Di Yerbury Residency Award 2024 by Colleen Keating


Jan Conway the worthy winner with the two judges Colleen Keating  & Sharon Rundle

Congratulations to Janette Conway, worthy winner of this year’s Di Yerbury Residency Award. 

Emerita Professor Di Yerbury, Patron of the Society of Women Writers NSW, generously sponsors the Writers Residency which grants the winner 3 months stay in Barnstaple, Devon, UK to research and to continue to write a full length work-in-progress.

Maria McDougall (President of the SWW, Jan Conway the 2024 winner of the Di Yerbury Award,
Emerita Professor Di Yerbury and Colleen Keating one of the judges.

Previous winners of this award Belinda Murrell and Cindy Broadbent spoke about their time at the residency, the benefits that they enjoyed from their stay there, what it meant to them, as well as giving a brief insight into the work-in-progress that they are writing. Each showed a video to illustrate their talk. 

Pamela Rushby was guest speaker and spoke about her book about mudlarking on the Thames in London and showed us some of the artefacts she had retrieved from the banks of the river.

I highly recommend entering the Di Yerbury annual Residency Award, but you do need to be a member of the SWW. More at:


Congratulations to all our residency winners past and present.




Congratulations to Janette Conway on being awarded the 2024 Di Yerbury residency. Jan is seen here with Patron, Emerita Professor, Di Yerbury and judges Colleen Keating and Sharon Rundle

Society of Women Writers, Christmas meeting

At our recent Society of Women Writers meeting, at the State Library of NSW fellow writer,poet and friend,  Pip Griffin inspired our gathering with her 3  recently published books.  Climbing Back by Pip Griffin and published by Ginninderra Press  was a highlight .  

Pip told us the  story of its development, and read four short evocative poems of grief, and renewal
Her work very much reminding me of Emily Dickenson’s  sensibility.

Her award-winning book Margaret Caro, the exraordinary life of a pioneering dentist  was 
displayed as available and Pip read a poem from it to whet our appetite to read more.

Thirdly her poetic book Secret Diaries :an imagined correspondence between Virginia Woofe and the New Zealnad short story writer Katherine Mansfield. As I wrote for the back cover ,

Every life is braided with luminous moments”  John O’Donohue

For those intrigued over the decades about Virginia and Katherine, Pip Griffin turns to their writings, essays, short stories, diaries and personal letters to detail a sense of what constitutes  their intertwining ‘luminous moments’   Pip gives us a window into this intimate and tragic friendship, and with poetic writing full of erotic intrigue captures a sense of provocative possibilities leaving us still with the mystery of their communion to contemplate.  Pip’s poetry at its best.

Colleen Keating

As Pip spoke from the podium I felt very happy. for  . . . . .

we are back. A resplendent  Society of Women Writers meeting.  A welcome-back and farewell to our  year with an enthusiastic group .

The day actually  began with a workshop: Writing with Humour. convened by  Carolyn Eldridge– Alfonzetti A great workshop as it was a gentle way to begin again, humour is important to every genre and  we got a lot of laughter as we got prompts to remember funny stories.

Our poetry reading were fun with some wonderful performances and finally playwright Donna Abela shared her writing journey at the Royal Commission on Institutional Abuse of children – while it is shocking it also shows how writing can transform this into powerful advocacy for children.




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.



****    ****    ****    ****    ****    ****    ****    ****    

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.


Desert Patterns, Short listed for the Society of Women Writers Book Awards 2020





A double joy . . .   my newest poetry collection Desert Patterns  is also short listed  in the Society of Women Writers Book Award for 2020.  adding to my excitement about Hildegard of Bingen being given the great honour of short listing.

Desert Patterns is a collection of poetry which  takes us into the inland  we often call  the outback.

When we think of the outback its often the centre of the country, the heart of the land that comes to mind,. Sunsets over desert plains, vibrant  red dirt, towering ghost gums and crisp starry sky nights.

In Desert Patterns you will experience: –

our extensive  Top End Journey to Kakadu, Bungle Bungle  Geikie Gorge the Gibb River Road, we meet memories of Jandamarra  thriving towns and towns closed down .

my 10 day walking trip of the Larapinta Trail  with the well know writer and playwright Jan Cornell and a group of wriers

our flight over Lake Eyre in flood

with poem in honour of Oodgeroo  Noonuccal 

and reflective poems about my experience at Myall Creek including a poem I read at the 70th Anniversary since the massacre.

Only 94 pages but packed with imagery and story of our wonderful continent.


Australians are becoming more coastal dwellers.  We sit on this veranda, enjoy the coastal breeze. 

To venture too far into wilderness is a challenge. Even in the city, it is easy to become impatient with nature, for it follows its own laws. Trees drop leaves and branches, their roots wreck paths.

Animals eat our plants, (my ring-tail possums love my parsley), cockatoos eat solar wires, brush turkeys renovate gardens.As for the bandicoots and echidnas that lived in our garden, they have left long ago.  Even the blue-tongue lizards are rare now.

Thomas Berry, environmentalist and eco-theologian, writes,

 this generation has lost interaction with nature, we are talking to ourselves. 

More and more we need to talk to the rivers, deserts, mountains, forests and grasslands.Walk in their way, listen to what they have to say, begin a new conversation and become intimate again with the natural world. 

Such experiences  bring us closer,

to the heart of our land, 

to the spirit of country,  

to the soul of what it means to be a human being.

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. 

Colleen Keating




Aboriginal writer and elder Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann has given us 

the  word ‘dadirri’from the language of the Aboriginal people 

of the Daly River region, Darwin, NT. 

Dadirri is inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness. 

It recognises the deep spring that is inside us. We call on it and it calls to us.  

Miriam-Rose explains,

“When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again. I can sit on the riverbank 

or walk through a stand of  trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, 

I can find my peace in this silent awareness. There is no need of words. 

A big part of dadirri is listening.”

She continues,

“This was the normal way for us to learn – not by asking questions. 

We learnt by watching and listening, waiting and then acting.

My people are not threatened by silence. They are completely at home in it. 

They have lived for thousands of years with Nature’s quietness.”

Dadirri also means awareness of where you’ve come from, why you are here, 

where are you going and where do you belong.

“Our Aboriginal culture has taught us to be still and to wait. We do not try to hurry 

things up.  We let them follow their natural course – like the seasons.”

from ‘Edge of the Sacred’  Conference At White Gums Honeymoon Gap, West MacDonnall Ranges, 

Alice Springs. 2016..


  A Covid launch.  in Alice Springs . on 15th March 2020. A week before the pandemic was declared and we locked down . But already in Alice Springs there was a sensitivity  and concern about the virus spreading . It was not appropriate to continue our desire to launch with a celebration at the Olive Pink Botanical Garden Cafe.

We flew to Alice Springs unknowing that  in a week we were on one of the last planes out of Alice Springs and home in time to lock down.  For the Covid launch  I read a poem to the wallaby who was hanging around in the Cafe at Olive Pink Botanical Gardens.

On the back cover are some enticing comments.

Colleen’s poetic journey invokes the deep spirituality of our landscape. She immerses us in ‘a multitude of gorgeous images’ as we 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  

Colleen Keating in her distinctive Australian voice combines sensitivity to place with clear, powerful free verse. Her images are both striking and profound. 

Again as in her previous collections, her poetry is underpinned by a gentle spirituality from a woman’s perspective.  John Egan

Take time to enter the world of this poetic landscape.   Colleen Keating invites us to listen – with all our senses.   Margaret Hede

Following on the publication of her award-winning poetry collection Fire on Water in 2017, Colleen Keating, a Sydney poet, has continued to search for a sense of place in country – a land that is timeless and always changing.  Much country has been handed back to its traditional owners, while mining companies and pastoralists continue to maintain their position. Aboriginal art has flourished and more people are searching for a place to call home.  

Colleen has also had published by Ginninderra Press,  A Call to Listen and a highly acclaimed verse novel, Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey. She has also co-authored Landscapes of the Heart, Picaro Poets, with John Egan.




Mood Indigo by Pip Griffin and Colleen Keating

.. You are the music while the music lasts. T.S. Eliot 

Mood Indigo, This is a collaboration of poetry by Pip Griffin and Colleen Keating,

A Picaro Poets chapbook,  it is published under the umbrella of Ginninderra Press. It is composed of 24 succinct and lyrical poems which are perfect for the reader wanting to retreat into a pocket-sized poetry book with an inner covenant of peace.

Colleen and Pip’s poetry, an eclectic collection of lyrical poetry

transports the reader

to Alice Springs
The land’s a vast Kngwarreye
black, brown, green, ochre, painted on infinity.

to Lake Ainsworth
ducks’ wave-rippling wakes
break the spell

pleads for an end to war
what if we all bow low
to quench our parched throats
and what if we drink
from the same waterhole

and finds renewed hope
in the return of a single red wattle bird
I thought you had deserted us
but your presence
this spring morning
gives me hope.

Chapbook. $5  Order your copy online from www.ginninderrapress.com.au

Thanks to Brenda Eldridge Series editor: from Gininnderra Press.
and John Griffin for cover image

Leura Gardens 

While travelling by train to this place we visited so often

a reservoir of tears presses against my ribs

i do not want this pain to fill

the hollow of your absence

images of our time together explode behind my eyes

‘The Lark Ascending’ plays to my inner ear

cherry trees in blossom line the streets

like flower girls at a wedding 

the gardens flaunt their colours

i wear the striped jumper we bought here

under the spent wisteria at the Waldorf Gardens Resort

a jazz group plays ‘Mood Indigo’.

©Pip Griffin 4/10/18


my Tao poem 

when you find the Tao
others will find you
they will hear the still silence
in your voice
see the peacefulness
shine from your eyes
sense the path in your movement
feel the all is well hope in your being recognise you
by laughter and tears danced in your soul and they will be near you
to find their way home 

Colleen Keating

You are the music while the music lasts. T.S. Eliot

Pip and I enjoying Christmas celebration luncheon
at the Society of Women Writers, December 2019

Society of Women Writers April Meeting

A fresh Autumn morning . I set out by train for the city to attend the monthly gathering of the Society of Women Writers. ( SWW)

Each month it is held at the State Library of NSW over in  the  Dixson Room in the original Mitchell Library. And being a Friend of the Library I enjoy a coffee and some quiet space in  the Friends room before hand

This month  Pattie Miller lead the workshop .

and luncheon with the key note spesker as Pattie again on the topic of

and a very interest talk with Libby Hathorn and the first release of her new children’s book Miss Franklin .

It was a very pleasant gathering  and Pattie as always very informative

One of the exciting unfolding pieces of information Pattie Miller  held up the  new Stella Award book  An Erratic life by Vickie Laveau-Harvie            . Pattie was excited as Vicki had been on e of her students . I was excited firstly for Vicky winning such a prestigious prize but that I had spent the week at Varuna 

Society of Women Writers – Workshop with Patti Miller

It was  a very helpful and informative workshop at the State Library of NSW  with Patti Miller. She titled it,

The Difficulty of Truth Telling in Writing a Memoir

No woman is an Island.

We are all part of a family, a circle of friends, work groups, socail groups,  – sport, religion, interest, hobbies.

We have a  truth – a different truth for each different group.

We become socialised to know what truth to tell to each group.

When we sit down to write a memoir things come to the fore . . .1.  We don’ want to hurt the other, family,  friends.   2. It might change the way people think of us. 3. There is pressure to be nice, 4. Pressure to keep the peace. . . be the angel in the house.

Yet without feeling free to tell your truth the memoir will luck genuine authenticity.

Some hints to Tell the Truth and Survive

  1. The tone of your voice. Not what you say . . . it is how you say it. Not bitter, not accusing , not a rort for revenge, not a statement  for a statement’s sake . It must be like a velvet glove slipped into context.
  2. Put it all down in Draft one not to show but it gets a lot of angst out of you and it doesn’t have to be published.
  3. Remember it is your truth, your opinion,  your perspective.

We then workshopped our own writing  beginning

My  . . . . . . . would not want me to write about . . . .

We did not have to share it, but the brave souls who shared  . . .showed us the power of truth – telling.

Fire on Water: Highly Commended in SWW Awards 2018




The SWW  Book Awards were announced in the Historic State Library at a packed Literary Luncheon on Wednesday.

I am thrilled to announce Fire on Water has won the Highly Commended Award in the Society of Women Writers Biennial Poetry Award  2018.   Thank you to the SWW of NSW Inc. for running this Competition . It is very affirming to be acknowledged and i felt very proud to be standing on the podium with a group of talented poets and writers. Congratulations especially to Susan Fealty for her book Flute of Milk that was the 2018 Winner and to the other runners up, my friend Beverley George for her Tanka collection Only in Silence  and Kathryn Fry for Green Point Bearings. 

Thanks to the  acclaimed  poetry and children’s author Judge Libby Hathorn, and especially thank-you to Stephen Matthews and Ginninderra Press,  who must be very affirmed by Ginninderra’s achievements in this Competition.  Thanks to Family and friends who have wished me the best for Fire on Water and all who are buying this well Awarded book through Ginninderra  Press.