Category Archives: Uncategorized
This year I’ve chosen to acknowledge NAIDOC Week by ordering my next bundle of books from the Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health online store. FISH also has a retail store at 769 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley (Western Australia), which sells Indigenous-only books, artworks and gifts (read an excellent article about it here). I’m looking forward to visiting soon—the artworks look beautiful!
The Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health is an organisation that aims, through various initiatives, ‘to provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share their wisdom and insights to the broader community to teach people how to connect and care for each other and for country, whilst closing the gap and breaking generational cycles of poverty, trauma, and engagement with the justice system.’ I first found out about the organisation via WritingWA, which has been promoting its work throughout NAIDOC Week.
The books I’ve ordered, and am looking forward to reading, are Homecoming (Magabala Books), a debut hybrid work (poetry/prose) from Noongar and Yawuru writer Elfie Shiosaki; God, the Devil and Me (Magabala Books) by Alf Taylor, an autobiography described as ‘darkly humorous and achingly tragic’ about Taylor’s childhood years spent at the New Norcia Mission, 120 kilometres north of Perth; and one I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (Black Inc. Books’ ‘Growing Up…’ series), a collection of essays edited by Anita Heiss.
During the week, Lisa Hill has been hosting Indigenous Literature Week over at her wonderful ANZ LitLovers blog, and has posted reviews of Homecoming and Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia, among many others—all of them well worth checking out.
The shortlists for the WA Premier’s Book Awards have just been announced! It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since I found myself on the shortlist for the WA Writer’s Fellowship. Congratulations, everyone, and good luck!
The Premier’s Prize for an Emerging Writer ($15,000)
- Father of the Lost Boys by Yuot A. Alaak (Fremantle Press)
- Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs (Scribe Publications)
- A Question of Colour by Pattie Lees and Adam C. Lees (Magabala Books)
- We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know by Sophie McNeill (ABC Books: An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
- The Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske (Pan Macmillan Australia) *2, 2 and 2 interview with Kate
The Premier’s Prize for Writing for Children ($15,000)
- How to Make a Bird – Written by Meg McKinlay and Illustrated by Matt Ottley (Walker Books Australia)
- Littlelight by Kelly Canby (Fremantle Press)
- Shirley Purdie: My Story, Ngaginybe Jarragbe by Shirley Purdie (Magabala Books)
- Across The Risen Sea by Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)
- Willy-willy Wagtail: Tales from the Bush Mob by Helen Milroy (Magabala Books)
The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Unpublished Indigenous Junior and YA ($15,000 and a publishing contract with Magabala Books)
- Home is Calling – Natasha Leslie
- Dirran – Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler
The Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship ($60,000)
- Amanda Bridgeman
- Donna Mazza *2, 2 and 2 interview with Donna
- Jon Doust *2, 2 and 2 interview with Jon
- Madelaine Dickie
- Sisonke Msimang
The full press release from the State Library of Western Australia here.
In this year-like-no-other, we’ve been forced to face many previously unimaginable things, but I never want to imagine a world without bookshops.
Our local booksellers have been working hard throughout these difficult times, finding ways to keep us connected with books and ideas—sending newsletters, presenting Zoom events, offering special deliveries. I have often felt concerned on their behalf, knowing that they already exist in a space threatened by faceless global merchants.
Tomorrow it’s national Love Your Bookshop Day, an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate bookshops as one of things that make our lives worthwhile. I want to send out a big thank-you to all of the bookshops who have nurtured me as a reader and supported me as a writer—and to the special people who work behind their counters.
If you’re able to get out and about tomorrow (and commiserations to those who can’t), do drop into your favourite bookshop, say hello and tell them what they mean to you. And buy a few books while you’re there, of course!
Happy Love Your Bookshop Day 🙂
My garden, 2019
Well, I was going to toss onto the floor all the entries in my Love Your Bookshop Day draw and see which one my Siamese cat jumped on first, but she let me know that it was too cold for such shenanigans and refused to leave her blanket.
And so to plan B. Into one of my vintage hats they went, and my husband drew one out.
Congratulations to Jyoti McKie, who has won a copy of one of the books I’ve featured on the blog this year, a copy of Kathleen O’Connor of Paris and a few little Paris treats. Jyoti has chosen Step Up, Mrs Dugdale by Lynne Leonhardt. They’ll be on their way to you soon, Jyoti.
A big thank-you to everyone who entered. It was heartening to see so much love and appreciation for our bookshops!
Saturday 10 August is Love Your Bookshop Day in Australia. I love bookshops every day of the year, but I thoroughly endorse the idea of shining the spotlight on them across the nation, and reminding ourselves of everything they bring to our lives.
Here are just a few of the things we love about our bookshops:
- They employ people who love books rather than people who write algorithms.
- They’re happy to talk books, and know what they’re talking about.
- They use their knowledge to make recommendations for your book club, or for Great-Aunt Joan’s birthday, or just for the way you happen to be feeling.
- They introduce you to new writers they think you’ll like.
- They provide an awesome way to spend an hour or two.
- They give you advance notice of when the next title in your child’s favourite series is due.
- They often host author talks or signings so you can meet local and visiting writers.
- They champion local writers and support small presses.
- They take an active role in their local communities.
- They might add value to your purchases—for example, offering signed copies or free gift wrapping at Christmas.
- And before long, they might even be calling you by your name when you walk through the door—not because you’re data but because they actually remember who you are.
Know any robotic global monoliths who can come even close? No, me neither.
To celebrate national Love Your Bookshop Day, I’m giving blog and newsletter subscribers the chance of winning two books:
a copy of one of the wonderful books I’ve featured on the blog this year—choose from:
Mother of Pearl by Angela Savage
Refuge by Richard Rossiter
Devil’s Ballast by Meg Caddy
Bodies of Men by Nigel Featherstone
Step Up, Mrs Dugdale by Lynne Leonhardt
The Children’s House by Alice Nelson
Driving Into the Sun by Marcella Polain
a copy of Kathleen O’Connor of Paris, with a few little Paris goodies thrown in.
To be in the draw, just tell me what you love about your favourite bookshop.*
* Enter by Friday 9 August. I’ll be drawing the winner on
Love Your Bookshop Day, 10 August, and announcing it that day.
* First make sure you’re a subscriber to looking up/looking down or my newsletter. Open to subscribers in Australia only.
A big thank-you to everyone who has contributed to, or read,
looking up/looking down in 2018.
May the New Year bring you
and good company!
As 2018 draws to a close, I am feeling… well, a few things, really.
First of all, a bit exhausted. It’s been a busy year in which, among other things, I’ve seen a manuscript through to publication (such a neat, glib statement that belies the enormity of the process!), given many talks, conducted a gallery walk (a first for me), taken part in panels, readings and conversations, given four launch speeches, visited book clubs, recorded podcasts, interviewed writers, been interviewed myself, presented workshops, judged a young writers’ competition, mentored a writer, and been nominated for a national award.
I’m grateful to everyone who, in ways large and small, has been part of the wonderful tapestry of 2018—too many to name here, but I know, and see, and appreciate, every one of those threads. Thank you!
On the whole, 2018 has been good to me. But I’m aware that hasn’t been the case for everyone. If you’re one of those people, I hope the coming year is gentler. And whatever it is that has helped you through this one—courage, stubbornness, friends, books, chocolate—may there continue to be an abundance of that.
I am looking forward to meeting 2019. There are exciting book-related events coming up. And a journey to the top of the world. A novel to finish. A reunion with friends. A road trip around a wild coast. And a couple of momentous family events. Who knows what else?
For now, I’m signing off for 2018. Thank you for reading looking up/looking down, for your comments, for your kind messages throughout the year, and…