The hope of a new year

Who knows what the new year will bring? If I’ve learnt anything in 2023, it’s to expect the unexpected. Let’s all do what we can, when we can, to help each other and make the world a better place, but not beat ourselves up if it doesn’t work out as we hope. Let’s default to kindness and optimism, love and generosity, fun and friendship. Let’s all read more books and share them if we love them. To all the writers, let’s all try and write some good words, but not be despondent or feel overwhelmed if we don’t achieve our own expectations. To those lucky enough to be publishing books in 2024, congratulations and I hope I have the honour of reading your work. Let’s thank our librarians and our booksellers for sharing their knowledge. Let’s honour the work but recognise that life happens and sometimes we need to roll with it. I wish you all a very happy and successful new year, whatever that means for you.

Reading and reviews…

Due to personal circumstances, my involvement in the literary community has necessarily lessened of late. I’m still reading however, although not so prolifically, and will continue to release reviews of the books I’ve read and loved. I won’t host any more events for the remainder of the year, but I hope to be more active in events and launches next year. Never has the escape of books felt more necessary to me. Keep reading, everyone. And hug tight those you love. (Please note that the events listed on my page are all still going ahead, albeit with a different interviewer, and you should definitely check out the great events planned for the coming months.) Also, a huge congratulations to Fiona Stager (and Kev) for their purchase of Riverbend Books…the only people who could possibly replace Suzy Wilson. These two independent bookstores, along with Books@Stones, are my favourites and I urge you to continue to support them by attending events and buying books.

2023 rolls on…

The second half of the year is already upon us and as usual there are some great upcoming events at Avid Reader. The recent literary conversation with Lyn Yeowart and Al Campbell, supported by Frazer Campbell’s unique art exhibition, was a highlight of the year for me. In coming months, I’ll also be in conversation with Jessie Seaborn, Melissa Ashley, Chris Hammer and Bryan Brown. Lots of other exciting evenings including Holly Ringland, Trent Dalton, Mirandi Riwoe, Laura Jean McKay and many more. Book now!

BWF: Have we got a story for you!

I’m SO EXCITED about this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival at State Library of Queensland 10 – 14 May. Artistic Director Jackie Ryan has curated a brilliant program featuring international authors and thinkers (The Booker Prizes winner amongst others), a host of Australian icons, and with a strong focus on local Brisbane and Queensland writers. First Nations stories scaffold the entire festival, and diversity of culture, identity and thought are highlighted. Whether you are 2 or 102, there is a story for you. The hum of excitement in the air at the 2023 launch was palpable. Everyone feels that this festival is going to be truly special.

Congrats to all the hardworking, behind-the-scenes team. Get your tickets now for your favourite sessions.

I’m honoured to be moderating four panels with some very cool and talented authors. Check out my events page for details.

Welcome to 2023: The Year of Reading and Writing!

OK, I totally made that up but it SHOULD be a thing, right? More books! More words! More manuscripts! More submissions! More reading and writing! I can’t wait to interview one of my favourite crime writers Dinuka McKenzie to discuss her second novel TAKEN. Book now for 9 March and get the price of your ticket as a discount off the book! Or come along the following night to meet author Ben Hobson and discuss his new novel THE DEATH OF JOHN LACEY. Avid Reader has some excellent events upcoming…check their calendar. And why not arrive early, from 5.30pm, to partake in a glass of wine and some literary conversation and socialising with other passionate readers and writers? Check my events page for more upcoming conversations and book news. Happy new year, everyone.

Christmas wishes

The holiday season is upon us and I wish everyone a safe and peaceful Christmas, a relaxing break, and an enthusiastic start to the new year. Books are the best Christmas presents so my advice, you’re welcome, is to have a small stash of signed books from different genres wrapped and ready for that guest who arrives with an unexpected gift! Instead of searching for an unopened box of chocolates or bottle of wine, you will have a great book gift ready to go. Choose a selection from crime, literary, poetry, romance, YA, picture book, sci-fi or spec-fic, non-fiction, memoir or historical fiction and you will have every possible book lover covered. Check out my recommendations under ‘WHAT AM I READING?’ for some ideas.

Events are coming to a close for the year but do keep checking the Avid Reader website along with other bookshops to see what is happening when. And the new year is sure to be packed full of opportunities to meet your favourite authors and join them in conversation about their work.

I look forward to seeing you soon! Happy reading and writing, everyone. X

Launches and events!

I’m diving headfirst into events and launches and could not be happier to be once again involved with the beloved Aussie lit community. The 2022 Queensland Literary Awards was a night filled with enthusiasm and admiration for the winners and shortlisted authors in all categories, and a big cheer for every author who entered a book, fiction or non-fiction.

A host of events to come. Check the events page for details and bookings. Happy writing and reading to everyone for the second half of 2022!

Books as therapy

Due to personal circumstances, my events calendar has been empty for several months now. I miss interacting with authors – hosting events and launches, participating in panels and judging awards. My reading has slowed significantly (those of you who follow my reviews will have noticed they are few and far between lately!) But reading remains a great joy, an escape from reality and a chance to walk in the shoes of others. Books are a soothing balm when so much else seems to hurt. Until I regain my mojo, I am relishing in the success of writer friends who are publishing, winning awards, garnering positive reviews and selling books. I’m equally loving stories of writers making progress, finishing projects, reaching personal goals and continuing to engage in the creative pursuit of writing which is often simultaneously immensely frustrating and outrageously, impossibly fun. And I’m enjoying keeping up with all the literary news, gossip, scandals and achievements. Wishing you a brave, hopeful and satisfying year ahead. Whether you are a reader or a writer, thank you for your continued support of the arts, particularly Australian literature.

Too many books, too little time …

As we enter 2022, who knows what lies ahead (what could possibly go wrong?!) but at least we can be certain of the steady stream of fabulous books which continue to be published and which currently form a teetering TBR pile beside my bed and probably yours. Books can explain, offer escape or knowledge, provide inspiration through beautiful prose, allow us adventures and take us on emotional journeys. There is a book for everybody at every time. With so much instability surrounding us, books give us the precious gifts of exercising our emotional muscles, increasing tolerance and understanding, and taking us to extraordinary places. I hope that this year brings you much reading pleasure and for the writers, much satisfaction in creating the words and using them to tell new and vibrant stories. Wishing everyone good health, peace and happiness for 2022.

Books: the perfect lockdown antidote

With most of the country in and out of lockdown or quarantine, at least we all have books to provide some escapism from our lounge rooms. Stories about other places and other times will take you away when you most need it. Your ongoing support for authors by buying or borrowing or recommending your favourite books is helping to keep the literary community thriving, including booksellers and publishers. Read a book. Buy a book. Borrow a book. Recommend a book. Join a bookclub. Subscribe to a literary journal. Follow authors you admire on social media. Be a good literary citizen. Covid, vaccinations and lockdowns have unfortunately been divisive but we can all agree that STORIES ARE MAGIC and BOOKS ARE ESSENTIAL. Happy reading.

Avid Reader officially The Best

Avid Reader is officially The Best Bookstore in the Universe, after winning Australia’s Best Independent Bookshop Award, and now being shortlisted in the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards, alongside two stores in Romania and Portugal. This is no surprise to those of us who know and love Avid, Fiona and all the team, but if you haven’t yet visited this magical shop, you really should. My publisher University of Queensland Press also received great news this month, winning ABIA Best Small Publisher of the Year, for their work showcasing brilliant new writers and poets, First Nations voices and established literary giants. Brisbane is the actual centre of the literary world!

Please continue to support bookstores, publishers and authors by reading books, buying them when you can, borrowing them when you can’t, and most importantly, talking about your favourites and recommending them to others.

Brisbane Writers Festival has concluded for another year, although you can still catch up on most events online. A fantastic weekend filled with inspiring and enthusiastic speakers, many calls to action, and lots of knowledge about First Nations people, climate change and refugees.

If you are a Townsville local, I’d love to see you at one of my two writing workshops in July, supported by the Townsville Writers and Publishers Centre (see events).

Check out my latest recommendations and happy reading!

Another exciting literary year ahead…

I began the year as I meant to go on, interviewing Trent Dalton in person about his dazzling second book All Our Shimmering Skies. In April, please join me in conversation with Emily Maguire (in person and via zoom) to discuss her new novel Love Objects, and also in April to launch Tabitha Bird’s amazing new novel The Emporium of Imagination. Events are currently a mixture of instore and online events which gives you plenty of options to attend. Remember to book. And keep up with my ever changing section What Am I Reading?, where I provide recommendations and reviews. Happy reading everyone!

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© 2017 by Cass Moriarty