As Anni Webster, I’ve been scribbling with words all my life, and now write narrative non-fiction. As Ann Webster-Wright, I’m a semi-retired academic with a research and teaching background in Education and Health. In both guises, I draw on Eastern and Western philosophy to explore how people make meaning from their life experiences.
I’m writing a book, Imagining Isabella, an historical memoir about ageing and authenticity that highlights changes in women’s lives over the past 200 years. It was selected for the 2017 Hard Copy Development program, run by the ACT Writers Centre and funded through the Australia Council. I was one of ten finalists.
In 2017, an essay from the book won first prize in the Society of Women Writers’ national non-fiction competition. Titled An Appetite for Awe, the essay considers how cultural stories affect our experience of place.
My essay, Story Power, was a finalist in the New Philosopher magazine competition on Communication in 2017. A short piece of my memoir, Homecoming, was published in Patti Miller’s ‘Writing True Stories’ (Allen and Unwin, 2017, p.34).
As a knock-kneed nerdy philosopher, I learnt to dance when I turned sixty – a lifetime dream of mine. I joined WaW Dance, a creative ensemble of mature-aged women performing innovative responses to issues facing women. We have performed at the Judith Wright Centre and, with Vulcana Women’s Circus, at Brisbane’s Powerhouse. WaW’s latest performance was based on my poem ‘There comes a time‘
As an academic, at the University of Queensland and Griffith University, my research focused on learning, growth, authenticity and wellbeing in working lives, using a narrative and phenomenological framework. I’ve facilitated groups in professional learning, mindfulness and creative writing.
My current book investigates the life of my ancestor, Isabella, the mother of John Oxley, who explored the Brisbane River that winds through my home town. The book explores parallels between two eras, the 1790s, when Isabella came of age, and the 1970s, when I did. Both were times of revolution and change in women’s lives.
As well as dancing and writing, I’m passionate about supporting younger women, especially those struggling with domestic violence or workplace inequities in all their forms. I’m also engaged in facilitating mature-aged women making a transition between their professional career and a meaningful, active life beyond traditional work. With friends, we are developing a network of ageing activists.