MonthOctober 2021

Jennifer Congdon – Woodstock: Farm, food and family

Independently published, Australia, 2021

The subtitle says much about this book, which is not simply a family history but a social history of the Riverina region where the Woodstock Farm is situated.

Details of how the farm estate has changed over the years also perforce chronicle the major events of the times, both internationally and nationally – the wars, the Depression, the droughts, the changing agricultural scene.

Jennifer Congdon talks about Woodstock: Farm, food and family
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Kate Bender – bloom

X Gallery
32 Gibraltar Street, Bungendore
Until 31 January 2022

Kate Bender’s sumptuous roses fill the X Gallery space with their intense colour, their voluptuous shapes and their billowing fabric-like textures. This is an exhibition to delight flower lovers but also one that demonstrates the power of this artist to evoke not just the velvety, satiny touch of material but our own life memories.

Kate Bender talks about bloom
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Sandi Wallace – Black Cloud

Next Chapter Publishing, internationally, 2021

This is the fourth in a series with protagonists Georgie Harvey, journalist, and John Franklin, cop, in this case working more separately than together to solve a set of linked crimes in rural Victoria. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the first three, as this book is perfectly comprehensible as a stand-alone.

Barbie talks to Sandi Wallace about Black Cloud
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Jacinta Froud and Gabriella Petruso– Jingle Belly

Larrikin House, Australia, 2021

This is a slightly irreverent Christmas book, as we might expect from this publisher, whose stated commitment is to ‘quirky, original and humorous kid-focussed books’.

Barbie talks to Jacinta Froud about Jingle Belly
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Vicki Virtue – The Raffles Affair

Penguin Random House, Singapore, 2021

How could I resist this book with its instant evocation of memories of that gracious gem of colonial luxury, Raffles Hotel. I’ve not yet stayed there but have absorbed some of its beauty in the odd wander through in times past when we could travel freely. The author had the distinction of a writer’s residency there. I’m green with envy.

Vicki Virtue talks about The Raffles Affair
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Stephen Hart – The Widow and Mr Cat

In Sweet Christmas Secrets: A Regency Romance Holiday Anthology
Independently published and available through Amazon

Stephen Hart’s The Widow and Mr Cat is a novella length story in this generous tome of romances by authors Ebony Oaten, Erin Grace, Joanne Austen Brown, Susanne Bellamy, Isabella Hargreaves,  Fiona M Marsden, Clyve Rose, Heidi Wessman Kneale and Catherine Bilson.

Barbie talks to Stephen Hart about The Widow and Mr Cat
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Nic Naitanui and Fátima Anaya – Little Nic’s Big World

Albert Street Books, an imprint of Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

Biographies by well-known sporting entities have long been part of the big book industry, particularly making an appearance around Christmas. In recent times quite a number of high profile sports people have published children’s picture books such as this one.

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Circus of Illusion coming to town

Canberra Theatre Centre
2pm and 7pm
Sunday 16 January 2022

The Circus of Illusion blends world-class circus artists with, magic, mystery and mayhem.

Acclaimed illusionist and Australia’s Got Talent finalist Michael Boyd will present death-defying escapes and ingenious illusions that will leave audiences in awe.

Also starring is Cameo Rascale an internationally acclaimed acrobatic, comedy, balancing, and juggling act. In 2009, the duo of James Capener and Rebecca Borromei, made it to the Grand Final of Australia’s Got Talent.

Bookings and information:

Street Theatre’s Early Phase 2021 recipients announced

Liam Budge, Emily Clark, Farnoush Parsiavashi and Maura Pierlot will each receive $5000 plus coaching and peer exchange to bring their ideas to conceptual treatment with a professional theatre company.

The Street says the program is an investment in artists and new work in response to the severe impact COVID-19 has had on the arts community.

Barbie speaks to Early Phase recipient Farnoush Parsiavashi
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British Film Festival

Palace Electric Canberra
3 November – 1 December 2021
Other locations as COVID restrictions permit

The Festival opens with the Australian Premiere of The Duke, based on a 1961 true story of 60-year-old taxi driver Kempton Bunton who steals Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London, starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.  

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National Congress of Women – Launch

Tuesday 30 November 2021
Online, 10am – 4.30pm AEDST (NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS)(WA 7am – 1.30pm / NT 8.30am –3pm / SA 9.30am – 4pm / QLD 9am – 3.30pm) 

The National Congress of Women is an initiative of the Women’s Climate Congress to lead a women’s movement for collaborative action on climate change.

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Carol Major – The Asparagus Wars

ES-Press, an imprint of Spineless Wonders, Australia, 2021
Cover illustration and design Bettina Kaiser and Imogen Rowe

This is a memoir, a series of almost stream of consciousness letters to the author’s dead daughter alluding to parts of her own life and their years together, including those leading up to her daughter’s death. It is an exquisitely painful and painfully exquisite work, not least because it is not fiction.

Carol Major talks about The Asparagus Wars
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Dorothy Johnston – The Lodeman

For Pity Sake Publishing, Australia, 2021

Disclosure: I was the commissioned cover and internals designer for this book.

The Lodeman is the fourth in Dorothy Johnston’s sea-change mystery series, crime stories set in the Victorian seaside town of Queenscliff. Dorothy’s readers will have been anticipating this book and will enjoy, once again, her strong evocation of place, her skill in character development and the use of almost theatre script dialogue.

Dorothy Johnston discusses The Lodeman with Barbie
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Graeme Base public online panel – Belconnen Arts Centre

11 am Wednesday 27 October 2021
Zoom webinar, free registration

Celebrated Australian author and illustrator Graeme Base, known for his hugely popular books Animalia and The Eleventh Hour, will explore creativity, storytelling and why children’s books are not just for kids.

Graeme Base will join panellists Dr Belle Alderman, Director of the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature, Tania McCartney, Canberra based author, editor and illustrator; and moderator Sarah Steed, Libraries ACT Director of Content and Engagement for this stimulating online conversation hosted by Belco Arts during Children’s Week.

Canberra based author, editor and illustrator Tania McCartney talks to Barbie about children’s literature
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