Friday, April 6, 2018

Paige Turner - April

If you’re reading this, you can read, yep. It may seem like a silly statement, but being able to read makes you part of the 50% of Tasmanians who can read and write. Only 50% of us are functionally literate, which is of significant concern for all of us. What to do? There are lots of things, but to begin the drip feed, start reading on the bus, reading in public. Be a public celebration of reading, a very embodiment of reading – and volunteer as an adult literacy tutor through 26Ten.

You can also attend other celebrations of reading and writing, such as the launch of Word Fall by Betty McKenzie-Tubb at the Hobart Bookshop on April 12 at 5.30pm. This is her new collection of poetry, following on from a book of memoir of her last 80 or so years. She has a love and mastery of language, and as poet Robyn Mathison notes, she was moved to tears, deep contemplation or laughter as she read these poems.
Tasmanian writer Shirley Patton will have her northern launch, following a successful Hobart event in March. Her new novel, The Secrets We Keep is a compelling novel of the transcendental love of children and the truth's unwillingness to stay hidden. This is happening on April 12, 6pm at Petrarch’s Bookshop in Launceston.

On April 18 I am heading to Launceston to do a lunchtime talk for the National Book Council of Tasmania. This is open to the public and I’d love you to come along and say hello. Who am I when I’m at home? – well, Editor in Chief of Transportation Press, erstwhile non-fiction Editor of Open Road Review, South Asia’s leading mag of literature and culture, reviewer, writer, columnist, and recently I’ve had the great pleasure to be working with lower literacy inmates at Risdon Prison as Writer in Residence, doing slam poetry. April 18, 1pm on the second floor of the Launceston LINC, this is a free event.

Reading for the Revolution returns in April, this time with readings and discussion around the concept ‘democracy’ – which is something which history teaches us, time and time again that we should not take forgranted. The next one is taking place at 7.30am (yes, in the morning sleepy heads) on Tuesday, April 10 upstairs at the Food Store in South Hobart. Readings include ‘How Politics Works in Australia’ a recent essay in The Monthly by Scott Ludlum, and Tim Lo Surdo’s discussion from Democracy in Colour. For further information contact the inspirational Millie Rooney –

I’m getting conflicting information about the ‘officialness’ of the announcement – but Ellen Harvey has updated her Twitter profile to note she is the new director of the TasmanianWriters’ Centre. I imagine this means that contracts are signed and she is on her way to relocate to Tasmania for the role. This is exciting times for a centre which has a grand opportunity to be the go-to space for writers and readers of all ilks, diversities, propensities and desires. I wish her all the best for her new role. UPDATE APRIL 7- her Twitter profile no longer includes this in her bio. Oh! The intrigue! Stay tuned, I understand the Centre are issuing a press release this weekend or coming Monday.

It's excellent to hear that the first two titles from Emily Conolon’s exciting new interactive children’s series, The Freedom Fighters, Break your Chains and Touch the Sun, are being launch at Fullers on April 7th at 2.30pm. Emily is a Tasmanian of the Year, humanitarian as well as being an author, and these books offer the opportunity for young readers (9+) to choose their own destinies, putting themselves in the shoes of migrants and refugee children and experiencing the twists, turns and life or death choices of finding your way to a new home in Australia. This is a free event, but please make sure you RSVP to
Fullers is also hosting the launch of From Limerick to Campbell Town to Detroit by Meredith Hodgson. This book traces the remarkable life of Eliza Williams who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for theft in 1851, where she served as indentured labour for John Leake at his magnificent estate Rosedale. Her letters have survived and they tell a fascinating tale of the journey from convict woman, to prosperity. The author will be in conversation with historian Kristyn Harman on Thursday, April 12 at 5.30. (see also the review of Kristyn Harman’s latest book, Cleansing the Colony, in this issue).
Private Projects, a distinctive, glorious small gallery in Moonah, has copies of artist Duncan Blanchard’s new book available now. This is the only Tasmanian distribution outlet.

A little ahead of myself this month, but a significant event on any reader’s calendar should be the launch of Robbie Arnott’s first novel, Flames. The book will be launched by MAN Booker Prize winner, Richard Flanagan at Fullers on May 3, at 5.30pm. I cannot wait, this book is already being lauded as a surrealist version of the island state, and what some are calling “one of the finest works of Australian literature in recent years”. Woot.

The latest in Tansy Rayner Robert’s Creature Court series is available for pre-order here.

Do you have any writing or reading news? Drop me a line –

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