Conversations with Creative Souls

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Dr June K. Paisa Perkins

June is presently the Chair of the Management Committee of the Queensland Writers Centre and working on a creative non-fiction work and a biography of Birria, Uncle Fred Murray, as well as towards a masters in education.

For fifteen years she was a student and creative academic honing her skills as a writer, educator, parent, workshop facilitator, and creative thinker.

She travelled across Australia, New Zealand and Kiribati to meet and engage in discussions or conferences with well known creatives – spanning academia, drama, poetry, novel writing, and fine arts: people such as Jennifer Martiniello, Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Anita Heiss, Ruby Langford Ginibi, Witi Ihimaera, Albert Wendt, Epeli Hau’ofa Marcia Langton, Jackie Huggins, Adam Shoemaker, Debbie Mailman, the Page Brothers, Helen Anu, Cathy Craigie, and the Maza family, Rachel, Lisa Maza and (respectfully) their father a fine actor and writer Bob Maza.

In the 1990s June Perkins was one of five Australian playwright delegates at Interplay in Townsville and took workshops by Nick Enright and other international playwrights and directors and was mentored by Lydia Miller. She began working as a community facilitator and writer on women’s storytelling and radio projects under the mentorship of Dr Daphne Cazalet, who at that time was an actor and community arts worker based in Townsville.

June Perkins met grass –roots-creatives in the arenas of circus, weaving, poetry, folk music and theatre in Townsville, Canberra, Wollongong, and small towns on the South Coast of New South Wales and in her current home on the Cassowary Coast. These people were and are still using creative expression such as weaving, painting, music and oral history to empower their communities and themselves. Their insights have enhanced Dr. Perkins development as a writer. She attended many inspiring performances at the Festival of the Dreaming.

Since graduating as a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Sydney in 2004, Dr. Perkins devoted herself to community engagement, writing, photography, the education and encouragement of keen, bright, creative children and the mentoring of writers, youth and women. Since 2005 she has maintained blogs reflecting on life, writing, art and education in North Queensland. She curated and participated in group blog spaces evolving her writing and arts practice internationally.

In 2010 she began forming publishing opportunities for local Cassowary Coast writers. The intent was to outreach to the world, reflecting on their global connections and valuing their local community and environment. She inspired a team, and worked with them to find support, funding, and local sponsorship for establishing a community anthology, Under One Sky.

This book has already been presented to Prince William, the Governor General and several other dignitaries visiting the Cassowary Coastal area. She participated in an online seminar presented by Professor Nell Arnold for the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women at the invitation of Lydia Valeriano.

June was interviewed by ABC projects on line for being an active blogger and excellent writer in the Yasi zone (blogging the cyclone, aftermath and recovery). She has guest blogged for Ilura Gazette and has two works in Etchings no.10 (Ilura Press).  She has been a contributor to ABC open since 2011.

She was employed by ABC Open for the 500 Words project, September 2012- March 2013 as a lead moderator and editor.  She submitted 18 of her own stories to the project, during the time, as well as providing feedback to other contributors on their work.

In 2012 she was awarded an Senior Cultural Australia Day Award, for services to writing in the local area, production and launching of a local anthology, and contributions to the Aftermath project, ABC Open.

She has presented via skype to the Byron Bay Film Festival (2013) and her film, Dance for Recovery was featured in the Mission Beach Film Festival (2012)

She has over 100  individual pieces (photography and writing) published in anthologies, visual arts exhibitions, installations, in Australia, Europe and the USA as well as in group blogs and online publications.

She is a member of Writelinks, Booklinks, The Queensland Writer’s Centre, SCWIBI, and the Australian Society of Authors.

In 2015/2016 she gained a mentorship  from the Australian Society of Authors to work on developing one of her picture books to submit to publishers.

In 2016 she successfully crowd funded Magic Fish Dreaming, a poetry book for children to be illustrated by Helene Magisson and since that time it has won awards, been featured in Asia Pacific Triennial story time and been shared by many families and teachers.

From 2018-2023 she worked as a sessional academic, tutoring students in creative writing, editing poetry and study.

In 2020 she independently published another poetry collection for youth and adults, Illuminations,  She launched it online, as well as sharing works from it, with the Queensland Poetry youtube channel Panacea Poetry and at Volta at the Brisbane Library(2021).

In 2021, she guest edited the Writing Queensland, Diaspora issue, which also included Multilingual poetry collaboration, as well as beginning her Masters. In 2022 she was a contributing poetry inspirationalist for Story Factory

In 2022-2023, she did a number of public presentations at Genre Con, Comic Con, University of Queensland, the Australian Fairy Tale Society and for Queensland Writers Centre and continued to work on her creative non-fiction, with a publication in Southerly.

Many of her poems were published by Tokens – a Baha’i publication for Philadelphia.  More works are forthcoming in Baha’i Studies Canada sometimes in 2023/4.

She plans to publish the Uncle Fred Murray story in 2025 in book. website, and exhibition form, in collaboration with various organisations and the family.

Last updated June 2023.


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One comment on “About

  1. Kim in Fiji
    May 25, 2018

    I didn’t know about your blog til you reblogged one of mine. Shocked! First time I have ever been reblogged! Thank you so much! This is a beautiful site. Enjoyed reading many posts (should have hit the Like button each time – oh well). I shall return.

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