Thursday, July 27, 2017

Paige Turner - August

Rug up your heads, there still many reasons to head out into the world of books and writing, even as we wade through the dankest Winter. First up some good news. Ben Walter, writer of the lyric, poet and editor Seven Stories from the Dewhurst Jennings Institute, has been longlisted for The Lifted Brow & RMIT non/fictionLab Prize for Experimental Nonfiction for his work ‘Atlantic Minor’. The Experimental Nonfiction Prize seeks to ‘unearth new, audacious, authentic and/or inauthentic voices’ from Australia and around the world. Almost 300 entries were received for the award. For more information about the award, click here. Announced September, in the next edition of the mag.

Hobart Bookshop is having short break from hosting events in August and Fullers’ event program is not as crazy busy as it has been. They are seeing the return visit of Roshi Susan Murphy who. There is a sense of fearless learning and fearless wisdom about this woman. She’ll be there on the 7th August discussing her book Red Thread Zen: Humanly entangled in emptiness. On the following day Jock Serong will be discussing his new book On the Java Ridge. I really enjoyed his thriller Quota which was set in coastal town Vic and had elements of Peter Temple.

Important reading material announcement. The Van Diemonian War by Nick Brodie is being launched at Fullers on August 3. I’ll be in conversation with Nick about this book which brings to light an important new perspective on this history of Tasmania and one that goes where no one seems to have gone in the archives, places that have revealed active warfare, alongside details of campaigns and tactics. Nick’s research and work is increasingly recognised and the man can put a tale together too.

The Society of Women Writers, who meet on the first Monday of each month at the Launceston State Library are running two competitions at the moment, one for poetry and one for short stories. Either 40 lines or between 1200- 1500 words and each of them on the theme ‘journeys’. To check the details and whether it’s a poem or story of 1500 words they seek head over to their website.

It’s kind of freaky to think that there has only been one book published on radical skater girls but apparently It’s Not About Pretty by ex-professional skateboarder Cindy Whitehead is it. Skate legend Jimmy, of Jimmy’s Skate and Street has just exclusively imported the book which is in stock now at the Hobart store.

On August 13 in Spreyton in the NW, poet Kristen Lang is launching her collection, SkinNotes, poems about family, love and being human, at Hans Vonk Music House at 2pm. There will be a short workshop after the launch. Please contact kristenjanelang @ gmail for more details.

At Private in Moonah, Sydney based artist MP Hopkins’ Collusion Personnel will bring together a number of text works. Using video, sound, drawing, objects and photography Hopkins rejigs, redacts and refocuses the language of social media, politics and advertising in odd ways; political rhetoric is refashioned into dissenting anagrams; targeted advertising is lampooned through altered, out of date fax offers; and the conflicted nature of social media postings are dissolved via a video poem that absorbs the inconsistencies into a chalky abyss. In conjunction with the exhibition Hopkins will launch a new book of poetry Upright in the Field published by Sydney based imprint Ruin Press. A reading from the book will occur at the opening of the exhibition. From 4pm, August 5. PS can you tell I didn’t write that blurb? Phew. Looking forward to checking it out.

Smoke One, a collection of international microfiction from Transportation Press was launched last month, a glorious intimate event in the swarthy surrounds of Hobart’s Quartermasters. The collection, which includes work from notable Tasmanian writers alongside randoms and respecteds from the mainland and around the world, is bound loose leaf a story a page is available via their website.  All profits go back the writers. (Full disclosure, as editor at Transportation Press I spent many administrative hours on this competition, filing stories and spreadsheets and personal thank yous, the like. We got over 100 entries and I thanked every single one personally. We are mostly very polite). We are also delighted to be bringing the comp back again next year, again with the support of Fullers Bookshop.

The Story Island Project is exhibiting the outcome of their lovely, slow burn gathering of history, Stories of the Brooker Highway. These stories have been collected from and created by communities across Hobart’s northern suburbs during early 2017 and include creative works by students attending schools located along the Brooker Highway itself. Stories of the Brooker Highway will be launched by Eileen Brooker at 1pm on Thursday 24 August at the Moonah Arts Centre. The launch will feature readings and reflections by author Danielle Wood and students from local schools. The exhibition continues until 16 September. The exhibition has been devised by The Story Island Project, a non-profit organisation based in Hobart's northern suburbs that is dedicated to supporting young people to improve their literacy skills through storytelling. I just can’t sing their praises enough.

On August 6th at the Republic Bar in North Hobart poets Anne Morgan and Heath Smith Freedman are the invited poets of the month's Republic Readings. This is a free event and also provides an open-mic opportunity for all you with a yen to read your poems to an audience.
Anne will also be reading at the Women's Poetry Oasis, Mathers House, Barrack Street in Hobart between 1.30 - 3.30pm on 17 August  and then host a hands on workshop where people can work together putting together fragments of poems to form a whole.

Cut Commons is running a competition for young writers who are interested in classic music journalism. More information can be found here. 

The Writers Centre are full steam a-festival-head though in August are still running the first Twitch event with new coordinator Cassandra, a workshop on blogging on August 8. Participants can apply for the opportunity to blog at festival. In exchange they would get free entry to a panel or forum and in return they would blog about it for the website. The Centre are also hosting a workshop with Anna Krien about environmental writing. Krien is author of the book Into The Woods, which provides an incisive character study of those involved in the Tasmanian forest wars during the time of the Flozza campaign, and most recently a Quarterly essay The Long Goodbye: coal, coral and Australia’s climate deadlock. More information for both of these events can be found here. 
Here is a podcast of an interview I did with her in 2010 when Into The Woods was released. beware! It starts off with her in the middle of answering an unknown question -

The State Cinema Bookshop is hosting Michael Holmes, author of Vanishing Towns, to launch his new book in the series. The launch will be on Aug 24th at 6pm and tickets are $5. Homes will be chatting with Warren Boyles, founding editor of Forty South. Check out the details here.
August 24th is also my little sister Pippy’s birthday HAPPY BIRTHDAY PIPS.

The Children’s Book Council of Tasmania are hosting a celebration dinner for the Book of the Year awards and the presentation of the Nan Chauncy award on 18 August at the Hobart Function Centre down at the docks in Hobart. Tickets are available here.

Poets and Painters is a wonderful partnering and in its most recent iteration, curators Carol Bett and Pete Hay teamed up with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy to host eighteen artists at the TLC’s Big Punchbowl Reserve on Tasmania’s east coast. This is the first time in the history of Poets and Painters that artists have been taken ‘on retreat’ into a natural area and the exhibition of the work will be on display at the Moonah Arts Centre until August 19. The accompanying book looks absolutely beautiful and will have a mainland celebration at the Melbourne Writers Festival in early September after its launch tomorrow night (Friday 28th July) at MAC.

Poet Musing, aka Stephen Johnstone is hosting Poetry, Music and You, a Suicide Prevention event in Launceston on August 6 at the Greenwood Bar. There will be poetry and music and plenty of resources from Beyond Blue. For event information check out Poet Musing on FB.
Beyond Blue.

Also up in Launceston, on August 16, at 1.15 (lunch 12.45) is a discussion about Dr Thomas Gunn’s book 366 Days in Tasmania. Gunn has also written From Reel to Disc, A History of the Launceston Film Society and he wrote entries for Alison Alexander’s pivotal The Companion to Tasmanian History which is still one of my favourite Tasmanian book covers (and the content is endlessly fascinating too). Launceston LINC.

On August 23rd at 7pm the Tasmanian Society of Editors, or the Society of Editors, Tasmania is hosting a panel discussion on ‘Plain language, writing for disability and related topics,’ at the Rosny LINC. Information can be found here.

Spaces on the Flit program are filling fast. If you’ve got something you’d like to share as part of this fringe lit festival happening 6-10 September, touch base before August 15.

If you’ve any news or questions drop me a line racheledwards488 @ gmail dot com

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review - The Memory of Genocide in Tasmania, scars on the archive by Jesse Shipway

The Memory of Genocide in Tasmania is a daunting, exhausting and devastating book that examines genocide and modernity and the attempt to desecrate Aboriginal culture in Tasmania. It looks at the delusions that have led generations of Tasmanians to consider that the palawa people were extinct and sharply interrogates how Tasmanians interpret the island and its myriad cultures.
The only thing this review can do though, is to skim the surface and to over-simplify the hard wrought arguments. This book, as a result of the dense academic language, is destined for a small readership. Despite that, it is an incredibly important book. It includes a consideration of Tasmania as a collective noun, a challenge to “imaginary imputations of islandness,’ and a thorough exploration of the theories of genocide. There are moments of deliciously acerbic turns of phrase and it is shot through with profoundly detailed analysis. It is often the most difficult books that afford us the most change.
Shipway questions why we believe we should have a history that we should feel good about, he names Tasmanians as having an “exorbitant frontier privilege,” an “unjustified belief in our own innocence,” and a “a schmaltzy fondness for cozy smallness”. There are close readings of Richard Flanagan’s novel Gould’s Book of Fish, which he slices through a Freudian filter, explaining how the novel echoes a move towards modernity. He challenges the notion of modernity as being endemic to larger, progressive cities and he closely examines the 1978 film, The Last Tasmanian. This is a film whose offense has rightly endured, as its conveys the archaic belief that there was no living aboriginal culture in Tasmania.
There is a rigorous intellectual debate around whether genocide occurred in Tasmania and much of this is around semantics and technical definitions. It is also the site of what appears to be an academic stoush, where Shipway takes on Henry Reynolds and Nicholas Clements and their interpretation of the history of this island and their claims that it was not genocide. While the extent of Reynold’s work is considered and lauded, there are some fairly acute barbs.
It is lamentable that we must have the conversations this book forces on us, though it is necessary. Tasmanians must face the past to move on, and face it with a fearless and honest desire to probe and question. I also lament that this book is so densely theoretical and at times, difficult to read, as it is seminal. While it may be an insult to the author, I sincerely hope he can bring these deeply considered and researched notions to a more general readership, with the same succulent writing that often shines through.

Tasmanians still have a long journey ahead in terms of true reconciliation, especially with the incumbent generations of leaders having grown up being fed misinformation by the education department, heirs to a lazy acceptance of the 18th century historians who presented the traditional owners as past, whereas the reality is they have been present on this island for around 2000 generations. 

The Memory of genocide in Tasmania, 1803 – 2013,
Scars on the Archive
Jesse Shipway
RRP $135
Palgrave Macmillan

Paige Turner November

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