Reneé Pettitt-Schipp wins 2019 West Australian Premier’s Book Award


Long term member and former OOTA Vice-President Reneé Pettitt-Schipp has won the 2019 West Australian Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer, for her collection of poetry, The Sky Runs Right Through Us. The collection was previously shortlisted for the University of Western Australia’s Dorothy Hewett ward for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2015.

The judges described book as an evocative and memorable poetry collection of experiences both personal and political.

The Premier’s Book Awards are the state’s peak awards for writers and focus on supporting Western Australian writers.

The Sky Runs Right Through Us is published by and available from UWA Publishing.

Well done Reneé.


As part of WAPI.s Poetry Festival for 2019, OOTA poets were invited to participate in reading their work at the Orient Hotel in Fremantle on Sunday the 18th of August.

 The following poets participated:

 Rita Tognini

Vivienne Glance


Rose Van Son

Tineke Van der Ecken

Rachel Petridis

Kevin Gillam

Carol Millner

 (Carolyn Abbs was unable to present her poetry due to illness.)

 It gives me great pleasure to say that the poetry was exquisite, the readers eloquent and the subject matter included a real cornucopia.

From women in all their manifold states, saints to sinners, to family, environment, personal experience, joys and sadness, every subject was represented with delicacy and precision.

These poets know what they are doing. The varied forms of expression, choice of language and rhythm stated clearly that each poet was excellent in the crafting of poetry that had something to say for the listeners and said it skilfully and with an awareness of the beauty of language. The individual readings were expressive and delivered with feeling. I felt proud to be a member of such a group.

 Our thanks go to Emily Mills for comparing the event and to the Orient for allowing the use of their venue.

 This may have been the tail end of the Poetry Festival, but the quality and richness of poetry was undeniable. Thank you to all the poets who participated and shared their creativity.

 Veronica Lake

President OOTA

Tom Collins Poetry Prize 2018 Winner Announcement

15 February 2019

Congratulations to OOTA members Chris Konrad, Julie Watts, Kevin Gillam and Yvonne Patterson for their outstanding successes in the 2018 Tom Collins Poetry Prize.

The winners were:

Winner Busted Piano Man – Christopher Konrad

Second Prize Coming of Age – Kristen Lang

Third Prize Barney Embraces Technology - Peter Burke

Highly Commended

The Life of Caves – Glen Phillips

Homage Marguerite – Julie Watts

strands of us – Kevin Gillam

Elk Rapids, Lake Michigan – Kim Waters


Love-Locked – Gillian Telford

Dreamlands Hopscotch – Yvonne Patterson

I n Somnolence – Scott-Patrick Mitchell

Lazarette on Peel Island – Damien O’Brien

Talking to my Father – Tony London

The judges report may be read here.

Annual General Meeting

A warm and friendly gathering of members attended OOTA’s Annual General meeting on Saturday, 27 October, 2018 at the Fremantle Arts Centre.

Members were pleased to adopt outgoing President Julie Watts report on another successful year supporting and encouraging members and WA writers in their various writing activities.

Treasurer Leanne Searle reported that the association was financially healthy largely due to an increase in membership and enhanced fundraising.

Membership Coordinator Richard Regan reported an increase in membership from 92 in 2017 to 107 as of the date of the AGM.

Secretary Rita Tognini reported that due to changes in the legislation governing clubs and associations, there was a need to update our constitution. A motion to replace the current constitution with the Model Rules recommended by the Department (DMI&S) was unanimously accepted and, after ratification by the Department, the new Rules will be posted on our website.

Rita also conducted the elections for the new committee and the following were elected unopposed

2018-19 Committee:

Veronica Lake: President

Julie Watts: Vice President

Rita Tognini: Secretary

Leanne Searle: Treasurer

Richard Regan: Membership

Marlish Glorie: Ordinary Member

Jan Napier: Ordinary Member

Jenny Jones: Ordinary Member

Peter Burges: Ordinary member

Rose Van Son: Ordinary Member

A vote of thanks to Julie for all her hard work over her years as President was unanimously approved. Thanks were also voted for outgoing committee members Maureen Gibbons and Rae Hillhorst.


Jo and Kevin.jpg

OOTA member and well known Western Australian poet Kevin Gilliam has launched his new collection of poems.

“the moon’s reminder” is Kevin Gillam’s fourth book of poetry, published by Ginninderra Press. Broken into 5 chapters the poems embrace the profoundly intimate, in “mothers (and others)” to the completely philosophical, in “moons”. John Kinsella, in awarding 1st Prize to the poem “figue” (KSP Awards 2017) described the writing as “honed, balanced, modulated, intertextual and also disturbingly personal”.

An enthusiastic crowd of OOTA members and friends joined Kevin and well known poet and prose author Josephine Clarke who officially launched the book on Saturday afternoon on July 21 in the Pavlich Room, Fremantle Arts Centre. You can read Josephine's speech here.



VERONICA LAKE is our relief Prose teacher for Term 3. Veronica will conduct 5 workshops commencing Friday 27th July, 10th & 24th August and 7th & 21st September. Classes commence at the usual time of 1pm - 3pm and OOTA members pay $25 and NON OOTA $30. If you are a member of Writers United WA the cost is also $25 (cash only). Your support of the Prose class and Veronica will be gratefully appreciated. 
Venue: Fremantle Arts Centre, upstairs in the Print Room, 1 Finnerty St. Fremantle.

Veronica Lake completed an Honours Degree in Arts at the University of Western Australia (1974), with a double major in English and a Diploma of Education (1975). She also completed a Post Graduate certificate at the University of Melbourne for the study of Shakespeare, (2009). In 2010, Veronica was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for the study of Shakespeare in the theatre companies of England, Ireland and Canada. She has participated in many writing workshops and attended professional development courses as a teacher, which focus on creative writing – both prose and poetry. 

Veronica has been a teacher of Literature and English in W.A. high schools for many years, including Applecross Senior High. She edits and publishes Primo Lux, a state-wide student anthology of poetry, now in its sixteenth year. Student creativity aroused her desire to write poetry and prose which began in 2009. She enjoys patterns of language, structure and the shaping of voice. Veronica has always been interested in language and the sound of words from brain to paper and into the atmosphere. She has had a few short stories published and is still working on the construction of her craft with success in traditional forms; sonnets, dramatic monologues, rhyming narrative and free verse. Her subject matter is drawn from everyday life and personal experience. It is important for her to ‘hear’ the rhythm of lines spoken, and because of her Literature background enjoys alluding to classical stories with characters and references drawn from myths or studied texts. 


OOTA's (Out of the Asylum) Spilt Ink Competition 2018 is open to all financial members of writing organisations affiliated with Writers United WA.


Poetry (max 30 lines) and Short Fiction (max 2000 words) - Separate judge for each category

Writers may submit up to three entries in each category

Entry Fees

Poetry - $10 for one poem; $25 for two or $20 for three

Short Fiction - $10 for one short fiction; $18 for two or $25 for three


First Prize - $200 plus Bookshop Voucher ($50)

Second Prize - $100              Third Prize - $50

Winners will be announced at the OOTA AGM in October and winning entries listed on the OOTA website.

Competition guidelines available here.

Entry Forms available here.

Submission deadline: 31 August 2018


Julie Watts.jpg

24 February 2018

OOTA is proud to announce that its President and Western Australian poet Julie Watts has won the 2018 Dorothy Hewett Award for her ‘Legacy,’ the first poetry manuscript to win the $10,000 prize.

In the judges report, ‘Legacy’ was described as a volume that ‘explores the templates and legacies of our internal and external worlds, the psychological inheritance we share and pass on, the interplay between the prime influence of nature and nurture and the crucial, inherent drive for connection.’ Julie was praised for her poetry’s ‘delicate strength’ and ‘maturity of voice and craft.’

The 2018 judges’ panel consisted of Lucy Dougan, poet and niece of Dorothy Hewett; James Ley, literary critic and Contributing Editor of Sydney Review of Books; and Terri-ann White, Director of UWA Publishing. There were ninety-nine entries in the 2018 award.

‘Legacy’ will be published as part of the UWAP Poetry imprint, in October 2018.

The Dorothy Hewett Award is co-funded by the Copyright Agency and supported by UWA Publishing’s, ‘The Monthly.’

Congratulations Julie.




A large, cheerful group of OOTA members gathered in the Pavillion in the grounds of the Fremantle Arts Centre for the annual OOTA Christmas party on Friday 8 December.

Sharing an eclectic selection of dishes, each prepared by the members themselves, accompanied by sparkling, and red and white wines, members enjoyed several hours of convivial, stimulating conversation and good company.

The celebrations were punctuated by several acts of recognition together with prose and poetry readings.

Jan Napier paid tribute to the work of poetry tutor Shane McCauley, who recently presented his 300th poetry class for OOTA and whose tutoring and encouragement have resulted in many members successfully obtaining the publication of their poems.

Following Jan, Liz Hearnden paid similar tribute to prose tutor Helen Hagemann, whose workshops and critiquing classes have been an invaluable source of information and inspiration to OOTA’s prose writers.

Maureen Gibbons then spoke in recognition of the support and encouragement provided to OOTA by Catherine Noske, the General Editor of Westerly, in whose pages many OOTA members have enjoyed seeing their works published. Catherine is soon to be married and Maureen presented her with a gift on behalf of the Committee, together with their very best wishes for her future happiness.

The afternoon was completed by a series of member readings. Rachael Petridis and Gael Williams treated members to selections of their poetry, while Jo Clarke, Rose van Son and Leanne Searle read three very different, but equally entertaining short stories.

The OOTA Committee wishes members and their families all the very best for the festive season, and looks forward to another productive and stimulating year of prose and poetry in 2018.


Poet Jackson.jpg

Poet, editor and OOTA member Jackson has secured the publication of her third poetry collection. The new volume, entitled A coat of ashes, will be published in 2019 by Canberra publisher Recent Work Press.

Jackson’s previous collections include Coracle published in 2009 and Lemon oil published by Mulla Mulla Press in 2013.

Poet and editor Jackson was born in Cumbria, England, and lives in Fremantle, Western Australia. She is currently working toward her PhD at Edith Cowan University. Her journal and anthology publications include Westerly, Plumwood Mountain, the Australian Poetry Journal, and the Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry. Jackson has published two books, a chapbook, seven zines and a CD. She won the 2014 Ethel Webb Bundell Poetry Prize. Jackson's many guest appearances include the Queensland and Tasmanian Poetry Festivals. She is the founding editor of online poetry journal Uneven Floor, The National Library of Australia archives her collected works.

You can read some of Jackson’s works on her website