All posts tagged: books

Children’s Book Festival 2015

This coming Sunday the kids of Melbourne (and the big kids at heart) are in for a treat. The Children’s Book Fair 2015 will take over the State Library and the Wheeler Centre from 10am till 4pm, featuring author talks, live performances, a picnic library, and a Monster Marquee where you can make a pair of horns to wear and keep — among other fun stuff. The entire event is free for all, but you will need to book seats for the ‘Meet the Authors and Illustrators’ sessions. Unfortunately a few of the big name author sessions — Shaun Tan, Andy Griffiths, Hazel Edwards — are already booked out, but there are still tickets available for the others. If your heart’s set on attending one of these booked out talks, it’s sometimes still worth turning up on the day to see if have been any cancellations or no-shows — but be prepared for disappointment. You can view the entire day’s programme here.   Children’s Book Festival 2015 Date: 22 March 2015 Time: 10am–4pm Venue: State Library …

Melbourne Writers Festival 2014

As we inch towards spring, we also approach another major event on Melbourne’s calendar: the annual Melbourne Writers Festival. This year brings a number of big names to Melbourne, including Booker-of-Bookers winner Salman Rushdie; astronaut, writer and social media phenomenon Chris (‘Good morning, Earth’) Hadfield; and Australian author Helen Garner (delivering the opening night address). There will be discussions, workshops, book launches, exhibitions and more happening over the festival’s ten days, with a bunch of free events in the mix. Check out the full programme here. MWF events often sell out fast, so if you’re keen on a particular event it’s a good idea to book early. I always get a bit huffy at the absurd cost of some of these events (if you want to see Rushdie do his thing you’ll have to fork out $130) — there’s no doubt these prices exclude an enormous section of the community. But most events are reasonably priced at around $22 (full) / $19 (concession). Ladies and gentlemen, the countdown is on. You’re in a City of …

Melbourne Literary Salon

One of the occupational hazards of being a writer is loneliness. It is not, unfortunately, the most social of activities, so I’m sure the writers of Melbourne are thanking their stars for the good folk at Melbourne Literary Salon, who have set up a monthly meet-and-mingle event for Melbourne’s literary crowd. The Salon is open to all storyteller types — producers, animators, journalists, illustrators, editors, novelists. Held in Loop Bar in the CBD, the event is designed to be a casual affair, with established professionals mingling with literary fledglings. For more info about the Salon and what to expect, check out the MLS blog. The very first Melbourne Literary Salon of 2014 will be held tonight, starting at 6pm. If you can’t make this evening’s event, the next Salon will be held on the first Tuesday of next month. To keep up to date with the MLS happenings, ‘like’ their Facebook page here.   Melbourne Literary Salon When: First Tuesday of every month Time: 6pm Venue: Loop Bar Address: 23 Meyers Place, Melbourne  

Exhibition: Shaun Tan’s ‘The Lost Thing’

Shaun Tan is one of Australia’s most talented visual storytellers. His illustrated storybooks and graphic novels are nuanced, intriguing and moving, and often explore complex and challenging themes (even those created for children). To describe Tan as a children’s storyteller is limiting — his books go well beyond any age barriers. In fact, his 2006 wordless graphic novel The Arrival was named both ‘Book of the Year’ at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards as well as ‘Picture Book of the Year’ by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. In 2010, Tan was asked to direct a short animated film based on his 2000 book The Lost Thing. The film went on to win the Oscar for Best Animated Short. Here’s the trailer: Recently I stumbled across a small exhibition about The Lost Thing and its cinema adaptation at ACMI. The exhibition features original drawings by the author as well as interviews with the filmmakers describing the production process. The film is also showing here in a small nook next to the main exhibits. The exhibition is really worth …

Why do books cost so much in Australia?

Books are expensive in Australia — too expensive for many people to afford to buy them regularly. There are complex reasons for this, which, for an economics dummy like me, are difficult to understand. In a nutshell, it seems publishers’ production costs in Australia are higher than in, say, the USA, and local copyright laws prohibit Australian booksellers from ‘parallel importing’ — importing the same books at cheaper prices. A few years ago, the government considered scrapping these restrictions, but finally decided against it. There was much debate about the pros and cons of parallel importing — see these articles by Jeremy Fisher, Michael Wilding and Matthia Dempsey. Having worked as a book editor in a local publishing company, I understand the need to support this industry that nurtures local writers, but on the other hand it’s difficult to do this if you can’t afford to buy its products. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way around this. If you want a locally produced book by your favourite author, you will need to save your pennies and pay for it — usually between $25 …

Event: Tim Winton’s ‘Eyrie’

Ask a group of Australians to pick their favourite Australian author and you will probably hear the name ‘Tim Winton’ dropped over and over again. Repeated polls show Winton’s novel ‘Cloudstreet’ comfortably claiming the title of Australia’s favourite Australian book, and for good reason. He is one of the few local writers who truly captures the Australian voice. Winton may be popular with the public, but his beautiful writing has also garnered much critical acclaim. He has won the country’s most prestigious literary prize, the Miles Franklin Award, a record four times and two of his novels have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Despite all this, the West Australian author mostly keeps himself out of the public eye, rarely appearing in the media. I’m guessing that, despite his literary superstardom, this guy can probably walk down the street of any Australian city and go largely unrecognised. So Winton fans will be happy to hear that the man himself will be appearing for one night at the Melbourne Town Hall in a special Wheeler …

foreign language bookshop

    If you’re new to Australia and craving some entertainment in your own language (or you’re trying to learn a new language), head to the Foreign Language Bookshop in Collins Street in the CBD. This place sells books and films in over 125 languages. They stock fiction and non-fiction books, language learning courses, foreign-language board games and gifts, dictionaries, foreign-language travel guides and ESL products. The store is located below street level near the corner of Collins and Elizabeth Streets. It’s easy to miss — keep an eye on street numbers and look for the neon red sign pointing down a flight of stairs.   Foreign Language Bookshop Address: 259 Collins St, Melbourne Open: Monday–Friday 9am–5.30pm, Saturday 10am–5.30pm Tel. 9654 2883 Email:  

melbourne writers festival 2013

  To all the writers, poets, journalists, illustrators, critics, readers and other curious minds out there — drop what you’re doing and head to the Melbourne Writers Festival website because you’ll want to book tickets early this year. The festival program is divided into different categories including Identity & Politics; Journalism; Art, Music & Performance; Professional Development; and, of course, Literature. Click here to see a list of speakers appearing at this year’s MWF. There is also a range of great free events. Join the TV audience of the ABC’s ‘Book Club with Jennifer Byrne‘, listen to Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler talk about his new book Dark Lands, or see some of Australia’s most distinguished journalists discuss a myriad of issues confronting today’s media in the ‘New News‘ sessions — all for free. Tickets to most sessions are around $20, with a few high-profile sessions and professional development events costing more. Note that some of the free events require bookings — check the individual event pages for details.   Melbourne Writers Festival 2013 Dates: 22 August …

event: long, clear view — tim winton’s the turning

    Recently I mentioned that the new Australian adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel The Turning would be showing at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival. Well, here’s another event for all you film buffs and literature lovers out there. MIFF is partnering with The Wheeler Centre to host a panel discussion with author Tim Winton plus 13 of the film’s 17 directors: Robert Connolly, Mia Wasikowska, Warwick Thornton, Shaun Gladwell, Tony Ayres, Rhys Graham, Jub Clerc, Ashlee Page, Simon Stone, Jonathan auf der Heide, Marieka Walsh, Claire McCarthy and Ian Meadows. The discussion will be moderated by journalist Sandy George. The event will be held in the wonderful Forum Theatre and all tickets for this hour-and-a-half session are $25. Book quickly because this event will probably sell out fast.   Long, clear view: Tim Winton’s The Turning Date: 4 August 2013 Time: 1.30pm–3pm Venue: Forum Theatre, 154 Flinders St, Melbourne Damage: $25  

Emerging Writers’ Festival 2013

    Tomorrow the 10th annual Emerging Writers’ Festival begins, bringing together writers, editors, publishers and performers for 50 events across Melbourne. Many of the events are free, and the ticketed events are generally affordable. For a full run down of the EWF 2013 programme, click here. You can also find a full list of participating writers here. Many events have already booked out, so get in early if you want to secure tickets. If you love writing, this one’s for you.   Emerging Writers’ Festival 2013 Date: 23 May — 2 June 2013 Festival Hub: Thousand Pound Bend, 631 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne