Books

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre offers Grand Prize in inaugural Subscribathon ...

Amber Wilson, Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Communications Officer
27.01.15 2:29 pm

...  a year’s worth of workshop ...

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With Tasmania quickly becoming known as the literary isle after an unprecedented level of success in 2014, the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre is experiencing rapid growth in its member base.

The Centre is uniquely positioned to provide support, encouragement, training, community and cohesion for Tasmanian writers – both new and established.

To encourage more people to join and take advantage of the vast array of benefits membership includes, the Centre is running its first-ever Subscribathon and offering a pearler of a prize – a year’s worth of workshops, including a ticket to September’s Tasmanian Writing Festival.

A prize like this is invaluable – it will give the lucky winner a year’s worth of professional development certain to catapult their writing aspirations.

To be in the running to win this incredible prize, entrants simply need to register for membership or renew between now and February 28 by visiting http://www.tasmanianwriters.org/join-or-renew. The winner will be announced March 6. Annual membership is $60 full, $45 concession, $25 under 21 and $90 for organisations.

But remember – everyone who subscribes is a winner. The perks of being a Tasmanian Writers’ Centre member are huge. Just some of the benefits include:

• Hefty discounts on TWC writing workshops

• Manuscript assessment service: special rates with leading authors to get feedback on your work and ideas for further development.

• Writas, the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: a monthly emailed newsletter with the latest news on competitions and opportunities to win prizes, professional development, literary events, readings and points of contact. Click here to see a past copy.

• Free events: poetry and prose readings open to the public, special readings by visiting authors, and other literary events.

• Concession rate entry to movies at the luxurious State Cinema: $16.50 per ticket as opposed to the usual rate of $18.50.

• 10% off all purchases at the Hobart Book Shop

• 10% off all purchases at the Devonport Bookshop

• Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Readings at the Lark

• Free lending access to the TWC Professional Library

• Links to your local writing community: and writers’ centres across Australia and the world.

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Hobart Bookshop: Days of Fear

Hobart Bookshop
22.01.15 10:54 am

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The Hobart Bookshop is pleased to invite you to the launch, by Sue Hickey, of Mike Tatlow’s new book, Days of Fear.

Days of Fear is the horrific true story of Maurice Tansey, Britain’s only spy in the IRA. Narrowly escaping death many times while saving lives with his alerts to MI6, his motivation was to minimise the number of both Catholic and Protestant innocents being killed, injured or anguished by the Troubles. He considers that if London had been less negligent and responded to more of his warnings of imminent atrocities, his life-saving total might have been greatly increased. The Secret Service had simply to telephone the British Army in Belfast and pass on Tansey’s information. Sadly, it seemed to Tansey that MI6 was more preoccupied with its then current game of outwitting the Soviet’s KGB.

You can meet Maurice at the launch.

When: 5.45pm, Tuesday February 3rd
Where: The Hobart Bookshop

Free event, all welcome.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
http://www.hobartbookshop.com.au

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Acclaimed Perth author Geraldine Wooller releases fourth novel

Scott Eathorne Quikmark Media
21.01.15 1:24 pm

Acclaimed Perth author Geraldine Wooller releases fourth novel, Trio ... set for Perth Writers Festival ...

Geraldine Wooller’s new novel, Trio (Transit Lounge, $27.95), follows the story of four people who meet and become friends in London. Searching for work and success in the theatre, they end up sharing a flat and a deep bond of friendship. Set in Italy, London and Australia from the sixties to current times, Trio is the story of their complex personalities and relationships, of the betrayals and desires that threaten to undermine what is in hindsight most important to them.  London is vibrantly alive in these pages, filled with music and drama, as is eighties and contemporary Perth, Australia, and Calabria, Italy. But at its heart this is a novel about love and friendship, loss and memory; about three unforgettable characters, and the special moments in all our lives that, through perceived hurt or fear, sometimes threaten to fall away and be lost forever.

In Geraldine Wooller’s fourth novel she captures with masterful wit and intelligence, and without a hint of sentimentality the essence of the human predicament. Geraldine will be appearing at the 2015 Perth Writer’s Festival.

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Hazel’s History

Paula Xiberras
08.01.15 5:20 am

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With a name like Flynn you would think Hazel Flynn would feel right at home in Tasmania. Even though her husband is an actor as far as I know Hazel has no relation to Tassie’s famous Flynn!  The name Hazel means commander which is appropriate to Hazel’s latest book of military engagements which we chatted about recently, ‘History’s most daring moments’.
Hazel does enjoy her visits to Tasmania calling it an ‘amazing experience’, enjoying ‘Cradle Mountain and the North West’’ and particularly the vibrancy of Salamanca and the classic sunny Christmas snow!’ but it’s been ‘too many years’ since her 1985 visit.  Hazel’s husband grew up in Tasmania and the couple maintain many friends in Tassie’s arts and acting community

Hazel is an accomplished writer splitting her writing talents as a ghost writer, historical books and biography which have included biographies on another Hazel, Hazel Hawke in ‘My Mother’s Story’ and ‘Hazel’s journey : A personal experience of Alzheimers’ she collaborated with Hazel’s daughter Sue Pieters-Hawke. Hazel also worked with Lani Brennan on Lani’s Story.  Hazel says she enjoys equally her eclectic writing and feels privileged to be a ghost writer in helping others who have a story to tell but might not know how to go about it.

Hazel wanted to write a book of popular history, that as well as being factual was easy to read and accessible for the general public, ‘History’s most daring moments’ is the result.

Some of Hazel’s favourite stories are Shackleton’s endurance of the Antarctic
and the story of the Trojan horse and how it is a mixture of mythology and historical fact, a story of god’s, ‘superior beings but earth driven’. Recent discoveries of cities on top of one another have identified a real historical city of Troy. It is believed the Trojan war lasted 10 years, yet in Homer it is condensed to only 41 days.

Its historical and mythological longevity lives on in the phrases associated with it, that have entered our language. Hazel outlines these, for example

‘Trojan Horse’, which designates something destructive, that doesn’t necessarily appear to be so.

‘Achilles Heel’ that denotes a fatal weakness

The famous ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’ referring to the Trojan horse given as a gift to Troy when in fact there were motives other than gift giving!

And ‘The Face that launched a thousand ships’ describing Helen, the great beauty who instigated the Trojan war.

Another story that Hazel particularly likes is that of the battle of Thermopylae -
the story shows what a determined army can do in defending their nation with good preparation, even though their adversaries may have more efficient equipment and may be many times multiplied in number. The battle of Thermopylae was made up of an amalgamation of Greek states including 300 Spartans (so goes the legend) as well as a number of slaves and other Greeks. The invading Persians, after previously being defeated by the Greeks, were now in great numbers. The Greeks blocked the Persian army but were undone when a resident let the Persians know about a secret path.
Voltaire said of another bloody engagement featured in the book, that nothing is better known than ‘The siege of Malta’.
The engagement was the climax of control of the Mediterranean with Malta a strategic gateway to the east which gave fame to’ the Knights Hospitaller’,‘Knights of Malta ‘ or the Knights of St John’ whose influence has spread the world and whose name lives on today in the ‘St John’s ambulance’.

‘History’s most daring moments’ is out now published by Allen and Unwin.

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Change of venue for the Rise and Fall of Gunns

Anne
07.01.15 11:59 am

Please note the updated details for the Launceston launch of Quentin Beresford’s book “The Rise and Fall of Gunns” which was previously advertised as being at the Tramsheds.

The venue has now been changed, possibly due to the expected high level of interest in people wanting to attend. The launch will now be at the Tailrace Function Centre, Waterfront Dr, Riverside on Sunday, 8th Feb at 2pm. Sydney businessman and pulp mill opponent Geoffrey Cousins will be MCing the launch.

The event is likely to be advertised soon by the bookshop organisers, Petrarchs.

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OPEN HOUSE

TJ Ryan Marketing and Publicity UQP
07.01.15 1:28 am

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David Brooks

OPEN HOUSE
poetry
David Brooks
Poetry |  ISBN: 978 0 7022 5352 2 |  February 2015 |  B-format paperback |  168 pp |  $24.95

From the author of The Conversation comes Open House, a striking new collection of poetry that celebrates David Brooks’ highly acclaimed talent for continuously delivering sharp and significant works.

Continuing a logical sequence of concerns and preoccuptions from his previous volume of poetry, The Balcony,  Brooks’ draws upon his Slovenian life, his concern for animal rights, and his time in the Blue Mountains to provide subtle, yet potent commentary on our priveleged position within nature’s hierarchy.

Spare and honed, the poems in Open House take a number of forms, drifting between nature and philosophy, evoking a meditative quality that is both contemplative and full of grace. From observations of the smallest creatures and textures underfoot, to the telescopic, the poems reveal the smallness of human endeavour from a thoughtful distance.

In the kingdom of shadows, world without end,
slugs traverse the prairies of the soul,
mice enter the pure land,
cockroaches conquer the valleys of death.

In the kingdom of shadows, dominion
of cats and sugar gliders,
moths are mastering the constellations, spiders
whispering their histories to the stars.
(extract from ‘In the Kingdom of Shadows’)

In writing Open House, Brooks drew inspiration from both the courageous animal activists he has worked with here and in Europe, as well as from the remarkable animals he has encountered that have quite literally changed his life. For him, it was important to use a form of ‘high-culture’ expression to expose the inherent cruelties and prejudeces against animals.

Brooks has also reflected deeply on his own life, one that involves him living an increasingly solitary existence in the country with the space to fuel his thought and advocacy. Recent medical challenges – surviving a heart attack and living with Multiple Sclerosis – have also forced him to come to terms with the animal that he is.

Powerful, resonant and unreserved, Open House offers a fresh perspective on nature, philosophy and the world we share.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Brooks is the author of four previous collections of poetry, three of short fiction, four highly acclaimed novels, and a major work of Australian literary history (The Sons of Clovis, UQP 2011). His The Book of Sei (1985) was heralded as the most impressive debut in Australian short fiction since Peter Carey’s, and his second novel, The Fern Tattoo (UQP 2007), was short-listed for the Miles Franklin award. Until 2013 he taught Australian Literature at the University of Sydney, where he was also the foundation director of the graduate writing program. He is currently co-editor of literary journal Southerly, lives in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, and spends several months each year in a village on the coast of Slovenia.

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ANGEL LADY

Linz. R .Nold
05.01.15 3:59 am

I open the door
and she’s standing there
like
twenty years
was
yesterday
The Ava
to my Frank
I’m staggered
She’s still beautiful
A few lines
that’s all
just like
in the vision
I saw
when I asked the Universe
after she disappeared
would I ever see her
again
and when
I was shown
the image
of her face
much older
like that
I said
I can’t wait that long!
Now that time has passed
without a sign of her
and she’s just
appeared
at my door.
What kept you?
I say
She smiles at my
warped humour
puts out a hand
and comes in
wanting
she says
stroking my arm
to make up
for Everything
It turns out
she’d married again
A rich guy
who’d died
She was loaded
I have
these type of
fantasies
all the time

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Cathy’s Clever Craft

Paula Xiberras
24.12.14 6:50 am

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Cathy Kelly is one of the most amiable people you could ever meet and has an ease of connection with everyone she encounters, as evidenced in seeing how she was able to make everyone feel as if they had known her forever at her book signing in Hobart recently,

It was hard to guess who Cathy was greeting as a previous acquaintance and who she was meeting for the first time. I hope she forgives my eavesdropping but its testament to Cathy’s approachability and the way she puts everyone at ease that I observed some of the guests were comfortable talking to her even about the sensitive subject of‘hormones’ and for those who were meeting her for the umpteenth time she was happily taking photos with 3 generations of the one family and remembering how the first time she had met them the youngest was only a baby!

One of the meanings of ‘Kelly’ is ‘lively’ and ‘Cathy’ means ‘pure’.You could say that is a perfect description of Cathy who is’pure lively!’

Indeed when we chat she tells me the story of one of her visits to Tasmania when she went to Salamanca Market, one of her favourite artisan and food venues, and how she immediately connected and chatted for ‘ages’ to a lady involved in animal rescue. Cathy’s fans know that she is committed to both human rights through her work with UNICEF and with animal rights demonstrated in the love she lavishes on the beloved ‘pupplets’.

As an author Cathy says she has just the right amount of fame to get a table in a restaurant but not to be bothered while she’s eating her dinner.
 
As Cathy explains her new book ‘It Started in Paris’ is a novel about love in all it’s fascinating permutations, the new or young love which is at its peak before marriage, the older, long married and sometimes jaded love of couples that may not even be couples anymore, saying goodbye to the wrong love and the possibility of the hope of new or rekindled love.

A nice inclusion is a quote relating to love at the start of every chapter that encourages the reader to reflect on both Cathy’s characters and love in general.

Cathy says that her writing career can be owed in part to some special teachers, including a former nun turned very glamorous educator who would talk about classical music to her students and create extraordinary embroidery. Some of this influence has stayed with Cathy as she is often doing crafts and even though she says these may mostly remain incomplete Cathy’s clever craft is the true artistry of embroidering with words.

Unlike one of her more cynical characters that talks of rainbows (in a lovely piece of alliteration) being no more than ‘precipitation and physics’ Cathy’s constantly radiating rainbows.

‘It Started in Paris’ is out now published by Hachette.

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Maps and Monsters!

Paula Xiberras
21.12.14 6:33 am

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For Allison Tait’s latest novel ‘The Mapmaker Chronicles’- ‘Race to the End of the World’ she uses the abbreviated ‘AL Tait’, not because, she tells me, of any desire to hide the fact she is female and her novel is a swashbuckling adventure but simply because she wanted to differentiate this novel from her adult ones.

Alison has fond memories of Tasmania where she spent 12 days on her honeymoon and said it was ‘a beautiful place’ to which she hopes to return, as when she was here last, there were so many ‘wow’ moments to stop and appreciate, there was no time to see everything.

Quinn, the hero of Alison’s novel is a young boy with very special powers, the ability to memorise everything he has ever seen, including any book of language instruction which proves very useful for someone sailing the seas and making connections with foreign speakers. Quinn is also unlike his six older brothers having spent a lot of time with his mum and becoming skilled in more feminine pursuits like needlework.

Quinn’s natural talents in these pursuits and unique skills allow him to be chosen for a very special mission to make a map of the world which in the time set of the novel isas it was in our own early history thought to be flat and largely unknown.

One of the things demonstrated to us is that not knowing things in a micro as well as a macro level about the world makes us scared but knowledge helps us cope with our fears. Of course, occasionally there is a time and place for an expletive and in this case the chosen one is ‘Leif’s boots’!Yes, there is a lot unknown about the world but much of what we fear including sea monsters, as are featured in this novel may not be as scary as they seem once we learn! The novel gives an important message that learning and knowledge are cool!

Another theme of this novel is the strength of women, even though women may have had a connotation as bad luck historically on ships. In this novel we have Ash, a girl who has inherited her mum’s ability with natural healing. We get a little bit of reversal in gender inclination with Ash the girl, the one desirous of adventure while Quinn is happier at home. Alison says the boys in the novel couldn’t do without her! and Ash has become so popular with readers she has her own fan club!

Like many authors Alison can’t say how her story turned out as it did. it seemed to take her subconscious on a journey as much as Quinn himself goes on a journey. I asked Allison what she thought of Morris Gleitzman’s phrase of ‘the magic spaces’ where reader and author meet, the reader taking to the meeting the interpretation relevant to them. How does Allison feel about others interpreting her books in their own way?

Alison mentions something she read on the internet, where an artist’s image of blue curtains was dissected by viewers to mean many different things such as ‘melancholy’. The artist replied to the question of what the blue curtains symbolised saying the curtains’ were just blue!’

As Allison says ‘Whatever is intended the aim of literature is to let our imaginations come to our own conclusion.’

‘The Mapmaker Chronicles’-‘Race to the End of the World’ is out now published by Hachette Australia and look forward to Quinn and co’sfurther adventures in the future.

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Unbeatable fun with Fox

Paula Xiberras
21.12.14 6:25 am

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A great idea for the Christmas season (and pre-season), if you have a young aspiring footballer in the family, is the second adventure of young footballer Fox Swift and his friends’ Fox Swift takes on the Unbeatables’ by David Lawrence, with some cameos and footy tips from star Hawthorn footballer Cyril Rioli.

Author David Lawrence returns with all of Fox’s friends including Hugo, who is allergic to grass and Simon, battling but winning weighty issues. When Fox’s arch enemy Mace captain of ‘The Dragons’ decides to tempt Simon with daily chocolate parcels, Simon surprises us with his solution to the sweet and sticky problem!

Some new friends with fabulous footy skills join Fox in his team ‘The Diggers’ as they attempt to beat Mace’s team ‘The Dragons’, including the rubbery moves of Chung Lee and the flexibility of Paige Turner.

Other quirky characters include the principal’s secretary who smooths out walls with a toothbrush and cleans ceiling lights with cotton buds. The mad footy tipping, apple growing principal as well as non-human characters like ‘The Diggers’ team mascot the kangaroo ‘Joey’ and a little touch of Alice in Wonderland with the contested (pardon the pun) white rabbit named ‘Gary (Ablett)’.

The new book is not just for the younger audience, but older readers who will enjoy seeing the symbolism in the characters’ names, such as judge Trudi Binder, our old friend/enemy the lawyer Miles Winter (and his equally dangerously devious son, Mace). Miles has an advertisement for his practise on the other side of his son’s team ‘The Diggers’ banner. Instead of saying ‘Miles is a cool dude, drops the ‘e’ to read he is ‘a cool dud!’

As well as being a good read, the book has an important message of friendship and acceptance to newcomers in the community and demonstrates what skills they may bring to their new home, such as the footy talent Fox’s two, tall Sudanese, friends.

‘Fox Swift takes on the Unbeatables’ by David Lawrence with Cyril Rioli and illustrated by Jo Gill is out now published by Slattery Press.

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ASA Bulletin: The Government and the ABC – A Christmas Special

Australian Society of Authors
21.12.14 6:21 am

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Read more here

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Colloca’s Cooking!

Paula Xiberras
19.12.14 5:10 am

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Silvia Colloca is a true Italian Renaissance woman, actor, opera singer or more precisely mezza soprano and culinary queen.

I had a chance to speak to this down-to-earth high achiever recently about her book ‘Made in Italy’ and SBS TVshow of the same name.

Silvia has not been to Tasmania as yet but on her list is a family caravan trip in the countryside and to experience all the wonderful food including the delicious cheeses.

As noted before, Silvia is a trained opera singer and actor with a passion for cooking.

Silvia didn’t think that she would be creating a career in cooking because it is her brother who is the chef and Silvia is untrained, but food and cooking is a passion for the family and so it was to her mother’s village and family home and farmstead in Italy that Silvia went to write her book and present her TV program.

Silvia wanted to create in an authentic Italian kitchen.

When I ask Silvia is there anything she can’t do she explains that if she could dance she would do that too, in fact anything in which she can express herself creatively.

Silvia says she doesn’t believe people should be pigeon-holed into one talent and that they can excel in many different things and she wants to teach her own children this. Silvia, although she is concentrating on cooking, is still acting and doing gigs as a singer.

Refreshingly when I compliment Silvia on all her talents including her singing, Silvia shrugs it off saying ‘anyone can sing’ and ‘voice is a matter of‘muscle training’.

For a simple meal idea Silvia says you can’t go past ‘Italian fast food’ otherwise known as mussel soup made in about 10 minutes and if you want something a bit more snazzy, an elaborate pasta is her food of choice. Lunch ideas might include broccoli, garlic, chilli, sourdough and anchovies.

‘Cucinapovera’ or ‘peasant cuisine’ is the food Silvia explores in her book, the food of the Italian people of the land and in spite of most of our opinion, it’s not an enormous Italian meal but instead a hearty agrarian feast that is ‘simple, fresh’ and consisting of ‘vegetables, healthy grains and spent, but its frugal and not an enormous meal.

Silvia’s book is more than just a cookbook, full of gorgeous photos of Italy and also hinting how acting runs in her blood, she features a photo of a castle and it’s story of a colourful king that she is surprised that Johnny Depp hasn’t thought about making a movie of as yet!.

Silvia’s book ‘Made in Italy’ is out now published by Penguin Books, Australia and Silvia’s TV program of the same name can be seen on SBS on 8pm Thursdays.

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What a year! Tasmanian authors and writers experience most successful ...

Amber Wilson, Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Communications Officer
18.12.14 2:57 pm

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Booker winner Richard Flanagan ..

... and applauded year in history

With more than 130 book launches and dozens of literary award wins, Tasmanian authors have plenty of reason to celebrate an unprecedented level of success in 2014.

Book stores in Tasmania averaged three to four launches statewide each week, while the cream of Tasmania’s writing community were shortlisted, won and were awarded many prestigious awards – more than any previous year.

Tasmanian literary legend Richard Flanagan has of course done his home state proud for winning not only one of the world’s most prestigious literary award – the Man Booker Prize – but also co-won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction as well as a host of other prizes for his masterpiece, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The incredible tale also won the Western Australian Premier’s Book and Fiction awards.

Many other Tasmanian writers have also been acknowledged for their books and stories in 2014 – more than ever before.

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre director Chris Gallagher said she was blown away by just how prolific and successful 2014 had been.

“Tasmania is continuing to build its reputations as a great literary island,” she said.

“For our population, we have unusually high numbers of authors and writers. But perhaps what 2014 has proven with the unprecedented amount of award wins for the state, is that not only do we have lots of writers, we also have a density of significant talent. Tasmanians are writing, and they’re writing extremely well.”

Ms Gallagher said Tasmania could now be positioned as the literary isle for anyone interested in writing and writers.

“I think this year’s achievements will assist Tasmania being viewed internationally as a proud literary community supporting so much writing talent.

“It’s wonderful to see our writers being honoured around the country, and we would certainly welcome moves for the Tasmanian government to ensure the Tasmanian Literary Prizes continue to acknowledge and honour our own writers.”

Ms Gallagher said the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre was planning an exciting 2015, drawing on the momentum of this awe-inspiring year. She said the centre would release its program of events, workshops and activities for the coming year, with an exciting and renewed focus and vision to help shape and encourage even more Tasmanian writers. Perhaps most exciting of all is the Centre is already preparing for its biennial Tasmanian Writers’ Festival to be held in Hobart, September 11-13.

“Expect to see some particularly left-of-centre and dynamic writing events in 2015. We’re planning something pretty special,” Ms Gallagher said.

Award-winning Tasmanian authors 2014

Richard Flanagan – the Man Booker Prize, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Fiction co-winner, the Miles Franklin Award (shortlisted), the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction, the University of Queensland Fiction Book Award, the Colin Roderick Award (shortlisted), the Western Australia Premier’s Book Award (Premier’s Prize and Fiction category), the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction (shortlisted) and the Independent Booksellers Award for The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Harrland – Finch Memoir Prize for Spinifex Baby
Alison Alexander – National Biography Prize for The Ambitions of Jane Franklin
Julie Hunt – Readings Children’s Book Prize and shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Prize for Song for a Scarlet Runner
Sarah Day – Prime Minister’s Literary Prize shortlist for Tempo
Henry Reynolds – Victorian Premier’s Award for Non-Fiction for The Forgotten War
Tim Thorne – Glen Harwood Prize for Fukushima Suite
Polly Whittington – Tasmanian Writing Prize 2014 (40 South) for The Chimney Pot
Anne Morgan and Gay McKinnon – joint winners of the Wilderness Society’s Environmental Award for Children’s Literature Junior Fiction for The Smallest Carbon Footprint and Other Eco-Tales
Christina Booth – Wilderness Society’s Environmental Award for Children’s Literature Picture Book for Welcome Home
Lily Stojcevski – Young Tasmanian Writing Prize Senior for Mountain. Predator. Shell.
Freya Cox – Young Tasmanian Writing Prize Junior for Leaf in my Hands
Finegan Kruckemeyer – Australian Writers’ Guild Awards for Theatre joint-winner for The Violent Outburst that Drew Me to You and Australian Writers’ Guild Awards for Children’s Theatre for The Grumpiest Boy in the World
Tom Holloway – Australian Writers’ Guild Awards for Theatre joint-winner for Storm Boy
Adam Ouston – The inaugural Erica Bell Foundation Award for Literature for The Party
Rohan Wilson – Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Awards for To Name Those Who Lost

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Dear friends, acquaintances and randoms:  I am writing to ask you to support ...

Rachel Edwards Editor in Chief
15.12.14 6:25 am

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Dear friends, acquaintances and randoms,

I am writing to ask you to support Transportation islands and cities, a collection of new short stories from London and Tasmania.

Transportation islands and cities is the first in an international collaborative series of books and we have now have confirmed an Iranian editor to join our London editor and myself for the next issue. We are releasing the first edition over the next weeks and launching in Tasmania at Fullers in Hobart on January 15 and in the UK at Rough Trade in Nottingham on February 1 with other events to follow.

We are delighted to announce that Peter Conrad has written our first introduction.

We are paying our writers (and printing costs) but all of the curating, promotion and editing have been done for free. We successfully crowdfunded $10 000 earlier in the year to cover those costs and we are now running a small campaign for incidentals (such as ISBN and barcode, international transfer costs, hidden printing costs such as proof despatch, professional memberships, incorporation and the list goes on!). We would also like to bring London editor, Sean Preston to Tasmania for an event in the new year.
 
To meet these costs we are running a crowdfunding campaign on Pozible. http://www.pozible.com/project/188292 
 
It would be truly wonderful if you could support this project – and there are some great rewards.

You can view the list of our current supporters here. It includes a range of high profile professionals from around the world, politicians from all walks of life, leaders in many sectors, our friends and our Mums and Dads.

We have business sponsors on board including Tasmanian Whisky Tours, Fullers Bookshop, Sharpen Creative Industries Consulting, the Cygnet Folk Festival and Pagan Cider.
 
Every donor will be named in our publication and website unless you prefer not to be.

Thank you if you have already pledged, we would still ask you to share the project with your networks and ask them to pledge. - I apologise in advance for any cross postings

Thank you in anticipation and we wish you a beautiful New Year,

Rachel

Transportation: islands and cities is a collection of short stories from Tasmanians and Londoners to be published in book form in late 2014.
Crowdfunding - http://www.pozible.com/project/188292
Subscribe to our newsletter here
- http://transportationbook.com/subscribe/
W: http://transportationbook.com/
F: https://www.facebook.com/transportationbook
T: @transportlontas

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Unseen CS Lewis letter defines his notion of joy

Alison Flood, The Guardian
10.12.14 7:49 am

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Author of spiritual memoir Surprised By Joy tells correspondent that joy is ‘almost as unlike security or prosperity as it is unlike agony’

A letter from CS Lewis which was discovered inside a secondhand book sees the author writing of how “real joy … jumps under ones ribs and tickles down one’s back and makes one forget meals and keeps one (delightedly) sleepless o’ nights”.

Believed to be previously unpublished, the letter to a “Mrs Ellis” was written by Lewis on 19 August 1945, and sees the author unpicking the concept of joy. Three years later, Lewis would expand on the subject in his memoir Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, the account of his conversion to Christianity. “In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England,” he would write, taking the book’s title from the eponymous Wordsworth poem.

Before he began work on the memoir, however, Lewis tells Ellis in this letter that “everything is going well”, but goes on to explain that he does not mean “joy” by this. “In fact I meant by ‘things going well’ just that security – or illusion of security – which you also regard as unhealthy. Real joy seems to me almost as unlike security or prosperity as it is unlike agony,” he writes.

“It jumps under one’s ribs and tickles down one’s back and makes one forget meals and keeps one (delightedly) sleepless o’ nights. It shocks one awake when the other puts one to sleep. My private table is one second of joy is worth 12 hours of Pleasure. I think you really quite agree with me.”

The handwritten letter had been enclosed within a copy of A Problem of Painbought from a secondhand bookshop, and is set to be auctioned later this month. “A private owner bought the book some years ago, and some time later discovered the letter inside it. As far as we know it’s unpublished,” said Chris Albury of Dominic Winter Auctioneers. “We haven’t been able to discover who Mrs Ellis is – there’s no envelope, because the owner just found it in the book.”

Lewis goes on to write of how “the physical sensations of joy and misery are in my case identical”, and of how “just the same thing happens inside me on getting the good or the bad news”. He adds a short postscript to the letter: “Don’t you know the disappointment when you expected joy from a piece of music and get only pleasure: Like finding Leah when you thought you’d married Rachel!”

Joy, he would write in his memoir, later, “must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again … I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and Pleasure often is.”

Read more, The Guardian,  here

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Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan inspires home state with award-winning streak ...

Amber Wilson, Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Communications Officer
09.12.14 12:50 pm

... and passion for indigenous literacy

Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan has become a living literary legend in his home state – jointly winning the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for fiction for his tremendous tale of the Burma Death Railway in The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Flanagan has won the award alongside Victorian Steven Carroll for his title A World of Other People.

Even more astounding than news of his win is Flanagan’s inspirational decision to donate his $40,000 prize to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Last night’s announcement comes shortly after October’s stunning announcement that Flanagan had become the first-ever Tasmanian author to win the Man Booker prize, also for The Narrow Road, described by judges as a “masterpiece”.

Flanagan has shared in the $80,000 Prime Minister’s Literary Award prize for his novel, which has been described by judges as “grand in both its ambitions and its achievement”.

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre director Chris Gallagher said Flanagan was not only a trailblazer and a role-model for all Tasmanian writers and authors, he was also an inspiration and an example for how to use personal success to build a better Australia.

“When he won the Man Booker Prize, Richard showed great integrity in standing by his beliefs in protecting Australia’s old-growth native forests,” she said.

“Richard has again demonstrated that firm resolve and integrity by choosing to channel his prize money into something else he believes in – helping First Nation Australians.

“We are not only hugely proud of Richard’s achievements and wins, we’re also proud of the way he shows leadership in Australia, and we’re also deeply inspired.”

Ms Gallagher said she saw great value in channeling funds into indigenous literacy programs.

Ms Gallagher also extended her congratulations to the two other Tasmanians who made the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlist – Sarah Day in the poetry section for Tempo and Julie Hunt in the children’s fiction section for Song for a Scarlet Runner.

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Another Award for Richard Flanagan

Vanessa Goodwin, Minister for the Arts
09.12.14 12:40 pm

On behalf of the Tasmanian Government I congratulate Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan for being awarded the 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction.

Mr Flanagan was last night presented with the award, shared with Steven Carroll, for his Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

The Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction is just the latest in a long line of critical acclaim for his masterpiece.

His success sends a message to all young and aspiring Tasmanian writers that you can do great things by telling your stories.

Once again we applaud Richard Flanagan’s magnificent work and the recognition he has brought to Tasmania.

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Hobart Bookshop:  Julia Gillard!

The Hobart Bookshop
08.12.14 6:30 pm

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The Hobart Bookshop is very pleased to be hosting Julia Gillard for a signing of her book, My Story.

‘I was prime minister for three years and three days. Three years and three days of resilience. Three years and three days of changing the nation. Three years and three days for you to judge.’ On Wednesday 23 June 2010, with the government in turmoil, Julia Gillard asked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a leadership ballot. The next day, Julia Gillard became Australia’s 27th prime minister, and our first female leader. Australia was alive to the historic possibilities.

This is Julia Gillard’s chronicle of that turbulent time, a strikingly candid self-portrait of a political leader seeking to realise her ideals. It is her story of what it was like - in the face of government in-fighting and often hostile media - to manage a hung parliament, build a diverse and robust economy, create an equitable and world-class education system, ensure a dignified future for Australians with disabilities, all while attending to our international obligations and building strategic alliances for our future.

Please come and meet Julia Gillard, grab a copy of the book, and have it signed!

Where: The Hobart Bookshop
When: Friday December 19th, 2.30-3.30

Free event, all welcome.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
http://www.hobartbookshop.com.au

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Book an Adventure: Bruny Island Children’s Literature Festival

Anne Morgan
08.12.14 10:45 am

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When:            15-18 January 2015
Where:            Adventure Bay, Bruny Island
Why:              To celebrate children’s books, reading and illustration.
Who:              Mainly for kids under 13 and their families.

Website:          http://www.bookanadventure.org.au. Bookings online.

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Judges wowed by Tassie writing talent in inaugural Erica Bell Foundation Literature Award

Amber Wilson, Communications Officer Tasmanian Writers' Centre
05.12.14 8:56 am

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Adam Ousten

Poring over manuscript after manuscript was a tough but eye-opening job for judges nutting out who would win the new Tasmanian manuscript prize – the inaugural Erica Bell Foundation Literature Award for $10,000 for an unpublished novel.

The judging process, overseen by the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and led by established authors Rohan Wilson and Lian Tanner, proved one indisputable fact – Tasmania holds a treasure-trove of hidden talent just waiting to emerge from the laptops of unknown authors.

Hobart native Adam Ouston (above) has won the award for his provocative manuscript, The Party, a philosophical enquiry whereby the central protagonist announces at her party that she plans to kill herself. Adam has won $10,000 and support from the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre to propel him towards publication. First runner-up, winning $1000, was Anne Blythe-Cooper, for her novel The Shape of Water, an historical fiction about the wife of Peter Degraves, the colonial settler responsible for building Hobart’s Cascades Brewery and Theatre Royal. Second runner-up, winning $500, was Robbie Arnott, for his novel The Marsupial Almanac, a profound coming-of-age story.

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre director Chris Gallagher said she was astonished by how evocative and imaginative the winners’ work was. She also said she was delighted by the overall standard of entries, making tough work for the judges.

“This is the first time the Erica Bell Foundation Literature Awards have been held, and it is the highest prize for an award of its type in Tasmania,” she said.

“While we already knew Tasmania was a hotbed for talent in the literature world, we didn’t quite expect to come across such incredible stories, particularly The Party, The Shape of Water and The Marsupial Almanac, which we are sure will have publishers knocking on the winners’ doors.

“This prize really proves what we’ve been thinking for a long time – that Tasmania really punches above its weight in the literature world. We have the talent - it’s simply a matter of getting these wonderful writers published and their names out into the open.”

Judge Rohan Wilson described Adam’s manuscript as a “work of extraordinary breadth and ambition”.

“The story begins dramatically, with Vivian Parrish, the renowned novelist, announcing her intention to take her own life at a dinner party. She is ill. She no longer wants to suffer. This doesn’t sit well with Annabel, her lover, who believes she is giving up on life,” Rohan said.

“Their history unfolds through memory and flashback. The simple facts become complicated. We watch as Annabel and Vivian fall in love, live life, and then lose it. It’s a beautiful story, poignant and full of truth.”

Rohan said the manuscripts were of a similar standard to those entered in this year’s Vogel Literary Awards, Australia’s richest and most prestigious award for an unpublished manuscript – which he also judged in 2014.

Judge Lian Tanner said she was pleasantly surprised by the quality of manuscripts.

“A prize like this is such a brilliant opportunity for emerging Tasmanian authors, and already looks like making a difference to our literary landscape,” she said.

Adam said the Erica Bell Award was an invaluable addition to the Tasmanian literary landscape because traditionally, prizes of its calibre were only open to established writers.

“This award enables the emergence of new voices in a cultural and commercial landscape that often gives the cold shoulder to anything unproven,” he said.

“(There) is the need for the Tasmanian public to be aware of and read Tasmanian writers, for Tasmanians to look inward and see the scope of talent that is here. Also, it is just as important for Tasmanian writers to take themselves seriously and see themselves as part of a global conversation.”

The Erica Bell Foundation was established to to celebrate excellence in literature and medical research in Tasmania and to honour the outstanding achievements of the late Erica Bell, who published over 100 academic research papers and five books during her 10 years at the University of Tasmania, as well as publishing two historical novels. She also worked in medical research and was committed to her academic work and the state of Tasmania. She was working as an Associate Professor at the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre at the University of Tasmania at the time of her passing, aged 52. 

http://www.tasmanianwriters.org

77 Salamanca Place
Hobart 7000

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Celebrate@thelark - December 10

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
04.12.14 9:31 am

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JOIN US FOR AN EVENING OF FUN, FRIVOLITY AND FICTION

It’s been a big year for Tasmanian writing. History has been made, awards have been won - and we seem to keep discovering more and more talent emerging from our wee island.

So clearly you’ve all been busy writing 2014 away - and quite franky, it’s time to celebrate. Join us at the Lark Distillery for our end-of-year, um, lark, for an evening of festive cheer. We’ll have readings from some of Tasmania’s finest writers (including a surprise or two), raffles, and pressies from the Hobart Book Shop. It’s sure to be a cranker. But please do RSVP so we know you’re coming….

WHEN: Wednesday December 10, 6-8pm

WHERE: The Lark Distillery, 14 Davey Street, Hobart

RSVP: by December 6 to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Two new releases from Acorn Press

Karina Woolrich ACORN PRESS
04.12.14 6:41 am

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• Beyond the Myth of Self Esteem: Finding Fulfilment by John Smith with Coral Chamberlain

Drawing on a wide range of resources and insights from his extraordinary experiences, John Smith uncovers common myths about self-esteem and explores their effects on individuals and society. To those who have come under the influence of these myths, he offers a fresh perspective on self-esteem and personal identity and the possibility of a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Beyond the Myth of Self-Esteem is essential reading if you are looking for a deeper understanding of your world. It will be of particular interest to those who have encountered unexpected obstacles along the path to living their dreams or have a lurking suspicion that there must be more to life than chasing success and spending money.

• Marvellous Melbourne and Spiritual Power: A Christian Revival and its Lasting Legacy by Will Renshaw

Marvellous Melbourne and Spiritual Power is a unique record of the rich Christian spiritual heritage of Melbourne. The foundations for this heritage were laid within the city’s first months of European settlement, when Henry Reed preached the gospel at Port Phillip in 1835. In the decades that followed, many gathered regularly to pray for evangelistic and missionary activity, and for a revival of faith in the young nation. One significant outcome was the growth of a flourishing evangelical movement in Victoria with its distinctive Keswick-style convention ministry, which originated in England and proclaimed abundant life and full salvation.

This is a story of how God equips ordinary people to become extraordinary leaders in his service. It is a powerful testimony to the importance of persevering prayer and intercession in the deep reviving work of God in his church and the wider community.

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Hobart Bookshop: Patrick Bender’s Million Miles Beyond a Campfire

The Hobart Bookshop
02.12.14 5:43 pm

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The Hobart Bookshop and Forty South Publishing
are pleased to invite you to join us in celebrating the launch of
Patrick Bender’s Million Miles Beyond a Campfire.

“It started with a story,
as we sat around the campfire
gazing into the red hot bed of coals
relating Earth’s similarly searing evolution
of magma and mayhem in bygone ages
many moons ago,
which started me thinking,
such was the nature of Dad’s story relating and linking.”


Where: The Hobart Bookshop
When: Thursday December 4, 5.30pm

Free event, all welcome

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
http://www.hobartbookshop.com.au

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The perfect crime: Michael Robotham in Conversation

Australian Society of Authors
18.11.14 11:51 am

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It would be a crime to miss an event like this. International crime writer Michael Robotham will be gracing Hobart’s shores next week for a fascinating evening where he will divulge secrets and strategies for eking out a career in writing.

Robotham began his career as an investigative journalist in Australia and the UK before becoming a ghostwriter and working on more than a dozen bestselling autobiographies for politicians, pop stars, soldiers and adventurers. His psychological thrillers have been translated into 22 languages and have twice won the Ned Kelly award for Australian Crime Fiction.

His latest novel Life or Death is about a man who escapes prison the day before he is due to be released. This gripping page-turner cements Robotham’s position as one of Australia’s great storytellers.

Michael Robotham in Conversation is the latest installment of the Australian Society of Author’s national “In Conversation” series, which features experts discussing writing, publishing and the business of authorship. Robotham will talk about his career in journalism, ghost writing and crime authorship, and take questions from the audience. Join him for wine, cheese and a chat.


<b>Michael Robotham in Conversation: Wednesday 19th November, 6-8pm
In partnership with the Australian Society of Authors
TWC and ASA members and their guests $10, full price $15
Salamanca Arts Centre, 77 Salamanca Place, Hobart

Book direct with the ASA here: https://www.asauthors.org/event/12539/in-conversation-michael-robotham Contact us for enquiries at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or phone 6224 0029.

http://www.tasmanianwriters.org

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Darrell’s Deductive Doyle Says Cheese

Paula Xiberras
17.11.14 5:35 am

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Darrell Pitt hasn’t been to Tasmania as yet, but shares with me that it’s ‘a place I really want to go’ in fact Darrell has been perusing photos and has taken a keen interest in real estate in some of Hobart’s historic areas.

The plan of visiting Tassie is coming a little closer as he also scrutinizers the fairly inexpensive travel deals and having lived in NSW for most of his life, the fact that Darrell now lives in Victoria and so just over the pond from Tasmania. Of course the Tassie winters do deter him a little!

Darrell’s latest novel ‘The Secret Abyss’ is inspired by his long time love of Victorian literature including the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne.

His young adult novel’s main character Mr Doyle, with the middle name Ignatius, is a nod to Arthur Conan Doyle himself and his invention of the sleuth Sherlock Holmes. The interesting thought struck Darrell that if ConanDoyle was a detective and solved detective cases like Holmes he would have his own Watson and form a dynamic duo, and give guidance, in this case to an orphan by the name of Jack Mason.

One thing that Mr Doyle gives guidance on is his deductive thinking and if you read page 65 you will get a good example of this as Mr Doyle quizzes a suspect, deduces some very interesting facts from the unfinished state of the fellow’s tattoos, the un-kept nature of his clothing, the letters in a woman’s hand he spies behind him and the demise of his dog.

Darrell’s novel also has a feminist point of view with his admittedly favourite character of Scarlet Belle, a young suffragette, because to Darrell woman are still fighting for their rights and it is an important issue to him. Darrell celebrates the strength of women and says Scarlet dives in ‘where angels fear to tread’.

Darrell may never have gotten into writing if it hadn’t an experience as a child at school hadn’t turned things around for him. He had struggled to write a short story at school but one day he did manage to write the required 3 and half pages. He was praised by the teacher and this is what gave him the impetus to continue and indeed make a career of writing.

Darrell’s aim is to write about seven books, similar to the Harry Potter series. Darrell’s characters are not cardboard and in some cases are so real we share with them, their trials and tribulations.

Darrell tells me his character’s stories affect him greatly and he finds himself crying at their sorrows and laughing at their joys. He notices sometimes his wife popping her head around the door and shaking her head at his expression of emotion! Darrell believes like Stephen King that ‘there is a mental telepathy between the reader and the writer’ something akin to what Morris Gleitzman calls the ‘magic spaces’, Darrell also quotes Stephen King about reading and education and how it leads to the opening of a door, while lack of educational opportunities opens the door only narrowly that limits your view of the world. 

Darrell says to encourage reading it’simportant to let people read whatever they want, whether it be comic books or fantasy as it will allow them to form the skills in reading they need. Darrel is always delighted when he hears stories like the following for instance:

Some parents noted their young son in the back seat of the car on a long trip giving up his computer and his parents looking around to see him engrossed in a book!. Such stories give Darrell deep satisfaction.

I have one question to ask Darrell and that is why we always see Mr Doyle with a piece of cheese. Darrell says that he himself is also a fan of blue cheese but with a writer’s visionDarrell says the regular appearance of the cheese might subconsciously, symbolically signify a maturing (as cheese is known for) in the relationship of Mr Doyle and his young protégés. 

On a final note Darrell says once a woman asked him whether he wrote for money or fame he says for him it is neither, he loves writing, Darrell’s book ‘The Secret Abyss’ is out now published by Text Publishing.

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The Acorn Catalogue

Karina Woolrich, Acorn Press
17.11.14 4:45 am

Acorn Press’ current catalogue for your reference in the last weeks of Spring!

Read the catalogue on Acorn’s website:

http://acornpress.net.au/

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Petrarch’s Bookstore: Stephen Brown, author of HIGH BEAM ... new Tassie Crime Fiction

Stephen Brown
14.11.14 6:32 pm

Saturday November 29th at Petrarch’s Bookstore (Launceston)

Stephen Brown (author of HIGH BEAM…new Tassie Crime Fiction)

Book Signings from 11AM.

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Short story maestro to divulge secrets of storycraft

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
10.11.14 1:50 pm

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It’s no surprise Tony Birch has an arsenal of good yarns up his sleeve. Growing up in a large inner-Melbourne family of Aboriginal, West Indian and Irish descent, he swung from “good boy” living as an altar boy and top student to an “off-the-rails” teen having run-ins with the police.

Luckily for us, these days the esteemed author prefers writing compelling stories than fighting. He uses his fiction to tell the tough tales that connect to his readers – even hard-to-reach types that tend to avoid books, like teenage boys. Even better is the news that he’ll be in Hobart come November 29 and 30 to show local writers, both aspiring and established, the ropes of writing stories that work.

If you’ve got a story inside you just screaming to be let out but you don’t know where to start, you’re in luck. Tony will be running two workshops in Hobart that offer a host of powerful techniques allowing you to tell your tales. For those looking to explore their fiction craft, Tony will teach character development, the “seed” of storytelling, and the general principles of learning to write well through practice, reading, observational work and “sketching”. For those of the factual bent, Tony’s non-fiction workshop will explore place and landscape, finding ways to tell “true” stories beyond the bare facts, and specialist areas like music writing and memoir.

Tony is the author of three short story collections - Shadowboxing (2006), Father’s Day (2009) and The Promise (2014). His novel, Blood (2011) was shortlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin award, and won the Civic Choice award for the Melbourne Literary Prize in 2012. Tony’s latest book The Promise is a collection of short stories bringing to life the stories of people really doing it tough.

Tony also publishes essays and is currently representing The Wheeler Centre for Writing on a global project dealing with Climate Change and Creativity. He teaches in the writing program in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne.

Fiction: Saturday 29 November, 1pm-4pm
Non-Fiction: Sunday 30 November, 10am-1pm
Meeting Room, Salamanca Arts Centre, 77 Salamanca Place
Cost $55 TWC members, $77 non-members
Bookings: email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or phone (03) 6224 0029

http://www.tasmanianwriters.org

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Hobart Bookshop:  Drowned Vanilla by Tansy Rayner Roberts ...

The Hobart Bookshop
06.11.14 5:59 pm

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The Hobart Bookshop and Twelfth Planet are pleased to invite you to the launch of

Drowned Vanilla by Tansy Rayner Roberts (writing as Livia Day).

Kate Gordon will launch the book, which is the second novel in the Cafe la Femme series. 

When: Thursday November 20th, 5.30pm
Where: The Hobart Bookshop

Free event, all welcome.

The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart Tasmania 7000
ph 03 6223 1803 | fax 03 6223 1804
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
http://www.hobartbookshop.com.au

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Roy’s Racing Royalty

Paula Xiberras
01.11.14 6:39 am

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It’s spring carnival time and perfectly timed for the new biography on arguably Australia’s greatest jockey, Roy Higgins.

The Age writer Patrick Bartley takes on the challenging task and I spoke to him about Roy and his book recently. Patrick tells me he is a big fan of Tassie having taken ‘a couple of beautiful holidays here, one with his 12 year old daughter when they went horse riding at Port Arthur, enjoyed the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and the Taste Festival. Patrick says that Tassie is ‘one of the great, great unappreciated places in the world’.

Appreciation is something we should have when talking about Roy Higgins; just the name evokes royalty. Higgins means ‘knowledge skill or ingenuity’ something Roy had more than ample of but Higgins has its origin in a name once famed by an Irish high king of Tara, and in French, his first name Roi means ‘king’.

This all gives credence to Roy’s position as ‘king of the turf’  and as we Roy’s racing royalty gained fame in France, a place where his battles with weight were not of such importance as they may have been in Australia.

Roy always had a large persona; a large baby, Patrick says that with his physique, Roy would have seemed to have been better suited to football or rugby than to the diminutive world of the jockey.

Yet life had other plans for Roy; his father worked with draught horses and Roy became enamoured of them, happily taking on duties of providing them with their food/drink buckets.

While Roy was enamoured of horses, Australia from the ordinary Australian to the upper echelons of society would became enamoured of Roy. When writing the book Patrick rang at half past two in the morning, Andrew Peacock, then living in Texas.  After the initial chastisement for the early call once Andrew found out what the call was about he was happy to chat about the man he called ‘Superman’.

Mothers would berate their sons why they couldn’t look as elegant and speak so eloquently as Roy when he appeared on ‘Wide World of Sport’. Roy’s elegance and attitude was in part because of the people he would mix with, from the ordinary punter to politicians and royals, as a jockey he thought he should be educated and well spoken.

On the racetrack, Roy, as Bart Cummings and others would attest, had an uncanny ability when riding to sense the feeling of horses in front of him and when they tired. Roy was something of an original ‘horse whisperer’ before the phrase became trendy.

Patrick says Roy, was always striving to bring honour to racing and he did this not only by his impeccable manner and standards but by supporting charity and in all actions demonstrating the racing industries heart.

Some examples included visiting a young man in hospital and inviting him to the races, rescuing a little kitten from the stables, nursing it to health and supporting fellow jockeys like Tasmania’s own Craig Hewitt.

There is no doubt Roy loved racing, such was his love for the sport, he would sacrifice his appetite for food to satisfy his appetite for winning races.

In those days without all the sophisticated dieticians that are involved in racing today it was a tough business especially for a well-built man like Roy to slim down for races. Severe saunas in plastic wrap and other dietary measures meant Roy’s stomach shrunk in size and as Patrick said ‘he suffered perpetual hunger for 20 years’. At that time ‘Racing was as big as AFL’ and he ‘lived in the glare of publicity’, indeed, says Patrick ‘Churches and school halls were deserted on Sundays when Roy was holding court on ‘Wide World of Sports’.

From a shy apprentice at Flemington, that barely slept the night before he was to meet Henry Bolte Roy transformed himself into a debonair kindly man who was king, not just on the racetrack but as a humanitarian. For his sporting greatness and his humanitarian acts Patrick is behind the call for a statue of Roy to stand with the greats. Patrick says of Roy, he was ‘a beautiful man’ with ‘no aloofness’.

Roy Higgins: Australia’s Favourite Jockey by Patrick Bartley is out now published by Penguin Books ...

HERE ...

http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780143799726/roy-higgins-australia-s-favourite-jockey ?

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