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 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!
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!
Due to unforeseen medical circumstances, I am unable to participate in hosting the following events but I urge you to sign up – I will certainly be zooming in myself! The Lighthouse Anthology is a great new compilation from emerging and unpublished authors which I can’t wait to dip into, and the November Brisbane Literary Mafia will feature special guest Anita Heiss, along with our usual Krissy Kneen and an appearance by Mirandi Riwoe. Anita will be talking about FROM PAGE TO STAGE and also recommending some of her favourite Indigenous reads. Don’t miss out! I hope everyone has a peaceful, joyous and safe Christmas and holiday period. See you all back in 2021, which can surely only be much improved from 2020!
Hard to believe we’re heading towards the end of the year, but here we are. There are some brilliant releases out in the coming weeks, including Trent Dalton’s second novel and the latest Jane Harper. Trent will be our guest at the October Brisbane Literary Mafia and November will feature Anita Heiss. As always, these half hour zoom cast events will include my top five reading recommendations by Aussie authors for the month. Some great conversations coming up too – I’ll be chatting to the very amusing Richard Glover about his dog Clancy, discussing Monique Mulligan’s debut fiction novel, and I’m so pleased to be launching the Lighthouse anthology with stories by a range of emerging authors. All details in the Events section. Congratulations to everyone involved with the Queensland Literary Awards which saw a whole host of emerging and established writers taking home prizes!
Our first Brisbane Literary Mafia zoomcast featured Bri Lee with the question WHAT PROJECT SHOULD I WORK ON NEXT? Join Krissy Kneen and I with our second special guest Mirandi Riwoe discussing RESEARCHING HIDDEN HISTORIES on the last Monday of the month, 27 July, and then BrisLitMafia #3 on Monday 31 August with author and advocate Tracey Spicer talking WRITING (OR NOT WRITING!) IN A PANDEMIC. And as always, my five recommended reading titles by Australian authors each month. It’s FUN and it’s FREE but please book to receive your zoom link.
The first Brisbane Literary Mafia Zoomcast was a great success. Author and advocate Bri Lee gave some helpful insight into choosing which project to work on next and I certainly found her advice very inspirational! Unfortunately Krissy was unwell and unable to attend but she will definitely be back for the next event, as always on the last Monday of the month: 27 July. Stay tuned to find out who our special guest will be next time! And of course, watch out for some great reading recommendations of latest releases by Aussie authors.
Online events at Avid Reader and elsewhere continue unabated – who has time to go out anymore?! My exciting news this month is the first Brisbane Literary Mafia Zoomcast at 6.30pm on Monday 29 June hosted by Krissy Kneen and me. Each episode of this literary chat, on the last Monday of every month, will focus on one Brisbane or ex-Queensland author with a particular topic close to their heart, and finish with current reading recommendations of new Australian fiction. This will be such fun! We’ve all long known that Brisbane is the country’s cultural capital…now we have the zoomcast to prove it! These episodes will be free but please book. Our first guest is the amazing BRI LEE.
I’m so excited to be sharing some positive news in this time of uncertainty. Once again, Avid Reader Bookshop is thinking ahead in terms of ways to continue important (life-saving?!) engagement between authors and readers. Avid has set up a Zoom series of online author in-conversation events. These will be live-streamed, with the audience able to ask questions at the end through the text function on Zoom (easy!) which will then be answered by the featured author. It’s not the same as being in store (you have to supply your own wine and cheese!) but in this chaotic time, it is definitely a safe and socially distant activity in which you can participate, keeping you involved with the literary community, supporting authors, booksellers and publishers, and you can do it all from the comfort and privacy of your own home! The first Zoom event will be held on Tuesday 24 March from 6.30pm to 7pm and will be a FREE TRIAL event with Avid’s Fiona Stager and I discussing NEW AUSTRALIAN FICTION.read more…
Amidst all the fear and justifiable concern around the virus, protective measures, panic-buying and mass gatherings, everyone will be hit hard by this crisis, at least economically even if not directly health-wise. Spare a thought for all those authors with new books coming out this year, whose launches and book tours may now be postponed or cancelled. Think about all those literary festivals that won’t go ahead, and the authors/publishers/booksellers who rely on such events to promote their work. While this disruption is necessary, there are things you can do to support the book industry. Self-isolation is the perfect time to read more books! Books can be ordered and delivered online without fear of infection. Books are a great gift for those stuck at home and a great distraction for both children and adults from the pandemic information overload. Social media is ideal social distancing. If there is a book you love, share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram…promote your local bookstore and link to your favourite authors. People will keep reading (in fact, I’m sure we’ll do more of it) but spreading the news about new and favourite writing will help keep the literary industry afloat. Amidst the anxiety, let’s all be kind to ourselves by reading more books.
Catching up with author friends is one of my favourite ways to spend time. I recently spent a couple of days in Sydney and managed to see Lauren Chater, Cassie Hamer, Eleanor Limprecht and Ashley Kalagian-Blunt, along with new friends Sam Selinger and Cathy Perkins. All wonderful women writers. Check out their work! I’ve got some great events coming up at Avid Reader (see Events on left). Hilde Hinton’s book The Loudness of Unsaid Things (9 April) sounds amazing, and Sophie Hardcastle’s Below Deck (24 March) is intriguing. Watch out for reviews soon! Plus of course the wonderful Writing War panel on 20 April, featuring Nigel Featherstone, Simon Cleary and Melanie Myers, and then a Characterisation workshop in May. And don’t forget the first ever Brisbane episode of The First Time Podcast with Kate Mildenhall and Katherine Collette, recording direct from Avid Reader on 17 April! Be there to share in the fun. There is no better way to connect with other writers and readers than to attend bookstore events, which are intimate enough to feel that you are among friends.
2020 promises to be full of creative opportunities, fabulous reading and some fascinating author events at Avid Reader. Some upcoming events for me include: 31 Jan – an interview with Dr Ginni Mansberg about her book THE M WORD (menopause in all its glory!); 3 Feb – a discussion with JP Pomare about his new crime novel IN THE CLEARING; 20 Feb -meet Mary Garden with her family memoir SUNDOWNER OF THE SKIES; 20 April – a fantastic panel of authors on WRITING WAR including Nigel Featherstone (BODIES OF MEN), Simon Cleary (THE WAR ARTIST) and Melanie Myers (MEET ME AT LENNONS); and on 24 May – a 3-hour workshop on FINDING YOUR CHARACTER’S VOICE. Booking details on the Events section to the left. So much to look forward to in the new year!
For more news, follow Cass on:
© 2017 by Cass Moriarty