• Mark J. Keenan

Running and writing in the forest



John Forrest National Park, on the eastern edge of Perth, is Western Australia’s oldest national park. It is a beautiful place with two natural waterfalls, surrounded by marri and jarrah trees. It is the location where, this year, I ran my first ever trail half marathon - an awesome, fun-packed, Perth Trail Series event called ‘Eagle and Child’.

It is next to this wonderful national park, in Greenmount, that the Katharine Susannah Pritchard Writers Centre is located. The centre, located at the past home of the celebrated author, is run as a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to writing development and the support and promotion of writers. The centre is the oldest of its kind in Australia and is renowned for the work that it does.

Today I received incredible news when an email arrived from Shannon Coyle. Shannon is the Director at KSP. Shannon was writing to inform me that I had been selected for a Fellowship with KSP in 2017.

KSP offer Fellowships to emerging authors through a written application process that involves responding to a series of questions related to the writer, your current major work and an excerpt of your manuscript. For 2017, they have offered thirteen positions to people from across Australia including playwrights, novelists, short story writers and non-fiction narrators.

My application was based on my manuscript, working title of ‘Chasing Shadows’. It is the story of three teenage boys growing up in country Australia in the 1980’s whose lives are irrevocably altered when they decide to break into a sleeping quarters that is used by long-haul truck drivers. The first draft of the manuscript was completed in September 2016 and I have recently commenced the process of developing the second draft.

The Fellowship provides me with two weeks retreat in one of KSP’s cottages, which are located next to the KSP Writers Centre. This will allow me the opportunity to step into a different space, physically and mentally, to view the work that has been completed. I will also be staying adjacent to other writers who will also be working on their projects, providing me with the opportunities for personal growth that will come from talking to them about my story, their stories and experiences.

Receiving this Fellowship from a highly regarded writers’ centre is an honour and I am humbled that my work has been considered worthy. Of course I am also happy about the location, right next to some of the best trail runs that Perth has to offer.

#mark39swriting #writing #PerthTrailSeries #trailrunning #KSP

© Mark J. Keenan