By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser



The distinguished Australian Poet and Human Rights Advocate, Judith RODRIGUEZ, passed away on 22ndNovember 2018, aged 82.

Judith had once said “You’ve got to give something to the world – poetry is my offering.” Tributes live on for Judith’s serenity, hope and wisdom; for direct and forthright language, a great sense of humour, striking imagery and indelible poems about women’s experiences.

On Saturday 16thFebruary, 2019, a Celebration of Life for Judith Rodriguez, stunning Poet of Soul, at the Wheeler Centre, Melbourne, Victoria. Judith’s youngest daughter, Zoe, read a special poem written by our own prolific Stefanie BENNETT, for Judith – ‘The Visit 1996’. I clearly remember trudging up the hill at Maleny, to the caravan park and Stef’s excitement about the visit and the black and white photos of Judith, Elsie Brimblecombe and herself! The poem is in Stef’s collection: “Woman of Straw” and I will advise where historic snapshots may be viewed. Perth, Western Australia, celebrated Judith’s life on her birthday, 13thFebruary, with members of numerous organizations participating. Other celebrations are organised for New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland.

Because of the nature and stature of her work and Life, I am extending deep condolences on behalf of both the National Council of Women Queensland Incorporated and the International Council of Women, to husband, Tom SHAPCOTT and children, SIBILIA, ENSOR, REBECA AND ZOE. “…requiescat in pace.”  Online: Judith Rodriguez or



PERFORMING ARTS take centre stage for Queenslanders!

The new CPAC offers plays, theatre, live music, contemporary dance, comedy and more. Audiences in Regional Far North Queensland are excited about the line-up of events on offer at the recently completed Cairns Performing Arts Centre! For two long years audiences have sat in camping chairs, in the park – beautiful – however, mostly wet! Thusly we sat huddled in ponchos, so that umbrellas could not block view of the stage; derrieres very wet, shivery in the evening rain, loving the foreign places, eras and characters transporting us to other times, places, fantasies and wonders…..however, a great celebration was had when the ROOF went atop the new centre!

Events for MARCH 2019 include Katie Noonan’s Elixir with Michael Leunig and strings: “Gratitude and Grief”; comedians, Judith Lucy and Denise Scott: “Disappointments”; moving theatre “Woven” and the NQ Chamber Orchestra with a beautiful “Classical Celebration”.

The new centre replaces the former Civic Centre and provides greatly enhanced experiences and a state-of-the-art facility that will support local and travelling performers. Seating and amenities are vastly improved, and include the following:

  • A deeper stage, more spacious wings, higher PROSCENIUM ARCH, higher fly tower and more fly lines.
  • A much larger orchestra pit and better provision for piano storage
  • Improved acoustics…..all a treat for a regional area!

The Cairns Performing Arts Centre is a joint initiative of the Cairns Regional Council and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and the Australian Government.

At the Southern end of the State, QPAC embraces world-renowned, emerging, local and new performers, and hundreds of varied events!  Just a few events on offer for March 2019 are: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”; the long-lived “Death of a Salesman”; “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and the well applauded performance “The Book of Mormon”. of regional patrons will, doubtless continue to visit this centre, particularly as performances often have a much longer season.  Thusly, both centres may be enjoyed by Queensland audiences.


NEW WRITERS: ‘Griffith Review’ has accepted submissions for the 2019-2020 Queensland Writing Fellowships and those chosen as successful applicants were to have been advised by 30thSeptember 2018, and will be published in the ‘Review’. More details will be available on the website in the coming weeks. Readers, editors and publishers look forward to a fresh and generous variety of genres, themes, characters, settings and styles of our new and developing writers.



VINTAGE ATTWOOD ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Vintage Books, London 2010

‘Out of a narrative shadowed by terror, gleam sharp perception, brilliant intense images and sardonic wit.’ INDEPENDENT

Margaret ATTWOOD’S books have been published in over 35 countries, many prize-winners. She is the author of more than forty works of fiction, poetry, critical essays and books for children. The author lives in Canada.

This extraordinary ‘tale’ is one which has importance for all of us. An earlier version was televised by the BBC and more recently a contemporary American version was serialised on Australian television. “The Handmaid’s Tale’ is both a superlative exercise in science fiction and a profoundly felt moral story.” Angela Carter

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.

A tough, perceptive tale that drips, drips, drips into today’s and tomorrow’s possibilities.



“For the Innocents: 1962-1996: GUATEMALA.

I have touched their bones. I mourn for them.” Kathy REICHS

‘The U.N. Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification’ concluded that ninety percent of all human rights violations were committed by the Guatemalan army and its allied parliamentary organizations.”

“Most victims were Mayan peasants, many with no involvement in the conflict. The military swept through the countryside killing anyone they even suspected of being a guerrilla supporter. The highland provinces of El Quiche and Huehuetenango contain hundreds of unmarked graves.” p.102

The Argentines, along with scientists from the U.S.; and some medically trained personnel from Australia, trained local Guatemalans, who have now conducted scores of forensic investigations….including remains from the Chupan Ya, August 1982 attack.

World-class forensic anthropologist, Dr. Kathy REICHS exposes truths. An indefatigable expert, conscience bound and deeply compassionate, she is a stunning Woman Writer, with unusual professional expertise, respect and experience in extraordinary global arenas!


Reissued by Arrow Books 2012


LANGUAGE, LITERACY, LETTERS:  James PATTERSON is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time! In addition to his novels and stand-alone thrillers, James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers.

Illustrator, Martin CHATTERTON has also written dozens of kids’ books and illustrated many for almost 30 years. With work now published in 14 languages, Martin now divides his time between Australia and the U.K.

‘MIDDLE SCHOOL’ – ‘Rafe’s Aussie Misadventures’- James PATTERSON and Martin CHATTERTON. Random House Australia Pty Ltd, North Sydney NSW 2060.


VISUAL ART:  MONA RYDER “LONE STAR” – A SIGNIFICANT SOLO EXHIBITION. Nationally and internationally respected, this evocative artist has for almost half a century, challenged audiences with her unique visual language and unmistakable explorations into relationships, memory and gendered rituals.

Carefree and barefoot Mona Ryder grew up gathering seashells on the beaches and foreshores of Maroochydore, Queensland. When women artists were few, she juggled her blossoming career and a young family.

Exploring motherhood, marriage, birth and rituals of domesticity, her skilful crafting and juxtaposition of common household materials, old furniture and detritus, illustrate the exchanges of meaning, tensions and shifts in value for which Ryder is renowned.

ARTISAN: Bowen Hills Q’ld.


FILM:   “ON THE BASIS OF SEX” Her story made history!

“A rousing origin story. Humanizes a civil rights crusader who has since become an Icon and role model.” Variety.

Felicity JONES and Arnie HAMMER star in ‘ON THE BASIS OF SEX’, the inspiring true story of a young Ruth BADER GINSBURG, a passionate and dedicated lawyer who brings a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1975 that will change women’s lives for the better. Her claim: that the law discriminates on the basis of gender.

At the heart of Ruth’s journey is a moving romance with her husband Marty and a poignant relationship with her daughter, who embodies a new generation of woman following in Ruth’s footsteps. As Ruth struggles to be heard, even hired, in a profession dominated by men, Marty becomes her greatest ally in a partnership built on love and equality.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was later appointed Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a position she holds to this day. See where her story begins in this stirring, heartfelt drama.

Bader Ginsburg’s mother taught her to persevere, to question and to believe in herself. A short quote from Eleanor Roosevelt could easily apply to this fine woman: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

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