing competitions, our Book Awards, our journal  Women’s Ink,  our retreats, the annual Abbie Clancy award for the  encouragement  of young writers, our annual  Di Yerbury residency in England award for a member, outreach promotion of writer festivals and functions to encourage writers. Seeing opportunities to promote our story eg working to bring Eleanor Darks oeuvre together, giving Dorothea  Mackellar’s grave, the status she deserved    we women always look forward to be the best.  

Our past Presidents  have  picked up the baton selflessly and guided the SWW thru many  stormy seas. and now with the vibrancy of  Jan Conway at the helm taking us into 2021 we are here today through the technology of zoom  in celebration.

 It is good to remind ourselves  we are standing on a mountain from  which we can say  we are standing on the shoulders of the women who have gone before thru all the struggles every decade, every  age, brings up. 

Let it be known proudly we mark this occasion on Zoom 

All i am saying here reminds me of the  words in Josh Gobans song, 

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

In the years to come may our future members  look back, grateful for us here on our 95th anniversary in 2020. 

Colleen Keating, September 2020


 Some of the women of the Society on Retreat  in 2017

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Hi Colleen
I hope you’re getting the time to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. We are in the final stages of planning for the 95th and I’m looking forward to Wednesday’s ’birthday’ Zoom event.
Best wishes messages – from invited guests and members – will be read during the programme by an SWW member. Colleen, I’d be delighted if you are able to offer a few sentences (in text or poetry) about the Society. If you are happy to do so, I’d appreciate you letting me know. I would need the message to be received by the evening of Monday 14. Late notice I know – Sorry!
Janette Conway
The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc.
Est.1925 Incorporated 1987
Mobile: 0402 755 768



Workshop: Finding the Poetic to make our Writing Shimmer





Finding the Poetic to make your writing shimmer


Lots of inspired sharing and laughter filled the room as a passionate group of writers 

explored ways of using the poetic to make their writing shimmer.

One of our learnings was that when our writing is lucid and perceptive it shines with meaning, something all of us wish for our work. 

Together we reflected on the power of awareness, bringing us always back to the present moment. We discussed how our mind is being colonised all the time and came up with constructive ways of decolonising our mind to become listeners to the breath of the universe.

We looked at the maxim:  Lessons from a Tree  

1. Stand tall and strong  2. Go out on a limb. 3.  Remember your roots

4.  Drink plenty of water  5. Be content with your natural beauty 6. Enjoy the view.

Together we collaborated to listen and hear the advice from the tree for our writing.

Our exercise on Active Seeing brought our room in the State Library alive with new insights to energise writing.

We listened to the words of poets for their poetic sense that shines the light. Mary Oliver ’s poetry, the exquisite metaphorical writing of Edna St. Vincent Millay and Emily Dickinson , the sustained metaphor in ‘Surender’ by the Blue Mountains poet Vanessa Kirkpatrick, the felt sound in Robert Frost and Adrienne Rich with her powerful poem ‘Diving into the Wreck,’

in which we mused over her words, “I want  the wreck itself not the story of the wreck,  the thing itself and not the myth.’

We  talked about a writer always cultivating a sense of wonder, as Alice says in Alice in Wonderland “curiouser and curiouser!”  We discussed the magic of language and closed with a writing exercise To create fresh metaphors. Our sharing had us marvelling at how metaphors strike unexpectedly and how they work to help our writing shimmer .