Late SF additions to the calendar

Sean Williams,  a guest at WestWordsFest

Sean Williams, a guest at WestWordsFest

Two events on this weekend in NSW have just been added to the 2017 literary events calendar.

Both running September 15 to 17, they are: WestWordsFest in Dubbo, and Sorcery to Spaceships in Armidale. Both look fab!

  • I’m always keen to hear about literary festivals to add to the calendar, in whatever genre. Drop me a line if it’s not already listed!
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    Keeping up, when the future is now

    wind-powered greenhouse in victoria

    Image: reneweconomy.com.au

    One of the hardest parts about writing a near-future novel is keeping ahead of the news, but that’s not always a bad thing. For instance, here’s a news article about an awesome project in Victoria: a massive glasshouse for growing vegetables that will be totally powered by an adjacent wind farm. Extra rehab points for being built on the site of an old gold mine!

    Meanwhile, the federal government and the Queensland government appear intent on dropping their dacks for Adani’s Carmichael coal minean unconscionable project by any metric you want to apply.

    And here I am, with a mosaic novel* set in near-future Queensland (mainly Brisbane) in which the Galilee coal mines feature prominently — as stranded assets, now being converted into, you guessed it, giant greenhouses. (One of the three stories involving Galilee has been selected for the Ecopunk! anthology, coming from Ticonderoga Publications — the TOC looks amazing!)

    It’d be really neat to have to rewrite the stories because the governments in question grew some social conscience (and economic nous) and canned the entire idea (I can hear the Asia-Pacific nations who are begging the world to stop building coal-fired power stations from here), but I can’t see that happening.

    It’s a bit like the narrative spike I copped when BP (boo! not forgiven for Deepwater Horizon) pulled out of exploration in the Great Australian Bight, only to be replaced by Chevron. And so the battle, and the story, goes on …

    * mosaic novel = a fictional work made up of interconnected short stories; the form has many names (composite novel and novel-in-stories are just two of the more common ones, but I prefer mosaic)
     

    2017 Calendar of Australian Literary Events

    calendarWelcome to 2017, and what is already looking like a crowded calendar of literary events in Australia — some events have already staked claims as far out as November! Check out the 2017 calendar of Australian literary events!

    As always, updates, notifications and corrections are appreciated!

    Dreaming up a story: Eromon No More

    dreaming in the darkWhere do your ideas come from, folks ask. Good luck answering that (aisle 3 at the shopping centre doesn’t cut it, I’ve found). But here’s an insight into the making of my yarn Eromon No More, which I’m bloody chuffed to have included in Jack Dann’s anthology Dreaming in the Dark (now available to order) where it rubs shoulders with some truly impressive talents — and is also a rare occurrence of Kirstyn and myself having a yarn in the same book.

    So, I can trace the spark of the idea back to a panel at a Continuum convention in Melbourne (happening again June 9-12 2017) where the absence of variety in high/second world fantasy was noted. Not many old people as protagonists, for instance. And I’d been taken with the portrayal of Lamb in Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country, a damaged soldier trying to find some peace.

    I nutted out a short yarn, deliberately generic, in which an old coot and a young thing have fled war for the peace and hard yakka of a farm, only war comes to find them — it was meant to be kind of a satire or a critique, but never really got there.

    I sent this to Jack for Dreaming. And he said: Give me more.

    My story in Jack’s Dreaming Again remains one of my favourites: his faith and commitment to that yarn kept me in the game at a time when I could happily have given it away. Then, as now, he said to give him more. Now, as then, I went looking.

    winds of change anthologyThe original skeleton of the yarn remained much the same, but I tapped the feel of a fantastical Australia (most of my yarns are set here, one way or another; I need a very specific reason to not set a yarn in my country) I’d conjured up for another story, Wraiths (Winds of Change, 2011) to breathe life into the setting and add some cultural nuance.

    But where did those two characters come from? They’re probably a construct or amalgam of stories read and watched, maybe even some D&D played, their characters assembled consciously and subconsciously … Who knows? Aisle 3 is as good a suggestion as any.

    I do know the story title is a nod to the suburban habit of naming houses Emoh Ruo I first encountered in My Brother Jack, and perhaps was a call to George Johnston’s desire to escape that reality that ultimately he didn’t seem able to. Maybe it illustrates the characters’ motivation and ill fate. Or perhaps it had no deeper meaning than a bit of fun wordplay for a dark story that tries to end on (for me) an uncharacteristically lighter note.

    Funny, too, how what was meant to be just a bit of scenery, in this case a chicken, came to have a metaphorical role in the story. That idea must’ve been on special in the supermarket that day.

    Funnily enough, I’ve still got another iteration of this story in the back of my brain. One with a goose. And even half an idea for another story involving these two characters. Another trip to the supermarket may be required!

  • Dreaming in the Dark has 21 stories from writers including Sean Williams, Garth Nix, Angela Slatter, Terry Dowling … it’s a cornucopia of Aussie writing. Check it out here.

  • The Brisbane launch is at Dymocks, 17 Albert St, on Thursday 8 December from 6pm. There will be readings, live music, drinks, signings and bonhomie! It would be lovely to see a few Brissie pals there! Free to attend, but please RSVP!

     

    2017 Calendar of Australian Literary Events

    calendarThe calendar for the remaining weeks of 2016 is still pretty darn busy, but with next year’s literary calendar already getting busy, it’s time to cast ahead to 2017 and get those literary motors running. So here is the 2017 calendar of Australian literary events!

    And if you’re still at a loose end for what remains of this year, you can still check out this year’s calendar.

    As always, updates, notifications and corrections are appreciated!

    Words Out Loud in Ballarat – November edition

    words out loud in ballaratWords Out Loud returns to Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, November 24, 7-9pm, for its next session of spoken word.

    To mark the final event of the year, Jessica Wilkinson will headline. Jessica is the founding editor of RABBIT: a journal for nonfiction poetry, which celebrates its 20th issue in November. She has published two poetic biographies, marionette: a biography of miss marion davies (Vagabond 2012) and Suite for Percy Grainger (Vagabond 2014). She is currently writing up a third, on choreographer George Balanchine, research for which was undertaken at the NYC Public Library and Harvard under the Marten Bequest Travel Award. She is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at RMIT University, Melbourne.

    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. Sadly, Babushka has announced it is likely to close at year’s end, so this a chance to farewell this most excellent host.

    The event has a nominal theme of “on the edge”, but as always, performers are encouraged to take the theme and run with it for their 5-minute slots — or ignore it altogether!

    Entry is free.

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

    Words Out Loud in Ballarat – October edition

    words out loud ballaratMake a flap. Aim for the sky. Let your words (or someone else’s) soar. Words Out Loud is “winging it” when it returns to Babushka lounge in Ballarat on Thursday, October 20, 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 event has a nominal theme of “winging it”, but as always, performers are encouraged to take the theme and run with it for their 5-minute slots — or ignore it altogether!

    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/.