There’s something about spending a Sunday afternoon in conversation with writers about writing and ideas. Today, I was lucky enough to hang out with Penni Russon and Karen Andrews at the Eltham library to talk about Penni’s latest book, ‘Almost Ever Always’.
It was a launch, of sorts. The official launch was a few weeks back but I thought it fitting that we have something local to help Penni give the local people a chance to share in celebrating the publication of her ninth book. Not a bad thing to do on a lovely spring afternoon with a cuppa and some choccie biscuits.
So, the book … I’m still only half-way through the book, but so far I’m really enjoying it. Penni has created a broken land that feels at times from long ago but at the same time far into the future. She gave a little hint in the conversation that she took inspiration from the movie Labyrinth.
And it’s true that this book cannot be classified as simply as we’d like. It’s much easier to shelve books when we can say this is fiction or this is YA but ‘Almost Ever Always’ really is a cross-over novel and I’d recommend both YAs and adults to read it.
September 7, 2011
Last night, I attended the Victorian Premiers’ Literary Awards. I had been asked to attend because I reviewed one of the 21 books from the shortlist.
It was a first for me and yes, there was a red carpet. The Plaza Ballroom at the Regent Theatre is a gorgeous place to hold an event like this. And what a pleasure to see authors, librarians, publishers in their little black frocks and suits.
The first announcement was the People’s Choice Award, which went to Anna Krien for her book ‘Into the Woods: The Battle for Tasmania’s Forests’. For anyone who hasn’t read Anna’s book, I recommend it.
The interesting thing for me was the discussions around the table about the shortlisted books as well as books in general. I feel so lucky to have a job that revolves around books, reading and literacy. Being on a table of librarians meant that there was a wealth of knowledge and great sharing of reading choices and ideas for getting books into readers hands.
Of course, I shouldn’t forget the winner! The big prize went to Kim Scott for his book ‘That Deadman Dance’. I’m yet to read the book (of course I will eventually) but there was plenty of discussion about its merit at our table.
I came away from the night with one resounding impression, a happy one, that the book is so not dead!
August 27, 2011
This week has been Children’s Book Week, for those of you who work in the book world. And I have to say I had lots of fun hanging out with kids in grade 5,6 and years 7 and 8. And I’m very happy to see these kids really into books and writing, as well as illustration.
Earlier in the year, I proposed a Festival of Stories to CAL Funding Agency to hold a series of writing and illustration workshops at the Yarra Plenty Regional Library with these kids. It has been a great week and has been a win-win for the library, the schools as well as the facilitators who I was able to get to run the workshops.
Our own Kev Howlett, Simon Swingler, Paul Collins and Hazel Edwards all ran workshops to kids who were thoroughly engaged for each two hour workshop. And don’t these kids show us how to be creative!
I look forward to gathering all their work and putting it into an anthology that we’ll launch in November.
August 18, 2011
I had planned to write here more often but i’ve been busy going to writing festivals and dealing with sick computers. They sound like writerly occupations, don’t they?
The Byron Bay Writers’ Festival was fantastic. Exactly the right medicine to get the creative juices flowing and to think about what it means to me when people are panicking about the so-called death of the book. Personally, I don’t think that the book will die. It will sit nicely alongside ebooks and everyone will get along. I was very impressed with a panel of women from Smashwords. They are taking the future into their own hands and embracing both traditional publishing and epublishing. And they aren’t young chicks who have grown up with computers. They’ve just realised that epublishing is part of the future.
There were some at the festival who seem to think that the way things were are better and that those of us who think we can write don’t count! I won’t name any names, it doesn’t really matter. These people will just have to get with the times.
So, my brain has really been ticking and as much as I am in love with the real book, I can see the benefits of an ebook and I will embrace it.
July 18, 2011
What is creativity? To me, a creative life is meaningful and I wouldn’t exist without it. And in my mind, everyone is creative in some way because it’s a form of expression.
But how do we define it? A limited definition of creativity would prevent many people from appreciating their own potential. It isn’t about the Arts. You don’t have to paint, draw, write or play a musical instrument.
So, what does a person need to pursue a creative life, and why do we need it? I think that an open and curious mind is all you need. And to be creative, or innovative, in the current economic climate equals survival.