Melissa Watts has published poetry, fiction and non-fiction for over fifteen years. Her poems have inspired other artists to craft bronze statues and compose piano performances for audiences in New York.
She has published a collection of free-verse and structured poetry exploring the relationship between people and place. In Small Towns (2022) Melissa shines a light on the unsaid. She picks the scab of small-town tensions, then unflinchingly aims her bow at social injustice, tipping her hat to the feminist poets who have come before her.
She has hosted keynotes at writers’ festivals, interviewing M.J. Hyland and Maureen McCarthy and maintained monthly radio sessions interviewing authors such as Paddy O’Reilly, Graeme Simsion, Toni Jordan and Angela Savage. She spent several years as the publicity officer for Ballarat Writers.
Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (creative writing and literary studies) from the University of Melbourne and has submitted a Creative Writing PhD in 2022.
Melissa lives and works on Wadawurrung Country, Ballarat.
Published Works –
Columns in The Ballarat Independent
‘Tashkent’s Koran’ in Ex-parenthesis, 2012
‘St Petersburg’ in Eclectica, 2012
‘Bishkek August 2010’ in SWAMP #25, 2020
‘We buy him on our hands and knees’ in Eclectica, 2012
‘Eucalyptus Pyriformus’ in Artists inspire Artistry – Capturing Flora published by Ballarat Art Gallery reprinted by Art Monthly, 2012
‘The Whispers of God’ in Traditions Found, New Writing, published by Ballarat Art Gallery.
‘Hide and Seek, The Sensory Garden’ in Poetry Pathways, 2015 published by Ballarat Writers Incorporated.
‘How to paint a sigh‘, in response to an untitled landscape by David Moore, Nillumbik Shire Council Ekphrasis Award. Highly Commended 2015.
‘Conveyor’, in response to Maria Cook’s artwork, for Weathering the Future exhibition.
‘Mother’s Day’ They Are Us 2020.
‘George and the Vegans’ Melbourne Spoken Word Festival, Words Out Loud Podcast, 2020
Small Towns, published by Nine Cups Press, 2022.
2011 – In conversation with Maureen McCarthy, keynote session, Ballarat Writers Festival.
2013 – Invited speaker on the M.A.D.E. by Writers panel, discussing how life as a writer interacts with the ideas of freedom, power and democracy. Melbourne Writers Festival.
2013 – In Conversation with M.J. Hyland, keynote session, Melbourne Writers Festival.
2011-2014 – Monthly guest on Voice FM discussing writing events, books and literature.
2015 – Twilight Talk, Art Gallery of Ballarat, ‘AWAS Cartographers.’
2016 – Clunes Booktown facilitator In Conversation with Sandy Jeffs.
2016 – Australian Historical Association Conference: ‘Fast Women or an Essential Service?’ Presentation.
2022 – Melbourne Art Book Fair in Ballarat – reading from Small Towns, discussing the layout of poems on the page.
2022 – Smythesdale Fiesta – poetry reading.
2022 – Made in Ballarat Concert – Shared the stage with Ballarat’s finest in the 20th birthday celebrations for Ballarat Arts Foundation.
2023 – Smythesdale Fiesta – poetry reading.
I’m interested in the Percy Leason connection.
Came across your blog while searching MTR. Ugh! Some advice, little sister; being sincere and honest will help your career immensely. As for your interests; let’s see: writing, reading, media, and politics. Hmmm. It took about five seconds to identify what was missing from the list – Feminism.
Let me try another term. How about Myopic Feminista? By all means do a blog for yes-people, your friends, and your mother; and come what may for a future you hope transcends a cross-section of people. Ahem, good luck with that.
Don’t re-read what is dated writing from a now-bitter Germaine Greer, read Christina Hoff Sommers or Esther Vilar’s work and opine on why you disagree with them. And I’m betting you’d disagree with them strongly. Challenge yourself and be different to the herd that all goes in the same direction.
If this blog is in fact a strong indication of your sexual orientation then disregard this message and knock yourself out with as much Andrea Dworkin and Ruby Rose as you can ingest.
But I sense you’re yet another smart young woman in our midst that is being lost to a leftist, feminist-dominated education system that erroneously sees our world through Greer/Steinem/Gillard mindsets.
I’m not entirely sure that you understand the Greer piece correctly.
As an aside the piece actually has the highest hits of any of the pieces on my site, and directs the most search engine readers.
Melissa I cannot believe you are doing something I would love to be doing well done and how can I get to hear m j hyland one of my favorite authors??
Thanks! I’m so glad you’ve tracked me down. If you’re free on Sunday come up to Ballarat and hear her speak, or there are a few events in Melbourne.
[…] Melissa Watts is a Ballarat-based writer. She has published non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Melissa’s words have been turned into bronze sculptures and piano pieces played to audiences in New York. Her latest project is a poetry collection, Small Towns: Poems of people and place (2022). […]
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