Sunday, December 20, 2015

Post-launch of Bloodlines ed. Amanda Pillar in Perth

Amanda Pillar, the editor of the anthology Bloodlines, was in Perth for a few days so publishers, Liz Grzyb and Russell B Farr (Ticonderoga Publications), organised a delightful Perth 'post-launch' of the anthology.

Three of the four Perth writers with stories in the anthology were available: Pete Kempshall, Martin Livings and myself -  Stephanie Gunn had a forgivable reason for being unavailable with her husband's 40th birthday.

It was a suitably quirky launch at the new honey store 'Honey I'm Home' on Railway Parade in Maylands. I ended buying three jars of honey: two raw whipped honeys (ginger snap and lemon zest), along with a cinnamon infused honey (which I thought appropriate as cinnamon is mentioned thrice in the story). I love these independent stores - go down and check it out if you're in Perth and get the chance.

The launch itself was a real treat, genuine and sincere. A fantastic chance to catch up with friends and family and lovers of the short story. I believe we sold out of books on the day (either that or one lonely book was left).

Martin, Pete and I read. I'm an avid reader but not orally and due to being in isolated Perth it's only my third reading at a launch. After hearing Pete I look forward to polishing up that skill.

It was also a lovely opportunity to congratulate Amanda, Russell, Liz, Pete and Martin on their work.

Unfortunately, due to reading and signing and chatting away I didn't manage to take any pics. Happy for you to post them up or send them my way if you do have them. 

I had to leave soon afterwards as Peter and Danae Gavalas had cooked up a storm at their home for a group of close friends.

Absolutely adore the cover by the gifted Kathleen Jennings - I'll be sinking my teeth into the anthology soon.

Currently Reading: just read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, which is definitely strong but so continuously hard hitting that Yanagihara could easily be mistaken for a sadist.  Wonderful friendships, relationships and prose but I also found it melodramatic, incredulous at times, and a little job-porn too. I think the notion of success is a bit odd (not exploring it here in this quickfire post but happy to answer any questions in the comments section). Regardless of my criticisms, A Little Life is a very good novel if you're thick-skinned (otherwise don a panoply of plate armour before you go into battle).

And I've also read The Year of the Ladybird by Graham Joyce, which is a far gentler read.  The setting of an old-fashioned seaside summer-holiday entertainment camp creates a wonderful atmosphere of nostalgia. Joyce highlights a prominent part of the English culture in decline and on the edge of vanishing, as well as issues of nationalism and acceptance of the past. It's also a beautiful love story.

Like many writers, I'm saddened that Joyce passed away this year. Joyce was loved by writers and critics and certainly deserved an even greater readership.

I'd recommend The Year of the Ladybird for your summer read if you're in the Antipodes. It's an easy read with plenty of merit...and if you're weathering the chill of the Northern hemisphere at this festive time, I'm sure it'll make for a great summery escape.

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