President and Vice-President’s Joint Report

From the President (Outgoing)

Greetings from Ubud, the cultural capital of Bali, which, as I write this, is gearing up for the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival from 25 to 29 October. The fest has grown from a healing response following the 2002 Bali bombings to being listed among the world's best literary festivals by the likes of Penguin, Random House and Harper’s Bazaar. The site could be the most beautiful in the world, on the north-western slopes away from the hubbub of Ubud central in a lush, verdant setting of crumbling shrines, temples and fantastical sculptures.

There's been little concern about a possible eruption of Mount Agung, 35 km away. We're well outside the 12 km radius of the danger zone, except for festival advice to bring a dust mask in case of ash in the air. More severe is the plight of the villagers who rely on the rich soils of the volcanic slopes to make a living – although the villagers have escaped to safety, their livestock poses an additional problem for rescuers to feed and care for.

Two weeks of travel in this diverse and entrancing archipelago has whetted my appetite for Indonesian authors and I'm looking forward to more of the marvellous storytelling that seems to be a national trait. I know that authors here also struggle to compete with a general obsession with social media, and battle to preserve indigenous culture. As well as poetry slams, music and dance performances, food, cultural and writing workshops and visual art, the festival program takes in 160 international performers and authors, from Ian Rankin (appearing with our own Jock Serong – from Editors Victoria dinner meetings to the world!) to Jung Chang to Fuchsia Dunlop to Tim Flannery.

Jackey Coyle
President (outgoing)

From the VP

And greetings from springtime Melbourne, which can’t make up its mind whether to continue cool or turn hot. The annual general meeting (AGM) on 17 August and subsequent committee meeting on 4 September have created a wonderful 2017–18 committee for our Victorian branch of IPEd, as listed in the October newsletter. We have a fantastic team with some continuing and many enthusiastic new faces in the executive portfolios and on the subcommittees. However, the vital role of president is still not yet filled. Since the transition to IPEd on 1 July 2016, this role has also transitioned to that of president of the local branch – the largest branch with one-third of the national membership – and so has now been freed from some of the responsibilities borne by past presidents since the formation of our society 47 years ago.

It is not an onerous position but offers a wonderful opportunity to bring some fresh ideas for our members, not to mention the kudos and embellishment of your CV. There will be a great deal of support from an excellent committee and our magnificent budget officer, Charles, and champion admin officer, Nicole, plus mentoring from Jackey as immediate past president and from me as continuing vice-president. Our next committee meeting is on Monday 13 November. So please consider putting your hand up for this rewarding position – do contact me at or Jackey at if you’d like to know more.

Mary-Jo O’Rourke AE