Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

November 10, 2010

World Matters – Writers Disturbing the Peace at Eltham


What a stimulating and thought-provoking weekend it was. The speakers were articulate and passionate about their books, poetry and music. Topics covered Indigenous books and writing, the climate and environment, refugees and asylum seekers, the effects of terrorism; and some of the best poetry I’ve heard in a long time from the Adelaide Friendly Street Poets and others including Yahia al-Samawy.

The lovely Montsalvat is created in the ‘arts and crafts’ style and is a visual delight. Meenakshi, co-editor of Fear Factor Terror Incognito (Picador India & Australia 2010) was offered a Montsalvat Residency during her visit here.

The hall where World Matters was held was large with good acoustics but still had a cosy atmosphere. Despite the lashing rain, there was an excellent roll-up for the sessions. The unceasing rain also meant an indoor rather than outdoor barbecue lunch but spirits remained high.

Meera Govil, owner of Eltham Bookshop, held the whole event together, including organising speakers, sessions, refreshments and books. Morag Fraser, who flew in from the U.S. for World Matters, was a sterling MC for the two days of World Matters.

Some of the most poignant stories came from Ros Moriarty and John Bradley; and the courageous women of East Timor whose stories are chilling but infinitely inspiring. The book of their stories, Step by Step is available now and recommended reading. The East Timorese Women exhibited their exquisitely woven sarongs, wall hangings, scarves, bookmarks and other examples of their craft at Montsalvat. The fine thread is coloured using natural dyes in the traditional way. They had an example to show how they create the warp and the weft to make their gorgeous garments.

Devika Brendon, Susanne Gervay, Meenakhi Bharat formed a panel to speak about Fear Factor Terror Incognito, which I chaired. Each of the authors read from and discussed their stories which was followed by questions from the audience.

 Photo by Yahia al-Samawy, whose poetry was a highlight of World Matters.

As well as listening to the speakers being interviewed and the panel discussions, we met so many fascinating people. The people of Eltham extended such a warm welcome to us all. Meenakshi and I were taken through the Yarra Glen by Jan Aitken, it was great to see the Yarra valley but we were stunned by the extent of the damage from the bushfires last summer. The trees and plants in the national park are valiantly trying to recover but it looks as if it will be a long time before that happens, some may never recover. So it was heartening to see the creeks flowing after all the rain and Jan was suprised by the rise in the level of water in the local reservoir. Susanne Gervay made a trip out to Marysville to take books for the children.

If you missed Eltham’s World Matters this time around be sure to plan for it and book in for 2011.

Fear Factor in Westerly Volume 55

Fear Factor Terror Incognito (published Picador India and Australia 2010) features in an essay on Australian literature by Elizabeth Webby, published in Westerly, Volume 55 (the first of issue of Westerly 2010) which is out and available now from Gleebooks and other good book shops.

Congratulations and Commiserations

Congratulations to Hazel Edwards who is nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2011 for children’s and youth literature.

Commiserations and Get well Wishes to Jeremy Fisher–who missed Eltham World Matters–hope your foot is improving, Jeremy.



October 20, 2010

World Matters ~ Writers Disturbing the Peace


Diamond Valley Oxfam, Montsalvat and ELTHAMbookshop

With Nillumbik Shire Council

Present The 6th Annual 

World Matters 2010 Writers – Disturbing the Peace

Dates: October 27 & 30-31

Venue: Montsalvat, Hillcrest Avenue, Eltham 

An International and Regional Programme featuring: Fear Factor Terror Incognito Indo-Australian Authors’ Anthology Panel, chaired by Sharon Rundle, with excerpts of short stories from a unique Indo–Australian collaboration, edited by Sharon Rundle and Meenakshi Bharat, which includes David Malouf, Salman Rushdie, Kiran NagarkarTabish Khair, Neelum Saran Gour,  Janhavi Acharekar, Temsula AoThomas Keneally Andrew Y M Kwong, Rosie Scott,   Meera KantSujata Sankranti, Guy Scotton, Jaspreet Singh, Denise Leith, Gulzar, and Yasmine Gooneratne.

 Readings will be followed by an in-depth discussion, by authors Susanne Gervay, Devika Brendon, Jeremy Fisher and Meenakshi Bharat from Delhi of the issues raised. Book signings will follow the panel discussion and questions.

We invite you to join us.

Susanne Gervay says: please say hello to Sharon, Meenakshi and me at the Festival

Fear Factor Terror Incognito ~ Stories from India and Australia

 Also on the Programme: Titi Amaral and Jude Conway’s audio visual narrative of East Timor Women’s brave stories of resistance and survival from the anthology Step by Step, this is Supported by East Timor Women Australia and an Exhibition and sales of East Timor textiles in the Resident Artist’s Gallery; and Ouyang Yu, The English Class, Roger Averill, Keeping Faith, Jane Carswell Under the Huang Jia Tree: Two Journeys in China through story and memoir, transit lounge us across cultures of China, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

There is so much more to World Matters 2010 Writers – Disturbing the Peace, for bookings and the full exciting programme at magical Montsalvat

 Books and CDs will be available for sale and signing. A 10% discount for purchase of 5 books or more. Reading the books beforehand will ensure a lively and informed discussion during Q and A.

 Prepaid bookings for World Matters are essential at

970 Main Road, Eltham

Phone +61 3 9439 8700

 October 27

Here on Earth: A Sustainable Future with Tim Flannery $10.00

 October 30 – 31

Festival Pass: $45.00 ( Does not include Tim Flannery event) Early Bird Bookings: $35.00 (bookings by October 20th)

Students: $25.00 Each session: $7.00 (unless otherwise stated)

 October 31

6.30pm – 7.30pm Duende Concert with Joe Chindamo: $15.00

 The Meeting Pool at Montsalvat offers the World Matters audience a very special menu to sustain you through the two days.

Bookings for breakfast, lunch and dinner must be made with Andrew Proctor by October 27th at 9431 2681

Join us for an exciting and stimulating weekend of literary brilliance! 

Book now  for the World Matters Festival, details on the websites and programme.

Please pass the word wherever you can, here are some additional websites:

Montsalvat: a Weekend of Literary Brilliance

the Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership

World Matters ~ Writers Disturbing the Peace Full Programme (pdf)

ABC The Big Diary


September 26, 2010

Season of Inspiration Peacock Memosaic & World Matters


Helen Whitehead and I are pleased to announce the official launch of the

 Season of Inspiration

 Peacock Memosaic.


Please click on the tales in the  Eyes of the Peacock tail.



Diamond Valley Oxfam, Montsalvat and ELTHAMbookshop

With Nillumbik Shire Council

Present The 6th Annual  World Matters 2010 Writers – Disturbing the Peace

Dates: October 27 & 30-31

Venue: Montsalvat, Hillcrest Avenue, Eltham 

An International and Regional Programme featuring: Fear Factor Terror Incognito Indo-Australian Authors’ Anthology Panel, chaired by Sharon Rundle, with excerpts of short stories from a unique Indo–Australian collaboration, which includes David Malouf, Salman Rushdie, Kiran Nagarkar and Yasmine Gooneratne; followed by an in-depth discussion, by authors Susanne Gervay, Devika Brendon, Jeremy Fisher and Meenakshi Bharat from Delhi, of the issues raised; Titi Amaral and Jude Conway’s audio visual narrative of East Timor Women’s brave stories of resistance and survival from the anthology Step by Step, this is Supported by East Timor Women Australia and an Exhibition and sales of East Timor textiles in the Resident Artist’s Gallery; and Ouyang Yu, The English Class, Roger Averill, Keeping Faith, Jane Carswell Under the Huang Jia Tree: Two Journeys in China through story and memoir, transit lounge us across cultures of China, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Fear Factor Terror Incognito. Stories from India and Australia

There is so much more to World Matters 2010 Writers – Disturbing the Peace, for bookings and the full exciting programme at magical Montsalvat:

Please pass the word wherever you can, here are some additional websites:

Do put the World Matters Festival on your calendar it promises to be an exciting and stimulating programme. 


Sydney launch of Fear Factor Terror Incognito with Rosie Scott, Sharon Rundle, David Malouf, Sujata Sankranti, Meenakshi Bharat and Andrew Y M Kwong



Do also visit Susanne Gervay’s Blog

for the latest on her wonderful new book

Always Jack


“a story that highlights the challenges that face children when their mothers are diagnosed with cancer.

Always Jack uses humour and warmth to break down the taboos surrounding cancer and encourage parents, teachers and children to discuss the subject openly.”

which has been endorsed by

the Cancer Council NSW

 by Room to Read, Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Life Education, The Children’s Hospital Westmead, and  The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

And by me.

Well done, Susanne.






July 26, 2010

Festivals, Train Trips and Trailers

Critique Group and Manuscript Appraisals

at the NSW Writers’ Centre

I’ll be running a Critique Group – Hands-on Fiction in the NSW Writers’ Centre Library from 25th September.

I’ll also be appraising manuscripts on September 11 at the NSW Writers’ Centre. For bookings please visit the NSW Writers’ Centre Manuscript Service website.

Please see: Sharon Rundle

Eltham Bookshop Literature Festival – “World Matters”

Writers Disturbing The Peace – October 30 and 31, 2010

I’ve been invited to organise and chair a Fear Factor Terror Incognito Authors’ Anthology Panel for the  Eltham Bookshop Literature Festival “World Matters” – Writers Disturbing The Peace .  My co-editor Meenakshi Bharat is planning to be there from New Delhi, as well as Devika Brendon, Jeremy Fisher and Susanne Gervay. The Eltham Bookshop Literature Festival will be held on October 30 and 31. Program will be released shortly.

Fear Factor Terror Incognito

Fear Factor Terror Incognito Review in Indian Link

– Books – Linking Australia with India

Tales of terror: An Aust-Indian collaboration

“CHITRA SUDARSHAN reviews a compilation of short stories on terrorism in its myriad and sometimes surprising forms.”

“Indian Link is the most prominent voice of the Indian subcontinent community in Australia. As the leading newspaper, the Indian Link has set new standards in journalism and production. It reaches thousands of homes and has become an integral part of lives of people from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Nepal and Bangladesh. Growing in its scope and influence, the Indian Link is now more than the voice of the community. It is a vehicle for change and a voyage of discovery. Thanks to its rich and varied editorial content, the Indian Link has a big and loyal reader base that includes educated professionals, housewives, senior citizens and the young Australian born Indians. In a recent report by CAB (Circulation Audit Board) the Indian link was by far the leader in the market.” Indian Link

Watch the Exciting NEW Trailer for Grimsdon!

Grimdson, published Random House Australia

The link to Deborah Abela’s site is:

The Youtube URL is:

Deborah Abela,

National Literacy Ambassador

Author of Max Remy Superspy shortlisted KOALA & YABBA Awards 2010

Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series

The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen

Shortlisted Best Children’s Book Aurealis Awards 2010

Children’s Book Council Notable Book 2010

Valerie Khoo at The Sydney Writers’ Centre

Sends a message to say: “Just thought I’d let you know that we’ve changed our phone number. It’s now: (02) 9929 0088

We’ve actually moved a few hundred metres so now we take up about half the ground floor of 55 Lavender Street in Milsons Point. The Centre is growing!”

To join the mailing list, please contact Valerie Khoo on or phone:

(02) 9929 0088.  For a full list of courses available and other news from the Centre, please go to:

Sounds like Fun! An Exciting Day Writing on Trains


Sunday Oct 10, 8.30 am – 6.15 pm

Sydney to Robertson on the Southern Highlander Steam Train

Travel premier class on this charming 1930’s Heritage Express, to the annual Spring Fair in historic hill town of Robertson, nestled on the edge of the Southern Highlands.

Revisit the excitement of train travel from your own or a character’s past. Writing workshops (including exercises, sharing craft tips, reading and discussion), will take place on the train as we journey there and back in old world comfort. Use the day to write a short story, travel piece, section of a memoir, develop a character, or simply collect atmosphere and detail. Bring existing writing to read if you wish and spend a delightful day in the company of other writers. Morning and afternoon tea will be served. Café lunch at Robertson.

Cost: $295 includes Premier Class Seat in compartment, morning and afternoon tea, complimentary glass of wine served to your seat. Exclusions  lunch, extra buffet car snacks.

For more information visit

Booking: required ASAP. Deposit of $155 required on booking, full amount payable no later than Aug 26.

For all bookings and information contact Jan:

0415921303, 95577491,

About Your Writer’s Journey Guide

Jan Cornall is a writer/ performer who teaches writing at universities, community colleges and writers’ centres in Australia and the Asia Pacific.

Today’s Writing Tip

Catch a train, boat or plane and write your journey–try to capture the atmosphere, the rhythms, the space, the company, the conversations–keep a journal and paste in ephemera and images as well as text. You’ll have a terrific resource for your writing.

June 22, 2010

UTS students headline journalism award nominations – University of Technology, Sydney


UTS students headline journalism award nominations – University of Technology, Sydney



January 1, 2010

Pre Order your copy of Fear Factor Terror Incognito


Fear Factor Terror Incognito


For Pre-orders and special offers!

You can pre-order your Picador Australia copies of

Fear Factor Terror Incognito

an Indo-Aus collection of stories at:

Abbey’s Bookshop


Angus & Robertson


Collins Books Featured Book

Co-op Bookshop

From the Picador Australia (Pan Macmillan) webpage: “A unique collaboration between Australia and India, the stories represent these writers’ protests against the phenomenon of modern terror. They do not offer solutions. Instead, they lead readers along the hidden paths of an unfamiliar psychology to make their own discoveries.

A joint publication with Picador UK and Picador India, Fear Factor: Terror Incognito is essential reading for anyone interested the global phenomenon of terror.”

From jagrancityplus:

It is an attempt to ward off fear and restore humanity by reminding the readers about mankind, unity, peace and harmony. It motivates them to uphold humanitarian values and light the fire of anti-terrorism, thereby making the planet safe for the entire human race,” Meenakshi Bharat said. The articles have been contributed by famous authors from Australia and the Indian subcontinent, including David Malouf, Salman Rushdie, Neelum Saran Gour, Tom Keneally, Rosie Scott, Jeremy Fisher, Susanne Gervay, Tabish Khair, Denise Leith, Andrew YM Kwong, Devika Brendon, Gulzar, Meera Kant, Guy Scotton, Sujata Sankranti, Kiran Nargarkar, Temsula Ao, Jaspreet Singh and Janhavi Acharekar; with a foreword by Yasmine Gooneratne. They do not offer solutions; instead they lead readers along hidden paths to make their own discoveries

And …

We made the Wall St Journal! There is news about Rushdie + a mention of the anthology in Tabish Khair’s column in MINT at:

MONTHLY LITERARY COLUMN by Tabish Khair in MINT (Mumbai) & The Wall Street Journal.

Also First City (Monthly) New Delhi

“Fear Factor Terror Incognito” review First City Monthly New Delhi


Reserve your copy of Fear Factor Terror Incognito today by pre-ordering at any of the above bookstores online or in-store.

December 12, 2009

Launch of Book in New Delhi

Newly released edition of Fear Factor Terror Incognito was launched in New Delhi, India, on December 10.

I wish I could have been there but news from co-editor Meenakshi in New Delhi is that the book launch for the Picador India edition of Fear Factor Terror Incognito:

went off absolutely wonderfully.  A release by Joginder Paul, with him commending the book. Renu Chopra did a fine dramatic reading. I will have a recording of her reading.”

Author Sujata Sankranti also emailed to say that the New Delhi launch went very well and there was a reading from her story “An Eye for an Eye”, which is included in the book.

Photos from Meenakshi of the Delhi launch at Oxford Bookshop by Urdu writer Joginder Paul.

Speakers: Meenakshi Bharat (editor),  poet and academic Sukrita Paul Kumar and theatre personality Renu Chopra.

Fear Factor Terror Incognito book launched in New Delhi by Joginder Paul

Sukreta, Joginder Paul, Renu and Meenakshi at book launch New Delhi

Renu doing a fine dramatic reading from the book.

Sukreta at the lectern speaking at Oxford Bookshop New Delhi book launch

Invitation from Picador India to book launch

Next Indian launch will be in Goa in January 2010.


Whisper Words by Neha Tara Mehta in New Delhi India mentions "Fear Factor Terror Incognito".

Media attention for the Indo-Australian collection of stories, Fear Factor Terror Incognito, from newspapers, blogs and webpages has begun.

The Delhi book launch and the visit to Kerala by Sujata Sankranti Rao has gained some media coverage for the book. I’m told that ten media networks covered Sujata’s visit to Kerala.

Worldwide News India
“Whisper Words” by Neha Tara Mehta (please see above)


Jeremy Fisher’s Blog

Susanne Gervay’s Blog

Pan Macmillan Picador Australia Fear Factor Terror Incognito

While the book can’t be imported into Australia as it will be published here in the New Year, overseas readers can buy a copy from Oxford Books in Delhi where it has been given the ‘thumbs up’.


Writing Tip for Today

Try creating a digital storyboard. You can use a video software program on your PC or go to Microsoft Photo Story or a similar website to begin digital storytelling–using pictures, text, audio commentary and music to tell a story.

December 5, 2009

Writing and Publishing News

No change to parallel importation legislation

The government has decided against accepting the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to remove parallel importation restrictions which means there will be no changes. This is a victory for the ASA and its members who waged a vigorous campaign against changes to the legislation. It was a long and hard fought campaign involving a great many people and many letters and petitions. You can read more about this and find further links on Jeremy Fisher’s blog

It’s a great delight to announce that the Pan Macmillan Picador India edition of “Fear Factor Terror Incognito” has been released and is on the bookshelves in India right now. I have received copies and seen it. The book is a beautifully produced smart looking edition. I am very proud to be associated with this anthology.

Fear Factor Terror Incognito

I have had very kind and encouraging comments from some of the authors who contributed to this volume of stories and have just received their author copies from Delhi. Congratulations to all of you and thank you all for your patience. I very much appreciate all your positive comments about the anthology and the ‘fine production qualities this book displays’.

The Pan Macmillan Picador Australia edition will be released in March 2010, with a Sydney launch and other events in Sydney, featuring co-editor Meenakshi Bharat and Sujata Sankranti who are visiting from Delhi, India.

Well done to Dr Andrew Y M Kwong, whose story ‘Snake Business’ is included in “Fear Factor Terror Incognito”. Andrew has received some very good advice and comments from Varuna about his book length manuscript. It is a gripping and strong narrative. Andrew is now working on his final draft and I’m sure it is only a matter of time before his memoir will be published. Andrew was a refugee from Communist China and has been a well respected doctor and Australian citizen for many years now. His narrative is a moving tribute to the endurance and triumph of the human mind and spirit over unimaginably horrific conditions and experiences. It is told with the ease and confidence of a true storyteller. One to watch out for.

Congratulations to Roanna Gonsalves. ABC Radio National read Roanna’s ‘Curry Muncher’ story and has commissioned her to write and present a program about Indian students. Roanna is working on her first novel with the support of Varuna Writers Centre and an Australia Council New Work Grant for Emerging Writers. Her novel was long-listed for the Vogel Award Her short story Curry Muncher, inspired by the recent attacks on Indian students in Australia, was published in Eureka Street in June 2009. You can read more of Roanna’s work and her story ‘Curry Muncher’

More congratulations to Christopher Cheng for his 2009 Lady Cutler award, this is an annual award presented for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature. Christopher is a children’s Author and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Co-Regional Advisor–Australia & New Zealand, he was also Federal Literacy Ambassador for Literacy and Numeracy Week for four years from 2004 – 2008.

Susanne Gervay gave the citation speech at the Lady Cutler Award 2009 ceremony.

More at: and with photos on Susanne’s blog

More information about the Lady Cutler Award,

Christopher Cheng has also released a new book: “60 Classic Australian Poems”, Written by Christopher Cheng and illustrated by Gregory Rogers, which has been published by Random House Australia, see link at

Elizabeth Webby launched the latest anthology from The Company of Writers at the NSW Writers’ Centre on December 4. “Secret Cows” is now available from the Company of Writers and selected bookshops.

November 13, 2009

FRIDAY 13 & News about Books & Writing

Friday 13th

So much has happened lately that there has been little time for recording it. The Picador India book Fear Factor Terror Incognito is out and on its way to me, which is exciting news and I can hardly wait to see it.

The Picador Australia edition is progressing and will be released in March.

This week I’ll give a Poster Presentation about Fear Factor Terror Incognito at University of Technology Sydney to discuss the Indo-Aus anthology. Sincere thanks to Rod Morrison at Picador Australia for his enthusiasm for publishing an Australian edition of this exciting and unique volume of stories. Thanks also to Louise Bourke. Jane and Jeannine at Picador Australia have been wonderful with helping me with the UTS Poster Presentation on Tuesday; and Corey has created the poster for it. It is enormously encouraging to receive this kind of support. I’m also grateful to Shruti Debi our publisher at Picador India for delivery of copies of the anthology for the presentation.

Shruti is a consummate professional, meticulous yet enthusiastic about the publishing ventures she takes on. She is a joy to work with. She is to be commended for her faith in us in taking a risk to publish this anthology as well as for her dedication in producing a prestigious and quality edition of Fear Factor Terror Incognito.

me with Shruti Debi and Meenakshi Bharat at Picador India office in Delhi, India.

Me with Shruti and Meenakshi at Picador India office in Delhi, India.

Sincere thanks to co-editor Meenakshi Bharat for suggesting this project and for sticking with me to see it through to our ultimate aim of a 50/50 collaborative volume of Indo-Aus stories published in India and Australia.

My thanks also to my dear friend Sujata who introduced me to Meenakshi when she asked me to contribute to Meenakshi’s book Desert in Bloom – Contemporary Indian Women’s Fiction in English. Sujata and I have been friends and colleagues for over ten years now.

In March, 2010, Meenakshi Bharat and author Sujata Sankranti will visit Sydney, where they will speak and read from Fear Factor Terror Incognito at several venues; including the UTS  TransForming Culture Research Centre, The NSW Writers Centre and the Sydney launch of the anthology.

The contributing authors who were, of course, central to and essential for the anthology deserve congratulations and sincere thanks, too. I am glad to say that their contractual copies of the book are on their way.

Meanwhile plans are going ahead for me and some of our authors to attend the IASA Goa 2010 Conference. I acknowledge and sincerely appreciate the support of Professor Sareen, Professor Gopal, the Australia-India Council Travel Grant to attend the conference and the Creative Industries’ Career Fund of Copyright Australia limited Cultural Fund Award. These organisations have made the visit to Goa possible. Congratulations to all the authors and academics who have been accepted for the Conference.

last week I stayed at The Hughenden with my sister and enjoyed the warm and superb hospitality of Susanne Gervay. We had the best time and I wholeheartedly recommend The Hughenden Boutique Hotel. My sister and I were pampered with delicious meals and the softest beds—my mattress felt like feather down; I had the best night’s sleep and it was difficult to leave it in the morning. The scrumptious Hughenden breakfast was well worth getting up for though.

Susanne has a photo of the three of us at The Hughenden on her blog

Susanne, Bernie and I also went to the Books: Bridges and Beyond, Room to Read Literary Event, with special guest Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief. The event was held in the Tea Room at the Queen Victoria Building and was so well attended, there was quite a crush.

Room to Read is a global not-for-profit foundation that brings books and builds libraries for children in developing countries in Asia and Africa. It is well worth supporting.

The Sydney writers’ group Company of Writers is publishing their fourth anthology of stories, titled Secret Cows in early December. The group first started in 1990 under the direction of Stephanie Dowrick and continues to meet regularly each month. It also continues to evolve with a mix of members who formed the original group and others who have since joined.

Congratulations to Jeremy Fisher on his new academic appointment as Senior Lecturer in Writing at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW. He has now resigned from the Australian Society of Authors and will be greatly missed. Jeremy spent his time as Executive Director tirelessly assisting authors, promoting authors’ rights and championing causes such as Parallel Importation of Books, among many others. His story “The Liberation Centre” published in Fear Factor Terror Incognito is memorable, haunting and timeless. Wishing you all the best, Jeremy.

Today’s Writing Tip:
It’s Friday 13th, are you the suspicious type? A Friday 13th falling a week after Hallowe’en? Surely, it must be a night for writing a gothic novel or at least a creepy story. Think of Mary Shelley creating Dr Frankenstein and his monster…think of The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Create your own Friday 13th mystery.

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