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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Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. Hello Europe (and Australia)! It’s Eurovision time. I was up at the crack-of for the first semi this morning. Lots of thoughts but my picks from round one (in order) –

  • Albania – for it’s 90s vibe
  • Ireland – hear the crowd roar at a certain bit
  • Finland – a good song and a lucky-ticket wheel!
  • Czech Republic – Fresh Prince meets 80s-Sportsgirl-prep
  • Bulgaria – can’t argue with the lyrics… Also, doesn’t this have a pleasing Goldfrapp feel?

Thought Switzerland would have made it through for their stand-up/ stand-on drumming work alone. I know everyone is loving Cyprus but really, Eurovision is not for Beyoncé-wannabees. And if we are voting on pure Eurovision-ness alone, Israel is the winner. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. Saw the MTC production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time a fortnight ago. The set (I took a sneaky pic before the show started) and the way that it was used to ‘reshape’ the stage was extraordinary, with the grid points on the box stage lighting up to show emotions, places, and movement. Continue reading

The Stella Prize 2018 – longlist predictions

With just hours before the Stella Prize 2018 longlist is announced, I thought I’d take a stab at what I think will appear.

Apparently the judges had to work through more than 170 entries (look at that ace pic below!). Unlike the judges, I’ve only read a handful of eligible books but I’m aware of a bunch that keep crossing my radar. On that rather flimsy basis, I’m predicting the longlist*.

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My Best Books for 2017

As I did last year, I’m paying less attention to four and five star ratings and more attention to the books that are still speaking to me. Continue reading

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

This book. Wow.

Harrowing. Courageous. Repulsive. Compelling. Heartbreaking. Uplifting. Fascinating.

The Trauma Cleaner, like its star, Sandra Pankhurst, is genre-defying. Author Sarah Krasnostein shadowed Sandra over a number of years, observing her day-to-day activities and recording the story of her life before she was a cleaner. And that story is remarkable – Sandra was a husband and father, drag queen, sex reassignment patient, sex worker, businesswoman, and trophy wife. As a ‘trauma cleaner’, Sandra cleans places others dare not go – homicide, suicide and death scenes; meth labs; homes of hoarders; and places ravaged by water, mould and filth.

Sandra knows her clients as well as they know themselves; she airs out their smells, throws out their weird porn, their photos, their letters, the last traces of their DNA entombed in soaps and toothbrushes. She does not, however, erase these people. She couldn’t. She has experienced their same sorrows. Continue reading