Poetry, Mayfield and an amazing Novocastrian / by Kian West

Long time fans of some of Kerri's creative endeavours, when we heard that she successfully was awarded a government grant we had to know more! 

Congratulations on the amazing news Kerri, can you tell us a little bit about the grant you’ve been awarded? The grant is an emerging writers grant from the NSW Government – through the NSW Writers Centre. There were four for next year and I am so glad this one came home to Mayfield!


What does it mean to you to be selected? It is a big boost of confidence. You write like crazy for years and even though you get things published now and then or people seem to like your things, a grant sort of goes BAM. It is scary too. Very, DO IT NOW. Expectation goes up, internally and externally, of the standard of work to be produced.


How will this grant help you complete the project? It gives me five grand to use (against a supplied budget) for mentoring ( I have asked Kit Kelen to do the job), travel to the places that trigger the work and to festivals, and for you, office supplies and the cash it costs to enter comps and show up wearing shiny shoes. I am disabled and I live on the DSP. They are lucky I have hair on. This gets me to the level of the normal folks.

Drawing on your Wiradjuri and Chinese heritage, how important is your heritage to this project and to your life in general?  It is hard to separate it from who you are and how your family works I think. For me it is. I used to think that everyone talked and did things like we do – but they don’t. As I get older I feel I want to make sure the sort of “hyphen people”  - the ones who got all mixed up fairly early, get into the books in a natural way, without it just being who went where or married who. I think we have a unique way of talking and carrying on in life.

When you aren’t working on your poetry collection, Walking in the tall weeds, Where do you like to hang out?  Oh too easy! I sling down at Side Pocket in Mayfield – I adore the Coal Monument ( which is made of marble BTW) up in the East End, and generally stalk people in Mayfield like it is a big game park!

 Vinyl is another oasis in town. They let you write…..