From left, Stephanie Laurens, Sue Gammon, Jason Nahrung, Kirsty Brooks, Sandy Curtis at Booked in Bundaberg
There really is nothing like country hospitality. I had the good fortune to be a guest at Booked, the first such event hosted by the Bundaberg Library at the weekend. Also appearing were Stephanie Laurens, Kirsty Brooks and Kim Michelle Toft, and what a fascinating group they were. The day began after a coffee with all of us answering questions from our awesome library host Sue Gammon.
I was particularly interested to hear that all of us were inspired to write our initial books by self-interest: interested in telling the kind of story we each wanted to read, rather than as a marketing exercise or commercial venture. The theme of passion for writing and storytelling was one that ran strong through my own presentation later in the day. But that followed a superb presentation by Kim of her gorgeous silk painting of underwater scenes, some she uses in her children’s books, others she sells through her gallery in northern New South Wales. Then Stephanie blew us away with her work ethic and description of her amazing house in Victoria, tailor-made for a full-time writer. Then I was chuffed to field a bunch of questions about horror and vampires and writing in general, before Kirsty charmed the crowd (and it *was* a crowd, what a great turnout!) with her sheer enthusiasm and zaniness.
I have two goddaughters in Bundy, so being able to catch up with my dear friends there as well as rub shoulders with writers and readers really was a lot of fun. And then there was the generous barbecue held by Bundaberg writer Sandy Curtis …
We forget, in the city, just how many stars there are. Even a country boy like me forgets from time to time. A walk on the beach away from the city lights can do wonders for our perspective. Life is a fleeting thing. Best to indulge those passions while we can, methinks.
Me, blabbing on. Pictures: Kirstyn McDermott
I’m excited to say that I’ll be joining some excellent writers at Bundaberg Library’s Booked program in May. Stephanie Laurens, Kirsty Brooks and Kim Michelle Toft will be sharing the love and angst at panels, chats and, I believe, over lunch. I grew up in the Wide Bay region and still have good friends in Bundy, so it’s a bit of a return to my old stomping grounds, bringing some Gothic vampire love with me 🙂
Booked is on Sunday, May 17, conveniently dovetailing with Writefest the day before, run by Bundaberg Writers Club. So I’ll be popping in there for a look-see, too. Sue Abbey is among the professionals running workshops at Writefest: I can’t speak highly enough of her skills and friendly advice.
Two other events worth noting: the mob organising the national science fiction convention, Conjecture, in Adelaide in June have extracted their digit and posted more information on the website, allaying mounting fears that the long period of silence heralded a fizzler. Mind you, with that many wineries within cork-popping distance, that was never really going to be an issue, was it?
Another cool event that has got cooler is Continuum, in Melbourne in August, where Melbourne writer Narelle M Harris has been added as a guest of honour. Harris has had a vampire novel published by Brisbane’s Pulp Fiction Press; they make a commendable team 🙂
The other key convention for spec fic writers and readers this year is Conflux, in Canberra in October, but unfortunately I won’t be making that. Rather I’ll be at my Edge writers group’s annual retreat, hoping to make something beautiful come of it.
Playing catch up after a six-day outage thanks to a spanner in the works at Optusnet HQ … but here’s something fresh, and exciting, and inspiring. Check out the bumper crop of Queenslanders scoring some publicity for having their debut novels published in 2009. Not all the stories are necessarily my preferred cup of coffee, but worth drinking to 🙂
Krissy Kneen, Belinda Jeffrey and Chris Bongers are among the selection, and I’m happy to say they’re folks I’ve had the pleasure of running into, even lifting a glass with, and their stories sound well worth the price of admittance.
You can read more about them and their compatriots here.
sean williams and margo lanagan
Good news received today is that some of the tutors in Brisbane for the Clarion South workshop will also be doing readings.
The list is:
Sean Williams, Thursday, January 15, 6:30pm
Margo Lanagan, Sunday, January 25, 3pm
Jack Dann, Thursday, January 29, 6:30pm
Kelly Link & Gavin Grant, Thursday, February 5, 6:30pm
These all take place at Avid Reader Bookstore, 193 Boundary Street, West End.