EXCITING news from Leeton Art Deco Writers Collective with the first steps taken toward a brand new publishing house based in our town.
Riverina Press is the name of the new registered entity, and though it is very early days, a number of local publications are already in the pipeline.
This initiative is a new arm of the writing program being developed through our writers' residency project and will be a tangible contribution to the broader vision of Leeton as a writers' town, as well as an arts and cultural hub.
In tandem with the planned acquisition and development of a dedicated writers' centre, a publishing house for the town will enable a Riverina canon to evolve through its expression in print, and showcase local stories, writers and ideas.
Riverina Press will initially focus on local writers and build from there.
The idea has been inspired by the high quality and unique writing unearthed through the growth of our town's writers' collective.
Writing that's as local as it comes, but with true depth, diversity and universal appeal. Writing that deserves to be heard, both here, and beyond the region.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Reflecting on my own experience as a writer - the day I held my first published book in my hand was transformative.
It was a ticket to so many opportunities. It changed how I saw myself.
This is part of what Leeton's own publishing house will deliver for each author who gets published under this banner.
But, perhaps more importantly, it will signal to our community that we have our own unique stories, and publishing them here will strengthen our sense of identity and belonging, our confidence in our own creativity, and encourages others to speak their stories out loud too.
For young people in town, to read books from the region by locals, published here by Riverina Press will I hope be inspiring and open up possibilities. More to come.
This week's column features a poem by soon to be published local poet, Ben Smith, a member of the writers' collective and a role model to his students at Leeton High School through his commitment to writing and literature.
We need others to grow
People need people to know who they are
To become better versions of ourselves.
If it were just us. Then we would lose.
cast out, cursed to walk the road between
the light and dark.
The shadowy abyss that beckons for us.
We need a leader to show us the way
Not always the right way, but a way.
If there were no leaders then
the weak would still suffer
the strong get stronger
the end comes quicker.
We need a father
Or father figure to help show
Us to go past our limits.
To endure for the right reasons
And realise that pain is only
We need enemies to know that
The world is not full of them.
That they are just obstacles
Designed to test our mantle
To test what we know about ourselves.
To show what still needs work.
There are so many things needed to
Help a us become what we are destined to be.
Freedom is not a right, it is a gift
Given to those who
Have touch the edge of darkness
We may lose some along the way
Best friends, teachers, mentors, saviors.
But save their presence for the trails that lie
Save your strength,
do not give up.