31 May, 2010

the benjamin andrew footpath library now in brisbane

I first heard about the Footpath Library earlier this year so was excited to hear that it had now branched out to Brisbane. Immediately after I sent an email to colleagues about it two came up to me to say what a wonderful idea and if it ever branches out to Townsville they'll be there to help. I had mentioned the TBAFL to another colleague a while ago when she had discussed her idea of setting up a bookclub for homeless people. We have very caring library staff.

So the TBAFL is in Brisbane now, as well as Melbourne and Sydney, with Bernadette Franzoni on the management team. Bernadette has been a young people's librarian and worked on the Summer Reading Club project, so many would know her.

Fiona Crawford, TBAFL Communications Manager, has let me know that in Brisbane TBAFL installs and stocks bookshelves in hostels and community organisations. They have enough volunteers at the moment but Fiona said that they would always appreciate if people wanted to run book drives. Book donation guidelines are on the website.
Knitters alert - The TBAFL will also happily accept knitted scarves and beanies.

Can you support the TBAFL's work with donations of books or knits?
Check here for a simple knitted beanie pattern:

And, stay warm. It's cold outside.


I've signed on as a reviewer at M/C through QUT Creative Industries - Sue Bond is the words editor. Sue reviews for The Courier Mail, among many other publications, and it was she who put me onto API  years ago. My review links will be posted on this entry: Reviews.
Still writing for CMIS Fiction Focus too, because Alison and Jean are awesome!

826 valencia pirates!

I am seriously impressed with Dave Eggers' pirate shopfront for writing workshops and tutoring for young people: via @cmisevalff via @GuardianBooks - Sean Love & Roddy Doyle's Fighting Words in Dublin

Katie Waldegrave's First Story in London and Oxford.

in Australia - westside Fremantle Children's Literature Centre Inc, and eastside The Edge.

28 May, 2010

writing real lives

can historians write literary narrative? can writers write history if they're not historians? do you have to know your real subject to write about them? what methods are used to capture the real life on the page?

three queensland writers opened up to their audience last night at thuringowa library to reveal the essence of creative nonfiction and their work within the genre.

Bob James spoke about his oral history project for his masters' at James Cook University on the Gugu Badhun people. Over a three year period he conducted many interviews, attended many camps, and took many photographs to produce a historical work with the voices of the people involved faithfully recorded.

Deborah Carlyon spoke about her journey to realisation of her book Mama Kuma: One woman, two cultures - an exploration of her Papua New Guinean grandmother's tribal life. This book was awarded the Queensland Premiers Literary Awards (2001) for an Emerging Queensland Author. Deborah interviewed her grandmother while she was still living, and then interviewed family members from their PNG village, as well as researching in libraries and archives to establish facts and dates to satisfy a western audience's demand.
She noted that the PNG villagers were not so concerned with pinpointing dates and ages.
She had asked 'how old was Mama Kuma when that happened?' and received the response, 'she didn't have breasts then, she was still a girl'.

Dr Lindsay Simpson spoke about her path to nonfiction writing. She has written about famous and infamous people, some she has met, others she has not. Coming from a journalistic background and working as a court reporter, Dr Simpson developed a love for finding out more. she said that a newspaper feature was not big enough - she needed to move into books.
she has interviewed prisoners in jail, researched, learned to dive when she was writing about a diver, and has co-written with other authors. Dr Simpson is currently Head of Journalism at James Cook University.

An inspiring evening, organised by the fabulous Lifelong Learning Team at CityLibraries Townsville.

24 May, 2010

free rice

Have you played Free Rice lately?

in the punk salon

now there's an in-your-face label ; not library 2.0 or contemporary practices.

Feel empowered to try new things

you're a libpunk!

let's not follow the old ways just because we think we don't have time to think about better ways.
libpunk-it-up and 'increase social capital' (Kathryn Greenhill

don't dismiss twitter because you think it's inane. find out how your library can use it positively. @townsvillelib started off small, but we responded to tweets from people in townsville with information (about the weather, about sushi bars, about cultural highlights, about how to use twitter). incite published @nealthorley's article* about our twitter/web 2.0 use and ABC aired a story about social media use with input from @warrencheetham** after information exchange on twitter. we now also tweet about events and collections, and have a growing list of followers.

* Information delivery and web 2.0 - 31 (4), p. 18 (ALIA members' access, or through databases)
** read more on Warren's blog

Paul Hagon's LP. Michael Stephens, Helene Blowers, all LP. and Comrade Harps.

and again: what Kathryn said:

Librarians using non-proprietary products and groupings not based on institutional alliances to practice their craft and communicate their practice. Open, collaborative enterprises based not on making money, but often on increasing social capital or extending knowledge

your challenge for the month (if you're not already LP): libpunk-it-up a little more

and tell me about it. What makes you libpunk?

image source :
DMUSA store - red mcmarten tartan

22 May, 2010


miniature roses in my back garden

the Saint on Castle Hill, viewed from Queen's Gardens
- replaced a question mark
- created by Uni pranksters nearly fifty years ago
- I like it, like I like Arthur Stace's Eternity
and 'image' that was all around Maryborough
[The Legend of the Saint, on Q150 digital stories]

tranquil tropical gardens

21 May, 2010

the sorted books project

and from the black books i'm reading this month - place these titles beside each other:

one foot wrong / rebel

and i've always shelved two particular autobiographies together on my shelf:

paula yates / is that it?  

your sorted book titles?

14 May, 2010

edward scissorhands was an editor

Cut here

Townsville’s literary scene is shaping up well. Workshops and events all over the calendar – and this is one you won’t want to miss. Shelley Kenigsberg will be at Thuringowa Central library on Saturday 29 May with her workshop The Kindest Cut: Editing for Writers. Fiction and non-fiction writers at any stage of development should book in now through QWC because your work’s going to come out looking shapelier. More balanced.

I have the impression from Shelley’s work that a good editor is like an author’s inner Edward Scissorhands. The Ed. works with the author to shape, to cut, to build, to capture a rhythm, to ensure the emergence of the true work. They realize a vision together – and that’s a win for readers because they don’t have to chew through a tangle of redundant words, images and characters to get to the meat.

Every word its place. In Shelley’s workshop writers will examine elements such as writing style and word choice, voice, viewpoint, dialogue, beginnings, ends and middles, flow, balance and structure. Shelley freelances, and is also owner of SK Publishing and coordinator of the Macleay College Diploma in Book Editing and Publishing. She has developed and presented courses for editors globally. She even edits in paradise!

Some of us have a few squiggles and a bit of knowledge in our repertoire to handle copy editing – fixing grammar, spelling and semantics errors. Structural editing? It can make a book fly! And readers certainly notice if the editing hasn’t been much chop. Shelley quotes Le Guin quoting Chekhov when she advocates cutting out your first three pages to find where your story really begins. I’m still editing my 22ish line poem about Brisbane after fabulous structural editing advice from Julie Beveridge. Editing’s a journey.

If you’re ready to take that journey, book through QWC for the Townsville workshop.

Develop your passion - check out the Society of Editors and pop The Style Manual in your pocket.

And don’t be shy. If you go to Shelley’s workshop – tell me how amazing your work is post-edit.

For this post I'm guest blogging for QWC - check out the Empty Page Blog

13 May, 2010

writers in townsville

this month in townsville - Alex Miller (Journey to the Stone Country) and Narelle Oliver (Fox and Fine Feathers).

Townsville recently joined a small Australian list of cities running the One Book One City concept with Alex Miller's JTTSC for One Book One Townsville. Alex hosted a book discussion at Riverway and a writers' workshop in Flinders Street library - both well attended.Salisbury  runs OBOC. Brisbane used to until the great Malouf v. Sparrow debate and it split into a writing competition called One Book Many Brisbanes where the resulting book has short stories featuring Brisbane.
So now Townsville joins this list. Where else in Australia is this done? The US has a website to list all the OBOC sites/books. In May One Book One Twitter is on.
What will Townsville read next?

And Narelle Oliver is in town this week for the Books North literature festival. Narelle grew up in and around Toowoomba a little before me. Her most recent book Fox and Fine Feathers is on the shortlist for the CBC Awards. This is a wonderful opportunity for Townsvillians to meet this incredibly talented Australian writer/illustrator, and to learn from her work.
I met her in Mackay some years ago at a SLAQ conference where she talked to us about the process of her work being used as design in the children's area at Brisbane Square Library.
My favourite: The Best Beak in Boonaroo Bay - because it's set at the beach, and it's fun.

03 May, 2010

in the playhouse

i feel that i never get to enough plays, so to have eight in one hit puts my annual total up a bit. this is the weekend i was waiting all year for, since i moved here.
the north queensland festival of one-act plays over two nights at the civic theatre was as good as i'd hoped. i don't know which play or performances won yet (didn't stay for the decision) but i know which ones i liked. i remember going to either the first or second festival years ago when wendy was teaching drama at st margaret mary's (this was the 17th) and the audience was much larger.
i was disappointed with the size of the audience this time. hardly any young people and possibly lacking in many of the local school drama departments' students and teachers (although the weekend clashed with groovin the moo at murray, so maybe that was where they all were?)

my pick for best play: jabberwocky by ken cotterill with community theatre.
my pick for best actors (several): emma davis in sorry wrong number (as well as several of the operators) by columba catholic college and both esme mullens and lyn tarring in townsville little theatre's garbage by helen wyngard.
no idea about best direction (there were many good elements).

mitch and miranda (community theatre) - effective use of breaking the fourth wall, and repetition with a twist in the end that i did not see coming.

lee (kumcom theatre) - interesting use of old film to introduce the play (subject - who really killed jfk?) but it went on too long. the man and lee were very powerful characters.

heedless spirits (pimlico state high) - good cast (4 f, 2 m) but the synopsis didn't match what i saw in the end - while i heard that julia was no longer in love with dave, when he came to sit next to her at the end (in a very smooth move), she looked bashful rather than indifferent. the interaction between the girls was brilliant though.

jabberwocky (community theatre) - excellent absurdist theatre! i absolutely loved the woman who was not there, especially her rhythmic spoken word dance act -  he beats her / every night / bam / bam (cheryl maddox). the poor man! he eventually gave in to 'the force from outside' and staggered off stage at a 45 degree angle. the waitress was good too with line delivery.

 the shed (townsville little theatre) - clever, a one act play with two sets.

sorry wrong number (columba catholic college) - excellent lighting and direction. mrs stevenson was in bed, only used her upper body, only ever used the telephone. no walking, just lots of talking (and shouting and one very effective scream). each telephone operator was stagelit at their turn at one side of the stage. there were some very funny accents and mannerisms. it was very dial m for murder. the sound of the train and the deep-voiced man at the end were very chilling. lovely to see mrs stevenson alive after curtain fall to come in to the audience for the next play!

garbage (townsville little theatre) - strong audience support from tlt members. lyn tarring as florrie probably had the most heartrending stage speech of the festival. as both florrie and sniffy left the stage (at different times), i would have probably made a point of writing that both of them had left their homes or once had homes. it was a point made for florrie, but i don't remember it for sniffy. mags, who liked the open space never left the stage.

three brilliant performances coming up in the year for the school's program too.
the gruffalo, an adaptation of the picture book by julia donaldson and axel scheffler.
special delivery, a visual comedy.
and something i highly recommend (i saw these performers at out of the box 2006) - tashi!! two tales from imaginary theatre and anna and barbara fienberg's tashi stories.

thanks, townsville theatre community!

added notes 5.5.10: Results published so far

Congratulations to Columba Catholic College students involved in the Townsville Festival of One Act Plays held over the May Day Long Weekend. The play “Sorry, Wrong Number” won the award for the Best Production – Junior Section; Best Director – Junior Section; and Best Crew – Festival.