In this episode I bring you a conversation with well known author Patti Miller. As well as her long list of publications, Patti is also well known for conducting writing workshops in Australia and in Paris, teaching aspiring authors the art of writing memoir.
She’s helped over 40 authors to publish their work commercially.
In our conversation we talked about one of her memoirs entitled, The Mind of a Thief, and about her writing workshops.
Patti grew up in the town of Wellington in Western NSW. A few years ago Patti noticed a news item about the first post-Mabo Native Title claim in the Wellington Valley.
She began to wonder where she belonged in the story of the town. It led her to the question at the heart of Australian identity – who are we in relation to our cherished stolen country?
Feeling compelled to return to the valley, Patti uncovered a complex history of convicts, zealous missionaries, farmers and gold seekers who had all stolen land from the original inhabitants.
But not until she talked to the local Wiradjuri did she realise there were another set of stories about her town, even about her own family. As one Wiradjuri elder remarked ‘The whitefellas and blackfellas have two different stories about who’s related to who in this town’.
Black and white politics, family mythologies and the power of place are interwoven as Miller tells a story that is both an individual search for connection and identity, and a universal exploration of country and belonging.
In our conversation-Patti and I burrowed further into the theme of identity as Patti told me how me she goes about helping writing workshop participants find their narrative voices and craft their stories.
Many of our listeners will relate to the healing power of this process.
If you would like further information about her writing or her workshops- check out her website.