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Insightful Readings Mindful Of Mental Illness

21 November 2003

Insightful readings mindful of mental illness

A new book of poems and prose produced entirely by artists who have suffered mental illness is about to be launched by Toi Ora Live Arts.

Ponderings is a collection of works from Toi Ora's creative writing class. All writing, illustrations, design and printing for the book has been created by students attending classes at the trust. The authors will help to promote the book with live readings of their work at the formal launch open to the public on Monday 8 December.

Toi Ora Live Arts is a trust run by, and for consumers of mental health services in the Auckland area, and is the only one of its kind in the region. Students participate in structured professional art programmes, which enhance mental well-being in a supportive, non-pressured environment.

Creative writing tutor, Judith White, has been tutoring the class for two years and says producing the book has been a huge achievement for everyone.

"It's not easy sitting round a table with people you only half-know, and be expected to write something from out of the blue, and then to read your words aloud. It takes courage, that's for sure, and a certain amount of trust," says Ms White.

"The situation becomes even more poignant if you have just struggled through a period of being mentally unwell. 'This is me,' you are saying, "this is my expression."

The creative writing class meets weekly and the work published in Ponderings is described by the students as 'open, honest, painful, fanciful and real'.

Everyone is welcome to attend the launch of Ponderings to enjoy readings, sales, music and refreshments on Monday 8 December, 6.30 to 8.30pm at Toi Ora Live Arts, 19 Putiki Street, Grey Lynn.

Well-known poet, critic and books editor of the Sunday Star-Times, Iain Sharp will be the guest speaker at the launch.

Toi Ora Live Arts would like to thank Auckland City for supporting this event.


For more information, or to request a copy of Ponderings for review purposes, please contact:

Toi Ora Live Arts Trust

Or check out our website at

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