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The Scrivener: A Sparkling New Columnist

Here's an enthusiastic welcome to a new Open Writing columnist, Brian Barratt. Brian has an unrivalled zest, thirst and enthusiasm for words. Visit his Web site www.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas/ for intellectual fun and games.

Brian will be writing a regular column for Open Writing under the title The Scrivener.

He has half a century of professional experience with books and Education. He’s been a bookseller, editor, publisher, schoolbook writer, private tutor in English and thinking skills, class tutor in creative writing, mentor to gifted students, and curriculum editor for Australian national Tournament of Minds... among other things.

He is a moderately/severely hearing handicapped elderly gentleman who writes articles for educational journals; judges writing competitions; explores the history and usage of the English language; writes long letters; researches and writes about his ancestors, including many in the Book Trade during the past 300 years, and a mysterious Gypsy; listens to recordings of Enrico Caruso, John McCormack, Kathleen Ferrier and other great voices from the past; relishes Messiaen's Turangalîla Symphony and the music of the erhu; collects books, especially dictionaries; digs into the palaeopsychology of religious beliefs; rummages around in people’s minds; talks to dogs and birds, and to the possums that live in his shed.

Since 1936 he’s lived and worked in four countries, in this order: England, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Australia. He's lived in a leafy eastern suburb of Melbourne since 1971, next to where the rich people live. His house is actually a library-museum-art gallery-wizard's lair. There's a sign which reads 'Persons not wishing to see worlds outside or inside themselves are gently advised to close their minds whilst in this place'.

Information about his work with gifted students can be found on his Web site.


Brian’s series of four books of English enrichment and extension activities for high-achieving school students, BrainWords, is published by Pearson Education. There is also a teachers manual. Some of the books in the series are now out of print.

His books of activities for gifted and talented students, Challenges and ThinkAbouts, published by Martin Education, are out of print.

Many of his educational articles and activities for gifted students have been published in the journal TalentEd.

His earlier articles were published in AREA Journal (Australian Remedial Education Association) and Vision (Victorian Association for Gifted and Talented Children).

He writes Wordsmith and A Piece Of My Mind columns each month for Bonzer! an on-line magazine for wise elders. http://www.bonzer.org.au

There are links to The Brain Rummager on educational websites around the world.

** Brian's first column for Open Writing will be appearing next Friday.


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