GRAN SLAM: Alan Harkness with Australian author Di Morrisey at the Byron Writers' Festival.
GRAN SLAM: Alan Harkness with Australian author Di Morrisey at the Byron Writers' Festival. Supplied

Gran Slam praised by top author Di Morrissey

IT WAS an ambitious task, but the team at Feros Care is hailing the success of the first Gran Slam at the Byron Writers' Festival.

The project called for men and women over the age of 70 to participate in slam poetry workshops throughout June and July.

The group then performed their pieces at the Byron Writers' Festival last weekend where they rubbed shoulders with some of their writing idols.

One of those slam poets was Alan Harkness, 88, who met Australian author and original member of the Byron Writers' Festival, Di Morrissey.

Ms Morrissey appeared at the Byron Writers Festival last week to promote her new book, Arcadia - a modern mystery set in a remote Tasmanian forest. and spoke highly of the Feros Gran Slam initiative.

She said being able to keep your mind active was one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle in your older age.

"Just the sheer joy of being able to perform and making the old memory work and the exchange with other people is stimulating," Ms Morrissey said.

The celebrated Australian author believes there are many ways older people can remain active and keep themselves mentally stimulated.

"Standing up and learning a poem for one thing," she said.

"Reading a book, doing things with your hands and playing games which require a bit of brain work."

The slam poetry pieces focused on social issues in the Gold Coast and Northern NSW region.

Feros has not yet revealed if the program will be repeated next year.



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