Six Degrees of Separation – from Atonement to Bitter Orange

It’s time for #6degrees. Start at the same place as other wonderful readers, add six books, and see where you end up! Continue reading

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Quickly, before MWF

Where possible, I read the book before the author talk.

Which means I have a LOT of reading to do before the 2018 Melbourne Writers Festival. Here’s my list – Continue reading

Melbourne Writers Festival 2018

It’s Melbourne Writers Festival program launch day!

Having had to keep #ALLTHESECRETS for the last few months (I have had the privilege of being on the Audience Advocate committee this year), I was busting for tonight’s launch so that I could start talking events. The program is a ripper and I can’t tell you how much I love this year’s theme – ‘A matter of life and death’ (that’s Virginia Gay in the pic, launching the Festival).

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Woman of Substances by Jenny Valentish

I saw author Jenny Valentish speak at last year’s Melbourne Writers Festival. At the time, I hadn’t read her memoir, Woman of Substances – I often wonder how much my thoughts about a book are influenced by hearing the author speak before I’ve read it. Invariably their passion and post-publication reflections rub-off, and I go into the reading experience ‘looking out’ for certain things, which is why I left Woman of Substances almost a year before picking it up.

Woman of Substances is a memoir-research hybrid. Valentish uses her own experience of drugs and alcohol to explore how women deal with addiction and treatment. There are two main threads in the book – firstly, Valentish examines how trauma and self-destructive behaviours – such as eating disorders and high-risk sex – complicate substance use for women.

There’s an illusion of power in being as sexually aggressive as men are allowed to be, but it can sometimes take a stupefying blood-alcohol level to override the misgivings. Continue reading

Melbourne Writers Festival 2017 – Day 3

 

Second Generation Narratives

My third day at MWF started with an incredibly impressive panel – Randa Abdel-Fattah, Maxine Beneba Clarke, AS Patrić and Alice Pung (chaired by Arnold Zable) – discussing the second-generation Australian experience and how it’s reflected in literature. Continue reading