21.07.16 7:53 am
A while ago I spoke to Annie Seaton, author of a new brand of rural fiction. Her latest novel ‘Kakadu Sunset’ features heroine Ellie Porter, a helicopter pilot who discovers something not quite right is going on in beautiful Kakadu. Ellie has suffered the loss of her family farm and even worse the loss of her beloved father to suicide.
In her work Ellie is assigned a co-pilot, Kane who, although a difficult man to get on with at times (as he too suffers from trauma of another kind, that of a returned soldier), is also as sweet as cane sugar and for all her good intentions Ellie cannot resist!
As well as being at the heart a romance, the novel tackles some of the difficult issues of rural living such as suicide and the environmental challenges of procedures like fracking that threaten to destroy the functioning and beauty of a place like Kakadu.
Annie recalls from the early age she was destined to be a writer, she recalls as a four year old at the local library in Brisbane falling in love with books, her favourites being Enid Blyton and Mary Grant Bruce.
Annie even wrote her first book at 11 years old. She continued to write short stories in her adult life but career, marriage, family and children intervened. Anne is now returning to writing and in the burgeoning area of rural fiction
As to why people are being drawn to rural fiction Annie believes ‘it is a nostalgic return to the real Australia and all its defining characteristics includes the larrikinism, the bush and characters that are icons of Australia’.
Kakadu Sunset is out now published by Pan Macmillan Australia
Black Inc. and Nero
20.07.16 3:29 pm
18.07.16 8:01 am
Recently I had a chat with prolific author Karly Lane about her latest book ‘Second Chance Town’. The novel is the story of Lucy, living in a rural town raising a teenage daughter and finding herself attracted to the town’s new resident pub renovator and outsider Hugh Thompson.
While attempting to protect her daughter from the town’s prevailing drug problems in Lucy must navigate a relationship with Hugh, he of the secret past , heavy tattoos and preference for motorcycles which sees him viewed as part of the addiction to different ways that is threatening the town.
But the novel is called ‘Second Chance Town’ and for both Lucy and Hugh their second chance involves their taking a chance on each other.
The novel brilliantly sketches small town life and realistic characters including the portrayal of a gay couple.
Karly tells me in her early days of writing when her children were little she would both write at night, and during the day move her desk near the children’s play area so she could keep an eye on them. Now with the children at school Karly has those precious hours available for her writing but there is always the occasional need for last minute edits that can stretch into the night. With such prolificacy Karly tells me she is “thinking all the time”.
Karly is often surprised when readers see a different vision of places she has drawn in her books and Karly’s characters often make a big as impact on her as they do on her readers. She tells me when she drives past a certain area that she employed as the scene of an accident in her novel “Burnt’ she often has to remind herself it was indeed fiction, not a real accident.
Second Chance Town is out now published by Allen and Unwin
Black Inc, Nero
14.07.16 11:25 am
08.07.16 5:16 am
Kayte Nunn is yet to make the journey to Tasmania although she assures me it is high on her list especially Wine Glass Bay, Cradle Mountain and the docks.
Kayte Nunn is an English girl who has made Australia home for the last twenty years. A magazine and book editor Kayte has now turned to writing her first novel ‘Rose Vintage’.
There is some ambiguity in the title that follows Rose’s work bringing both a crop to vintage at an Australian vineyard and reaching her own maturation after a failed relationship.
The book is divided into sections including; ones titled ‘pruning’, ‘first bud’, ‘blossom’ and ‘vintage’. These sections mapping the development of plants parallels the development of the love relationship in the book. For example, we have the beginning period which signals the end of an old relationship for the main protagonist, Rose, as she is’’ pruning’ or clearing away the old to bring in the new. The chapter ‘first bud’ with the beginning of a new relationship in the shape of the Kalkari Vineyard’s owner Mark who brings with him his own ‘blossoms’ in his two children as well a bit of an unexpected noxious exotic, in the form of his former wife Isabella, that threatens to stall the growth of the relationship as Rose and Mark work to achieve their own ‘vintage’.
Kayte tells me her desire to write came to her while she was attending boarding school as an 11 year old. The school library held a copy of ‘The Darling Buds of May’ which inspired her with its sense of community not unlike that which we see in Rose Vintage.
‘Rose Vintage’ is out now published by Nero.
07.07.16 6:52 am
While 65 might be considered a reasonable age to retire for some, for Andy Griffith’s treehouse franchise it’s a chance to reflect and realise that there is a whole lot more renovating to do at the tree house and to take that promotion up to yet another level in the next installment.
Right now we are on storey 65 and Andy Griffiths as always is continually climbing the topsy turvey, language ladder of that continually growing tree house and he’s also breaking the rules in his illogical land of literature and the kids love it. They love it because it is child centred and in its realm of a physical world with few constraints, although within legal parameters, (as Andy says any bad behaviour has its consequences) the possibilities are endless, hence the storeys continually being added to the already heavily laden tree house that has proved a fruitful franchise for Andy and his illustrator Terry..
In the 65th instalment Andy has his protagonists wandering through ‘time and space’ encountering ‘alternative versions of themselves’.
The 65th story treehouse resonates with children because among other goodies it has, as the blurb says, it has every child’s dream ‘a birthday room where it’s always your birthday.
Andy is assisted as always with long term collaborator and illustrator Terry Denton because ‘their ideas feed off each other’ and the third member of their creative team, Andys wife Jill.
And for all aspiring authors where does Andy look for inspiration for his books? Well, Andy watches ‘great comedy’ and reads ‘funny books’.
The 65th Storey Treehouse is out now published by Pan Macmillan.
Stephanie Eslake, Tasmanian Writers' Centre
07.07.16 6:38 am
ERICA BELL MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
Tasmanian Writers Centre
The Erica Bell Mentorship Program will offer three Tasmanian writers the opportunity to work with an established author to discuss and find pathways to work with their manuscript.
The program follows the success of the inaugural Erica Bell Foundation Awards, which were established in 2014 and awarded grants of up to $10,000 to celebrate excellence in Tasmanian literature and medical research.
Applications for Tasmanian literature in the 2016 mentorship program will open Wednesday 6 July and close 5pm Friday 29 July 2016.
This is a unique opportunity for you to work closely with an experienced writer who will provide professional feedback on your manuscript and work with you to bring your manuscript closer to publication.
Manuscripts can be works of fiction, memoir/biography, or young adult fiction.
Send your submission with two attachments:
A. Your application letter including:
250 word synopsis
Any relevant writing history
Your reasons for wanting a mentor
List three mentors you would like to work with (preferably but not limited to Tasmanian writers). We will make every effort to appoint a mentor of your choice but can not guarantee their availability. Some of the possible mentors who have confirmed their availability include Terry Whitebeach, Heather Rose, Danielle Wood, Rohan Wilson, and Lian Tanner
B. PDF file containing the first 10,000 words of your manuscript
Your submission must be clearly labelled with your name and manuscript title, with the subject heading: Erica Bell Mentorship application. If you are shortlisted, we will ask you to submit a complete manuscript.
Terms and conditions:
There is a $20 fee for submissions payable through taswriters.org
Writers must be financial members of the Tasmanian Writers Centre
Entries must be submitted electronically and no late entries will be accepted
Employees of the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre and Erica Bell Foundation are not eligible to apply
The foundation supports local talent. The competition is open to writers living and working in Tasmania
Manuscripts extracts must be:
Works of fiction, memoir/biography, or young adult fiction, and not previously published
The final selection will be at the discretion of the selection panel
Enter the Erica Bell Mentorship Program ...
06.07.16 6:36 am
A little while ago I talked to Robyn Mundy about her new novel ‘Wildlight’.
The novel has close connections with Tasmania ... being set on Maatsuyker Island.
One of the key metaphors that Robyn employs involves the cray fisher Tom recounting how the crays need to shed their skins to grow.
This is applicable to characters in the novel.
For Steph, the main protagonist and her family relocating to Maatsuyker seems a way to recapture an earlier more simple life and in that niche of nostalgia to shut out the real, confusing and complex world, a world that saw Stephanie lose her twin brother.
The family may have removed themselves from the world and with It, most forms of modern communication including to Steph’s horror, all online contact.
Stephanie does create a new contact, of the old fashioned king, with Tom the young cray fisher as she finds maturity in her lighthouse duties. The lighthouse symbol is important to the story of a family that has momentarily lost its way and in danger of crashing on the rocky shores. Steph and Tom, with so much of their story centred at the lighthouse extend the metaphor as they provide a much needed beacon for each other.
The book is dense with literary devices, symbols and metaphors and gives us an ambiguous ending that involves Stephanie returning to the island but then leaving again as she continues to shed the old skin and grow anew. It is left to the reader to conclude what Stephanie’s future holds.
‘Wildlight’ is out now published by Pan Macmillan Australia. You can read more and purchase the book here http://www.panmacmillan.com.au/9781743537909.
Robyn Mundy will be discussing her book at Fullers Bookshop on July 7 at 5.30pm.
05.07.16 11:15 am
We are delighted to host the launch of Saxby Pridmore’s book, White-out: Selected Published Poems 1986-2016.
White-out: selected published poems 1986-2016 brings together 194 of Tasmanian poet Saxby Pridmore’s published poems to commemorate his achievement and contribution to Australian poetry: more than 300 poems published in over 40 different literary magazines and journals, including Quadrant, Studio, Famous Reporter, Blue Dog, Overland and Island.
“These poems consider everything human ...They’re deft, poised, and compassionate. Many will stay in mind and invite revisiting ...” - Michael Sharkey, Editor, Australian Poetry Journal
“White-out explores the diversity of the personal and close at hand alongside coolly-observed, critical social commentary on the ills of the world…Pridmore’s writing is perceptive, reflective, generous.” - Ralph Wessman, former editor and publisher of Famous Reporter
Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square
When: Thursday July 21st, from 5.30pm
Free event, all welcome.
Our mailing address is:
The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart, Tas 7000
Tasmanian Writers' Centre
01.07.16 11:22 am
It’s school holiday time again - and if you’re looking for ways to keep the kids inspired, we have you covered.
We’re sending some of the finest writers in the state out to libraries all the way from Currie to Kingston. Between July 7-14, your children can enjoy the experience of creating their own stories in free writing workshops. Many teaching the classes are popular children’s authors in their own right, including Anne Morgan who had a chat with us ahead of her workshop (read on for more). All kids aged 5-17 are welcome and you can find details about your local event here.
There is also an opportunity for children to enter their stories into the Young Creative Writers Awards for 2016. A book with the award-winning entries will be published at the end of the year, supported by the Commissioner for Children. Entries are open until the end of the month.
And for the grown-ups, why not indulge in some quality reading time? We’ve just launched our new Recommended Reads list on our website. It will feature four books each month we think you’ll love, and we’ll give you the chance to win one. Learn more in this newsletter below or jump straight to this month’s list.
From the TWC team x
29.06.16 9:38 am
Meredith Appleyard tells me that the title of her latest novel is ambiguous, ‘The Doctor Calling’ refers both to a doctor making house calls and also the ‘calling’ to be a doctor.
A doctor with both of these callings is Dr Laura O’Connor who leaves her home town after losing her husband in an accident, to work in the quieter atmosphere of country town, Potters Junction. Yet, even there she finds herself caught up in a family crisis of the seriously ill patient she is caring for and the return, after many years, of his son, Jack Finlay after many years.
The novel explores Meredith’s interest in how characters relationships survive emotional struggles such as the one depicted in this story, a family coping with serious illness and how a small community bands together to alleviate some of the stress of such a situation.
Town libraries become the venue where Meredith can talk about her passionate advocacy for country health and relate the stories of country people and their struggles.
Meredith as always includes incidental medical language and knowledge in her books enabling readers to learn medical information while they are entertained by a good story.
‘The Doctor Calling’ is out now published by Penguin Random House.
Black Inc. and Nero
23.06.16 12:56 pm
23.06.16 5:54 am
Father, what is road kill?
Road kill is a gun, my son.
Mommy, what is 1080?
1080 is a gun, my son.
Grandfather, what is neglect?
Neglect is a gun, my precious grandson.
Grandmother, what is ignorance?
Ignorance is a gun, oh little one.
Mother, what is death?
Death is a gun, my son.
Father what is pain?
Pain is a gun, my little one.
Father, what is greed?
Greed is a gun, my son.
Mommy, what is a devil facial tumor?
A devil facial tumor is a gun, my son.
Grandfather, what is hate?
Hate is a gun, my little one.
Mother, what is torture?
Torture is a gun, my son.
My teacher, what is extinction?
Extinction is a gun, little wise one.
Grandmother, what is a regeneration burn?
A regeneration burn is a gun, my precious.
Father, what is poison?
Poison is a gun, my son.
Mommy, what is Forestry Tasmania?
Forestry Tasmania is a gun, my son.
Father, what is Tasmania?
Tasmania is a gun, my sweet son.
21.06.16 7:16 am
Author Loretta Hill loves Tassie, especially the scenery, the food and the brewries!
I recently chatted to Loretta on one of her free Fridays, that being the day Loretta, a busy mum of four and farmer, gets some additional help from a nanny so she can close the door to her study and get down to some writing.
Loretta, in spite of all of her commitments, is a prolific author whose stories are most often played out in Australian small town settings. Loretta believes that people, in spite of most of us living in the city nowadays, are attracted to the nostalgia of Australians historically living remotely and how these communities help and support each other through tough situations.
Loretta’s latest novel is ‘The Grass is Greener’, the story of two friends Claudia and Bronwyn who both crave the others existence. Bronwyn is a lawyer that would rather work in Claudia’s family vineyard and Claudia who was forced to work in the vineyard due to tragedy, wants to reclaim her early love for the law. The girls decide to swap careers, realising eventually, that sometimes you can be more content in your own paddock!
As well as writing rural romance, Loretta is a renaissance woman that possesses some surprising qualifications for an author. It was her dad, a mechanical engineer who encouraged her to pursue a reliable occupation and so Loretta qualified in structural engineering and commerce at the University of Western Australia and went on to work for an engineering company but eventually chose fiction as a career, which had always been her love from childhood and the good news is that yes, her dad is her biggest fan.
‘The Grass is Greener’ is out now published by Random House Australia.
20.06.16 5:54 am
18.06.16 7:56 am
COULD YOU BE AUSTRALIA’S NEXT SLAM CHAMPION?
Yvonne and Joy poetry reading ...
SPEAK, SCREAM, HOWL OR WHISPER your poems in the Australian Poetry Slam 2016 – a literary performance program where the audience is the judge! APS Heats will be held in city and regional venues across Australia, including TASMANIA, where they will be coordinated and hosted by Tasmanian writer, poet, three-times National Slam Finalist and twice winner of the Launceston Poetry Cup - Yvonne Gluyas, and award winning writer and poet - Joy Elizabeth.
Come and compete, or join in the fun in the cheering, poetry-loving audience at the Tasmanian heats and final. $5 entry fee for participants and audience members. Up to 20 contestants a night can sign up, from 30 minutes prior to starting time, and judges are chosen randomly from the audience. Anyone can participate: all you need is your voice. No props allowed. Contestants are given a microphone, a live audience and two minutes to impress the judges with their own original work. If there is a placegetter tie, a second piece will be needed. Contestants must be Tasmanian residents, and can compete in any, or all, of the four State Heats!
Three placegetters from each of the four 2016 Tasmanian Slam Heat (Launceston, Deloraine, Hobart and Ulverstone) will be awarded prizes and compete at the Tasmanian Final in Launceston on AUGUST 3rd. The first and second final placegetters will then head to NSW, along with two wordsmiths from each state and territory, for the Australian Poetry Slam National Finals at the Sydney Opera House, 7pm – 9pm, on Sunday October 16th 2016, and have their return flights and hotel accommodation (on the 16th) provided.
Australian Poetry Slammers across the country, from small towns to major cities, have competed in the APS annually since 2004. Judged by randomly chosen members of the audience, one person will be named AUSTRALIAN POETRY SLAM CHAMPION 2016 and will perform their own work, all expenses paid, at Writers Festivals in China and Bali during 2017.
2016 TASMANIAN HEATS:-
LAUNCESTON @ THE WORKERS CLUB 66 Elizabeth Street, WEDNESDAY 6th JULY 7pm - 10pm
ULVERSTONE @ LIVE AT THE WHARF, Crescent Street FRIDAY 8th JULY 5.30pm – 7.30pm (Following opening act - Singer/songwriter James Bennett.)
DELORAINE @ EMPIRE HOTEL, 19 Emu Bay Rd, WEDNESDAY 20th JULY 7.30pm – 9.30pm (Dinner available from 6pm. Bookings required. Call hotel on 6362 1029, say ‘poetry’.)
HOBART @ WORLD’S END BREWPUB, 236 Sandy Bay Rd, TUESDAY 26th JULY 7pm – 10pm
(‘Ruthless and Hitch’ will open the event with world fiddle tunes and finely honed original songs.)
TASMANIAN APS FINAL:-
THE WORKERS CLUB 66 Elizabeth Street Launceston, WEDNESDAY 3rd AUGUST 7pm - 10pm
AUSTRALIAN POETRY SLAM NATIONAL FINAL:-
Sydney Opera House, SUNDAY 16th October 7pm – 9pm
Or visit the “Tasmanian Heats and Final, 2016 Australian Poetry Slam” Facebook Event page.
Tasmanian Writers' Centre
17.06.16 9:52 am
Daily Drone, The Observer
12.06.16 5:53 pm
Subs hard at work on the Daily Mail in the 1930s. Note the copy boy seated at the back.
The following verse was written by Robert Richardson to entertain the troops at the Observer Christmas bash:
It was an ancient sub-editor and he stoppeth many libels,
Fowler’s Modern English Usage and the ODWE were his bibles.
We met in the Bodoni Arms, it was his favourite venue,
He sat alone, a pint in hand, and made corrections to the menu.
“Pray tell me, master sub-editor, your secrets and your tricks,
“How many prima donnas you have saved from looking pricks.”
He raised his head and gazed at me with a piercing, bloodshot eye, “
“‘Twould be my pleasure, sir,” he said, “but I am rather dry. “
A double brandy will suffice; it helps soak up the ale,
“You get ‘em in, then I’ll begin to tell my subbing tale.”
I hastened to the bar and bought the drink that he desired,
Convinced that what he told me would be sober and inspired.
Returning to the table, I set the glass within his reach
Then sat, a humble acolyte, as he composed himself to speech.
“In the beginning was the word, but which word we’ll never learn
“Because a sub deleted it to avoid a widow turn.
“And in the Gospel of St John, one chapter seems too terse,
“Where the two-word sentence ‘Jesus wept’ appears as just one verse.
“A sub-editor did that, my boy, and I shall tell you why:
“He had to make a par somewhere ‘cos the text was one line shy.
“And so it goes, from age to age, in every realm and land,
“You’ll find the diligent sub-editor, a style book in his hand.
“We guard our Mother English tongue, keep her pure and unalloyed,
“Just see what dreadful things go wrong when our talents aren’t employed.
“We’d have asterisked out those filthy words Lady Chatterley learnt from Mellors
“And if Dickens had but had a sub, his books would be novellas.
“We know ‘can’ from ‘may’ and ‘may’ from ‘might’,
“And never say ‘less’ when ‘fewer’ is right,
“We punctuate punctiliously and are alert for innuendoes,
“We can all spell ‘desiccated’ and don’t rise to crescendos.
“Of grammar and of syntax our knowledge is formidable,
“Though frankly we don’t give a toss about an unstressed syllable.
“To denigrate the sub-editor is the action of a moron,
“A word that very nearly rhymes with that little twat Giles Coren.
“When it comes to writing headlines, polysyllables we eschew,
“We have a taste for shorter words, like ‘mull’ and ‘ire’ and ‘rue’. ”
“Your wisdom overwhelms me, no counsel could be finer,
“But can you explain to me, I beg, the role of the designer?”
“Don’t speak to me of that lot!” (He gathered spit - and spat),
“A paper needs designers like an oyster needs a hat.
“Oh they’ll draw you pretty pages, you can’t change them ‘cos it’s art,
“Then once you’ve made the copy fit, they rip the thing apart.
“The reason why they do that is a mystery to man,
“But I’ve a shrewd suspicion that it’s just to show they can.”
I feared I had offended him, my question had been crude,
But a treble double whisky put him in a better mood.
“And tell me of your colleagues, whose work is so essential,
“That I might dare approach them with demeanour reverential.”
“Right across Observer the subs are brilliant, off the scale,
“The Times can only dream of such - and fuck the Daily Mail.
“But even with such talents, sir, once the story’s in the queue
“And is eighty-six lines over, what magic can you do?”
The old sub smiled and shook his head as if he were amused
At meeting one so young and green and easily confused.
“Nothing is writ that can’t be cut, that is the Subbing Law,
“Give me the Ten Commandments and I’ll trim them back to four.
“Thou shalt not miss the deadline, or write in ‘Subs please check’,
“And if perchance you use a fact, don’t get it round your neck.
“But the first of all commandments you must follow to the letter:
“However good your copy is, a sub can make it better.”
“And yet,” I ventured cautiously, “can what they say be true?
“I’ve heard tell that the management wants to get rid of you.”
‘’‘Tis true,” the gloomy sub replied, now glugging down red wine,
“They got rid of the NGA, now we’re the next in line.
“But mark my words, young journalist, the cup they drink is bitter,
“Mistakes will sprout like dandelions and literals will litter.
“Comment it may still be free, but faith in facts will shatter,
“Whatever garbage fills the space, that’s all that’s going to matter.
“And there will come a day, I fear, when one sub shall remain,
“Facing those damned accountants and battling in vain.
“He’ll stand astride the subs’ desk like that Dutch boy at the dyke,
“Until, professional to the last, he falls upon his spike.
“And as those bastards stand and jeer, a golden age shall cease,
“But not before his dying words: ‘Has the lawyer seen this piece?’
“They’ll bury him with honours, even Murdoch will be there,
“FoC will read the Lesson, Rev Indent will say the prayer.
“Good Spot will start the banging out, as flags fly at half mast,
“A choir of solemn hacks will sing ‘Oh Sub, our help in ages past’.
“And in the years that follow that tragic last defeat
“You’ll find the Tomb of Unknown Sub in St Bride’s upon the Street.
“On either side shall angels weep, and proudly in between
“You will see a pencil, blue, crossed with an eyeshade, green,
“And on Carerra marble, carved in ninety-six point caps,
“You’ll read subs’ eternal question: ‘Who wrote this piece of crap?’”
12.06.16 7:11 am
Jaclyn Moriarty was in Tasmania this year for the Tamar Writer’s Festival and she is ‘annoyed’ she didn’t get to stay longer or has been able to visit ‘beautiful Tasmania’ more often, yet a previous trip to Tassie remains with Jaclyn.
Her first visit to Tasmania as an eight year old when her sister was a baby, involved an incident when Jaclyn’s sister hit her chin on the bunk bed, so what was going to be a school excursion turned into a visit to the hospital! Everything turned out okay and that fits in nicely with Jaclyn’s writing which doesn’t shy from tackling challenges but overall inspires us with confidence and optimism.
Jaclyn’s latest novel ‘A Tangle of Gold’ is the third instalment and completes the ‘Colours of Madeleine’ series trilogy, the previous two titles being ‘A Corner of White’ and ‘The Cracks in the Kingdom’.
In this novel plans are afoot to return the royals from our world to their own with the potential of such an enterprise closing the way between worlds. Madeleine and Elliott, for the sake of their own future must prevent this happening.
Jaclyn says she stays close to reality even in a fantasy novel such as this because ultimately people reading the book need to identify with the characters and scenarios and have stories that resonate with their own lives. The characters face the same obstacles we do in our lives, even if they are in an obscure, distant world. Jaclyn doesn’t classify her writing as representative of the fantasy genre but instead believes she ‘plays around with it a bit’.
When I ask Jaclyn about the origin of the names of her characters she tells me that no one has ever asked her that before! For the record the names are taken from the names of stars and planets.
With many young adult novels dystopian and dark, Jaclyn says she prefers to create a positive and happy ending for her readers. To see how Madeleine and Elliot’s story concludes read on.
‘A Tangle of Gold’ is out, now published by Pan Macmillan Australia
11.06.16 6:39 am
Photo by Loic Le Guilly from Hobart and Beyond: http://hobartandbeyond.com.au/ with permission.
The clouds have fallen
crashed into the Derwent
obliterating the far shore
a mere brush stroke of forest peering over the
pearlescent billowing purple.
What made the sky dancer
so heavy that it abandoned its origins
and now is smooching with the river?
Sky and sea merging like this,
making a point to this peeping poet…
Sea and cloud are subtle variations of
the same vague molecule
Of course we all know this but
when the sky falls into the sea
rolling across the river like a
soft whipped meringue,
one begins to wonder - what
keeps them separate in the first place?
Even now they make believe as
individual elements -
the current and the billowing
like silk and satin
or cotton balls and twill.
It is difficult to take
this morning skyscape seriously
when the sky has in fact escaped from
where one generally expects it to be.
And although land remains stolidly where
it always (mostly) is and water continues on
in its placid morning manner,
the entire elemental shebang seems
“The sea looks cloudy today”
“The sky has slipped its moorings”
“It will be raining upside down so please invert your umbrellas”
Perhaps to others watching
this would be a mist but it is not
I know a mist when I see one
and being London born in the 50’s
I can assure you that this is not a fog
It is a clear (or foggy) case of
“When the clouds begin to fall…”
10.06.16 6:05 am
Rural author Fleur McDonald visited Tasmania in 2010 for AGFEST but hopes to make a trip in the school holidays next year. With a life lived on the land, first as a youngster on her parent’s South Australian farm and now on her own Western Australian farm, Fleur is highly qualified to write authentically about the rural life.
Her heroines are almost always strong women having to overcome hurdles in their lives. The author’s popularity has seen one of Fleurs book,’ Emerald Springs’ now made available on audio.
I talked to Fleur about her latest novel ‘Indigo Storm’. It’s interesting to note that in Chinese painting a variation on the colour indigo symbolises ‘ harmony of the universe’ and so in this novel our protagonist Ashleigh is looking to establish harmony in her life after the ‘storm’ of domestic violence from her husband Dominic, ironically, a noted pillar of the community.
Fleur explains she likes to tell the true country story, not just pure romance and likes to explore social issues such as domestic abuse in Indigo Storm. As Fleur puts it ‘The kind that produces a bruise on the soul where it can’t be seen’. Fleur believes the upsurge in interest in rural fiction is due to those many Australians who don’t live rurally but have a fascination or are intrigued by the nostalgia of Australia’s past when most of the population lived remotely. TV programs like McLeod’s Daughters have also dramatized to a wide audience many of the issues that resonate with the rural life.
Although Fleur doesn’t usually entertain the possibility of writing sequels she tells me she has thought about that option with her novel ‘Silver Clouds’ where feedback suggested readers wanted more.
Indigo Storm is out now published by Allen and Unwin
Sharon Evans, Big Sky Publishing
09.06.16 1:40 pm
Award-Winning author’s new children’s book commemorates the Tasmanian Thylacine and draws attention to endangered animals struggle for survival.
Commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Tasmanian Thylacine extinction, award winning author Aleesah Darlison’s new book Stripes in the Forest (Big Sky Publishing, HB, $24.99), is the story of an iconic species lost. Told from the perspective of the last wild, female thylacine, it provides readers with an insight into the rare beauty and uniqueness of these amazing animals, explains their fight for survival and provides important lessons for future generations.
Parents and their children will enjoy the rich, vivid and detailed illustrations of the magnificent thylacine and the Tasmanian forests and landscapes she roams as depicted by illustrator and artist, Shane McGrath in this powerful and evocative story. Stripes in the Forest raises important questions for young minds in this the 80th year anniversary of the death of the last (captive) thylacine.
Aleesah will be visiting Tasmanian schools and attending events | Monday 1 August - Saturday 13 August and Monday 12 September - Friday 16 September.
National Threatened Species Day is held on 7 September and has been held annually since 1996 to commemorate the death of the last known thylacine. It is a time to reflect on what happened in the past and how we can protect our threatened species in the future.
About the Author: Aleesah Darlison is a multi-published, award-winning Australian author. She has written over thirty picture books and novels for boys and girls of all ages. Her much-loved stories promote the concepts of sustainability, environmental awareness, courage, understanding, anti-bullying, love, self-belief, friendship and teamwork. Aleesah’s book Our Class Tiger was joint winner of the 2015 Environment Award Winner for Children’s Literature (Non-Fiction).
Black Inc, Nero
09.06.16 1:34 pm
08.06.16 11:26 am
We are delighted to host the launch, by Dr Rudy Kloser (Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO), of Lisa-Ann Gershwin’s gorgeous new book, Jellyfish: A Natural History.
Jellyfish are mysterious creatures, luminously beautiful with remarkably varied life cycles. These simple, ancient animals are found in every ocean at every depth, and have lived on Earth for at least the last 500 million years. Ominously, they are also increasing in number as they adapt well to marine environmental degradation. Jellyfish is a timely title that looks at their anatomy, life history, taxonomy and ecology, and includes species profiles featuring stunning marine photography that will have you scanning the depths with renewed interest.
Lisa-Ann Gershwin is director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 1998 for her studies on jellyfish blooms and evolution. She has discovered over 190 new jellyfish species, as well as a new species of dolphin. Lisa-Ann is the author of Stung!: On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean (published by University of Chicago Press in 2013).
Jellyfish offers detailed information as well as luscious full-colour photographs and—believe us—is very, very hard to put down once you pick it up. Lisa is an inspiring, energetic and entertaining speaker, and she has promised us you will have a great night. We certainly don’t need convincing!
Please join us in the shop for the launch, and to purchase a copy of this beautiful book—Lisa will be available for signings. She may or may not be dressed in a jellyfish costume…
Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square
When: Wednesday June 22, from 5.30pm
Special information: Please unleash your inner sea-creature and come dressed as your favourite jellyfish—real or imagined. Or if you don’t feel like dressing up, please bring along a jellyfish from your own personal collection…
Free event, all welcome.
...and this is also coming up soon…
In July we’ll also be launching a new poetry collection by Saxby Pridmore—keep your eyes out for our next launch email.
Happy birthday to the Queen!
Don’t forget that Monday June 13 is a public holiday, but don’t panic, we’re not having a day off! (We only do that on Christmas Day.)
We’ll be open 10-5. Feel free to bring us birthday cake.
Our mailing address is:
The Hobart Bookshop
22 Salamanca Square
Hobart, Tas 7000
James C Marwood MFA MRCS LRCP General practice (VCR) & Diving medicine
03.06.16 4:56 am
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Tasmanian Writers' Centre
03.06.16 4:48 am
We believe in empowering children to share their stories.
That’s why we’re teaming up with the Commissioner for Children to support its 2016 Young Creative Writers Awards.
Writers under 18 years old are invited to enter a poem or short story inspired by the theme ‘Fairness and Respect’.
Entries up to 1000 words are now open to children across the state. They will be judged in age groups from 5-8, 9-11, 12-14, and 15-17.
To help nurture their creative talent, we’ll facilitate a series of writing workshops in the July school holidays.
Run in collaboration with the Story Island Project, these educational events will see established writers and university writing students visit 10 LINC centres.
“It’s fabulous to be able to partner with the Commissioner and LINCs to send writers around the state to connect with kids in their school holidays,” Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Director Chris Gallagher said.
“We are excited to open up the opportunity for children to be creative during the break, with the added bonus being the chance to enter the awards,” she said.
Tutors include local talent Anne Morgan, Nicole Gill, Lian Tanner, Julie Hunt, Coral Tulloch, Sally Odgers, Christina Booth, and University of Tasmania writing students.
Workshops for each of the four age groups will take place in Hobart, Glenorchy, Rosny, and Kingston LINCs, with two workshops at each centre in Queenstown, Smithton, Devonport, Ulverstone, Launceston, and Currie.
Judges include local writer and TWC Board member Danielle Wood, The Mercury editor Matt Deighton, Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks, and children’s author Angelica Banks.
Prizes include an iPad mini and a book voucher and the award ceremony will take place at Government House in November.
More than 300 children entered last year’s competition, which was based on the theme ‘Play’. We hope this year’s theme will encourage entrants to think deeply about the ways we choose to treat one another.
“Everybody has rights,” Commissioner for Children Mark Morrissey said.
“This means that everybody, including children, should respect other people’s rights too.”
A selection of stories will be published across our websites and in a book. Visit the Tasmanian Writers’ Centre library to explore the stories in last year’s Winning Entries book, in which returning judge Danielle Wood wrote:
I was impressed not only by the writing talent on display but also by the compassion, idealism and wisdom that these young writers bring to their work…I urge them all to continue to make their mark - bravely and creatively - on the world around them.
To read more about the Young Creative Writers Awards and submit an entry, visit childcomm.tas.gov.au or call 03 6166 1366.
Tasmanian Writers' Centre
01.06.16 11:31 am
Now is the winter of our Tasmanian literary scene, made glorious by the unseasonable warmth associated with climate change. Yes, we may have passed 400 parts of carbon dioxide per million in the atmosphere, but let us not be distracted from our merry japes and dances by such prosaic concerns.
In that spirit, grab a mulled wine and come join us for some of Tasmania’s many literary events this month. Van Badham runs a Guardian masterclass on How to Write an Opinion Column.
Lauren Daniels explains what the Enneagram is in her workshop Character Maps and Models: The Hero’s Journey.
Laura Kay walks you through the world of DIY publishing in the next in our Twitch Tuesdays series.
Hip-hop poet Omar Musa joins us for a discussion about his recent time in Malaysia.
And Josh Santospirito brings a dose of irreverence to the Dark Mofo season with Her Majesty’s Favourite Really Great Graphical Festival.
31.05.16 6:19 pm
I have not been hung and quartered nor have I been sent to jail
I have been so frank and honest and named so many names
I’ve been to see the ombudsmen, I’ve been to see the mayors
I’ve met with premiers and the ministers, contacted
EPA, Justice, Anti-discrimination, Ethical Departments and more.
Their blinding fog of apathy and ignorance was clear.
I was just a simple person who tried to right a wrong,
For sixteen years I’ve toiled and struggled to find the reason why
When mortality struck a small community where cancers, tumours
And auto immune diseases, very obviously, were rife
I was met with implacable denial by those who did not want to see
Protection of the government their one and only high priority
For our government pay acquiescence to the big conglomerates
Who knowingly and uncaringly spread their deadly noxious chemicals right around the globe.
Media attention brought on an investigation which proceeded in a very crooked way
Soil testing and mapping of the region were cunningly inept
The toxins in the soil and in the air of course they were not found.
Those absent ones we loved their hopes and dreams and aspirations
Their deaths and their long sufferings were sadly all in vain.
Because our corrupt and cowardly government to their everlasting shame
would not admit to their malpractice and just covered up of the tragedy
that occurred at Wentworth Park.
31.05.16 8:02 am
Credit: CeBIT Australia. Source: Flickr http://bit.ly/1r1Eqw8
Speech given to the Australian Book Industry Awards in Sydney on 19 May The government’s record drips with a contempt for writers and writing that leaves me in despair. The Liberals are a party of philistines.
It may seem at the moment that the only thing that will save the Australian book industry is moving every publisher and writer into Christopher Pyne’s electorate, and making them all wear hi-vis jackets and safety helmets.
For we have in recent weeks discovered that the Turnbull government is considering proposals for a writer to not have any rights in their work 15 to 25 years after it’s first published. So Mem Fox has no rights in Possum Magic. Stephanie Alexander has no rights in A Cook’s Companion. Elizabeth Harrower has no rights in The Watch Tower. John Coetzee has no rights in his Booker winning Life and Times of Michael K. Nor Peter Carey to The Kelly Gang, nor Tim Winton to Cloudstreet. Anyone can make money from these books except the one who wrote it.
The Abbott and now Turnbull governments’ record drips with a contempt for writers and writing that leaves me in despair. They want to thieve our past work, and, by ending parallel importation restrictions and territorial copyright, destroy any future for Australian writers.
That contempt has been made concrete in the report of the Orwellian titled Productivity Commission. The Productivity Commission doesn’t dare call books books. Instead they are called – in a flourish not unworthy of Don de Lillo – cultural externalities.
In their perverted world view, the book industry’s very success is a key argument in their need to destroy the book industry, and this determination to destroy an industry is revealed in their reports as the real aim of these proposals.
Just one highly revealing quote from the Productivity Commission:
“The expansion of the books production industries over recent decades has attracted and held productive resources, notably skilled labour and capital, that have thereby been unavailable for use in other industries. The upshot will have been reduced growth in employment and output in other parts of the economy.”
Replace the clumsy phrase “book production industries” with the word “kulak”, and you would have ideological cant worthy of Stalin.
What they are saying is that without the book industry – which is nothing more than a parasite – the economy would be doing far better. We could all be helping the economy doing real work like, well, being unpaid interns for merchant bankers.
The report’s proposals, which even before seeing them the Turnbull government agreed to endorse, effectively extinguish the Australian book industry as we know it and deliver our market to American and British publishers.
And that’s what this government thinks of everyone in this room. Be under no illusion: they want to destroy this industry. And with it, Australian literature. They want you out of a job, they want us no longer writing. Cultural externalities are, after all, external to who and what we are.
And perhaps this is all not so surprising, because the Turnbull government’s decision is not based in reality. Vassals of an outdated ideology unrelated to the real world, they can, when questioned on this issue, only mumble neo-liberal mantras that have delivered the world economic stagnation, rising inequality, and global environmental crisis. Hollow men, stuffed men, their words rats feet over broken glass. The only thing these people read are The Panama Papers to see if their own name has cropped up.
This decision to destroy the book industry by removing parallel import restrictions is consistent with the government’s relentless assaults on science and scientists. It is of a piece with its ongoing attacks on thought and debate. Who benefits from ignorance and silence other than the most powerful and the richest?
The democracy of thought and discussion that books make possible, the possibility of empathy that books are known to engender, the sense of a shared humanity and the transcendent possibilities that books give rise to, all will be diminished by this profound attack on Australian writing. And we will have returned to being what we were fifty years ago: a colony of the mind.
You have to ask if, at heart, this is not profoundly political, because the disenfranchisement of the imagination is ever the disempowerment of the individual. There is, after all, both a bitter irony and a profound connection in a government that would condemn the wretched of the earth as illiterate, while hard at work to rob its own people of their culture of words.
I had long hoped for bipartisan support for arts. I have lobbied politicians of all stripes on that basis. I wrote to then prime minister Abbott on this matter. But the last two Liberal governments have been the worst in our history in their treatment of artists and writers.
With their gutting of the Australia Council, with their theft of money for a Book Council that never happened and the money for it vanished into general revenue, they have shown that they do not care, and now, far worse, that they wish to destroy the possibility of a future Australian literature by destroying territorial copyright.
Where is prime minister Turnbull’s much vaunted innovative economy in this decision? Where exactly, prime minister, are the jobs and innovation in destroying jobs and innovation? We employ people, some 25,000 by last count. We make billions, we pay tax, we make things and we sell them here and we sell them around the world. And all at no cost to the taxpayer. And now prime minister Turnbull would destroy it all.
We are not a subsidised industry. The fossil fuel industry gets $18bn of subsidies. A single South Australian submarine worker gets $17.9m. And writers? The total direct subsidy for all Australian writers is just $2.4m. That’s it. And that’s all.
What I say next, I say with heavy heart and only after the deepest thought, because I don’t believe in any party. I speak now only for myself.
This is a government that has no respect for us and no respect for what we do. This is a government that despises books and views with hostility the civilisation they represent. Perhaps it hopes in a growing silence that it might prosper. Certainly, it cares only about one thing: power.
And only on those terms will it listen.
For that reason, if you care at all about books don’t vote Liberal at this election. If you care at all about what books mean, don’t vote Liberal. If you value how books can enrich lives, don’t vote Liberal. If you think Australian books matter to an Australian society, don’t vote Liberal.
Because this is the party of philistines who punish the creators, destroy all that has been created and create nothing but destruction. They should stand condemned for what they have done. To the minister I say, if you have a shred of dignity, resign. His shame, and prime minister Turnbull’s shame should be public, well known and long, long, long lived.
For we inside this room and the many, many more beyond it have made something special and unique that helps us become a better people, and which brings our people honour around the world.
This government, which again, and again, has brought Australia only global shame with its follies of cowardice and cruelty has no right now to destroy such a good in our nation as this: the voice of our experience, the words of our people, the tongue of our hope – our culture of writing.
In this time of fracture we need more than ever the things that can bring us together as a people, not fear, not the resentments of the many carefully cultivated to cloak the priviliege of the few, but the hope of a society that might discover in books the liberating possibility of a shared humanity. Of a better future. Together.
We need to fight for it. We must not give up – and, if we hold together, I promise you – we shall prevail.
Black Inc. and Nero
31.05.16 7:00 am
Here are the June new releases from Black Inc. and Nero.