New Voices #6 - BBQ’ing the myths and the memoir

Fri, 12 June 2020

Episode 6 of New Voices - BBQ’ing the myths and the memoir

Therese Warfield critiqued by Sarjeet Arkan.

What could be more innocent than considering writing a little memoir? You carry out a bit of research, rock up to the Mitchell Library, and ask questions of your family members... Why it’s virtually an Australian pastime.

But for Therese Warfield it became a thin taper that lit a very large creative fire. Using skill and precision as tinder, and a whole tank of passion as lighting fluid, Therese casts into relief the inner workings of an Australian regional country town. Expect the sticky, sweaty moments of heat in a dusty town, the slide of cutting words as someone walks by, and a whole 1960s country town springs up before you peopled with characters flaring up large and live. Class, race, gender. More tinder. Suddenly a memoir isn’t a memoir anymore, but a full-blown novel.

Racism is not unfamiliar to Sarjeet Arkan who grew up as an Australian-Sikh in Woolgoolga, NSW. She critiques Therese’s work and gives such rich and textured insights into the yearning for belonging, and the sense of being an outcast that Therese portrays so well.

In this current time of heightened sensitivity and awareness, this is a timely (and weirdly synchronistic) piece of writing and analysis. The program was scheduled some months ago. But all writers would agree, that delving into all the corners, and all the layers of our human dynamic is where we scribblers belong. Enacting racism, and denying people inclusion is not just an injustice, it stifles all of us as human beings. It quells our light. So listen to Therese and Sarjeet, who will not be quelled and who will howl for their freedom. And ha! Watch out for Therese’s own howl for her tribe!

So pleased to be presenting this!

Maria Issaris, Producer, New Voices. Contact:

Writer: Therese Warfield. Day job - Executive AssistantWriting: Australian regional novel.


[Image: Therese Warfield]

Bio: I grew up in two small country towns in Central West NSW before moving to Sydney at the age of 16. My first job was in cosmetics – I was briefly one of those ladies at David Jones selling high end make-up and skin care. A career change found me entering the corporate world where I worked for over thirty years for a number of high profile organisations. Oh, and I also met my husband when we were working together on a Royal Commission. A mid-life crisis found me searching for a creative outlet and I tried drawing, painting, jewellery design, sculpture – you name it, but something was missing. Somehow, I found my way to writing a memoir and researching my family history after attending a course at Writing NSW and I found what I was searching for – passion.

Currently, I live in Kensington with my husband and a small, bossy Chihuahua by the name of Archie.

About the New Voices experience... I met the dynamic Maria Issaris in a writer’s group and was delighted to be invited to take part in New Voices. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview and was encouraged by the wonderful critique given by Sarjeet Arkan.

Critiquer: Sarjeet Arkan. Day job - HR and WHS consultant, mother. Writing: Memoir.


[Image: Sarjeet Arkan]

Bio: I am a mother of two boys Shah (age 28, civil engineer) and Ruestam ( age 18, first year mathematics at USYD). I live in Sydney but grew up in regional Australia (Woolgoolga) as one of six children. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business, I had a career in human resources /WHS at executive management level. Currently I am consulting to industry and running my RTO and doing the things I have always wanted to do, such as writing my memoir for my children, traveling, indulging in everything fashion/fabrics/design/international fashion week, cooking, gardening, knitting, and crochet.

About the New Voices experience... The experience was wonderful ….an opportunity to be in a studio, listening to a writer and her story and seeing Maria in “action” in a further snippet of her life. I felt I was given an opportunity to glimpse behind the scenes of another creative world.

Episode 6 is being broadcast at 5.30pm on Monday 15 June, and repeated at 1.30pm on Sunday 21 June! Tune in on 2RPH - 1224AM, 100.5FM, digital DAB+ and web streaming -