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.
This year, 2019, one of my essays was published in Bjelke Blues, edited by Edwina Shaw. For three years, in 2017, 2018 and again in 2019, I was one of 10 finalists from around the world in the New Philosopher magazine writing award with my essays: The Power of Story to Make Us Think, Women and Power: Raising Our Voices and The Texture of Time.
My book, The Texture of Time, an historical memoir about ageing and authenticity, highlights changes in women’s lives over the past 200 years. It was selected as a finalist in the 2017 Hard Copy Development program, run by the ACT Writers Centre and funded through the Australia Council.
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.
I’ve had essays published on topics ranging from Hope to Peace, Authenticity to Mindfulness, in Griffith Review, the Ethics Society, and Literature in North Queensland. 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 and Vulcana’s latest performance, titled ‘As if No-one is Watching’ drew 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.