The LGBTQIA+ Writers’ Group at WestWords, Western Sydney’s literature development organisation, is launching its newest anthology of short stories next week.

The anthology, titled Transforming Silence: What are the words?, will be officially launched on Wednesday, June 15, at WestWords’ premises at 41 Hunter Street, Parramatta.

Collaborative Effort From Start to Finish

Transforming Silence was a collaborative effort from start to finish, with the process beginning last August. 

According to group facilitator Wilfred Roach, the opportunity to write for the anthology was offered to anyone in the group who wanted to write something on any aspect they choose, whether that be poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction.

Explaining the process of developing the collection, Roach said in an interview with Star Observer, “A couple of group members who wrote for the first anthology, had the idea of coming together and if you like, peer assessing each other’s work and enabling and strengthening it. And I thought that that was a very good idea to take forward in terms of the second anthology.”

Transforming Silence is the group’s second anthology.

According to Roach, the anthology’s title was inspired by an essay the poet Audrey Lorde wrote after a false cancer diagnosis. During the time she believed she had cancer she “did a life review and she realized that she had silenced herself on many occasions and regretted that and was really urging the reader to take a stand and to speak up because silence really doesn’t serve us and doesn’t serve the causes that we’re fighting for.”

Writing is an ‘Important Tool of Expression, of Self-Expression, of Liberation’

Wilfred Roach, Facilitator, LGBTQIA+ Writers’ Group at WestWords.

Roach believes for queer people, writing is a “really important tool of expression, of self-expression, of liberation, to be able to write out your thoughts; to make your presence felt.” 

He continued, “The anthology really is an example of that and I hope an inspiration to people, to queer people not to back away from whether it’s getting involved in the group or whether it’s getting involved in some other form of art to really ground and the centre themselves.” 

WestWords’ LGBTQIA+ Writers’ group is open to anyone with some connection (work, family, residency) to Western Sydney who identifies as LGBTQIA+. The group meets every second Wednesday, 6:30 pm in person and online on Zoom.

The group’s first anthology, Lights On, can be read here

Free tickets to the launch can be acquired here

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