Every part of Australia is,
always was and always will be,
Aboriginal land.

As a community gathering-place, a festival of arts, cultural exchange and celebration and as a site for the sharing of ideas and stories, Ten Days on the Island pays respect to the Palawa/Tasmanian Aborigines – The original owners and cultural custodians - of all the lands and waters across Lutruwita/Tasmania upon which our Festival takes place.

With thanks to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for place names and other words in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines.

Ten Tasmanian writers selected to explore our shared history

Following a statewide call out, 10 writers have been selected to participate in an exciting artistic project.

Each writer has been paired with one of 10 halls (or notable venues) in regional Tasmania. Each writer will produce a short creative literary work in response to the history of the hall and the stories of the local community.

The project is an artistic collaboration between Island magazine and If These Halls Could Talk (part of Ten Days on the Island 2021).

Ten Days on the Island and Island magazine received more than 100 submissions from writers keen to connect with halls in Zeehan, Stanley, Rowella, Scottsdale, St Helens, Sorell, New Norfolk, Ross, Liffey and Glen Huon.

Ten Days on the Island and Island magazine are pleased to announce the successful writers:

Michael Blake has previously undertaken the Young Writers in the City residency in Hobart, with his final article published in Island magazine. He has also published short fiction in Island magazine. (Mechanics’ Institute Hall Scottsdale)

Rachel Edwards is currently the features reporter for ABC Hobart, writing short pieces on various subjects, and has also been published in Crikey, Island magazine, The Australian and The Mercury. (Portland Memorial Hall, St Helens)

Stephanie Eslake founded CutCommon in 2014 and was awarded the Young Citizen of the Year Award in 2017. She won the inaugural Kill Your Darlings New Critic Award (2017) and the Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards Arts and Fashion Prize (2018) and was shortlisted for the Kat Muscat Fellowship (2017). (Stanley Town Hall)

Katherine Johnson is the author of four novels: Pescador’s Wake, The Better Son, Matryoshka and Paris Savages. Her manuscripts have won Varuna awards and Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prizes. The Better Son was longlisted for both the Indie Book Awards and the Tasmania Book Prize. (Ross Town Hall)

Magdalena Lane is a freelance writer who has been commissioned for range of works by the interdisciplinary Liminal Studio. She has recently completed her Masters thesis at Deakin University focusing on literary theory and creative writing. (Sorell Memorial Hall)

Gabrielle Lis has been an active contributor to Island magazine since 2012 and has won the 2017 University of Tasmania Island Fiction Prize and the 2013 Miss Havisham Award in the Stranger With My Face 10 by Short Script Challenge. (Gaiety Theatre, Zeehan)

Bert Spinks is the author of Towns of Tasmania: A Journey Through Time, and for seven years has published a series of studies on Tasmanian geography called Field Guide to Falling in Love in Tasmania, which is currently being adapted for Forty South magazine. (Liffey Hall)

Sandra Potter has had her work published in The Weekend Australian, Frankie, Southerly, The Lifted Brow and Smith Journal. She was in the top 30 entrants for the 2020 Calibre Prize, as well as in the top 13 for the 2018 Overland VU Short Story Prize. (New Norfolk)

Jeanette Thompson is an author living and working in the rural north of the state. Her first trade publication, Bone and Beauty: The Ribbon Boys’ Rebellion (UQP, 2020) deals with themes of agricultural isolation, rebellion and solidarity. (Rowella Hall)

Danielle Wood is the author of nine books. Her fiction has won prizes including the Australian/Vogel Literary Prize, the Dobbie Award for Australian women writers and the People’s Choice division of the Margaret Scott Award, part of the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prizes. (Glen Huon)

Each writer has been selected to explore the history of their hall and its connections with the community and region. From the glory days of the Silver City of Zeehan and its stunning Gaiety Theatre to the complex history of New Norfolk’s Willow Court and the gem of the Mechanics Institute Hall in Scottsdale, each hall has its own story to tell. These tales will support artistic performances in each hall for If These Halls Could Talk during the 2021 Festival.

The works will be published in full or as extracts in a special feature in Island issue 161, published in March 2020. The full works will also be available at each hall during Ten Days on the Island 2021.

Ten Days on the Island 2021 will run from 5 – 21 March and travel across Tasmania, including the West + North West, North + North East, and South.

If These Halls Could Talk has been developed in association with Arts Northern Rivers and is based on their original concept.