Bright autumn sun interspersed with showers, inclement cloud the darkly spectacular backdrop to a radiance of red/gold foliage – Clunes is at its magical best in moody weather. The lighting seemed purposely tuned to shades of Annie Drum’s collection of stories, ‘Like Trees’, launched at the festival on Sunday. See previous posts.
A cold wind did not deter Clunes Booktown festival goers. The upper room of ‘the Warehouse’ where Neil Boyack‘s segment of the program unfolded was packed with readers of, and true believers in BOOKS. Yes, that good old fashioned printed word.
Introduced and lauded by Boyack, Annie assured us that the sometimes darkness of her stories was no cause for the concern that had been (kindly) expressed; she was in fact quite okay in herself. Then she read the story: Hero And The Machine, from the collection, and from which I’ve quoted in an earlier post.
Two days previously Annie had spoken about Boyack’s support of her writing in an interview on VOICE FM Ballarat. Neil is a Central Victorian author and convenor of the Newstead Short Story Tattoo, a small literary festival that features both known and emerging writers, with a substantial sidedish of music and fireside storytelling. His particular support for new and emerging voices was substansiated on Sunday by the inclusion of a very young writer indeed: Zach Haywood, a student of Maryborough Education Centre, reading for the first time with remarkable poise.
Other readers were Nathan Curnow, and Bronwyn Blaiklock both published poets and consummate poet-performers. Kirsten Boerema charmed us with her powerful voice and magical ukulele accompaniment.
Those wishing to purchase a copy of LIKE TREES may do so by contacting us through Pomonal Publishing’s main website.
Only hours to go now, and I bet Ms Drum is feeling a tad nervous – as any emerging writer would be with the launch of her first published book. Fortunately she’ll be singing with her Acappella group in ‘the singing room’ (St Thomas Aquinas) shortly, and that ought to relax the diaphragm.
The Clunes Booktown 10th anniversary festival is well underway, despite a damp weekend. Annie’s collection of short stories, LIKE TREES will be launched by Neil Boyack in the Newstead Poetry Short Story Tattoo Presents segment, at 3.00 in the warehouse.
Annie spoke about her writing and the publication of this collection on community radio station Voice FM Ballarat during the week and I’ll put segments of her interview up here as soon as I’m back at my desk. Meanwhile get down to Clunes and buy some, buy lots of books, enjoy the long-awaited rain and support small publishers
Annie Drum ‘s first collection of short stories will be launched by Neil Boyack on May 1st at the tenth anniversary festival, Clunes Book Town
These are razor-edged stories investigating the bounds of identity, provoking questions: How do we travel? And more importantly: What do we travel as? Read the full Press Release on the Pomonal Publishing website.
…when she gave birth there was a sense of something sacred and almost like order. Throughout the labour Hero kept asking – how big is the egg? The large nurse said – a baby, you’re having a baby. The other nurse laughed, a sort of a crazy sound, and Hero thought she must be a bit off centre. When the large nurse presented her with a darling little bird in a tight white blanket Hero thought her heart might burst…
The launch will take place in the ‘Newstead Literary Tattoo Presents’ segment, in the Warehouse at 3.00 pm. To attend you will need to purchase a festival ticket. This will enable entry to all of the many exciting literary events of the weekend. See the festival website for further details.
Two weeks till we launch Annie Drum’s first collection of short stories. An event I’ve anticipated for nigh on thirty years, after reading an early story by ‘the girl downstairs’ in a block of East Melbourne flats.
Why has this taken so long? Well, the radical change in the ideology of publishing houses, for one thing. In this advanced stage/age of capitalism, in a society obsessed by the concept of perpetual-growth-driven profit, a beautiful voice is easily overlooked. (This, of course, is exactly why small, non-profit publishers like us had to come into existence.)
And perhaps also life itself has intervened, slowing down the pace at which Drum could pursue her career in literature. But this slower maturation of her voice will perhaps, like a good wine, prove worth the wait.
Today I am a tree, tall and alive, with sap crystals on my body. The wind is strong but I sway with it, we are the same. My trunk is wide and my jewels wink and glint in the sun. People walk by and never see me amongst the other trees. A little way up the street is James Owen, he is also a tree. That’s where he went, you see. I smile at him, and he waves a branch at me.
Watch this space for more about this magical collection of stories over the next two weeks. Maybe I can entice Annie to speak to us about her work on this blog.