Arts and Letters Report, May 2018
By Jennifer Ann Davies
NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser
In our chaotic world, it is infinitely sensible and peaceful to see and know the beauty, simplicity and joy of the uncomplicated. Thusly, readers can enjoy the wise and immeasurably enchanting tale written by Lyons born Antoine de Saint Expuery, and possibly review what IS important.
This wise and beautiful tale, ‘The Little Prince’ was written in the United States of America during the French author’s self-imposed exile from occupied France in 1943. The edition to which I refer was translated into English by Katherine Woods – a definitive translation.
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;
What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
With exquisite irony and charm, de Saint Expuery has his grown-up-getting-older-thwarted artist-pilot-Narrator, write, rather sadly, that because people did not understand his child-like ‘seeing’ in his art, he would not talk to most about boa constrictors or primeval forests or stars; all of which he had drawn. Instead, he would ‘bring himself down to the level’ of the grown-up with whom he spoke and talk about bridge, golf, politics and neck-ties – and the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible fellow! p.3
With determined questions, a strange charm and logic, the Little Prince roams through the Universe, pondering and pronouncing. “If someone loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him/her happy just to look at the stars. He/she can say: ‘somewhere, my flower is there…’.”
However, the Little Prince had declared, if the flower is eaten – if that flower is destroyed, in one moment all the stars will be darkened….”and you think THAT IS NOT IMPORTANT?!” p.23
Egmont UK Limited/The Yellow Building/London W11 4AN 2017
A FAREWELL OF GREAT IMPORTANCE
This is to farewell the truly great Stephen William HAWKING, who died on 14 March 2018, in his homeland, the United Kingdom.
An extraordinary human being, the English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge University was not only outstanding in his thinking, knowledge of the universe and related subjects and elements, but was one of the bravest Men in human history, who continued to work and live with an horrendous, motor-neuron disease.
Hawking’s earthly remains rest with those of the famed and infamous – Dean’s Yard at Westminster Abbey, London.
A little of his knowledge rests in his renowned book: “A Brief History of Time”.
More can be gleaned from his children’s books and academic papers – some infused with his long-term thinking on the many worlds interpretation of quantam mechanics.
Stephen William HAWKING – we salute and farewell you.
University of Queensland – St Lucia – Brisbane
UQ Art Museum Student Engagement Council continues to welcome members of the student body to offer feedback and ideas to the Museum.
Current members are hoping for advice, from a new generation of scholars, artists and those involved in the dynamic and vital world of Arts and Letters, on what will engage more members and how the council should proceed to communicate and implement the new ideas, advice and processes.
QUEENSLAND WRITERS’ CENTRE is encouraging poets, authors and illustrators to take up residencies for an intense one month, to concentrate on research, development and/or editing of new work. Information on this possibility is available on the website: qldwriters.org.au
STATE LIBRARY OF QUEENSLAND now invites young writers to submit entries for the 2018 Young Writers Award! Information is online and the news has been spread by many throughout our state, including in regional areas.
Queenslander, Jason NAHRUNG provides a website ‘Vampires in the Sunburnt Country’ to advise details of Literary festivals in 2018.
‘Watch for these throughout the year,” Jason writes:-
- OUTSPOKEN, Maleny, Qld. General literary author talks
- RIVERBEND Poetry Series, Brisbane, Qld.
Details & dates: jasonnahrung.com/2018-australian-literary-festival-calendar
ANOTHER GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG WRITERS
HOWEVER, YOU WILL HAVE TO DO THIS QUICKLY!
I have only just received the email relevant to this screen play opportunity.
A great opportunity to let imaginations run wild!
Stories can be scary, funny, serious or true.
Perhaps about music, friendship, or someone or something special in your life?
Have FUN and give it a go! You’ll be part of the screenplay Mini Film Festival and part of the 2018 Cairns’ Children’s Festival – entries by May 16th 2018.
IN ADDITION TO THE PLEASURE, NEWNESS, JOY, BEAUTY, EXCITEMENT, ENGAGEMENT, ADVENTURE, LEARNINGS AND IDEAS brought to the world by Arts & Letters, each arena, each genre, each performance, each sketch may often bring us TRUTH.
‘Like a wild animal, the truth is too powerful to remain caged.’
INSURGENT by Veronica ROTH, author of ‘Divurgent’, now a major motion picture, brings us a heroine fighting for survival in a shattered world. In this fight for survival, the TRUTH is her only hope!
“Taut and shiveringly exciting…..an unflinching and fierce heroine.” Melissa Marr
Harper Collins Children’s Books, London, 2012. www.harpercollins.co.uk
CONTINUING IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL NEWS
SALUT! from Brussels, Belgium. This segment continues to give you a little information about some of the contacts, publications and projects derived from my meetings at Amazone House, where many of our contemporaries work to continue the global work to promote the status of women.
Information for Conseil des Femmes francophones de Belgique – www.cffb.be
One of the publications the women were enthusiastic about sharing:
PETIT GUIDE ILLUSTRE DU RESPECT DANS LA RUE
(A small illustrated guide about RESPECT in the street!)
This is a small, 40 page handbook illustrated with cartoon figures and casting the ‘predators’ as crocodile/alligator-like critters!
Harrassment, insults, unwanted physical contact or sexual contact and self-exhibition are all included as elements for which Belgium has punishable laws, which include prison and fines.
Predominantly, the publication is intended to identify what is NOT acceptable, particularly in public places, where many forms of harassment occur regularly. It then provides advice, strategies and responses for Women to implement, to avoid many of these forms of abuse.
It is important to note that Belgium, as only one of many countries in Europe, has a continuing flood of refugees, both genuine and economic. All peoples do not necessarily have the same values, nor the same socio-cultural mores. Additionally, when many are not literate in their first language, beginning to address the problems becomes more complex and more costly.
The Conseil des Femmes has a membership list which may be of interest to some. I have elected not to print this in the report, but members and interested parties are welcome to ask for these – alternatively they may be found on the website. National President at the time of publication of the brochure explaining the Conseil des Femmes: Viviane TEITELBAUM contact on firstname.lastname@example.org
DES FEMMES A LA RENCONTRE DES FEMMES
This publication is a large, illustrated, 68 page book, for the empowerment of Women in the workforce. Foreword in this important publication is by Magda De Meyer, who kindly organised a number of meetings with the women in Amazone House, in Brussels. Magda wrote this preface as President of Vrouwenraad, and she invites readers to view a huge range of elements in their lives, which have changed over time. The elements and the changes are visually illustrated and defined on page 11, using the outline of a simple tree, with Branches = Les Pratiques (Practices); Trunk = Institutions; Roots = Norms and values. Very loosely, this work begins with an exploration of origins of interests, roles, education, access to information, access to land, housing, income; participation in decision making at all levels, representation in the community, representation in administrative domains, mobility, violence and abusive conditions, religion, organisations, schools, norms, stereotypes, ideas, perceptions, prejudices, attitudes, self-image, taboos. I apologise that I have not had the time to translate a great deal of this publication, but had promised to send it to our Management Committee members, in Brisbane, Queensland, which I will do.
Magda, Gart Goorden and others work tirelessly to aid refugees in Belgium. This task has become more complex as many of the people needing aid are not literate in their first language, and this reality adds to the heavy burden, with any initial language/literacy teaching and learning becoming difficult, expensive yet vital to the survival of people needing to survive in a completely different culture and place. Housing, schooling, visa application, health needs, job searching and daily communicating are basic needs which demand that people can speak the tongue of the host country. Belgium speakers are often multi-lingual, with Dutch and French dominant. Many speak well in language English, but few are able to converse fluently with those from Syria, some African countries, Arabic communities and a varied range of others.
Gart would welcome any communication from members in Australia in relation to the immigration/refugee problem/s. The women who work at Amazone House, are both paid and unpaid workers, as I understand it, and collaboratively, they have to compile significant ‘project’ details in order to access funding for a project. Workers there monitor a variety of committees and arms of the United Nations and also what is being presented, represented and relevant at the European Parliament. Because this is so, they have a different relationship with these entities than we, in Australia; yet because there does not appear to be significant communication between all of us, I discovered that members across the globe are eager to learn of the similarities and differences; strategies, funding models, projects and relevant publications to continue advocacy, active works and change, in our communities and countries.
Gart Goorden email@example.com
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT – History, information and group reservations –
firstname.lastname@example.org PRACTICAL INFORMATION – ID always required
European Parliament – Place du Luxembourg/Luxemburgplein 100
1050 Bruxelles/Brussel BELGIUM email@example.com
DERRIERRE L’ECRAN – Ou sont les femmes? (Behind the screen – where are the Women?) I still have more films listed directed/made by the women behind the screen! I have remained in touch with Nele Pigeon and contemporaries, and apologise, Nele, for my computer’s absence of the ‘acute’ on your name!
Elles Tournent/Dames Draaien Festival is wonderful! Film food for thought – another avenue or platform from which to raise voices for very real causes, issues, debates and change! Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
One last matter of Importance – In the world of letters, in which literature, books and written works are valued for their form, style and content, a marvellously entertaining text appeared!
‘A true joy!’ Le Monde
Clementine BEAUVAIS is the author of this hilarious book. Beauvais writes in both French and English and now lectures at the University of York, in the United Kingdom.
‘Piglettes’ won many awards including the grand Prix Sorcieres and film and stage versions are in production. It was first published as “Les Petites Reines” by Editions Sarbacane, Paris, 2014.
The text presents a new perspective on bullying, both online and in everyday life, which is topical in many countries and communities, but which is often dealt with only AFTER the event, via counselling, chat sessions and other methods which do not particularly encourage the bullied to develop self-belief; to stand tall and truly BE who they are; to withstand the bullying and insults; and certainly not to laugh at themselves! ‘Piglettes’ provides a healthy, zany viewpoint on this global problem.
Bullied online and in the schoolyard, introverted, non-confident, the main characters are determined NOT to let the bullying beat them. “…Then…we burst out laughing – a laughter that rises from the depths of our podgy bellies, shakes our being, forces us to lean against the taps – a gigantic laughter of freedom and ecstasy, brand new, magnificent…” p.135. This book is truly an explosion of joy, humour and life! Another female author, Jennifer Mathieu wrote, after her first reading of ‘Piglettes’ – “Made me want to pull my bike out of the garage and ride through the streets yelling about lady power.” Respectable Radicals of the future?