The wonderful Barista has alerted me to the fact that Ozanam Community Centre and the City of Melbourne are launching a new anthology of writing by clients of the Community Centre.
The anthology is based on writing workshops Simon Sellars did with clients at the Centre. Simon says:
'Subterrain' will also feature interviews with (and contributions by) artists and professionals who have initiated similar projects, including Martin Hughes, editor of The Big Issue; Melbourne writer Arnold Zable; Sharon Jacobson, founder of Plan B, a theatre project working with recently released prisoners; and Nadja Kostich and Jeremy Angerson, directors of Sweet Dreams, the acclaimed play written and performed by Big Issue vendors.
The launch will feature readings from special guest, Melbourne poet Kevin Brophy, plus readings from Subterrain contributors.
I have never forgotten my experience as a volunteer at what was then Ozanam House. It would have been 1985, I think. I'm sorry to say I was dressed in Mazenod College uniform at the time, which was keenly embarrassing, but the men there didn't appear to mind. In fact they didn't appear to give a toss about anything at all except their meal, which was fair enough.
These memories are always acutely in mind whenever I read George Orwell's vivid and humane writing about homelessness in the 1930s in 'Down and Out in Paris and London' and essays like 'The Spike'. Which is something, if you haven't done before, you should do.