Thursday, August 25, 2016

Podcast - Interview with Anjum Hasan.

This is an interview with Anjum Hasan from some years ago. She has a new book on its way out, The Cosmopolitans and as I work through my archive of interviews it is timely for me to post this one.
   Anjum was visiting Australia for a festival and we chatted about her recent work and the novel Lunatic in my Head (Brass Monkey Books, 2010).
  Anjum has been longlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, shortlisted for The Hindu Best Fiction Award and shortlisted for The Hindu Literary Prize. She is currently Books Editor for The Caravan.

Listen to the podcast here.

First broadcast on The Book Show, Edge Radio, 2011.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Books are nice to look at - the library at Wat Buddha Dhamma

Wat Buddha Dhamma was started by a wonderful, renegade monk called Phra Khantipalo and a feisty renegade nun, Ayya Khema. They both practised and taught in the tradition of Theravada Buddhism and founded this monastery which, since its 1970s inception has had a number of incarnations.
There is an enticing library in the monastery. When I practice meditation intensively I do not read and the library, during my stays at the monastery, has been both enticing and an opportunity to note my desire (my craving) to read.
This is a recorded interview (a podcast) with resident teacher, Ajahn Khemavaro and Venerable Passatika about the library, its books and book learning in the realm of Buddhist practice.
It is from a good few years ago, I think the time where I stayed a month.
"I am not a comfort eater, in this hollow life, but I am a comfort reader," said Venerable Passatika.
Here is a link to the coincidence of Brama Viharas we discuss. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

August Paige Turner column

It was a ripper night at the pub last night and some mates and I have begun to devise PRANKFEST (watch this space). Later in the evening I picked up a copy of the latest Warp, for which I write a monthly column and was slightly perturbed to see that my August Paige Turner column was not there, that March had been re-published. So here's August folks! With hyperlinks. Modern technology sends me all aquiver. 

Tasmania has a new bookshop. I am so delighted to type that sentence, I did not believe I would, ever. It takes the form of Collins Booksellers and you’ll find it in Launceston, in the site of the former Fullers du Nord.

Undertow, is an exceptional cultural magazine that pops up now and again. This time they’ve made the wise decision to retail at various outlets, including Fullers, The Gentle Void and Sticky Institute. In this issue they have spoken to Calypso Brown, Hobart Hackerspace and Visual Bulk. It also has work from Mish Meijers and Tricky Walsh and an advice column. Worth it at $5 a pop.  
There is a selection of widely varied literary events happening around the state, ranging from football: with an instore signing with AFL legend Mark ‘Bomber’ Thomson at Not Just Books in Burnie, between 11am-1pm on Monday, August 22nd. Thomson played in three premierships with Essendon and coached Geelong to two premierships. I’d be willing to bet there’s a book involved too.

Fullers are also launching How Far Can You Go by John Maclean on Wednesday, August 17 at 7pm and on Thursday, August 18 at 5.30 they are hosting the launch of The Game of Their Lives by Nick Richardson. A week later, on Thursday, August 25th Wild Island by Jennifer Livett will be launched. Please

To – Mt Field, with the release of The Field of Dreams, a new book from Mark Clemens. The release of this book coincides with the 100 year anniversary of Tasmania’s oldest National Park, Mt Field and follows Clemens’ award winning publication, The Mountain. Clemens is also running a crowdfunding campaign to support the launch of this book. The celebration will happen on August 29 at the State Cinema. The book will be launched by Aboriginal elder and playwright, Jim Everett and there will be an auction for six limited edition framed prints from this gorgeous book (pictured). 

Now we travel slightly further afield to Marina Abramovic and Tasmanian writer, Heather Rose’ new novel, Museum of Modern Love. At the time of writing, it is rumoured that the launch will take place at Hamlet Café in Hobart on Friday 26 August. Heather has been working on this, her seventh novel, for many years and the publication is highly anticipated.

At Fullers in Hobart, they are excited about the forthcoming release of the music CD of The Mathematics Book. This book continues being a best seller, it has a strangle hold on the non-fiction #1 spot. Beyond me, but I do love this kind of collaboration, the liminal soaring space where art and science deepen each other.

Forty South, Tasmania’s biggest publisher have an event in collaboration with the Tasmanian Writers' Centre on Saturday 20 August at Hadleys in Hobart from 5pm. The first part of the program will be a panel discussion on 'Writing for Tasmania 40°South - our state's iconic magazine’. This panel will include editor, Chris Champion and regular writers Nicholas Brodie, Carol Freeman, Mike Kerr and Clarissa Horwood. The second part will be the launch celebration of the Forty South Short Story Anthology 2016 to be launched by Chris Gallagher, Director of the Tasmanian Writers' Centre. Event details can be found on the Writers' Centre website.

Aleesah Darlinson, winner of the 2015 Environment Award for Children’s Literature, (non-fiction) and author of over thirty-five books for children and young adults has a new picture book titled Stripes in the Forest: The Story of the Last Wild Thylacine. It’s coming out in time to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the extinction of the Tasmanian tiger on National Threatened Species Day. Aleesah is touring Tasmania during August and September and will be running an Adult Writing Workshop titled ‘Writing Narrative: The Art of Story’ at 1:30pm on Friday, 5 August at Scottsdale LINC Library.

The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre continue to offer a great program through Twitch, the young writers’ wing of the organisation, including Youth ARC freecreative writing workshops for anyone and everyone aged 12-25.   The workshops are on every Tuesday in August from 3.30-5.30pm. More info: 
And the August Twitch Tuesday will feature one of the best short story writers in Australia, Adam Ouston. He’ll be discussing how to write short stories.

The Youth Arts and Recreation Centre magazine Platform is providing an opportunity for writers aged 12-25 with any level of experience who are interested in one-on-one mentorship with a professional journalist (Warp writer Stephanie Eslake) through the interview and feature writing stages. You will have the opportunity to have your writing workshopped and published in the magazine. All invited, express your interest this month to Melinda Antal, or call 6231 5150.

Straight, able bodied men need not apply for Loud Mouth Theatre’s
 "Not You, Paul" writers' forum and EOI evening. This is a free event with playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer and plans to develop a process that counters alarming disparity in the arts. This evening will include a call for expressions of interest for six writers visible in the Hobart writing for performance community to work with twelve writers from diverse cultural and experiential backgrounds, over a number of weekends throughout a twelve month period to all share skills and develop new works. Monday August 8th, 7pm, Peacock Theatre.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Aung San Suu Kyi: The Voice of Hope: conversations with Alan Clements

Since this book was first published, Aung San Suu Kyi has been freed from house arrest and rightfully taken her place in the Burmese parliament.
Alan Clements is one of the first Westerners to ordain as a monk in Burma, under the guidance of Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw. In 1995, after Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1991) and after her release from six years of incarceration, he invited her to tell her story. This is published in The Voice of Hope.

This is an interview I did with Alan, when The Voice of Hope was re-released, a few years ago. It was first broadcast on Edge Radio's Book Show.

Link to the podcast.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Just who is Boney and what made him the protagonist of the (eponymous) international twentieth century bestsellers? Maybe you remember him from the 1970s television series...

All of these questions AND MORE will be answered by simply tuning in to hear the international expert on Arthur Upfield's Boney books,  Tasmania's own......EMMA MALONEY


Zeyar Lynn. Poet, Burma

In 2013 I went to Bangkok, one of my favourite places in the world. It was for the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators (APWT) conference and I spoke about literary prizes. That year I was one of the judges of the Tasmanian Literary Prizes, now known as the Tasmanian Premier's Literary Prizes. At the time I was also working at Island magazine with poetry editor, John Kinsella. John had recently published some excellent new poems from Burma, including some from Zeyar Lynn. Island partnered with APWT and Air Asia to bring Zeyar to Bangkok for the conference. 
Zeyar Lynn is widely regarded as the most influential living poet in Burma and his poem Sling Bag appeared in Island 128:Digitalism. Zeyar has written a series of poetry collections and he has translated, among others, Sylvia Plath, Wisława Szymborska, Donald Justice, John Ashbery and Charles Bernstein. He has also written a number of volumes on poetics.

The Diemenois. A graphic novel by JW Clennett

Review: The Diemenois, being the correct and true account of the sensational escape, seclusion, and cruel demise of a most infamous man by JW Clennett
The Diemenois is an impeccably drawn, fascinatingly written graphic novel that presents an alternative history of Tasmania in which the West (Ouest) of the state, post invasion, is a French possession. The action begins with an unwell man being taken on a long boat journey. Who is this mysterious man and why is he going to Baudin, the provincial capital (approximately where Smithton lies in this reality) of Van Diemen Ouest. It then roams far and wide and over the last two centuries, and introduces us to many individuals as the story (is it true though?) of the sea traveller, is revealed.
Claudet is the name the mysterious gentleman goes by and it is posited that he may indeed be Napoleon, not dead from liver cancer on St Helena, but whisked away by his supporters and bought to the new colony of Van Diemen Oeust and domiciled in the Maison des Abeilles.
Claudet refuses the offer of help from a local, who intimates knowledge of his true identity, and surrounds himself with those who do not inhabit Baudin. He lives a reclusive existence, leading the town folk to speculate wildly about him. He seems to have many enemies.
Interspersed in the story of Claudet, are a number of other threads; a researcher’s study notes from the 1990s until current times slowly reveal a deepening conviction that Claudet was Napoleon, and we, as readers are privy to this building case.  With the research presented, it becomes possible to believe that Claudet is Napoleon, though most of the academy are his detractors, and he is a self-proclaimed conspiracist.
Some character’s stories, like the researcher’s, are more fully revealed later in this exquisite tome, though there are many cameos. A portrait drawn both literally and figuratively, that I am still carrying with me is of Mumma Tebba. She is revealed to the reader on the night that the massacre, occurs, a turning point in the book. A “highly skilled Voudouisant,” Mumma Tebba is one of the many outsiders that Claudet has surrounded himself with and she chalks her incantations onto the floor of the scullery as the murderers approach her, too.
I wish I could make some kind of comparative reference to the exquisite visual nature of this book, but it is the first long graphic novel I have ever read – and it will not be the last! My concern was always that, as a devoted reader of words I would lose half the story by staying with the letters, not their accompanying imagery. This did not happen. The entire production had me entranced.
JW Clennett has been working on this book for over ten years and it has been published by a small independent publishing house, Hunter Publishers, to their credit. The exquisite drawings, delicate maps of the olden days, replete with new town names, the replication of old newspapers, encyclopedias and photos, alongside research notes and the quirky ‘comic’ style drawings all meld together to form one hell of an entertaining book. It’s dark, it’s intricate and it is a fascinating alternate history with rich story threads shot through. It is un-put-down-able.
This review was first published in the December edition of Warp.
The Diemenois, by JW Clennett
Hunter Publishing
ISBN -  9780980740585

Hannah Kent discusses Burial Rites.

Literary podcast: Hannah Kent discusses her novel Burial Rites, the importance of dreams and Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman beheaded in Iceland and the protagonist of her award winning novel. 

(9781742612829 Pan Macmillan)