Kevin Brophy remembers visiting possible locations for Writers Victoria (then called the Victorian Writers’ Centre) along with founding Coordinator Bev Roberts when the idea to set up a state writers’ centre was first being discussed.
A member since its inception, Kevin joined the Committee of Management in 1995 before taking on the role of Chair from 1996 to 2001.
As a poet, writer and teacher, Kevin was drawn to the sense of community and common purpose that the centre offered.
“Being a writer is an isolating commitment,” he said, “so I was very grateful that there was a place for people with similar interests to come together.” He cites Bev’s leadership as being particularly important in placing the organisation firmly within Melbourne’s poetry scene.
“What we were doing back then was one of the pieces that eventually fell into place to demonstrate what a city of rich cultural commitment and interest we were,” Kevin noted, reflecting on the organisation’s contribution to Melbourne’s later recognition as a UNESCO City of Literature.
“We didn’t know that we were part of a growing picture of Melbourne as a City of Literature, but associations like Writers Victoria were key to putting the case together,” Kevin said. “It looks logical and inevitable from here, but it seemed radical, new and uncertain at the time. The fact that we moved homes so many times says something about how marginal our existence was.”
Finding a home has been an ongoing theme for the organisation over the years, he reflected, moving from “radical and uncertain” beginnings in Tasma Terrace in East Melbourne to the Broom Factory in Fitzroy and then on to the North Melbourne Meat Market during his time with the organisation.
Kevin sent us a birthday message to celebrate the organisation’s 25th anniversary this year…
“Congratulations on the first 25 years. Writers Victoria is a grown-up adult organisation now, and heading into its best years. May there be many new ideas, new members, and renewed commitment to writing, to the freedom of writers to think aloud, to think outside the usual limits, to entertain and perplex, and to bring to notice all that might otherwise be forgotten and overlooked. No city, no country, no human crowd can exist for long without stories and music. Go for it, Writers Victoria, the future is in your writing hands.”
Kevin was awarded Life Membership of Writers Victoria in 2003 for his contribution to the organisation.