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Sad Loss of Perth Writer Lucas North

It is with great sadness the Australian writing community mourns the sudden and tragic death of novelist and poet, Lucas North. Lucas touched many writers’ lives through his prolific workshops and readings.

I first met Lucas in 2008 at the Fellowship of Australian Writers, WA when I was a volunteer and he was our live-in writer in residence.

Despite the winter cold of Tom Collins House, the possums and rickety old bed, Lucas met each day with a warm smile and quiet resilience. He was the epitome of tenacity and discipline as he tirelessly pursued his craft, even though he knew the publisher’s rejection letter well.

I asked him how he continued (on his then, tenth novel) and he said he just had to keep writing, there was nothing else he wanted to do. Writers must keep writing, and not fear it, even if publication remained elusive. In fact the workshop he ran during his residency was title Fear of Rejection and The Rejection of Fear.

Lucas North…. workshop will teach you how to defy rejection, defeat dejection and turn anger toward editors into a self-sustaining energy that will see you rise above the nay-sayers. Don’t just develop a thick skin, learn how to be a rubber ball – if you’re thrown down, don’t just fall, come off the wall with twice the momentum and resistance – kinetic energy.

And that summed up Lucas well. Inside him burned an intense energy and determination that was inspiring and infectious. He selflessly imparted his knowledge and experiences to aspiring writers and helped guide many disheartened souls back to their keyboards and pens.

Lucas penned eleven novels, hundreds of short stories, two screenplays and two volumes of poetry; his work has appeared in Blue Dog, Indigo, Westerly, Eco Poetics and Concrete Dialogues. He sat on various literary organisation boards and worked on writing festivals and events. In 2007 his manuscript, The Population of Loss, won Lucas a Longlines/Macquarie Bank Fellowship to the prestigious Varuna Writers Centre in NSW. As recently as June 2013 his OOTA workshop series, The Eclectic Transgression Sessions offered writers fiction ideas for pushing at publication.

His contribution to the wirtten word – and world – will be greatly missed.

Tanya Dewhurst