Perrin: Author of one of the articles written for Island magazine as part of Chatter Matters literacy project

Project: Island Magazine

Island magazine and Chatter Matters partnered in early 2015 to raise awareness of the lived-experiences of those who have not been able to learn to read easily. To open a way for voices not so readily heard.

In each of its issues since #141, Island has published an essay by men and women who have learned to read or develop their communication as adults. In their own words these courageous learners have told their stories. Too often they are narratives of stigma and disadvantage, but all are bravely beautiful.

In January 2017, in celebration of their two-year partnership, Island and Chatter Matters released a special collection of the first seven essays written by Chatter Matters learners. They are moving accounts of real lives, real change, real hope. And can be downloaded for free from here.

We desire for those who are literary – that is, the readers of a lit mag – to feel something of illiteracy.  Because for those fortunate enough to be skilled in language and literacy, the reading and writing life flows along, mostly, in a state of unconscious competence.

Island and Chatter Matters are making a shout-out to the unconscious competent to understand something deeper; because those with excellent spoken language and mastery of the pen also hold power in society. And it is this power, wielded with understanding and compassion, which can change inequity, and the plights which impoverish our people.

Literacy levels across our nation are not what we would expect of a wealthy country. We hold a national rhetoric about the ‘fair go’ – but it isn’t so for many. Many are denied opportunities to even reach out for that fair-go, let alone seize it. But when those with abundant voice – the readers of a lit mag – take time to hear other voices and to think with awareness and compassion, such as story creates, then things can change.

Go check out Island. And thanks for reading the wonderful Chatter Matters literacy essays which are in every issue on from issue #141.