Past Events

Book Launch 2024 Thursday 4 April 2024 | 6.30 PM

Café Courtyard, Sappho Books, 51 Glebe Point Road Glebe NSW

Event Info

Entry:  Free event, no booking/registration required. Please arrive early, from 6:30 pm, to avoid disappointment. 

Enjoy drinks, dinner, poetry and live music at the annual Flying Islands Books group launch at the iconic Sappho Café in Glebe. With MC Richard James Allen, this year’s launch celebrates Flying Islands’ milestone of 100 publications and presents readings of 2024
publications by the following poets:

Carl Walsh’s Tarp Green Light launched by Tug Dumbly

Ivy Ireland’s Tide, launched by Brook Emery

Josh Stenberg’s nibs and nubs, launched by Vrasidas Karalis

Mark Mahemoff’s Beautiful Flames, launched by Jane Gibian

Sophie Finlay’s the terrarium, launched by Jane Skelton

The evening will also feature special guest Pato Rios Millanao, with acoustic experimental music.

A book table for sales will be in operation throughout the evening. The table will include all 2024 publications and a selection from the FI back catalogue.

Friends of Flying Islands subscriptions will also be available from the book desk. These are terrific value at currently $100 (plus postage) for 12 books. (No postage to pay if you pick up your books from the table.)

Sappho is a licensed café and bar, with food and beverages available throughout the evening with 10 PM close.


The Salons For enquiries contact: Angie at

Book Launch 2024 Thursday 4 April 2024 | 6.30 PM Read More »

Haunting & Laughter – Professor Kit Kelen’s One Year Flying Islands Poetry Manuscript Workshop

  • running from January to December 2024
  • minimum of six participants
  • maximum of twelve participants
  • $500 flat fee (GST free)
  • (possibility of a scholarship for a poet of demonstrably limited means, letters of support may be provided for successful applicants wishing to apply to a funding body.)
  • certificate on successful completion and transcript available

The workshop is to be conducted:

  • online (e-mail, ZOOM, and we may use our own Learning Management System on the Flying Islands website)
  • on the phone
  • with the possibility of a residential aspect (depending on the location of participants;
  • any residential component would likely be conducted in Sydney, Newcastle or Markwell.)

This is a practical workshop that will include:

  • regular writing stimuli/readings/exercises
  • engagement with a range of forms and styles of poetry from a variety of periods and cultures
  • feedback and other forms of response
  • individual as well as group discussion
  • regular guest poet sessions by ZOOM included throughout the year
  • an invitation to daily practice, specifically to write poetry, in conversation with Kit, potentially every day throughout the workshop.

The focus of the workshop will be on the production of book-length collections of poetry by participants.

The theme ‘haunting and laughter’ is not intended as in any way prescriptive or restrictive but rather as a means of suggesting a range of possible engagements with poetry.

Who can apply?

Poets of all levels of experience are encouraged to apply.

Poets not native to the English language are encouraged to apply. (Translation and working between languages can be one of our themes.)

Participation in the workshop is not limited to poets resident in Australia, although the residential potential will probably be enhanced for those who are. Likewise, being in a similar time zone might be helpful.

How to apply

Those wishing to apply to participate in the workshop should send a ten page sample of their poetry, along with a biographical note and/or cv. This sample of work may (or may not be) accompanied by a descriptive synopsis of the idea for a book of poems. These materials should be sent as an e-mail attachment, in a single word file, the name of which will include the author’s name and ‘application
for FI 2024 workshop’. This file should be sent, with a covering note to

Deadline for applications is Sunday 1 st October, 2023. Successful applicants will be informed in November, 2023. No correspondence will be entertained with regard to unsuccessful applications.


All proceeds from the conduct of the workshop are to fund the Flying Islands Poetry Community’s publication of poetry books. No one gets paid for this.


There is no guaranteed prospect of publication associated with participation in the workshop. Acceptance or rejection of an application for the workshop does not imply any qualitative judgement, but is rather based on an assessment of whether a particular poet is likely to benefit from participation.

About Your Workshop Leader – Christopher (Kit) Kelen, FRSN Emeritus Professor of English (University of Macau)

Christopher (Kit) Kelen is a poet and painter, resident in the Myall Lakes of NSW. Published widely since the seventies, he has more than a dozen full length collections in English as well as translated books of poetry in Chinese (several), Portuguese (several), French, Italian, Spanish, Indonesian, Swedish, Norwegian, Filipino, in Greek – his bilingual (Greek and English) volume a postcard from the fires, a picture of the rains, published by Kaleidoscope in Athens, in 2022. Also in 2022, his bilingual Esperanto-English volume Rompitaj Labirintoj – Bung Mazes was published by the Australian Esperanto Association, to coincide with a painting exhibition of that title held at the Shop Gallery in Sydney. A large scale collection of Kit’s – Swimming in the Storm – has just appeared in Romanian, with launches planned for Romania in early 2023. Kit’s latest volume of poetry in English is Book of Mother, published by Puncher & Wattmann in 2022.

An Anne Elder and ABC/ Bicentennial Award winner in the distant past, in 2017, Kit was shortlisted twice for the Montreal Poetry Prize and won the Local Award in the Newcastle Poetry Prize. In 2019 and 2020 Kit won the Hunter Writers’ Centre award in the NPP. He was also shortlisted for the ACU prize in 2020. In 2021 he won the bronze medal in the Newcastle Poetry Prize. And in 2022 he won the second prize silver medal.

Kit has been writer/artist in Residence in many parts of the world – in Australia, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Iceland, Finland and Cyprus. A number of these residencies have led to book publications, sometimes multiple – for instance Bundanon time produced his books Time with the Sky and To the Single Man’s Hut. Time at the Messen residency on the Hardanger Fjord produced Poor Man’s Coat and a book in Norwegian entitled Glasfjorden (the glass fjord).

As a visual artist, over the last fifteen years, Kit has has had ten solo painting and drawing exhibitions in Australia, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Macao.

Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Macau, where he taught for many years, Kit Kelen is also a Conjoint Professor at the University of Newcastle.

In his scholarly writing, Kit has produced a string of books about poetry, the most recent of which is Poetics and Ethics of Anthropomorphism – Children, animals and poetry, published by Routledge in 2022.

In 2017, Kit was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Malmo, in Sweden.

Series Editor for Flying Islands Pocket Poets Series, Kit has mentored many poets and translators from various parts of the world, and run a number of on-line communities of practice in poetry (most notably Project 366 [from 2016-2020]). Kit is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW. You can follow Kit’s work-in-progress at the Daily

Haunting & Laughter – Professor Kit Kelen’s One Year Flying Islands Poetry Manuscript Workshop Read More »

2023 Flying Islands Books Launch 5 PM Saturday 4 February 2023

The Shop Gallery, 112 Glebe Point Road, Glebe (on-site, Sydney).

Free event, all welcome!

Poems that fit the palms of your hands

Sharp-edged, wild-eyed, luminous, empowering pilgrimages.

You are invited to the Launch of the new crop of Flying Islands Pocket Books—an extraordinary bouquet of diverse poetic voices in gorgeously crafted volumes that slip easily into your pockets and purses!

The 2023 series, edited by Christopher (Kit) Kelen, includes: Alive in Dubbo by DG Lloyd; Another Day by Kevin Smith; Divertente and other poems by Yannis Rentzos; fierCe by Angie Contini; Sea Skins by Sophia Wilson; Sunday Morning, Here by Jill McKeowen; te pāhikahikatanga/ incommensurabilty by Vaughan Rapatahana; and Text Messages from the Universe by Richard James Allen.

2023 Flying Islands Books Launch 5 PM Saturday 4 February 2023 Read More »

Brian Purcell Estuary Exhibition Launch and Reading with Special Guests

3pm Sunday 5 February, 2023

The Shop Gallery, 112 Glebe Point Road, Glebe (on-site, Sydney).

Free event, all welcome!

To celebrate the launch of Brian Purcell’s Estuary exhibition at The Shop Gallery, there will be a reading focusing on poetry’s relationship with visual art – ekphrasis, typographical, and any other poetry where the visual element is key. It will feature amazing poets from the Flying Islands community: Richard James Allen, Angie Contini, Anna Couani, Christopher (Kit) Kelen, Brian Purcell and Sarah St Vincent Welch.

Brian Purcell Estuary Exhibition Launch and Reading with Special Guests Read More »


Judges: Magdalena Ball, Kit Kelen, Brian Purcell

Flying Islands Poetry Community is pleased to announce the winners of its inaugural Poetry Manuscript Prize. It was an extraordinarily difficult task to choose the winners, as so many of the more than fifty entries were of a very high standard. We would like to thank all of the poets who submitted their work – it makes us feel confident about the future of Australian poetry!

The Gold Medal was shared by Sophia Wilson and D. G. Lloyd, and both winning manuscripts will be launched in early 2023 – stay tuned for more details.  We hope to publish Alan Fyfe’s, Sophie Finlay’s and Carl Walsh’s books in 2023-24.



Sophia Wilson’s En Cas D’Urgence (Sea Skins)

D.G. Lloyd’s Alive in Dubbo 


Alan Fyfe’s G-D, Sleep and Chaos


Sophie Finlay’s the terrarium 

Carl Walsh’s Supermarket of Words

Congratulations to the winning entries, and all who took part in the competition!

FLYING ISLANDS 2022 POETRY MANUSCRIPT PRIZE – Announcement of Winners Read More »

a big thank you !

dear islanders and fellow travellers

thanks to all for your efforts towards the Flying Islands book launch and the benefit exhibition in Sydney last weekend …(Saturday 12 February 2022).
while the final figures are not quite in yet, it looks like we will slightly surpass last year’s exhibition and launch take … which means we’re well on the way to being able to afford this year’s publishing program.

But the main thing – and the more important thing – is that your hard work has brought glory on the islands and all who fly with them.
…this event has spread the word about us… and has brought the pleasures of our poetry to many old and new faces.

I know that it really was a marathon effort for many involved — and especially for Anna, for Sarah and Dylan, for Maggie, for Richard, for Angie, for Carol…
special thanks to them and to all who made this very complicated event a success!
Please do pass our thanks on to others who helped and who were there, physically or virtually.

I hope everyone is having a well-earned rest and poetry de-tox now !

the islands thank and bless you all

long may the islands fly!

with best wishes to all

Kit Kelen
Flying Islands Poetry Community

a big thank you ! Read More »

Flying Islands Book Launch and Benefit Show Saturday 12 February 2022 at 2pm (AEDT)

Invitation to the Flying Islands Book Launch and Benefit Show Saturday 12 February at 2pm (AEDT) of the 2021 Flying Islands Pocket Poetry Books by Morgan Bell, Anna Couani, Laurie Duggan, Daniel Ionita, Alan Jefferies, Brian Purcell, Jane Skelton and Sarah St Vincent Welch.

Order of Launches

Zoom Link:

1:30 pm Click the zoom link to join the virtual waiting room and be let in by Magdalena Ball, your Zoom host. Settle in while everyone arrives and have a chat. We recommend joining before 2 pm in case you have any technical glitches.

2 pm Richard James Allen MC welcome from The Shop Gallery. Kit Kelen update on Flying Islands Poetry Community.

2:10 pm Launches

  • Ursula Dubosarsky launches Sarah St Vincent Welch’s chalk borders
  • Virginia Shepherd launches Anna Couani’s local
  • Jean Kent launches Daniel Ionita’s Short Bursts of Eternity
  • Martin Langford launches Brian Purcell’s The Leaving

Short break in which to view the benefit art exhibition online, have a stretch and an online chat and buy books and art

3:15 pm Launches

  • Annee Lawrence launches Jane Skelton’s What the river told me
  • Greg McLaren launches Laurie Duggan’s A Kite Hangs above the Border
  • Magdalena Ball launches Morgan Bell’s Pretend I Don’t Exist.
  • Kerri Shying launches Alan Jefferies in the same breath

More about the Launch

We will post the Zoom link on our The Shop Gallery Facebook Event, Flying Islands website, Flying Islands Facebook Pages and Blog and Instagram on the morning of the book launch Saturday 12 February 2022 if you are looking for the link on that day.

The book launch is an event on Zoom and in The Shop Gallery, joining the virtual audiences of readers and launchers in a hybrid event with those who can be in The Shop Gallery together. Friends from far and wide can join in via zoom. There is a limit of 25 people at any one time in the gallery due to COVID. 

Come and enjoy the benefit exhibition 11-6pm 10-16 February 2022 at The Shop Gallery 112 Glebe Point Road Glebe if you are in Sydney. All proceeds go to Flying Island Books. You can also view the exhibition during the break between sets, at the launch, if you are attending via Zoom.. 

On 12 February there will be other festivities in Glebe with the Summer Streets ‘day of street-side eating and drinking events. Glebe Point Road will be closed to traffic from 11 am between Parramatta Road and St Johns Road. The Summer Streets events are being held to help support local businesses and to provide more outdoor entertainment for residents.’ There will be music and roving performers.

COVID safe plans are in place in The Shop Gallery and Summer Streets program.  

See you on zoom at the launch!

Flying Islands Book Launch and Benefit Show Saturday 12 February 2022 at 2pm (AEDT) Read More »

Save the Date Saturday 12 February 2022

Launch of the new series of Flying Islands Pocket Poetry books is scheduled for Saturday 12 February 2022 at 2 PM at the Shop Gallery, 112 Glebe Point Road, Glebe

The launch coincides with the Flying Islands Benefit Exhibition, running from 11am – 6pm, 10-16 February 2022. The hope is to raise funds for the press through both book sales and sales of artworks from the exhibition, all proceeds go to Flying island Books. We plan for the launch to be enjoyed in the gallery but also on the street outside the gallery.

The following Covid-19 Protocols will apply for the safety of those in attendance and their contacts:

  • social distancing;
  • QR check-in
  • evidence of double vaccination.

Thanks to our hosts, Anna Couani and Hilik Mirankar

Save the Date Saturday 12 February 2022 Read More »

Flying Islanders

Maitland launch on 29 May 2021

There to launch their books at Mansfield House were:
Irina Frolova, Chris Mansell, Steve Armstrong, KA Rees and Rob Edmonds. Series Editor, Kit Kelen, was the M/C.

Guest poets – past and future Flying Islanders included:
Gail Hennessy, Kerry Shying, Magdalena Ball, Richard James Allen, Kit Kelen and Brian Purcell.

Maitland launch on 29 May 2021 Read More »