Words Out Loud in Ballarat – March edition

words out loud ballaratWords Out Loud returns to Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, March 17, 7-9pm, for its next session of spoken word.

Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer. Babushka has excellent sound and backing tracks can be accommodated. You won’t find a friendlier venue.

The March event has a nominal theme of “falling”. Entry is free, though a gold coin donation would be appreciated for this non-profit, community event.

Keep up to date at the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/

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Words Out Loud – what a state we’re in!

Amber Wilson

Amber Wilson

Our first Thursday night Words Out Loud spoken word event, “state of the heart”, at Babushka went quite well last night! Lovely to see so many, and to have such a large audience of, well, audience, to support the readers.

I also had my first Babushka pizza and it was damn fine, thanks.

It was very chilled, hanging back in the beer garden after the event and then listening to Troy knock out some tunes — looking forward to the album, man.

Troy, singing us out

Troy, singing us out

The next spoken word night will be on Thursday, March 17, from 7pm, with  a theme of “falling” (autumnal or otherwise, broad themes are good themes, eh), again at Babushka.

The Facebook event site

Aurealis Awards finalists announced

aurealis awards logoThe Aurealis Awards for Australian speculative fiction will be awarded on Good Friday, March 25, in Brisbane as part of the national science fiction convention, Contact. Tickets are now on sale (with, apparently, convention members to get a discount).

It’s a pretty cool event, bringing the community together, and being held as part of the convention should mean extra vibe as well as, one hopes, a packed room. (It’s great to see the awards organisers in WA and the nat con collaborating this way, especially since there is the Swancon convention in Perth also at Easter.)

The finalists were announced yesterday, with several new categories, one of the most exciting being the Sara Douglass Book Series Award. The list of finalists is here (note: my wife is in there!). There’s a bucket of cold water for the horror novel category — I know, sad! the judges’ comments will make interesting reading on that one!* — but elsewhere a pretty darn strong field of contenders.

Just making it to the short list is a big achievement, so congratulations all — let’s party!


*I’m hoping for a tie between Lisa Hannett’s Lament for the Afterlife and Trent Jamieson’s Day Boy because both these rock in their own way. Read them regardless!

2 for 1 Aussie vampire deal

the big smoke by jason nahrungblood and dust by jason nahrungClan Destine Press is offering 50 per cent off all stock until March 31. That means half-price books or, if you like, both books in the Vampires in the Sunburnt Country duology for the price of one. $27 for Blood and Dust and The Big Smoke in paperback. Or $6 all up for B&S and TBS in ebook. Killer!

A Valentine’s Day journey to the lost cemetery

Blue Mount Cemetery

Entrance to Blue Mount Cemetery, near Blackwood

There is something about an overgrown cemetery. Headstones covered in ivy and moss, that slow return to nature, memorial if not memory fading. So when I saw a story in the local paper about just such a graveyard near Blackwood, not even an hour from Ballarat, I had to check it out. Besides, what better way to spend Valentine’s Day?

Unfortunately, the cemetery wasn’t marked on our Google map, and guided only by this very informative blog post, our first foray yielded a couple of miles of rough dirt road but no graveyard outside Blackwood. (I’ve since found this website, which offers GPS co-ordinates for oodles of cemeteries.)

But with the clues contained therein and a serendipitous spotting of a road sign outside nearby Newbury, we found our way to the Blue Mount Cemetery. (Heading from Trentham, towards Newbury, take the gravel Old Blackwood Road on the left and shortly after, on the right, Tower Track.)

The fenced area, at the base of a hill on which sits a tower, was covered by ferns and blackberry vines — bonus, the berries were ripe. Nom nom nom.

More pictures

Only about a dozen gravesites were visible. The latest interment seems to have been in the ’60s, although there is a more recent memorial plaque. The couple of family names visible on the few remaining headstones suggests some district pioneers here.

Scat suggests there might also be wombats in the area.

There is no signage, just the gate posts by the side of the road and the sagging wire fence to denote the site.

It reminded me a little of other wonderful wild cemeteries in the UK, Highgate and York, where the line between existence and nonexistence is blurred by wild growths of green. A little melancholy, even under the sun, but overall peaceful and quite beautiful. If you want a symbol of the passing of the human age, this would be one of the more powerful ones.

For the record, the Valentine’s Day celebration of togetherness included a picnic by a duck pond in Trentham, a new gargoyle for the patio and some yard work, fish and chips and a bottle of red. Death and life thus marked, the great wheel turning, all in its own good time.

Blue Mount Cemetery, near Blackwood

Blue Mount Cemetery, near Blackwood

Words Out Loud in Ballarat – February edition

Words Out Loud BallaratAfter a brilliant Sunday afternoon launch in January, Words Out Loud returns to Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, February 18, 6-8pm for its next session of spoken word.

Writers, readers, poets — all word lovin’ folks with a hankering to share the love are invited along, with five-minute open mic spots on offer. Babushka has excellent sound and backing tracks can be accommodated. You won’t find a friendlier venue.

February’s event has a nominal theme of “state of the heart” (cue music). Entry is free, though a gold coin donation would be appreciated for this non-profit, community event.

Keep up to date at the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/wordsoutloud/