About Helene Smith
I was raised in a rural area at Linfarn Manjimup. My school teacher mother handed on a love of literature and a tradition of story telling which, for me became a life long passion.
After a short nursing career, I married a school teacher and raised a large family.I wrote covertly as a young mother – short fiction, private journal writing and poetry, honing my craft through TAFE correspondence courses. After studying Education and English and obtaining a degree as a mature student at Edith Cowan University in Bunbury, Western Australia, I wrote my first book. Operation Clancy (1994) was inspired by my wish to produce an ‘easy to read’ thriller for reluctant older readers.
Since then, the sheer joy of invention and a fascination with the writing process has kept me in there. I am an experienced presenter and writer/facilitator in schools and in community centres and institutions for adult learners and delight in sharing the writing process with others.
By Macmillan Publishers Australia:
- The Potter’s Son (2007) newly released mid October,
- Story: ‘Flood Zone’ in Xtreme Weather, (2001),
By Fremantle Arts Centre Press and distributed nationally by Penguin Books:
- Dreamstone, (2005),
- Children of Morwena (2002),
- Leaping the Tingles (2001) and
- Operation Clancy (1996)
Short Fiction & Poetry in various community publications including:
- Taking Lucy Home (2007), Woorilla Literary Magazine, October Issue,
- Scars in Marganata,FAWWA publication.
Contributions to Writers in the Community
1994- 2007: At the invitation of various educational institutions and with the support of the Fellowship of Australian Writers and the State Literature Centre conducted workshops for adult writers in Bunbury, Collie, Swanbourne, Margaret River, Busselton, Carnarvon, Kalgoorlie and for teachers and university students – Perth Education Dept Head Office, Bunbury Central Primary, Edith Cowan University (guest speaker) and Curtin University (sessional work).
2006: supported Shorelines, Writing for Performance competition in Bunbury.
2005 -2006 supported primary school class publications – Dardanup and Bunbury Central – Reach for your Dreams.
2003: Judge for Collie Shire Council’s Literature Festival.
1995 – 2006 editorial advice for writers’ compiling anthologies e.g Milligan House and others.
1994: employed by Milligan House Bunbury to tutor learner writers whose work in class published for the Year of the family won a national prize for outstanding achievement and excellence by a learner group.
I live near the Collie River in Australind with husband Pete. I have a wonderful family of children and grandchildren who are to be found adventuring from London to Melbourne in Australia and in Western Australia from Jerramungup, Ravensthorpe and Tambellup to Floreat in Perth and Australind.
Ten things about me I usually don’t share:
- While working with students one day in school, a boy told me my laugh sounded like a witch’s cackle which made me laugh all the harder.
- No matter how busy I am I take time to gaze at the almond tree visible from my kitchen window – a small world all of its own, changing with the seasons, giving shelter to countless birds. It has a wonderful calming effect.
- My worst dream is my ‘cooking’ dream. I’m in a half dressed state, cooking for a crowd of hungry people and the food pot is half empty or inadequate.
- When ever I hear music with the right kind of beat, I want to dance – like actors do in the movies. Sometimes it happens in the lovely big space of a shopping mall or down the street when I feel like changing the unspoken rules of ‘right behaviour.’
- I love the familiar faces of family and old friends.
- I love this old earth – its rugged features, oceans, cities, forests, its many forms of life including its peoples.
- I love the architecture of old cities like Prague where art is everywhere – in a door, a window, even in a drainpipe where some person unknown has left his/her mark.
- I love many different art forms that reflect the yearnings and perceptions of different people – paintings, stories, films, music, needlework, poetry and the marks left on rocks and in caves from ancient times.
- A naughty thing I did as a child – deliberately missed the school bus to spend a glorious day with my cousin, Johnny B, playing in the creek. We arrived home five hours later, mud spattered, wet and half starved – and then we must have added a lie to our wickedness because I don’t remember being in trouble for it.
- Books I loved as a child – my heroes were Jo of Little Women, Judy of Seven Little Australians, Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. I loved the adventurous spirit of each one of these characters and was particularly thrilled by the setting of Huckleberry Finn. The Mississippi River of my imagination was so close to my own experience in the bushland near my home west of Manjimup in the southwest of Western Australia.