Sitting side by side in diverse West End are familiar and extraordinary shops providing services of food, experiences and stories. It is in one of these homes away from home where a creative abode was formed for those from all walks of life to share their longing-to-be-heard words with a little local literary world — Wild Readings.
Wild Readings, like most endeavours, started out as a simple idea with a grand vision — to create a community for creatives to express their ideas and share their writing on a local level to build confidence to share their words more broadly. Held on the third Tuesday of each month, Wild Readings was born from Writer Out of Residence Kirsten Fogg’s desire to create a forum where everyone could share their work.
Co-founder Nerissa Rowan has been writing since she was young, and her interests eventually took her to the stimulating and exciting world of the Queensland Poetry Festival. Volunteering there as well as other places resulted in pages and pages of an impressive resume. “I was dabbling in the arts scene for a while and I started going to Speedpoets to find out what I might like, which was really interesting,” Rowan said. “Someone that I worked with recommended me to Kirsten as a person who might be able to help her bring her idea to life.” Fogg approached Rowan and told her about her idea to have open mic sessions for anyone with writing they wanted to share.
In 2016, together with an avid team of creatives, the Wild Readings began at local enterprise owner Saba’s Abraham’s Mu’ooz Eritrean restaurant — a place that trains new immigrants in hospitality with an ethos of growing people’s capabilities. This not-for-profit social enterprise with its thoughtful purpose and selfless ideology worked hand in hand with what Wild Readings wanted to achieve. “We understand that pretty much everybody has written something that they’re proud of, some of whom want to share that with others and we want to be able to facilitate that,” said Rowan. “We want to encourage people’s creativity and their confidence through sharing the things they’ve written while forming a community of writers that are supportive, motivated and inspired.”
Writing can be both an overwhelming and freeing process. Emotions run wild, words weave, duck and are often retrieved before they are given a chance to breathe. But when thoughts are actualised on paper or a screen, questions are answered, rhythmic notions are discovered and hearts are put at ease. “These are all people who write, and we might write about different things in different ways, but it’s something we’re passionate about and interested in,” Rowan said. “Having that outlet for creativity is also a way to encourage people to speak freely and I think being creative is a really fulfilling part of a lot of people’s lives.”
For all the writers with that little bit of self doubt, and for the ones who are super proud of the words they have poured out, Wild Readings is the place to engage in a wording bout.
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