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Room for improvement [Australia]:
For Fiona Wood, the challenge was imposing her own deadlines when she switched from writing commissioned scripts for television to writing a novel and a fi lm script. 'This place gives me structure,' she says. 'I love the working vibe,' says John Reeves, who is working on a draft of a film script. He agrees with his studio neighbour, poet Mal McKimmie, that 'you can work here late at night without a worry in the world, because all the ghosts are friendly'.

Glenfern is not short of ghosts. The painter Arthur Merric Boyd lived here — the home was bought by his father, Captain John Boyd in 1876 — and his wife Emma Minnie Boyd used the bay window setting in the drawing room for the well-known painting Afternoon Tea. Arthur Merric Boyd's grandson, the novelist Martin Boyd, wrote about Glenfern in 1952 in his book The Cardboard Crown.

While the studios have been renovated in minimalist style and painted white, the house's two large reception rooms have been restored in high Victorian style, using Emma Minnie Boyd's painting as a guide. The makers of the film Ned Kelly did the work in exchange for use of the rooms for filming.

'But they left the cracks in the ceiling,' says Victorian Writers' Centre director Joel Becker. 'They said, ‘Oh, we're not shooting up there.' 'The drawing room will be used for public literary events such as a series of Sunday afternoon conversations: in fine weather, visitors will spread out into the gardens. 'We will create a cultural life, but we also won't forget that people are here for quiet times and quiet space,' Becker says.

From January, Australia's first national poetry centre, the Poetry Australia Foundation, will start up business in a large upstairs space. With initial funding of $140,800 from Copyright Agency Limited, the centre will offer offices, a library and a series of programs including tours, workshops and promotional activities. The foundation's director, Ron Pretty, says there is already a strong interest and energy in Australian poetry. The centre will focus and co-ordinate that energy to stimulate further growth and interest, in Australia and overseas.
[via Currajah]
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