The Wheeler Centre
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A Walk in the Park: Lisa Dempster with Leah Kaminsky
There’s walking, and then there’s walking. When Lisa Dempster set out to tackle the Shikoku Pilgrimage – a 1200km, 88 temple route through regional Japan – she was at a nadir of mental and physical health; desperate for something to bring major change to her life.
'People really do see walking now as a solution, and an answer to things.'
As she describes the gruelling journey, laid out in her travelogue Neon Pilgrim (2009; re-launched in 2017), it surprised her with unexpected spiritual encounters. Yet the sense of an inner shift was still elusive and intangible – and something which only later emerged through writing about the experience.
Walking Princes Park with doctor and author Leah Kaminsky, Dempster recounts the circumstances of her adventure, her writing of it, and how it’s impacted her life in the near-decade since.
Lisa Dempster is Executive Manager of Public Participation at Yarra Plenty Regional Library.
Leah Kaminsky, physician and award-winning writer, is Poetry & Fiction Editor at the Medical Journal of Australia. Her debut novel is The Waiting Room won the Voss Literary Prize for the best novel of 2016. We’re all Going to Die has been described as ‘a joyful book about death’. She edited Writer MD and co-authored Cracking the Code. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.