Introduction of June Perkins – Poet and Author

1) Who were you and what problem did you have when you started out?

I have been a poet since I was young and remember creating my first poem when I was maybe seven years old. This was mainly because my Dad always read poetry to us when I was tiny and I just liked the magic of poetic language. My main problem was to be motivated to try to write other genres. He told us made up stories! I remember interrupting these to try and change the story!

2. How did you solve it?

Through study, workshops, journaling, and just trying other genres, and realising I could still be poetic in other genres.  However, it was only after I had children myself that I became interested in telling stories. The more I write them the more I enjoy this genre.

The mentorship with Share Your Story last year, motivated me to make it all the way through a first draft of my novel. I had tried to do this so many times in so many environments, but this time it all came together! Now the challenge is to rework my draft.

3) What was the one thing that impressed you the most about following your passion?

I have made many lifelong friends through writing, beginning with poetry groups in small country towns, to today, where I love connecting with the kids lit community and being part of several groups like Write Links, Book Links, Queensland Writers Centre, Share your Story, and SCBWI. I will always love poetry but am happy to have completed my first novel, which I am still redrafting, and several short stories.

Writing not only enables me to share and express what I am feeling about the world, and imagine new possibilities, but to seek healing and connectedness with others..

4) How is sharing your story making a difference for you right now?

Being an older writer, I feel my writing has a rich experience to draw upon, growing up in a multicultural household, and having lived in many parts of Australia, from country to city, as well as surviving a cyclone and experiencing both the crisis and victories of life and meeting many inspiring people, both well- known and relatively unknown.

5) As a child, what was your relationship with books?

I borrowed up to ten novels at a time from the library and loved to read books in series, like Paddington Bear, The Narnia Chronicles, and Swallows and Amazons. I loved the short stories of Roald Dahl. Books were my solace, and friends.

6) What is the most important thing about what you want to do?

I am very keen to work across cultures, and art forms – and over the years multi-platform storytelling has become a real passion. I especially enjoyed working with the QAGOMA, to create story poetry adventures in the gallery, and performing poetry and story at the Asia Pacific Nine Festival. I think innovation alongside spiritual centering is important to what I want to do.

7) Do you believe books can change the world?

Books can change the open hearted! In the hearts of the open- hearted writer and the open- hearted reader. The challenge is to take a story into the heart of someone who is resistant to change, like someone who is prejudiced, until they realise that they have something in common with someone they may have in the past rejected.

8) What do you hope people will take away from your story?

To never ever give up, but to persevere, experiment, and write no matter what!

Parenthood, cyclones, struggles against racism and more can all inspire you to be a great and thoughtful writer. You can write not just for yourself but for your community.

9) What is your ultimate goal?

To share stories until I have no more breath in me and to keep learning about new platforms whilst keeping the best of the past storytelling practices, such as performing poetry for Instagram, and to keep working on my craft to tell them more skilfully and with the power of persuasive magic of words and poetic techniques.

10) If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

That everyone could use whatever talent they have to uplift others as well as themselves. I think that would be transformative, to realise and express our connectedness in not just stories but in our actions each and every day.