Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

February 5, 2010

Days of Goa and Goan nights.

So many excellent presentations with two or three parallel sessions made it difficult to choose which to attend sometimes at the IASA 2010 conference.

Susanne Gervay chairing session with presenter Thamilarasi P

Susanne chairing session with presenter Jyoti Nandan

I chaired two sessions, the first included Susanne Gervay speaking about ‘Youth Literature: A Global Strategy for Social Justice’; Pam Macintyre’s digital storytelling presentation ‘Advance Australia (Un)Fair? Australian Identity in Award Winning Fiction for Young People’; Reema Sarwal discussing ‘A Cinderella for 21st Century Australia: Reading Tamaika’s Meta-Fictional Journey from The Princess of Shadows to the Queen of Quentaris’. Another presenter was slotted in at short notice and unfortunately had to give a shorter presentation, Purushottama Bilimoria narrated a visual presentation about ‘Desi Performative Arts in Australia: from Lightfoot to Creative Australian-Indian Dance Movements’, with reference to Anna Pavlova and others.

Sharon with Sarany Mukherjee Uni of Calcutta who presented a paper at the conference.

During the second session, Alice Healy presented “History is an Advanced Literary Art’, with reference to Kate Grenville, Inga Clendinnen, Kim Scott and Hazel Brown ; V. Lakshmanan referred to Bryce Courtnay’s The Power of One to discuss racism; Saranya Mukherjee spoke about Lucid Life: Slippery Truth using a re-vision of Malouf’s The Great WorldThe Conversation at Curlow Creek; Virender Pal presented his paper ‘Psychic Disintegration of Ivy: A study of Alexis Wright’s Plains of Paradise’. and



Sharon presents her paper and digital storytelling "Near Pavilions"


My own digital story-telling presentation ‘Near Pavilions’ was chaired by Makarand Paranjape, author of Sacred Australia published here by Cloud of Magellan (Melbourne) and in the National Library of Australia.

Sujata, Susanne, me and Meenakshi in the Garden at the International Centre Goa where we launched "Fear Factor Terror Incognito".

Following that afternoon session we had an al-fresco launch in the Centre gardens of a collection of stories from India and Australia Of Sadhus and Spinners edited by Santosh Sareen, Bruce Bennett, Susan Cowan and Asha Kanwar, which was launched by Richard Nile and the Indo-Aus anthology Fear Factor Terror Incognito. Sujata Sankranti and Susanne Gervay spoke about and read from Fear Factor Terror Incognito. The event was attended by editors, authors, conference delegates, Professors Sareen and Gopal; Australian professors and Dr Lachlan Strahan, Deputy High Commissioner for the Australian High Commission.

Goa Launch of Fear Factor Terror Incognito - Professor Sareen holding up a copy

Susanne Gervay reading from her story 'Days of Thailand' at the launch of Fear Factor Terror Incognito

A lot of copies of Fear Factor Terror Incognito were sold and we signed a great many of them, as well as having our photos taken. Many thanks to all who bought copies and I hope you find it as thought-provoking and as good a read as we do.

Over the five days of the conference we were looked after very well by the organisers and volunteers.


Susanne with Mridusmita Baruah and me.

The organisers provided enormous amounts of Indian and European dishes, as well as tea, coffee and snacks ensuring that we were all well fed. The International Goa Centre accommodation is bright, spacious and comfortable; internet connection is available, though it has to be shared, and the surrounding gardens are well-kept and beautiful. The local sights are well worth exploring. We were treated to a boat ride and cultural programme on the ‘Santa Monica’ which departed from below the Mandovi Bridge in Panjim. We also did our own exploring around Goa and its lovely beaches.

Dressed for the evening in Goa

Beach on Arabian Sea at Goa


The conference concluded with a valedictory address by Alan Mayne and speakers Stephen Muecke, Richard Nile, Satendra Nandan and R Narayan. My thanks to the AIC for a travel grant and CAL for cultural development grant to enable me to attend.

I have become a life member of IASA and am appreciative of the work that they do. The conference was an unforgettable experience. I have taken a lot from it back with me to Australia. Including the anthology which I am enjoying reading and the lovely IASA commerative clock and Certificate.

And so on to Delhi, where our book Fear Factor Terror Incognito is already in most good Indian bookshops, including those in shiny malls and local haunts such as the Khan Markets.

Delhi book shop and Jyoti with a copy of Fear Factor Terror Incognito

Writing Tip for Today
Write about a place that has inspired your wildest dreams. Recently, for me, it has been a visit to Goa and the Arabian Sea. Just the words ‘Arabian Sea’ conjure up Tales of Arabian Nights and memories of reading this book with an introduction by Sir Richard Burton which brought these tales to me many years ago. What do the words ‘Arabian Sea’ conjure up for you? Is there a place equally as magical for you? Transport yourself there on a magic carpet and write a fabulous story.

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3 Comments »

  1. It was the best conference and Sharon’s talk on ‘Near Pavilions’ on her aunt’s life in India was living history and gave an udnerstanding of that time. I really loved the talk and preentation. Thankyou Sharon

    Comment by Susanne Gervay — February 5, 2010 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  2. Hello
    I have read your blog post with great interest because I am going to India, Goa in february and would love to meet people/projects that works within storytelling and digital storytelling – maybe you know someone?

    Comment by Nikoline — January 6, 2011 @ 12:14 am | Reply

    • Hi Nikoline
      I hope you love India and Goa as much as I do. I would suggest contacting the University of Goa and making yourself known to them and let them know you are going to Goa and about your interest in digital storytelling. If you are also going to Delhi, then you could contact the University of Delhi, JNU and/or IGNOU, the Indira Ghandi National Open University.

      I would love to hear how you go.

      Sharon

      Comment by roundtablewriting — January 6, 2011 @ 8:45 am | Reply


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