Glenbrook writer Rebecca Poulson’s story about her family’s multiple tragedy won her a place in the Australian Society of Authors’ highly-competitive mentorship program.
Forty-three-year-old Poulson is one of 12 aspiring authors from hundreds of applicants around Australia to be selected.
“It was such a nice Christmas present, a fantastic feeling to win, assessed purely on my writing,” Poulson said.
However, she could not separate her greatest triumph from her life’s worst moment.
“It’s a memoir about losing my father, my niece and my nephew who were murdered by my brother-in-law,” Poulson said.
“It was on my birthday; September 15, 2003.”
On that day, in Wilberforce, her sister Ingrid’s estranged husband, Neung Kongsom, killed their four-year-old daughter, Marilyn and one-year-old son, Sebastian and the sisters’ father, Peter Poulson.
He then took his own life.
“Part of the book is about grieving; you have to go to the dark places for true healing,” Poulson said.
“But it’s my hope that people focus on the broader issues. The tragedy may not have been prevented, but there were a number of things that could have been flagged. My father reported a breach of the AVO taken out against Neung and there were a few other incidents.”
She said better training and more resources for police and care workers could prevent such tragedies in future.
“But my life isn’t doom and gloom,” Poulson said.
“I’ve got a lovely husband, three gorgeous children and I love living in the Mountains.”
She said she had wanted to be a writer since her childhood, always writing short stories and poems.
However, for years she opted for financial security, working as an investment banker in Sydney.
“But I have to write; it’s a sort of itching and a resentment when I’m not writing,” Poulson said.
“I wrote this, 75,000 words, with three kids all under the age of four. I had to do a lot of writing at midnight.”
She has not yet settled on which author will mentor her work, but she is looking forward to it. “I also want to write some fiction,” Poulson said.