Sunday, 8 January 2017

Why Australia Must Not Become a Republic Now

By Ruth Skilbeck
As it is now Australia should most definitely NOT become a Republic, politics is stacked with closet neo -fascists who have great wealth and power, and they would take over and run OUR country as a totalitarian state- how they run the illegal "refugee processing centres" as concentration camps of indefinite detention- and have attempted to terrorise all who spoke out against them without success- should serve as a grave warning. We need to change the system here first - and flush them all out- become a democracy again before thinking of being a republic, look at the examples in the region.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

'Escape Artists' PostMistress Press Anthology News

Publication of the inaugural PostMistress Press Anthology, Escape Artists, was delayed and it will be out next week.
We are delighted to welcome to the first issue contributors Behrouz Boochani, exiled writer and journalist, who is reporting from Manus Island.
His latest writings will be in the forthcoming anthology.
We are also very concerned for his continued safety on Manus island, where he has been threatened with arrest for reporting on the attacks on refugees. We call on the Australian Prime Minister and the Papua New Guinea government to ensure his safety, and for him to be allowed to settle in a safe country immediately. Australia can no longer be seen as the bastion of free speech welcoming exiled writers that many thought it was, so it has become less and less attractive as a place to live, not only for refugee writers but for all who value free speech, and appreciate writers. With regret we wave farewell to those who could have brought so much to this culture, and whose presence will likely never now grace our shores. Instead we can read their works and communicate through writing.   

 PostMistress Press.

Behrouz Boochani Endangered Manus Reporter May Be Arrested

Behrouz Boochani Endangered Manus Reporter May Be Arrested
By Ruth Skilbeck

We are very concerned for Behrouz Boochani's safety on Manus Island. Please read this and share this. Behrouz has been reporting on the attacks on asylum seekers on Manus Island (where the controversial Australian-run 'offshore processing centre' for asylum seekers is based) and his own life may now be in danger. He should be removed from there immediately by the Australian government, as he is an endangered writer (please write to the Australian Prime Minister and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, details below).

The latest Facebook news report by Behrouz Boochani, yesterday:

A tweet by Ronny Knight Member of Parliament for Manus Province on the 1st of January 2017 reads ‘."Behrouz Boochani is a liar and has an agenda and should apologise to police. I was the one who called police. Boochani will be arrested for lying and insulting police’" I, Behrouz Boochani, am a Kurdish journalist detained in Australia’s immigration detention prison on Manus Island. Mr Knight’s tweets follow my reporting of a conversation I had with two men who are refugees who I visited in police cells after they had been beaten and arrested. I then reported on Facebook that the two men told me that they had been beaten by immigration officers and police and documented their injuries.
Those people who know me know I have always had respect for the Manusian people and culture. The intention of my reportings are not to do any harm to the Manus reputation but to highlight the damage that Australia is doing to both refugees and PNG.
In some points Ronny Knight’s statements about the harm that Australia’s neo-colonial actions including the detention prison are doing to Manus are correct.


Exiled reporter,  Behrouz Boochani's new works will be published in the PostMistress Press Escape Artists anthology but we are very concerned for his safety on Manus, after he this week reported on the attacks on asylum seekers (published in the Guardian) and the threatening tweet from Ronny Knight Member of Parliament for Manus Province on the 1st of January 2017 saying he will be arrested: On the 1/1/2016 local MP Ronny Knight tweeted a message that reads ‘Behrouz Boochani is a liar and has an agenda and should apologise to police...Boochani will be arrested for lying and insulting police’. PEN is calling on the Australian government and PNG government to ensure Mr Boochani's safety.

Urgent Statement by PEN Melbourne.
3 January 2016.
We are very concerned for the safety of detained Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani, who has been reporting from within Australia’s immigration detention centre on Manus Island for more than three years. Over the past week he has reported on the death of Faysal Ishak Ahmed, an inmate in the detention centre, and more recently on the beating of two refugees by immigration officers and police on Manus Island. On the 1/1/2016 local MP Ronny Knight tweeted a message that reads ‘Behrouz Boochani is a liar and has an agenda and should apologise to police...Boochani will be arrested for lying and insulting police’. We call on the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments to honour their commitment to democracy including the right to free speech and to ensure Mr Boochani’s safety"

Janet Galbraith and Arnold Zable for PEN Melbourne.
Behrouz Boochani Facebook news report:

Manus prison.I just visited the refugees who were beaten by PNG immigration yesterday. They are in police detention now. I could only talk with them behind the wire for a few minutes because the guard did not allow me to see them. The refugees were so scared and distressed and they said the police did not give them any food or medical treatment. Mohammad is in a critical situation and said he is pissing blood and has stomach pains. Some local people gave them food but Mohammad vomited the food and Mehdi has started to hunger strike. He has pain in his hand and thinks his hand is broken. The detention cell is such a dirty place and they sleep on the concrete floor. Their wounds are getting infected.Here is two new photos from them

Write to the Prime Minister of Australia and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection calling for their assistance and assurance in ensuring the safety of Behrouz Boochani.

The Hon Peter Dutton MP
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
PO Box 6022
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Fax: 02 6273 4144

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister
PO Box 545 Edgecliff, NSW 2027
Fax: 02 9327 2533
PEN Melbourne

The PEN Melbourne Centre is one of 147 PEN International centres worldwide whose members are united in a common concern for the art of writing and freedom of expression. As an affiliate of PEN International, PEN Melbourne brings writers together from across cultures to share experiences, explore ideas and conduct public conversations about how literature transforms, influences and fosters cross-cultural exchange. PEN Melbourne focuses on women writers, Indigenous Australian writers, writers in prison, and has an interest in the Asia and Pacific region. It campaigns on behalf of persecuted and silenced writers and lets them know they are not alone. PEN Melbourne’s publication The Quarterly provides a forum for members to publish relevant works.

As writers in many countries continue to be silenced the work of PEN is needed more than ever.

If you are a writer, involved in the literary community or share an interest in human rights, you are welcome to join PEN Melbourne as a member.
Support PEN Melbourne
Learn more about our campaigns
PEN International

“People say that (writers) are pretty powerless: we don’t have an army, we don’t have a bureaucracy. But if that were true, then why would writers be arrested?... Because the spoken word is powerful.”

— John Ralston Saul on the work of PEN International

Founded in 1921 to promote literature and freedom of expression, this global community of writers now spans more than 100 countries. PEN International is a non-political organisation which holds Special Consultative Status at the UN and Associate Status at UNESCO. Each PEN centre acts independently but maintains strong links with headquarters in London and with other centres. The organisation works locally, regionally and internationally to understand the needs of writers and to protect them.
Title * Please enter your preferred title e.g. Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Dr etc. First name * Family name * Email address * Your address Country * To provide an opportunity for the Prime Minister to respond, please note that it is compulsory for you to supply your name, a postal and email address above – a...

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

PostMistress Press Anthology

The 'Escape Artists' PostMistress Press Anthology will be published as a paperback book.

For all the latest news, head over to the new PostMistress Press website and have a look at what is happening.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

The Saga of Amazon Inaccuracies in the Listing of Karen Kennedy's 'Deeply Felt', Continued

by Ruth Skilbeck, editor 

We have sent a message to Amazon pointing out the incorrect details of author and publisher that they have had up on their site for months. The follows on from the report in a post published on The Daily Fugue on Wednesday (13/7/16)), on how the forthcoming 'Escape Artists' PostMistress Anthology contributor Karen Kennedy, has had to endure the inaccuracies in the listing of her first book, Deeply Felt, Reflections on Religion & Violence within the Anarchist Turn- and its being attributed to another Karen Kennedy, a Canadian author by the same name. In addition, Karen's book is recorded on the Amazon sites as being published by Lulu, a self-publishing platform- when the actual publisher is Irene Publishing, in Sweden.

We sent the correct information to Amazon, in their 'Report an Issue' box:

This afternoon we were pleased to note that the wrong author attribution has now been corrected.
At least, the details of the author have been removed and that the real author, Karen Kennedy's bio is now up, under Editorial Reviews.

We are waiting to see when the inaccurate details about the mode of publication will be amended and Irene Publishing, rather than the self-publishing platform Lulu, listed as the publisher. Of course, it is possible that small publishers might use self publishing platforms to publish books, but they should be able to do this as a publisher, with a name. That is what authors would expect. We shall return to this mystery in later posts.

ESCAPE ARTISTS: Ken Wolman's 'A Brief Guide to Middle Class Homelessness' in the PostMistress Anthology

 By Ruth Skilbeck, editor

12 days to go! There are only twelve days left to be part of this new initiative as a supporter*

Today's featured artist is Ken Wolman, poet, with a PhD in literature, a divorced father, who worked as a technical writer in telecom and financial services companies in New York for years, and before that as an adjunct lecturer.
In his sixties, Ken found himself in the downward spiral of health issues, poverty, and bad company, in a shared flat, with a bed bud infestation- with his beloved cat. He ended up homeless for months. You will be able to read his harrowing essay 'A Brief Guide to Middle Class Homelessness' in the Escape Artists anthology. His story starts: 

I don’t want to tell this story. I don’t want to roil the waters. I am 71 years old and I would like nothing more than to kick back and make my garden grow as I progress quietly into old age. Read. Write poetry. Listen to music. Play with my cat. I am not interested in capital-C Causes anymore unless I can discern something in them for me. I would like nothing more than to shut my mouth, cover my eyes, and pretend this never happened to me, or that it’s not happened to anyone else I’ve met along the way.

But it has, and it won’t stop happening.

So I can’t do that. Part of me still carries the social and even race memory of my mother’s father, Samuel Staridubsky, a tailor from Odessa, who went to jail in a 1919 New York garment workers’ strike.
What Ken Wolman goes on to narrate is a story that will take you into the experiences and make you feel as he did. And make you worry for your own future. It will make you want to try to change the world we are living in so that this cannot happen.

Now, homelessness can happen to anyone in a world with no safety nets.
We are delighted to be publishing Ken's essay, which is being published here for the first time.

I first read Ken's works on facebook, and met Ken when we were both in a conversation about adjunct lecturing. He told me he had been homeless and I asked him to tell me more. He sent me this essay.
There are strong comparisons between Ken's writing and George Orwell's classic book Down and Out in London and Paris. Ken's essay is written in an equally direct engaging style, diving into the world of poverty and the 'down and outs', the ever increasing underclass created by our uncaring capitalist society. It is written from the perspective of one who is not swamped by it, yet, who has come from a different background, and is shocked and horrified by what they witness, and has to tell the world, and escape.

Ken Wolman, author and poet

I’m from New York City, studied literature and criticism at Binghamton University (Ph.D., 1976), and worked for several years as a technical writer for both telecom and financial services companies. Since 1990, I’ve been published in a wide variety of print and online venues. I was awarded the 1995 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and a year later studied at the White River Writers Workshop in Batesville, Arkansas. I’ve also worked as an Adjunct Instructor in English at several community colleges in the New Jersey higher education system.

* Funding 'Escape Artists' PostMistress Press Anthology

We need to raise almost $6000 in just over a week- to publish the anthology of brilliant works by well known and new artists. It is ready to publish we just need to raise the funds to cover basic print-on-demand publishing costs.
In return you will be acknowledged as a supporter on the Acknowledgements page, and receive gifts of appreciation, signed and numbered first edition Anthologies, and other books and art works donated to raise funds by the artists in the anthology. There is also a unique chance to secure discounted writing and editing and publishing offers, and a new course on author-publishing.

This anthology project, and founder Ruth Skilbeck's author publishing projects of her books, that she has sold mainly via communication with people on facebook, have attracted and drawn together a strong, supportive- but poor!- creative movement of artists and writers whose works are in the anthology.
It's make or break, will we do it?

Friday, 15 July 2016



By Ruth Skilbeck

A new arts initiative. Thirty-four escape artists. An anthology adventure. Editor Ruth Skilbeck, PhD, is an author, novelist and art writer. She has published two Australian Fugue novels.

Escape Artists is a new platform and publication that fills a gap in arts publishing, it brings together artists, intellectuals, literary writers, poets, storytellers, sound artists, photographers, who are united by their shared concern for democracy, social justice, for environmental protections, for freedom of speech and expression, for humanity and for new forms of communication.

The contributors come from around the world, and the project founder and publisher, and editor, Ruth Skilbeck is based in Australia. The idea to start an independent small publishing house, PostMistress Press, came to her after working for years in arts journalism, when the periodicals and magazines she wrote for began to fold.

Read more on the crowd funding site.

Guo Jian, pictured here on hunger strike in Tiananmen Square, now a citizen of Australia, is one of the artists in the anthology- and he has donated several art works to raise fund to publish the book.
Read more of this story on the crowd funding site- where you have a chance to support this anthology and receive public acknowledgement.

Thanks in advance for your support.

Ruth Skilbeck, Editor.