Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

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

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.

 

 

June 18, 2010

Writing On through the Winter Solstice

Writing On

The Season of Inspiration Alumni Forum ‘Writing On is a lively discussion forum at the moment with past and present Season of Inspiration writers re-connecting to discuss and critique their work. We’re also in the process of creating a Peacock Memosaic of Season of Inspiration stories and poems for publication. More later.


NSW Children’s Book Council of Australia Conference

Today, 18 June,  Andy Griffiths and Kristin Gill addressed the NSW CBCA Conference at the Menzies Hotel, Sydney.

http://www.indigenousliteracyproject.org.au/Events/EventDetail.aspx?ID=5

National Literacy Ambassador

Children’s book author, Deb Abela has recently been appointed as the National Literacy Ambassador. Deb Abela’s very popular books include Max Remy Superspy, the Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series and The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen (all highly recommended in my family). Deb was recently interviewed on ABC Sydney Radio.

The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen hits America!

National Literacy and Numeracy Week

The Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, has confirmed 29 August to 4 September as the dates for National Literacy and Numeracy Week (NLNW) in 2010.

Author News

Susanne Gervay

Susanne Gervay with book "Butterflies" at the British Council SCWBI launch in New Delhi, India

writes to say: “I am very proud that my new book ‘Always Jack’ has been endorsed by the

National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Council.”

See the book trailer for this popular international best-seller at

http://www.sgervay.com/jackbooks.php


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Abdul Hekmat has published an opinion article in The Australian newspaper about the Hazaras demonstration in which thousands took part last Sunday. He has sent a link to his article at:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/hazaras-cry-from-the-heart/story-e6frg6zo-1225873734262

Abdul also writes: “Please find an article I have published on National Times; a leading online opinion section of Sydney Morning Herald, The age, Canberra Times, WAtoday and Brisbane Times. If you like please make any comments or burning issues you want to raise. Regards, Hekmat.”

http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/politics/hardline-policy-on-asylum-seekers-wont-work-20100610-xzgv.html

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Dr Andrew Y M Kwong

Dr Andrew Y M Kwong with Dr Meenakshi Bharat and Sujata Sankranti at the launch of Fear Factor Terror Incognito at The Hughenden, Sydney, Australia

is off to Varuna for a week to work intensively on his memoir manuscript. It is a gripping narrative that shows human nature at its worst and its best; and how the human spirit can rise from the depths with courage to overcome innumerable hurdles and fears to become an inspiration for others. Andrew has a story “Snake Business” in Fear Factor Terror Incognito; he has had stories published in several journals.


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Writing Tip for Today


The Winter Solstice is approaching for the Southern Hemisphere. Think of the stories you read that entertained you and kept you enthralled on a long, cold winter’s night. Write about these stories: what was it that made the stories memorable and gripping? How did the author achieve this? Think about the traditions of the Winter Solstice, the seasons and the cycle of life. Then begin writing your own story to entertain on a Winter’s night. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere and about to celebrate the Summer Solstice, write about what that means to you instead.

http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cms/astro/cosmos/*/Solstice

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

November 21, 2009

Indo-Aus anthology published

The Picador India book “Fear Factor Terror Incognito” is out and on the bookshelves already in India, with an official release date of 10th December. A few copies are on their way to me. I am hoping the courier can manage to deliver them by Monday. It will be a great delight to see the book in print at last.

Picador Australia has The Aus edition on their website with a March release.

Order form at: http://www.panmacmillan.com.au/resources/2010-03-A.pdf

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.”

Please pass the word, if you can.

Also, the link for those interested in the very worthy Room to Read

More about Room to Read in November 13 Post on this blog.

Cheers,
Sharon

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