Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

March 27, 2012

‘Bitter Greens’ have never tasted so good

 Bitter Greens

Bitter Greens,  new book just released by Kate Forsyth  is already attracting rave reviews. It is a marvellous tale and a must-read!   Kate’s latest book for adults, Bitter Greens, interweaves a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale with the scandalous life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer Charlotte-Rose de la Force.

Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. She is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens …

 After Margherita’s father steals a handful of parsley, wintercress and rapunzel from the walled garden of the courtesan, Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off … unless he and his wife give away their little girl.

 Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1513 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-one years later.  Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

 Locked away in a tower, growing to womanhood, Margherita sings in the hope someone will hear her. One day, a young man does …

 Three women, three lives, three stories, braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic, and the redemptive power of love.

Bitter Greens is published by Random House Books and can be purchased here.

Inspiration behind Bitter Greens

BITTER GREENS will be published APRIL 2012

 “History and fairytale are richly entwined in this spellbinding story. Compulsively unputdownable!

Juliet Marillier, author of ‘Daughter of the Forest

 

A must read for lovers of historical fiction. Philippa Gregory watch out!”

Pamela Freeman, winner of the 2006 NSW History Prize


Booktopia Review

Many Daily Review

Australian Women Online Review

Kate Forsyth is the bestselling and award-winning author of 25 books for children and adults, translated into 10 languages.

 Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for many awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5: The Lightning Bolt was also a CBCA Notable Book.

 Her latest book for children is The Starkin’s Curse, a tale of high adventure, wild magic and true love, set in the same world as her bestselling novels The Starthorn Tree and The Wildkin’s Curse.

 Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, A Mother’s Offering to her Children. She is also studying a doctorate in fairytale re-tellings at University of Technology, Sydney.

 You can read more about her at www.kateforsyth.com.au

Brothers Grimm

December 17, 2011

A Gift of Hope for Children this Xmas

After showcasing some enchanting picture books for children in recent posts, it’s time to spare a thought for those who miss out on such exciting treats.

You can spread some love and joy this Christmas by giving a donation, however small, to make sure as many children as possible feel included.

The Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation ‘Wall of Hands’ can do with your helping hand, which will be added to the wall when you make your donation.

‘Hands Up if you Care’.  See the Wall of Hands U-tube clip

Now listen to The Song MUNGKARTA IS OUR HOME” —– sung by the children of Mungkarta School (NT) and look at the photos — and see how your donations can help.

I have donated to a friend’s wall and in turn have set up my own Wall of Hands to which you can add your donation

For more information about the Wall of Hands

ChilOut – Children Out of Detention

volunteers are taking presents of toys, games and books to children who are kept in detention centres and have no parents. Volunteers are paying their own expenses to travel long distances to make sure the children feel included in our Christmas festivities: “this way we can buy what the kids really need and can use (we’re asking those who visit regularly) and where possible items will be bought locally and delivered.”

“Through our Christmas appeal we have learnt that there are approximately 225 unaccompanied children in secure detention facilities. DIAC has not released statistics since 31 October; at which time there were a total of 370 children in locked facilities (unaccompanied and with a parent).”

 http://www.chilout.org/xmas/

Read more about the work that ChilOut does.

Please give as generously as you can to help make another child’s Christmas as magical as the one the children in your own family will have.

August 12, 2011

Violin Lessons – Arnold Zable

Violin Lessons by Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable has released his latest book Violin Lessons published by Text.  Zable is the narrator of stories of the lives of displaced people, survivors and their families, like Amal Basri rescued from the SIEV X after almost twenty-four hours in the ocean, whose moving story is told in ‘The Ancient Mariner’.   Another story, ‘The Dust of Life’ follows the lives of children orphaned by the war in Vietnam: Bui doi, the boys were called, ‘the dust of life’, but in this moment of blessed sleep they were a brotherhood united by common circumstance, living a semblance of family life in a transient haven in a warring city where the bonds of civility had been strained beyond the limits.

As the title of this poignant yet gripping collection of stories suggests, music is present in each story. In ‘The Ancient Mariner’, Amal sings; in ‘The Dust of Life’, the music flows from a bamboo flute. ‘In time, the distinction between flute and water, bamboo and breeze vanished, and all that remained was the flow of the notes—a melody that belonged to streams and rivers, outside and beyond history, beyond the scourge of contending armies, beyond the stench of camps and shantytowns housing the displaced and exiled. Beyond the madness.

You can read a review of Violin Lessons published in the Canberra Times. Arnold tells me that: ‘one thing I would add to that quote from the Canberra Times article is that the difference between ordinary and extraordinary for the story teller is often dependent on the intensity of our listening. Seemingly ordinary people often possess that extra in simple but profound ways.‘

Zable book review in the Canberra Times

Violin Lessons is hitting the bookshops now, so watch out for it or order your copy from Text Publishers.

Arnold is an award winning writer, storyteller, educator, and human rights advocate and a wonderful speaker. I met him at Eltham “World Matters” where he spoke eloquently and passionately about refugees and people who are seeking asylum during his discussion with Susan Metcalfe about her book The Pacific Solution

Arnold Zable’s many books include:

 Jewels and Ashes, (Scribe, 1991) which won five Australian literary awards

Cafe Scheherazade, (Text, 2001)

The Fig Tree, (Text, 2002)

Scraps of Heaven, (Text, 2004)

Sea of Many Returns, (Text, 2008)

Special Event for Members of the NSW Writers’ Centre

Arnold Zable will join NSW Writers’ Centre members for an in conversation event, where he will talk about his life and his work. Arnold comes to the Writers’ Centre via the Writing Australia 2011 touring program and will be in conversation with Rebecca Giggs.

The event is part of the NSW Writers’ Centre Free Member Events.

Arnold Zable and Rebecca Giggs in Conversation at the NSW Writers’ Centre Members Only night on Monday 26 September, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

An event not to be missed.

RSVP to events@nswwc.org.au with your name and member number to attend.

June 3, 2011

Authoring the Author at the NSW Writers Centre

More about the publication process.

A brand new professional development course is running at the NSW Writers Centre,

which may be of interest either to you  or perhaps to people in your network emerging into the role of author.

Authoring the Author is run by William Kostakis (YA author and professional blogger) with a tonne of guest speakers including Zoe Walton (Random House) and Benython Oldfield (Zeitgeist media). This is a selective course and participants will need to submit a one page statement of what they would like from the course before being offered a place. 

Over six sessions William will examine the industry from all angles, navigating the challenges and identifying the opportunities presented to modern authors.

We are trying to spread the word about this opportunity for emerging writers as far and wide as possible, so do please pass it on.

Jacqui Dent

Program Officer

NSW Writers’ Centre

PO Box 1056

Rozelle NSW 2039

T  02 9555 9757

F  02 9818 1327

E  jdent@nswwc.org.au 

W www.nswwc.org.au

May 4, 2011

Southerly India Issue

The long awaited India issue of Southerly is now out!

You may have already heard but in case you haven’t, there is a special India issue of Southerly this month.

 Meenakshi Bharat and I have an essay Tackling the Topic of Terrorism  published in the India issue of Southerly, where we discuss the process of editing and publishing the anthology of stories from Australia and the Indian subcontinent, Fear Factor Terror Incognito.

The special India issue features  poetry by Temsula Ao, fiction by Michelle Cahill and Ali Alizadeh reviews books by Barry Scott and Kerry Leves.

It’s an excellent issue and a great read.

Subscription to Southerly

April 17, 2011

New books to put on your reading list

New books:

We’re all set for some great reading  judging by the latest releases by friends and colleagues.  Congratulations to you all and I hope they all prove to be best sellers. Here’s a selection of fiction, non-fiction for adults and a children’s book:


Freedom from Toxic Relationships

Avril Carruthers

Available from May 2nd, 2011 in all good bookshops. Published by Allen & Unwin.

Avril is a Transpersonal psychotherapist  with over twenty years’ experience. She also reviews films. Avril is a regular Season of Inspiration writer and all at SOI send our congratulations to Avril on the publication of her latest book.


Good friend and colleague, Susanne Gervay has a picture book for children to add to her extensive list of books and stories, including her story ‘Days of Thailand’ in Fear Factor Terror Incognito.

Ships in the Field

by Susanne Gervay and illustrated by Anna Pignataro

In a unique collaboration, award-winning author Susanne Gervay and award-winning illustrator Anna Pignataro have created a moving and significant picture book, Ships in the Field. It crosses boundaries in a universal recognition that children are part of the journey of war, migration, loss and healing. Through warmth, humour, pathos and story within story, it breaks the silence engaging children, families and community. Susanne’s parents were post war Hungarian refugees who migrated to Australia. Anna’s parents were post war Italian refugees who migrated to Australia. They are a part of the many immigrant and refugee stories that make up Australia.

www.fordstreetpublishing.com

ISBN: 978-1-876462-87-1

Publication date: October 2011

Price: AUD$26.95

Age guide: 7+


Nichola Garvey, UTS Alumna and current editor of UTS “Writers Connect”, has just released her biography of Alan Tripp.

Beating the Odds, Nichola Garvey

 

Beating the Odds: Alan Tripp’s rise from illegal SP bookmaker to gambling kingpin

by Nichola Garvey

Alan Tripp, a man some call a genius and others call a criminal, became the world’s most successful private bookmaker. He was Australia’s most convicted SP bookmaker and was the prime target of gaming and vice squads around the country in the 1980s. Yet he would eventually sell his businesses for hundreds of millions of dollars. This is his story.

Starting-price bookies, although illegal, were long a feature of Australian life, giving punters the opportunity to have a bet away from the track. But with the rise of the TAB, police were ordered to stamp out all other off-course bookmaking in order to protect the state governments’ monopoly.

 Alan Tripp, the biggest SP bookie in Australia, was their number-one target. His punting clientele ranged from the high society of Sydney to the underbelly of Melbourne, and included Prime Minister Bob Hawke, media baron Kerry Packer, gangsters Lewis Moran and Alphonse Gangitano, and underworld figure Mick Gatto — as well as many leading trainers and jockeys of the day. Tripp’s life quickly became a rollercoaster of high-stakes gambling, with the dual threats of bankruptcy and prison never far behind.

 In a fearless and thrilling narrative, Nichola Garvey recounts the drama and intrigue of the life of Alan Tripp, the billion-dollar bookie who beat the odds.

www.harpercollins.com.au

ISBN: 9780732290979

Publication date: March 2011

RRP: AUD$35


Forthcoming:

In the Shadow of Legends

My dear friend and colleague in Delhi, India, Sujata Sankranti is about to release her latest book ‘In the Shadow of Legends’, published by Rupa, Delhi, India.

Sujata has joined us in a previous Season of Inspiration forum too. She is the author of “The Warp and the Weft”, Shristi, India. Sujata was overall winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 1998. Her story ‘An Eye for an Eye’ appeared in Fear Factor Terror Incognito, Pan Macmillan Picador India and Picador Australia.

December 23, 2010

Spread some goodwill with a Buzz Book donation

It’s the Season of Goodwill

Here’s how you can spread some of that goodwill around.

The Indigenous Literacy Project

Can you imagine not being able to read a newspaper, a road sign or directions on a bottle of medication?

Sadly, this is a reality faced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in remote communities today.  The Indigenous Literacy Project aims to raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions.

Donate a Book Buzz package

you can make a genuine contribution to the life of a child in a remote Indigenous community by sending a book pack which contains 12 wonderful books. Each Book Buzz pack costs $140AUD.

This is just one of the ways in which you can help. You can also make a direct donation or help in a number of other ways. Just visit the  The Indigenous Literacy Project to find out more about how you can assist.

Wishing everyone a very happy holiday.

To all who celebrate it Merry Christmas!

Sharon

September 30, 2010

Celtic Handfasting ceremony and news of Varuna Fellowship

  

Congratulations to two dear friends and Season of Inspiration writers.

On a glorious Spring day on the Sydney harbour foreshore, I attended the Celtic Handfasting ceremony for Avril Carruthers and Roger Adam Smith in the grounds of Strickland House, Vaucluse; followed by a champagne picnic lunch and croquembouche. I enjoyed delightful company and delish food, as well as witnessing a traditional Celtic hand-fasting. It was such a pleasure to be part of the ceremony and share Avril and Roger’s joy. The pictures tell the story.

 

As well as being the author of Let Go of Your Past and Live, published Allen & Unwin, Avril also writes poetry and fiction and contributed to the Season of Inspiration Peacock Memosaic.

  

  

 Varuna Writing Fellowship 2011

Andrew Y M Kwong who has just been notified that he’s a recipient of a Varuna Writing Fellowship 2011. Andrew has been working on his memoirs of growing up in and eventually escaping Mao’s China. It is a gripping and heart-rending tale that vividly portrays the way the human spirit can flourish even in the worst of times. He’ll now have the opportunity to work intensively on his manuscript in consultation with Varuna’s Creative Director and Creative Team. Well done, Andrew. As well as being one of our Season of Inspiration writers who contributed to the Peacock Memosaic, Andrew has a story “Snake Business” in Fear Factor Terror Incognito, published Picador India and Australia. 

  

Andrew Y M Kwong with David Malouf and Rosie Scott at the Sydney Hughenden launch of 'Fear Factor Terror Incognito'.

 

Andrew on the panel at UTS TFC Fear Factor Terror Incognito event.

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