Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: May in Tasmania ...

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
03.05.17 12:12 pm

Claire Konkes

Dear writers and readers,

The team at the TWC is hugely excited to let you know about some fantastic events that we have coming up in May.

On Sunday 21st May we invite you to join respected journalist Claire Konkes for a freelance feature writing workshop at Moonah Arts Centre. Then from Friday 26th May - Sunday 28th May the TWC has partnered with the State Cinema to bring you the best of the Sydney Writers Festival. Finally, on Tuesday 30th May we are collaborating with Recognise Tasmania to present a special event for National Reconciliation Week. Join New York Times journalist Caroline Brothers, Fiona Hughes and Professor Maggie Walter for what promises to be a fascinating evening of debate and discussion.

In addition to these three special events, there are a number of interesting looking book launches and workshops taking place around the state. We have included details of those below and on our website.

Finally, make sure you check out the two competitions we have running this month - there is an opportunity to win copies of our May Recommended Reads, and also to win copies of the 2017 The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award winner The Lost Pages.

Have a great May, and we hope to see you at one of our events!

TWC Team x

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Black Inc: The 125 Greatest Magpies

Black Inc.
03.05.17 12:10 pm


Whose blood, sweat and heroics made Collingwood the greatest sporting club in Australia?

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Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: Sydney Writers’ Festival – Live and Local

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
02.05.17 1:04 pm

Caroline Brothers

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre here

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Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: Sydney Writers’ Festival – Live and Local

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
02.05.17 1:04 pm

Caroline Brothers

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre here

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Transportation Press: What is smoke?

Transportation Press
28.04.17 11:27 am


Transportation Press is a new publisher based in Tasmania, publishing work from around the world. The latest publication is The Third Script, a collection of contemporary stories from the UK, Iran, and Tasmania.

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New Young Adult fiction novel uses football to tackle racism and responsibility

busybird publishing
26.04.17 4:57 pm

Pride (busybird publishing $29.95) is an enthralling coming of age story about friendship, bonds, and how the choices of our past can come back to shape our future.

Luke Miggs wants more than what small-town life has to offer – the grind of chores on the family farm, playing footy, and drinks with friends. At 18, is it too late to dream? In what begins a story about a young guy and his love of football, comes a story about so much more.

Engagingly written by Lazaros Zigomanis, the narrative explores the themes of racism and responsibility in an entertaining yet thought provoking manner. With $1 dollar from every book sold donated to the Indigenous Literary Foundation, Pride is a must read for any young adult reader. 

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Amazing Grace

Paula Xiberras
26.04.17 7:01 am


Author of rural novel ‘The Family Secret’ Fiona Palmer grew up on the family farm but some might be surprised to know was also a third generation race car driver, that is until she had children and swapped the dangers of speed racing for the gentler career of speed typing.

Fiona is grateful for the skills of speed typing that prove invaluable in her career as author. It was after working in the local shop with her mum stories started running around in her mind and she realised being a writer was a real possibility.

Fiona hasn’t been to Tasmania since she accompanied her gran here at 13 years of age but she is keen to return and showcase her books with Tasmanian audiences.

Her latest novel ‘The Family Secret’ is part mystery and part romance. The novel, while romantic at heart, manages to address the serious issue of post- traumatic stress disorder and how it can it impact on those we love, in sometimes tragic and unexpected ways, as we learn through our three main protagonists, Kim our heroine, the hero Charlie and Vietnam veteran Harry in the aptly named Lake Grace because this story too, is ultimately one of saving grace.

One of the appealing things about this book is the distinctive cover which makes all of Fiona’s novels instantly recognisable.

‘The Family Secret’ is out now published by Penguin Random House.

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Safety and Sanity Sought in Shelter

Paula Xiberras
26.04.17 6:53 am


A black and white 1940’s Getty image inspired Maggie Joel in writing her novel ‘The Safest Place in London’.

The title refers to the shelters built in London during the Blitz. The title is somewhat ironic because as Maggie tells me the shelters were not necessarily as safe as they were considered to be. This fact is born out in an incident presented in the novel when two women from different walks of life, symbolic of how war affects everyone whatever their station, find themselves sharing a shelter when an attack hits. What follows are twists and turns which again demonstrate wars devastating impact.

Maggie Joel is originally from England where she lived for 25 years ‘near a vibrant country bookstore’. With that proximity to a book shop it’s no surprise Maggie became a writer. Maggie eventually left England to take up a job with Foxtel in Australia.

Maggie has crafted a novel with a terrible twist we do not see coming, the story of two women, lifestyles apart, one rich, one poor that are united by the fact they are both mothers of young daughters. A meeting in a shelter during a raid sets in place a number of events which encapsulate the feeling of the times.

The Safest Place in London by Maggie Joel is published by Allen and Unwin.


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Hobart Bookshop: Steve Tolbert’s latest book, Playing Lady Gaga, Being Nan Pau

Hobart Bookshop
25.04.17 6:04 pm


Join us at our next event… 

We are delighted to host the launch of Steve Tolbert’s latest book, Playing Lady Gaga, Being Nan Pau.

Dr Pam Allen, former head of Asian Languages and Studies at UTAS, will launch this new novel.

When Burmese schoolgirl Mya Paw Wah commits a crime during a political protest in Yangon, she flees the city to avoid the fate of her father and brother — one a political prisoner, the other killed in the police action against the protest. Military Intelligence agents, human traffickers, landmines and snakes are among the dangers Mya faces in her journey to Karen State, near the Thai border, to find her exiled mother. To survive, she plays many roles — bar-girl, novice nun, military porter, teacher — some by choice, others forced on her, as she struggles to overcome anger and despair, and maintain hope for a better life.

Tasmanian schoolboy Nick Stanish comes to Thailand looking for his missing brother — an aid worker at a medical clinic for Karen refugees — and to avoid dealing with a guilty secret. Seeking answers in the Snake Skin nightclub, Nick instead finds the local Lady Gaga — the club’s star entertainer — and is drawn into a world of sex slavery and drug smugglers – and possibly love.

Playing Lady Gaga, Being Nan Pau is a compelling tale of survival and redemption, of actions and consequences, and of the best and the worst of humanity.

Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square
When: Thursday May 11th, 5.30pm

Free event, all welcome.
Our mailing address is:

The Hobart Bookshop

22 Salamanca Square
Hobart, Tas 7000

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Richard Flanagan to Launch Story Collection by Tasmanian Literary Award-Winners ...

Adam Ouston
24.04.17 2:16 pm


... this Friday Apri 28, 5.30pm at Fullers Bookshop

Man Booker Prize-winning author, Richard Flanagan, will launch Seven Stories, a story collection featuring a group of emerging Tasmanian writers who won a national literary prize for the collection late last year.

The prize, offered annually as part of the National Literary Awards, celebrates a cohort of emerging Tasmanian writers that are making significant progress nationally – writers who have won major awards, been published widely in the literary magazines, and are on the cusp of book publication. These are the next generation of Tasmanian authors.

Contributors include Robbie Arnott, winner of the Scribe Prize for Non-fiction, Adam Ouston, winner of the Erica Bell Award for fiction, and Susie Greenhill, recent winner of the 2016 Richell Prize.

The award subsidizes publishing the work of the group as a book. The resulting publication, Seven Stories, has been edited by Ben Walter, and will be launched by eminent Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan at Fullers Bookshop at 5.30pm on Thursday 28th April.

Fullers Bookshop Hobart
Tasmanian Independent Bookseller of the Year 2002-2014
Australian Bookseller of the Year 2002
131 Collins Street Hobart TAS 7000
03 6234 3800

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Dramatic Daughters

Paula Xiberras
24.04.17 2:00 pm


Fiona Lowe has a son studying medicine in Tasmania and ironically in her latest novel ‘Daughter of Mine’ Tasmania’s Botanical Gardens and a particular statue there is the setting for her characters to find their own kind of medicine and some ‘healing’’. Tasmania was chosen because of Fiona’s characters circumstance and the state’s physical isolation from the rest of Australia.

I recently spoke to Fiona about ‘Daughter of Mine’, which says Fiona, was inspired by her thinking of how remarriage affects the children of the previous marriage.

Although the title ‘Daughter of Mine’ seemingly refers to one daughter the novel encompasses a number of daughter/parent relationships, the foremost being the three Chirnwell sisters, chief protagonists of in Fiona’s own words her ‘multigenerational family saga’.

We meet Harriet the eldest sister who seemingly has a stupendously successful life, with a career as a surgeon, loving husband and bright daughter, the latter destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps into medicine. Unfortunately Harriet’s life begins to fall apart because in spite or her ability to be in total control of her own life she cannot be in control of others.

Friction between mothers and daughters occurs when Harriet and her sisters Xara and Georgia host a birthday party for their widowed mother Edwina who decides to take the opportunity to introduce her new but old love to the family and additionally a a family secret as well.

Fiona is the winner of the RITA the Romance Writers of America Award

Daughter of mine is out now published by Harlequin.

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Special offer to readers of The Saturday Paper

Quarterly Essay
20.04.17 6:38 pm


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Black Inc. and Nero: July - New Releases

Black Inc. and Nero
20.04.17 3:52 pm


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A Case of Secrets

Paula Xiberras
20.04.17 6:28 am


I recently had the opportunity to put some questions to Sarra Manning about her latest novel ‘House of Secrets’.

This novel is the split story of Zoe and her husband Win and the story of Libby a lady from the past. Zoe and Win move into a new home for a fresh start after a recent loss. Zoe finds a suitcase containing correspondences and keepsakes from the life of Libby, who has suffered the same loss as Zoe and Win. As Zoe continues to read about Libby’s life she sees optimism and hope as Libby finds happiness in her life once again. Zoe gathers strength from Libby’s story, a story that later makes a turn that could mean Libby loses the happiness she has found, however, there is a twist in the tale…..

Have you ever been to Australia or Tasmania? If so what are your impressions? If not what do you know about both places?

I haven’t been to either Australia or Tasmania but have links to both places. Like a lot of Brits, I have relatives who emigrated to Australia; one of my mother’s sisters settled in Melbourne and one of her daughters, my cousin Natasha, now lives in Tasmania with her family. Added to that, I have an aunt and uncle who live in London but spend our winter, your summer, in their house in the Blue Mountains, so they keep me up to date with sightings of my books in NSW!

Have you always wanted to be a writer? What have been your other career aspirations?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Have always written stories from when I was a child so I never contemplated or tried to be anything else. Having said that, I do wish I’d studied history for my degree because it’s a subject that I love and one of the reasons why I made the move into writing historical fiction in my last two novels.

This book House of Secrets uses the story of two women across time both suffering losses and demonstrating that the human experience is universal across time. What would you hope people take away from this novel?

In House Of Secrets, both Libby in 1936 and Zoe in the present day, have failed to carry a pregnancy to term, which leaves both of them devastated in so many ways; not just physically but emotionally too. I think this is a subject that is still quite a taboo, even though one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, so I would hope that any woman reading the book who might have experienced a similar loss would feel that they weren’t alone. And with every book I write, I hope my readers are entertained, lose some sleep because they want to read just one more chapter before they turn out the light and I do love it when I make people cry. Job done, as far as I’m concerned!

Do you have an epiphany when you know a novel is finished?

Not an epiphany so much as I can’t bear to look at it again! I hand in a third draft to my editor, then will do usually another two edits after that, plus copy edits and page proofs so by the time that’s all done, I am pleased to be finished with it. However, I never feel that a novel is truly finished. Without an editor breathing down my neck, I would rewrite, tweak and edit for all of eternity and still not be completely satisfied.

Is it difficult saying goodbye to your characters?

Although I still retain such fondness for a lot of my characters, as you can see from the process I’ve described above, I am kind of pleased to see the back of them. Also, I’m already thinking of the next book and the one after that and the one after that, so there’s always new characters to fall in love with.

Have you found a particular book or character has resonated more with your readers?

As far as my YA novels are concerned, people really love Edie the heroine of my series, Diary Of A Crush. Especially as it first started life in a British teen magazine called Just Seventeen (now defunct) so a lot of people grew up with her. With my adult novels, I think Neve’s story in You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, about a woman who loses half her body weight but can’t shed the person she used to be, really resonates with a lot of readers, who also seem to adore Max, Neve’s love interest.

House of Secrets is published by Hachette

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Heather Rose’s Stella Prize acceptance speech ...

Anna Lensky
20.04.17 5:58 am


Thank you, dear colleagues in the world of words, writing and publishing, and all the guests here tonight to celebrate the remarkable Stella Prize.

I first want to pay my deepest respects to my fellow nominees and their magnificent books:

Cory Taylor, Dying: A Memoir
Georgia Blain, Between a Wolf and a Dog
Maxine Beneba Clarke, The Hate Race
Catherine de Saint Phalle, Poum and Alexandre
Emily Maguire, An Isolated Incident

We all understand what it has taken for each of us to find ourselves here. Two of us died in the midst of our work as writers: Georgia Blain and Cory Taylor. I acknowledge the extraordinary commitment of the living and the dead – and the courage you have each shown in your lives and your words.

I think it’s hard to feel success as a woman and possibly even harder if you are an Australian woman. With success comes a perception of power. And power in women is something we have yet to wholeheartedly welcome and embrace in Australia.

Fresh in our psyche is what happens to successful women who claim power. Beyond Julia Gillard, we have seen it in other prominent female leaders, observers and thinkers.

Some of us have wonderful men who delight in our success, and do all they can to support us. Others do not. Some men are intimidated and resentful when women step into their magnificence. Being a successful woman is not an easy path.

So what has it taken to find myself here? I am sure lots of you are thinking, ‘Who on earth is Heather Rose?’ I can remember writing a poem at age six. It was about a rabbit that was shot and died. And then a terrible thing happened. I read the poem aloud to my father and he said, ‘You’re going to be a great writer.’

For years and years I was devastated by the intergalactic divide that existed between my own writing and that of the great writers. I wrote my first novel at twenty-one and was crushed by how bad it was. The challenge seemed too great to overcome. I began another novel. But my writing turned out a bit like my knitting. The yarn was good; the colour was nice; I had the right needles. But the product was tight and lumpy and misshapen. My main character just ended up being hopelessly depressed.

Then I moved back to Tasmania. And that very first night, a sentence came drifting in on the sea air. It said: ‘My brother Ambrose is a tiger hunter.’

Three years later that manuscript found its way to literary agent Gaby Naher and a little while later it was published. It may have had kind reviews, but of course I only remember the one unkind review.

I started another novel. This one took me six years and totally surprised me by winning a crime fiction award even though all the judges agreed it was the least like a crime novel of any they had read.

Once I received a royalty cheque for it for 57 cents. It came in a sixty-cent envelope.

My third novel began when I was in a state of utter exhaustion, twelve weeks into life with a new baby. Although it was produced in a beautiful hardback, complete with ribbon, it is still the novel that has sold the least. Yet its handful of fans are the most ardent.

About then Danielle Wood invited me for a cup of tea and so began our children’s series that we write together under the pen-name Angelica Banks.

Through all this writing there were three children, the normal demands of family life, a business to run, commitments I made to community and sport. I wrote mostly at nights. I wrote when I could get an hour or two on the weekends. Sometimes I’d escape for a weekend, and for several years I escaped for a week or two of uninterrupted bliss at Varuna – the writers’ house in the Blue Mountains.

One day I was wandering the National Gallery of Victoria right next door to our event tonight. A photo – and the interpretation beside it – caught my eye. It was about an artist called Marina Abramovic. So began a novel about endurance that took me eleven years to write.

Chiefly I had to learn to be a better writer. I also had to learn about art and film composing, architecture and the history of the Baltic Peninsula. I had to learn about Marina Abramovic and New York. I listened to a lot Bach for cello when I wasn’t listening to movie scores.

And now I am here. Forty-six years after that poem about a rabbit that was shot and died, I am here with a book about a self-harming Serbian and a man at the dark hour of his marriage.

The manuscript was rejected by three or four publishers here in Australia and more in the US. But my agent Gaby Naher refused to lose hope and sent it to Jane Palfreyman at Allen & Unwin. And here it is.

I like to think of it as overnight success.

Somewhere in trying to cross the cosmic divide that lay between being a six-year-old poet and a great writer, I stopped worrying about that. I accepted that I would never write like Faulkner or Eliot or Zola or Morrison or Murakami. I couldn’t write like Carey or Garner or Witting or Astley or White or Winton.

I want nothing more than to continue to write, but nothing is more difficult for me than writing.

In a world where, I believe, the pen is still mightier than the AK-47, it remains, no matter the challenges, our task to tell our stories. To reflect the human experience. To find what is common and what is uncommon. To explore the past, be with the present, to imagine the future. Whether that is in fiction or nonfiction is immaterial. It’s the work that speaks that matters. And if we do not foster our creativity when we hear it calling – whether in our children or as adults – then the world is poorer for it.

Winning this year’s Stella Prize means I have been financially rewarded for my work. But, even more than the incredible prize money, is the sense of encouragement and acknowledgement that will stay with me for all of my days.

I want to share this sense of success with my family and friends who have walked this long writing road beside me, and all the brilliant writers and mentors who have inspired me, educated me and awakened me.

To my children Alex, Byron and Belle – you are the best stories I have ever created. To my community in Tasmania who have shared the journey of all my books with me – thank you.

Jane Palfreyman and the wonderful team at Allen & Unwin, and my beloved agent who has been with me from the start, Gaby Naher: thank you, thank you.

David Walsh, creator of the Museum of Old and New Art – MONA – in Hobart gave me a studio beside his library that proved vital in the fruition of this book. And Marina Abramovic did what she does best: she trusted me with my version of her story with unflinching grace and courage.

To the Stella Prize judges: that you have bestowed your trust in The Museum of Modern Love is utterly remarkable to me, but I am honoured and touched and utterly thrilled.

In closing I want to reflect on the women who banded together to create this Prize in 2013, and the Stella ambassadors, patrons and supporters whose generosity brings such recognition to the writing of Australian women each year. I have no doubt that this single, bold, generous and audacious prize will yet be pivotal.

Encouraging and applauding the success of women might become an elegant and subversive act of cultural freedom. An act that with unflinching determination we use to redefine our social landscape and realise our human potential. So that women and men in all their endeavours – in the arts, business, sport, health, education, politics, trades, media, sciences and domestic life – are equally respected, equally safe, equally heard and equally celebrated.

Thank you.

What the judges said ....

THE FULL JUDGES’ REPORT: The 2017 Stella Prize Judges’ Report on the
winning book, The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

The Museum of Modern Love is an exceptional novel that reimagines Marina
Abramovic’s 2010 performance of ‘The Artist is Present’, in which she silently
encountered individual members of a larger audience of viewers while seated
in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The performance
itself was an intensely compelling exhibition of the power of silence and
vision, and Heather Rose develops a suite of intersecting characters, all
visitors to the performance, all subject to their own daily routines, to the
possibilities of conversation and restitution, to hope and bereavement, to a
need for internal guidance and meaning.

The novel is grounded in the everyday lives of a rich and compelling cast of
characters, but it also transmutes the intensity and significance of
Abramovic’s work into the medium of literature, where people move, in their
thoughts, conversations and memories, between everyday life and art, as the
modest confrontation of the artist’s gaze in her performance stimulates each
character’s individual confrontation with questions that lie at the heart of
their own lives. This novel is an unusual and remarkable achievement, a
meditation on the social, spiritual and artistic importance of seeing and being
seen, and listening for voices from the present and past that may or may not
be easy to hear.

It is rare to encounter a novel with such powerful characterisation, such a
deep understanding of the consequences of personal and national history,
such affection for a city and the people who are drawn to it, and such
dazzling and subtle explorations of the importance of art in everyday life.

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Salamanca Inn: Robert Dessaix In Conversation

Hobart Bookshop
19.04.17 5:24 pm


We are delighted to host an event to celebrate the release of Robert Dessaix’s newest book, The Pleasures of Leisure.

Robert Dessaix will be in conversation with Adam Ouston at the Salamanca Inn on Monday May 8th.

In today’s crazily busy world the importance of making time for leisure is more vital than ever. Yet so many of us lack a talent for it. We are working longer hours, consuming more than ever before; technology erodes the work–life balance further; increasingly, people feel that only work gives existence meaning. In a world where time is money, what is the value of walking without purpose, socialising without networking, nesting when we could be on our laptops?

Robert Dessaix shows, in this thoughtful and witty book, how taking leisure seriously gives us back our freedom – to enjoy life, to revel in it, in fact; to deepen our sense of who we are as human beings. He explains how we can reclaim our right to ‘rest well’, and to loaf, groom, nest and play, as he looks at leisure from many angles: reading, walking, travelling, learning languages, taking siestas and simply doing nothing. The result is a terrifically lively and engaging conversation that reminds us that at leisure we are at our most intensely and pleasurably human.

Robert Dessaix (above) is a writer of fiction, autobiography and the occasional essay. From 1985 to 1995, after teaching Russian language and literature for many years at the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales, he presented the weekly Books and Writing program on ABC Radio National. In more recent years he has also presented radio series on Australian public intellectuals and great travellers in history, as well as regular programs on language.

His best-known books, all translated into several European languages, are his autobiography A Mother’s Disgrace; the novels Night Letters and Corfu; a collection of essays and short stories (and so forth); and the travel memoirs Twilight of Love and Arabesques. In 2012 he published the collection of originally spoken pieces As I Was Saying,and in 2014 the meditation What Days Are For. 

Adam Ouston’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals as well as the 2014 Transportation: Islands and Cities anthology. He is the recipient of the 2014 Erica Bell Literary Award for his manuscript The Party, which was also shortlisted for the University of Tasmania Prize in the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Awards 2015.

Ouston’s long interest in Dessaix’s work (his PhD was This Mortal Coil: Travel, Identity, Mortality in the Work of Robert Dessaix), suits him perfectly for this event.

The bar will be open, so come along to hear these two writers in conversation – it promises to be a leisurely and pleasurable evening!

Where: The Churchill Room, Salamanca Inn (10 Gladstone Street, Hobart)
When: Monday May 8th, 5.30pm

Free event, all welcome.

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2017 Stella Prize for women’s writing: Heather Rose wins for Marina Abramović novel

19.04.17 6:17 am

PHOTO: Marina Abramović performs The Artist is Present at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (Supplied: The Marina Abramović Archives)

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Hannah’s Hidden Good People

Paula Xiberras
18.04.17 6:05 am


Hannah Kent, when I spoke to her about her latest book ‘The Good People’, said she suspects readers assume she has a fascination with countries that have hidden people, that is elves, trolls and leprechauns because her two novels have both been set in Iceland and Ireland respectively, where, the citizens do not deny the existence of a parallel population.

Iceland’s hidden people said to be ‘tall and invisible’ in contrast to the smaller leprechauns and fairies of Ireland. The citizens of Iceland and Ireland hesitate to disturb the Hidden or Good Peoples parallel existence by avoiding building in areas deemed to be populated by them.

‘The Good People’ is set in a certain period of Irish history when spiritual beliefs were a melding of the old and new. Many people such as the character Nance, a healer, believed in the old ways that acknowledged the influence of The Good People. Nance’s mother and aunt also had special powers. Nance’s mother was believed to have been ‘swept’ or taken away by The Good People.

Nance sees no conflict in integrating elements into her healing, both elements of the fairy faith and the prayer and ritual of the established church, even though the latter disapproves of the employment of old ways.

The book opens with Nora, the novels other major protagonist learning of the death of her seemingly healthy husband from a heart attack as he works on the crossroads. The crossroads are symbolic of the intersection of both the physical and supernatural worlds. His demise is therefore seen as unnatural, especially so, because of the recent loss of his daughter and the noticeable developmental difficulties of her young child, who has lost the power of speech and mobility for no obvious reason. These coincidences suggest a supernatural cause and growing belief that the child has been swept or taken by The Good People and swapped with a changeling.

Hannah said she didn’t want to be overly specific with the baby’s symptoms so the reader might reach their own conclusion of whether his symptoms suggest a natural affliction as his doctor concludes or a supernatural one.

Just like ‘Burial Rites’ the inspiration for ‘The Good People’ was a true story taken from the newspaper. The story and dialogue are an authentic representation of Ireland of the times.  A notable feature are chapter headings with the names of the various herbal remedies employed by Nance to cure the changeling and return the original child. We see examples of the old ways throughout the novel including when a protracted birth is addressed by the symbolic superstitions of tying and untying of ribbons, the opening of doors and windows and the loosening of the pregnant women’s clothes, all presumably to aid in releasing the child.

Hannah says Icelanders and Irish, even those who are not strong proponents of the existence of the Hidden or Good People will not dismiss their existence.

Hannah Kent’s ‘The Good People’ is published by Pan Macmillan.

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Invitation: Annual General Meeting for the Tasmanian Writers Centre

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
17.04.17 12:49 pm

The Tasmanian Writers Centre is guided by a Committee of Management elected by a quorum at the Annual General Meeting each year.

The committee is responsible for good governance and overseeing the strategic direction of the centre.

Members are encouraged to serve a minimum of 2 years and meetings are held at the Centre five times a year.

Reports and nomination forms available on the Tasmanian Writers Centre website:

TWC Annual General Meeting 2017
Wednesday 19 April, 6pm
Hadley’s Orient Hotel, Hobart

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Black Inc & Nero: May new releases ...

Black Inc. and Nero
12.04.17 2:46 pm


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Fullers Bookshop, 5.30pm, Thurs, 11 May 2017: Albert Has Two Homes Now ...

Lucinda Sharp Director, FORTY SOUTH PUBLISHING Pty Ltd
11.04.17 3:52 pm


This unique and uplifting children’s picture book about family separation is written and illustrated by 4-year-old Albert and his artist mum, Kate. Using simple language and imagery, it outlines some of the changes around family break-up and takes a positive approach to what is often a difficult, life-changing experience. The book also contains guidance for adults on using art and story-telling as a way of helping young children communicate their feelings, gain understanding and build confidence.

Background: When Kate and her partner separated in 2016, their son, Albert, was 3 years old. To help Albert through the situation, Kate went in search of books to help explain what was happening. Although she found numerous books for children on divorce and separation, they were consistently written from an adult point of view. Albert found many of these books baffling, sad, and scary.

As an artist and writer, creativity had always helped Kate find solace and sense in times where words failed her, and she thought that making art could also help her son, who was still too young to talk about his feeling in words alone. So they sat down together and Albert talked and drew.  Kate transcribed and queried and doodled alongside him. Through the process, this book was born.
Told from Albert’s perspective, and centred on his drawings, it was a true collaboration; with Kate’s writing and drawing skills refining and guiding the work into a tangible story of his direct experience of family separation.

Kate Kelly is a Hobart based artist and writer with qualifications in Fine Art and Performing Arts. She has worked extensively in the community and general arts sector as a production manager, project coordinator, writer and visual artist since 1992. This book marks her foray into pursuing her lifelong dream of writing children’s books. She is currently working on further books with a similar aim - to help children of all ages develop confidence, embrace their creativity and share their own stories.

Albert Evans is a four-year-old boy with a curious nature and gentle soul who loves to draw, sing, build, swim and play. He wants to make more books with his mum and is currently determined to learn to write his name in small letters so he can sign them. He hopes this book makes people happy.

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Scottsdale RSL, 2pm, April 27: Launch of Forgotten Frontier ...

Lucinda Sharp Director, FORTY SOUTH PUBLISHING Pty Ltd
11.04.17 3:34 pm



Join us in celebrating with John Beswick the launch of his book ...

TASMANIA’S Forgotten Frontier
A history of exploration, exploitation and settlement around Tasmania’s Far North-East Coast
To be launched by
Mr Kenneth von Bibra am

Scottsdale RSL, George Street, Scottsdale, Tasmania
2.00 p.m., Thursday, 27 April 2017
Afternoon tea will be served.
RSVP by 18 April by phone 6394 7690 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Almost five years before the first British settlement on mainland Tasmania (in the Derwent estuary), sealers established semi-permanent settlements on the islands off the North-East Coast. The sealers exploited not only the seal population but also the indigenous tribes that had inhabited the northeastern coastal plains for thousands of years.

Following the decimation and ultimate removal of the native population, a string of isolated grazing establishments, along the coastline east of what is now Bridport, became the first settlements in this remote corner of the state. John Beswick recalls the exploits of Bass and Flinders, Captain Charles Bishop (founder of the Bass Strait sealing industry), Captain James Kelly and George Augustus Robinson. Significantly, he identifies and records in detail, for the first time, the settlers who braved the isolation to establish long term grazing ventures. These settlers and their families are the hitherto unrecognised pioneers of the true North-East. Amongst them are some well-known names of that era, and of later years…


John Beswick is a sixth generation Tasmanian whose ancestors were pioneers in the state’s North and North-East. Following a career on the land at Derby, he was elected to the Tasmanian Parliament. During nineteen years of service he was a cabinet minister for thirteen years and Deputy Premier for four years. After retirement from politics, John wrote his first book, Brothers’ Home, the Story of Derby Tasmania, (published in 2003) and subsequently edited MacFarlane’s History of North East Tasmania (2007). In 2015 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Parliament, social welfare, primary industries, local government and the community.

Tasmania’s Forgotten Frontier is the culmination of years of meticulous research motivated by a desire to fill a notable gap in the documented history of Tasmania, and to record for posterity the deeds of some of those who contributed significantly to the establishment and growth of the society we know in the twenty-first century.

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The perils of Paula

Paula Xiberras
11.04.17 7:34 am


When I spoke to Tricia stringer author of ’A Chance of Stormy Weather’ recently she told me that Tasmania, together with Darwin, is one of the few places in Australia she has not been and wants to visit. Tricia lives in the Eye Peninsula in South Australia and it is South Australia that is the setting for this rural romance.

Tricia began writing rural romance for Harlequin after first starting in children’s literature. As a teacher librarian Tricia would write stories about the copper mines for the school children which extended into writing stories about the environment, so began her foray into rural romance.

Tricia’s characters are known for being very realistic and that is clearly so in ‘A Chance of Stormy Weather’ where her protagonist Paula, newly married to a South Australian farmer, Dan, is not ‘perfect Paula’ in her new role, finding challenges in many areas, including her continual clash with the farm’s menacing mice.

It’s not just the rodents but relative Rowena, Dan’s aunt, that also make things difficult for Paula’s acclimatising to country life. There are light hearted moments too and a chance to celebrate Paula’s achievements and acceptance into her new community.

A Chance of Stormy Weather is out now published by Harlequin

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Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: Young Writers in the City ...

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
07.04.17 5:38 am


It’s that time again. The Tasmanian Writers Centre has launched its 2017 Young Writers in the City residency program, connecting emerging writing talent with community spaces.

The newest residency takes place in the Glenorchy City Council municipality, and six young writers will be paid $500 to create experimental essays inspired by the venues they have selected.

Congratulations to Lily Bennett, Laura Hilton, Elissa Evans, Kate Dewar, Vivienne Cutbush, and Zara Gudnason!

Their applications were assessed by Tasmanian Writers Centre committee member and writer Nicole Gill, and Glenorchy Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee representatives Kelly Eijdenberg and Bill Pearson.

The residency is facilitated through Twitch, the TWC young writers program, and funded by the Glenorchy City Council. Twitch Coordinator Stephanie Eslake said this initiative provides a unique opportunity for writers to explore the culture and spaces of their communities.

“The Young Writers in the City residencies are an important artistic contribution to the municipalities in which they take place,” Ms Eslake said.

The Tasmanian Writers Centre would also like to acknowledge the generosity of one resident - who wishes to remain anonymous - who donated her $500 to fund the opportunity for an additional writer to engage in the residency.

Young Writers in the City of Glenorchy comes after three highly successful previous programs, in which the Tasmanian Writers Centre sent young people into spaces across Devonport, Launceston and Hobart.

Visit our blog to meet the writers!:

For more information about the residency contact Stephanie Eslake, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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New book from David Cohen - ‘Disappearing off the Face of the Earth’

Transit Lounge
05.04.17 4:15 pm

‘David Cohen takes suburban life and turns it into a warped comedy with a body count, letting weirdness in, compellingly, irresistibly, until our sense of what’s real is flickering on and off like a dodgy fluoro tube.’ - Nick Earls

Disappearing off the Face of the Earth (Transit Lounge $29.95), is a surprisingly funny study of physical and mental deterioration. Hideaway Self Storage, located just off Brisbane’s M1, is in decline. But manager Ken Guy and his assistant Bruce carry on with their daily rituals even as the facility falls apart around them. Lately, however, certain tenants have been disappearing off the face of the earth, leaving behind units full of valuable items.

Ken has no idea where these rent defaulters have gone but he thinks he might be able to turn their abandoned ‘things’ into a nice little earner that could help save his business. But the disappearances are accompanied by strange occurrences such as Bruce’s inexplicable late-night excursions, Ken’s intensifying aversion to fluorescent lights, and Ken’s girlfriend’s intensifying aversion to Ken. While further along the motorway, construction of a rival facility – Pharoah’s Tomb Self Storage, part of a nationwide franchise – hints at a mysterious past and a precarious future. 

David Cohen’s second novel is never quite what it seems. Sharply attuned to the absurdities of contemporary urban life, it is that rare literary beast, a comic drama that is at once intelligent and suspenseful, humorous and deep.

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Mark Isaacs in Tasmania to lift the veil of secrets

Lili Calitz, Volunteer with Amnesty International Refugee Rights Action Group, Tasmania
05.04.17 9:21 am

This is a story of the fight of the men in detention to prove their innocence, and of the workers who tried to help them.

Mark Isaacs, formerly an employee of the Salvation Army on Nauru, who spoke out about the conditions on Nauru, will be in Tasmania this week to launch his second book on this topic, Nauru Burning: An uprising and its aftermath.

In this powerful account, Mark goes behind the veil of secrecy surrounding Australia’s offshore immigration detention centres to reveal a climate of fear and hopelessness.

This climate culminated in the riot and fire which destroyed much of the Nauru regional processing centre in July 2013.

Mark Isaacs reveals how the tinderbox ignited and examines the investigation into who was responsible.

“Mark Isaacs’s insight into the events that led up to the riot and fire at the Nauru refugee detention centre, and its aftermath, should concern every Australian,” writes Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision Australia, in the book’s moving foreword.

“This book is graphic evidence of dark practices directly linked to Australia’s immigration and border protection policies. It is a shameful story that needed to be told.  Mark Isaacs has rightly taken a stand against a policy of secrecy and lack of scrutiny that may have hidden the truth forever,” Mr Costello says.

Ultimately, it is a comment on the lack of accountability and oversight for service providers in the deliberately remote and closed environment of Australia’s offshore detention centres.

Mark was employed by the Salvation Army in September 2012 to support asylum seekers in the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. He eventually resigned from the Salvation Army in June 2013 and spoke out publicly against the government’s No Advantage policy.

Mark’s first book, The Undesirables: Inside Nauru (Hardie Grant, 2014), is an account of his time on Nauru.

Amnesty, along with Fullers Bookshop and Petrarch’s Bookshop, are proud to host Mark Isaacs for discussions of Nauru Burning. He will be in the south of the state on Thursday and will travel north on Friday.

Who:  Mark Isaacs, launching his new book Nauru Burning: An uprising and its aftermath
Hobart - When: Thursday 6 April, 5:30pm
Where: Fullers Bookshop, 131 Collins St, Hobart
RSVP:  Tickets are free, but bookings are essential as places may be limited. Bookings through the Fullers Bookshop website.
Launceston - When: Friday 7 April, 5:00pm
Where: Petrarch’s Bookshop, 89 Brisbane St, Launceston

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people campaigning to protect human rights. We have a vision of a world in which every person enjoys all of the rights stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.

Amnesty’s Tasmanian Refugee Rights Action Group meets on the third Monday of each month at the Hobart Action Centre - 1/130 Macquarie St, Hobart.

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Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: April in Tasmania

Tasmanian Writers' Centre
04.04.17 3:27 pm

Dear writers and readers,

We are excited to announce the winners of our Young Writers in the City residency program - this time taking place in and supported by the Glenorchy City Council municipality. Congratulations to Lily Bennett, Elissa Evans, Kate Dewar, Vivienne Cutbush, and Zara Gudnason!

Each writer has commenced their residency, through which they are exploring venues in the Glenorchy region - from GASP to Magnolia 73 Cafe. You can keep updated on their residency program by checking out, where we’ll publish their original stories over the coming months!

If you are interested in finding more about opportunities like these, you can become a member of our Twitch program for young writers, or get in touch with its new facilitator Stephanie Eslake on .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

For those a little older, please enjoy the fantastic workshop opportunities and book launches happening across our literary community this month!

From the TWC team x

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre here

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Maritime Museum of Tasmania, April 30, 5.30pm: River & Coastal Vessels ...

Lucinda Sharp Director, FORTY SOUTH PUBLISHING Pty Ltd
03.04.17 6:58 pm

Please join us at the Maritime Museum of Tasmania - 5.30pm, Sunday, 30 April 2017, 16 Argyle St, Hobart to celebrate the launch of A.J. (Tony) Coen’s new book River & Coastal Vessels Trading out of Hobart, 1832-2015.

And please feel free to send on this invitation to family and friends who are interested in all things maritime.

And don’t forget to RSVP (as per the invitation).

See you there!

website:  | facebook:

Download invitation ...


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Mysterious Hmong

Paula Xiberras
31.03.17 5:24 am


I recently spoke to Margaret Eldridge about her new book ‘New Mountain, New River, New Home?’ which tells the fascinating story of the mysterious Hmong people who made their home in Tasmania. Today, although around 100 Hmong still live in Tasmania, predominately in Campania, Hobart and the North West of the state after 15 years, the majority of Hmong became examples of what is known as secondary migration.

Secondary migration or what Margaret calls ‘pragmatic migration’ is when a group migrate to one country or state and then move on to another, after being well established in the first migration.
Margaret recounts in her book there are two graves at Pontville cemetery and seven at Bushy Park that are unique to those surrounding them. Unique because instead of flowers they are covered with produce, fruit and vegetables symbolic of the food provided for them in the underworld. Margaret says that sometimes even a coke might be present.

There is an irony in the presence of the fruit and vegetables because the Hmong were well known for selling their fruit and vegetables at Salamanca market.

There is mystery surrounding the Hmong’s very origins, did they originally come from Mongolia or were their blue eyes evidence of their origins in Siberia?

Margaret was recruited by the Hmong themselves to write their story because her relationship with them is longstanding, she supported and encouraged the Hmong people right from the beginning of their time in Tasmania. Margaret also lived in Laos, the Hmong homeland and worked as a volunteer literally walking in the Hmong’s shoes.

Margaret with her height and light coloured hair stood out when she visited the Hmong in their own country and was affectionately known as mother to the Hmong people.

Margaret worked as an ESL teacher for the Hmong in the Adult Migrant English Programme and also did some volunteer settlement work with the Hmong through her church refugee settlement group.

As the Hmong were preliterate Margaret devised her own method of teaching the Hmong, methods that can be applied to teaching other preliterate migrants of today. The Hmong however did tell their story or cultural capital, cleverly, literally weaving it into their garments.

Margaret outlines in her book the various reasons put forward for the Hmong’s secondary migration from Tasmania, among them, the most popular theory, that they left to gain a warmer environment to increase the variety of produce on their farm.

The Hmong migrated to Brisbane and Cairns and to Innisfail. In Brisbane the Hmong elders had difficulty finding their way around without a mountain for navigation. With the youth of the community working and distances between suburbs they felt very isolated.

In Cairns the situation was different because there were mountains which the Hmong affectionately named Boy and Girl Mountain after the mountains in Laos.

One Hmong woman who had migrated to Brisbane recounted to Margaret how, in her new home, she cried when she saw a car with a Tasmanian number plate. This example demonstrates to us that the Hmong left Tasmania for a number of reasons including the warmer climate but this migration was in no way a reflection of their engagement and love for Tasmania and its people.

Margaret’s book ‘New Mountain, New River, New Home?’ is available at Hobart Bookshop and the State Cinema. You can also obtain the book direct from Margaret.

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Psychic detective shares true crime stories in new book ‘Clues from Beyond’

Rockpool Publishing
30.03.17 8:59 am

For over twenty years Sydney-based psychic medium Debbie Malone has assisted police in helping solve some of Australia’s biggest crimes.

In the forthcoming book, Clues From Beyond (Rockpool Publishing $29.99, May 2017), Debbie shares her experiences of working with authorities as they investigate criminal cases and unsolved murders, as well as profound revelations when meeting the families of lost loved ones. A follow-up to her bestselling book Never Alone, Debbie shares her personal experiences with the spirit world and the ripple effect they create in extending proof that life and love goes on when we pass.

Debbie’s extraordinary gifts enable her to use the knowledge of world of spirit to look at criminal cases like the Rozelle fire and the death of six-year-old Keisha Abrahams, and connect the disappearance of Dorothy Davis with the convicted murderer of New South Wales woman Kay Whelan. She investigates unsolved murders, including the killing of Shane Barker in Tasmania and the 1974 Murphy Creek murders, and explores the mysterious disappearance of the two teenagers Kay Docherty and Toni Cavanagh from the Wollongong area in July 1979, and Bob Chappell from his yacht moored in Hobart harbour on Australia Day in 2009.

Clues from Beyond is a fascinating insight to the valuable role psychic mediums play in solving crime, and explores the truth about life and love, through the eyes of those in spirit.

Author Debbie Malone is an acclaimed spirit medium who has assisted police departments across Australia in missing persons and murder investigations for over two decades. Her extraordinary gifts – she is a psychic and clairvoyant as well as a medium – enable her to receive visions from both the living and the dead, from the past, present and future, and to convey messages to bereaved families from their departed loved ones.

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