Let me start out by saying I have a terrible headache, but I blog because I love you. Happy Valentines Day, readers. I hope you didn’t get too commercial. I hope you wrote a heartfelt poem or song, no matter how shoddy. I spent the day with Charles Darwin, but more on that later in the week when I do a whole post on Writers at the Convent.
This week’s round-up:
* How can we go past the horrific natural disasters that have occurred in Australia. This morning, smoke clouded the whole city. People, homes, pets, everything gone for some people. It’s unfathomable. We’re all sad. We’re all giving (I hope). We’ve all pledged to give blood (if not, do it now you big wuss).
My favourite article of the week was Clive Hamilton’s in Crikey called ‘Victorian Bushfires: Don’t Mention the C-word’. And frankly, I was surprised to find it was ‘controversial’. Someone has to get to the heart of the matter – something on all our minds – something, for some reason, we’re afraid to talk about. Ignorance, and an ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude will only make us feel okay for a little while. But global warming is not just something that’s coming. It’s here.
The article began ‘Climate scientists have been predicting more frequent and severe bushfires due to climate change for some years. A 2007 report for the Climate Institute by the Bushfire CRC concluded that we could expect a two to four-fold increase in the number of extreme fire danger days by 2050 under a high global warming scenario, the path we are now on. It identified northern Victoria, the site of the most deadly fires over the weekend, as one of the areas most prone to catastrophic fires.’
Will it only get worse? Smoke in the city today:
* This week I went to two launches. The Sleepers Almanac 5 and Torpedo Volume Four: Brautigan.
Sleepers were selling some really cool $5 T-shirts with a Raymond Chandler quote across the front. There was a strong crowd, reasonably cheap beer, and great readings. Simon Cox’s ‘How to Talk to People at House Parties’ was particularly sweet. I look forward to reading it again within the pages. Other writers it contains that I can’t wait to check out are Ryan O’Neill, Andrew Hutchinson, Ella Holcombe, Jo Case, Daniel Ducrou, Patrick Cullen, and more. Get a copy here. And soon I’ll be telling you a bit more about the novels Sleepers are releasing…
While Torpedo is a younger journal (but ambitious, being a quarterly), and quite different as it’s not funded and open to overseas as well as Australian writers, it has all the elegance of a more established journal. Editor Chris Flynn introduced the issue, and told us all about Californian writer Richard Brautigan, to which it is a tribute. The issue’s cover is innovative and striking. The readings by Luke May and Josephine Rowe were relaxed and engaging. There was a lot of love for Brautigan in the room. Get your copy of Torpedo Four here. I ended up walking away with not only Torpedo Four but with Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America. Hunter Publishers are also beginning to reissue some Brautigan cult classics in Australia.
By the way, I’m not going to take another picture of my reading pile, because you will cry for me.
* The first issue of Bookseller+Publisher is out for the year (9 yearly). Exciting for me as I do so much work on it, and write a lot of it. What might be exciting for you are some of the reviews inside – books that haven’t even hit the bookstore shelves yet. The novel you will hear so much about – Steven Amsterdam’s Things We Didn’t See Coming – was given five stars by its reviewer Deborah Crabtree. I was lucky enough to review two books for the issue: Eva Hornung’s Dog Boy, and Tom Cho’s Look Who’s Morphing. Two incredibly different books, which I’ll tell you more about a little closer to their release. I can tell you though that they were both fantastic (I’m lucky to get to run my eye over the review baskets first). Besides the reviews, the issue contains news on a publishing survey being undertaken; an article on when self-publishing pays off; some profiles on how people in publishing got to be in their positions; the Junior supplement on children’s and YA books; and interviews with Peter Rodgers (Arabian Plights), Wendy Harmer, and Andy Griffiths.
* I’ll have some more news about the Format Festival in Adelaide soon, when the program is out. I booked my flights this morning. I hope you guys will come and hear me blab about blogging, writing as activism, and style! The blogging session is one I’m running, and it’s actually a round table. That means participation. I will be joined by my favourite film blogger Gerard, aka Mr Celluloid Tongue (who owes me something that you are waiting on – he knows what it is). Between you and me, he worries too much. 😉 Anyway – book your flights so you can be there on the 15th of March, that’s when it’s all happening!
* Here’s a cool link: The PEN Atlas of World Literature. This link leads to the Atlas blog, which tells you all about it – ‘We believe that great writing has the power to change your life and change the world, one book at a time.’
* And another festival coming up is the Castlemaine Festival. 27 March – 5 April. The literature component includes some of my faves: Cate Kennedy, Alex Miller, and Nathan Curnow.
That’s about all I have effort for today lovelies. Plenty of sexy stuff coming up soon on the blog.
This time last year I was in Venice, can you imagine?