MonthSeptember 2021

Chris Hammer – Treasure and Dirt

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

What a cracker of a crime novel this is, with multiple intricate story lines to follow, a rich assortment of distinctly quirky characters and themes of abuse, power and justice hanging heavily over a vast and dusty landscape. With Treasure and Dirt, Chris Hammer, yet again, proves himself to be a master of his craft.

Chris Hammer talks about Treasure and Dirt
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Belconnen Arts Centre – Positive Poster Lab 2021

Gungahlin Arts’ Positive Poster Lab invites people to slow down, connect and stay creative by making a poster with the message that they most need to hear. Poster makers can share their work on the project’s Instagram page @PostivePosterLab until the end of this year.

The project is open to everyone – from professional artists to those who haven’t picked up a pencil since primary school.

Local artists Sally Holliday and Tom Campbell have created a series of prompts and video tutorials to get people started with the creative process.

The artists will also be running a free virtual working session on Sunday 17 October from 10am-11:30am.

Information and registration at: https://belcoarts.com.au/positive-poster

Joanna Nell – The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital

Hachette, Australia, 2021

As with Joanna Nell’s three previous books, this one focusses on the ageing woman, on society’s attitudes to them and their own needs and strengths.

In this case, however, there is the added lens of a young character in the person of Chloe,17 at the start of the story, and on a Duke of Edinburgh Award placement at the hospital cafeteria run by the commanding Hilary Halliday and her jovial if often chivvied assistant, Joy Grainger. These two ladies are in their seventies.

Joanna Nell talks to Barbie about The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital
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Steve Matthews – Hitler’s Assassins

Big Sky Publishing, Australia, 2021

Hitler’s Assassins is the second book in Steve Matthews’ trilogy (book 3 upcoming). Steve was inspired to write this series by experiences with Polish friends and his own visit to Auschwitz. The works are focussed on Hitler and lesser known aspects of the Nazi regime during World War 11.

Barbie talks to Steve Matthews about Hitler’s Assassins
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Harry Laing and Anne Ryan – Rapperbee – Poems to Give you a Buzz

Ford St Publishing, Australia, 2021

Harry Laing’s poetry and Anne Ryan’s illustrations marry perfectly in this collection, exuding energy and a delight in the wonders of the everyday. Indeed, the poet’s intent is to ‘normalise’ poetry, to make it an easy, accessible vehicle for ideas, observations and feelings.

Barbie gave Harry Laing a buzz to talk about Rapperbee
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Karen Manton – The Curlew’s Eye

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021
Cover design: Christa Moffitt
Map: Mika Tabata

This book is a masterpiece of atmospheric evocation, a family tale exploring the need to acknowledge our pasts in order to be whole.

Greta and Joel, our central characters are complex individuals, a couple joined it seems by their need to constantly move on and a capacity to allow the other not to speak of things – until they return to Joel’s family home in the Northern Territory to renovate the property for a tourism project. It is then that the past itself takes on a character role and insists on disclosure. The revelation of Joel’s secrets ultimately leads to Greta’s unveiling as well.

Barbie speaks with Karen Manton about The Curlew’s Eye
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Film review – Disclosure

Available on DVD and streaming platforms
85 mins, rated MA 15+ (strong sex scenes, course language)

The 1994 Hollywood film Disclosure was about allegations of workplace sexual harassment. This 2020 Australian film has a related theme: how the parents of a nine-year-old boy deal with allegations of sexual assault made by their neighbours’ four-year-old daughter, Natasha, against their son, Ethan.

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Artists Society of Canberra – 80th Spring Exhibition 2021

  • Deferred to February 2022

In a major achievement for a Canberra arts society, ASOC presents its 80th Spring Exhibition. This annual event is usually a vast exhibition of works by local and regional artists across a variety of mediums with members eligible to enter four works each.

Barbie speaks with ASOC president Peter Van Rens and convener of the exhibition, Dee Copeland.
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Gunning Arts Festival going online again

30-31 October 2021
Online at https://www.gunningartsfestival.com/

Due to the risk posed by COVID-19 in regional communities, GAF is once again online.

Events are currently being scheduled and you are invited to keep up to date on the GAF website.

Highlights include:

  • The popular online Art Exhibition sponsored by Derivan is back and everyone can vote for their favourite artwork in the People’s Choice Award.
  • You are invited to join Dr Elizabeth Cameron Dalman OAM, the mother of contemporary dance in Australia, for a virtual lunch, and to be uplfted by her presentation about her work creating dance in Nature.
  • There will be two interactive live Zoom art and craft workshops. Participants will be sent everything they need for the workshop beforehand and then can create their work of art in a Zoom group with live feedback from tutors.
  • Gunning Arts Festival has initiated a very successful SnapWrite Facebook group, where locals post picture stories that capture living in the beautiful Gunning region. A highlight sample of these will be selected and made available on the GAF website. Professional audio recordings of selected FlashWrite stories will be posted.

The Gunning Arts Festival is supported by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal via its Tackling Tough Times Together program and is proudly sponsored by Bailey’s Garage, BJCE Australia, Upper Lachlan Foundation, and the Upper Lachlan Shire Council.

2021 ACT Publishing Awards postponed until February 2022

Shortlist on 31 January, winner announced 25 February 2022

The ACT Publishing Awards awards recognise and celebrate Canberra-region works published by small presses as well as self- published titles.

The final date for submissions will be announced once there is a clearer understanding of Canberra’s COVID-19 restrictions in the coming weeks.to ensurethat all entrants have an appropriate amount of time to safely drop off their entries.

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Sofie Laguna and Marc McBride – The Song of Lewis Carmichael

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

This is a perfect book – for children a story of an adventurous trip by hot air balloon to the Arctic by a small boy and a crow, for adult readers an allegory equally as powerful and complex as Lewis, Baum and Grahame.

Sofie Laguna talks about The Song of Lewis Carmichael
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Natasha Lester – The Riviera House

Hachette, Australia, 2021
Cover design by Christabelle Designs with photograph courtesy Idda van Munster – Aida Dapo Muharemovic

This book brings together a number of the author’s passions – France, World War 11 history, women of courage, fashion and art. It is set in Occupation Paris in the historical time frame and the Riviera, Australia and New York in 2015 for the contemporary.

Barbie spoke to Natasha Lester about The Riviera House
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Bad Crime : September International Festival

Four online events with international authors
6pm, Wednesdays 8 – 29 September 2021
Tickets $10 per event

The in person BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival is scheduled for 2-5 December but meanwhile BAD has lined up four of the world’s top crime writers for interviews with BAD Sydney.

Barbie spoke Catherine du Peloux Menagé about the festival
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James Roxburgh – The Banksia House Breakout

Ventura Press, Australia, 2021

The Banksia House Breakout deals with themes of domestic and elder abuse, of respect for the elderly and respect for women. Written like a road movie, and with all the visuals the form evokes, it tells the story of a group of aged care residents, three of whom take matters in their own hands when they meet obstacles to fulfil their life’s desires.

Barbie spoke to James Roxburgh about The Banksia House Breakout
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First Seen: Just Wrong by David Atfield

Online from The Street Theatre Canberra
5pm, Friday 10 September 2021
Tickets by donation with limited places 

Just Wrong  is a witty, powerful, music-filled trip, moving seamlessly through time, as it explores what it means to be an artist, what motivates artistic creation in a world full of rejection, and the importance of being ruthlessly honest with yourself to create great art. 

David Atfield talks about Just Wrong
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