Arts and Letters Report, November 2018

By Jennifer Ann Davies

NCWQ Arts and Letters Adviser

‘Underline’- Every quarter, Underline publishes a collection of extracts, interviews, articles, short stories, reflections and much more, to celebrate brilliant writing in its many forms. Designed to be dog-eared and devoured at your leisure, this is a chance to delve a little further into some fine literature and the minds behind it.

Deep purple

Hot pink

Turquoise

Pumpkin yellow

Swirls…

For the love of reading!

Extract: ’21 Lessons for the 21st Century’ – Yuval Noah HARARI takes readers on a thrilling journey through 21 of today’s most urgent issues. Many reflect those confronting us at a national and international level. In this exploration, the author asks HOW do we maintain our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change? In a passage on education, the question is HOW can we prepare our children for a world of unprecedented uncertainty and radical change? Harari argues that all our old stories are crumbling and that no new story has so far emerged to replace them. This is not an easy read, but an extraordinarily interesting and challenging one, full of truths, questions and warnings! Books featured in ‘Underline’ are available at all good bookstores. underline@penguinrandomhouse.com.au

Change and Continuity… “This Changes Everything” by bestselling author, Naomi KLEIN, tackles the most profound threat humanity has ever faced: the war our economic model is waging against life on Earth.

Alice NELSON, a new, strong and beautiful young female ‘voice’, tells us of the possibility of feeling pure, blinding love for the children of others; as one of her book’s narrative strands. This emerged from a cluster of unanswerable questions – of memory, loss, motherhood, inheritance and the possibilities of restoration and solace. Nelson says she was able to draw upon her experiences working with newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers in the USA and later with Holocaust survivors in Australia. Her Interview is well worth reading – complex thinking, music, immense beauty and writing “…from a place of enormous inner hopefulness…”infuse the ‘Underline’ interview and her brave book “The Children’s House”. Vintage October 2018.

‘Here comes the candle to light you to bed,

Here comes the chopper to chop off your head.’

Anna MAZZOLA’s is another female ‘voice’ that grapples with key themes of women’s rights in the Victorian period; how the criminal justice system treated vulnerable people and victims of crime; and who believes that historical fiction IS relevant to the world we live in today, helping to put our own lives into perspective.

‘Whilst researching and writing “The Unseeing”,’ the author says, ‘I was continually struck by the contrast between now and then – …women couldn’t travel unaccompanied, could own no property when married, nor had any rights over their own children. Terrible poverty, hardship, injustice and ignorance pervaded society. History is always relevant! We need to know what has gone before in order to make sense of our place in the world.’ From 1830s London, Newgate Gaol, and the Old Bailey; to the Thames and overcrowded convict transport to Australia, the reader is taken on an intricately plotted and extremely convincing literary journey.

Tinder Press/Headline Publishing Group, London EC4Y 0DZ 2017

www.tinderpress.co.uk

In the FILM “Ladies in Black” change and continuity is unmissable! A classic Australian story of love, hope and the perfect dress, the adaptation for the big screen is heart-warming!

Set in the summer of 1959, when the impact of European migration and the rise of women’s liberation is about to change Australia forever, Lisa, aged sixteen, takes a holiday job at the prestigious Sydney department store, Goode’s. There she meets the ‘ladies in black’.

Beguiled and influenced by Magda, the vivacious manager of the high-fashion floor, and assisting sales ladies, Lisa is awakened to a world of possibilities. As she grows from a naïve schoolgirl into a glamourous and positive young woman, the impact they have on each other changes lives.

The film is based on the best-selling novel “The Women in Black” written by Madeline St. John, whose name was not included in the filmed presentation. The story, however, could so easily have been set in Brisbane, Queensland, at McWhirter’s in the Valley or at David Jones’ which was purchased in 1955 from Finney Isles. The authenticity and poignancy of the characters, stores, nuances, practices, attitudes, dress, trams, heartache and triumph is wonderful! Enjoy!

 

VISUAL ART – A history-making collaboration between Cairns Art Gallery and Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane. GOOBALATHALDIN: Dick Roughsey “Stories of This Land” will be available to the public, beginning with the exhibition opening, on Friday 16th November 2018, at the Cairns Art Gallery, and will be open until 10th February 2019, after which it will tour to Brisbane.

Many of us who worked in the worlds of Arts and Letters knew Dick, and he not only taught others of his life, cultural traditions, ceremonial dance and body painting, but encouraged others to make the transition from traditional bark to canvas and acrylic. This transition from bark to canvas allowed the art and stories to survive, to be archived and shared – a wonderful gift!  Dick Roughsey died in 1985, at the age of 65, and my children and I ran and swam and harvested some pipis and I cried salty tears into the sea at Holloways Beach, where we had met and worked and fished and laughed and learned and loved and painted and sketched and written, remembering him. I will advise details of the Brisbane Exhibition when these are confirmed.

REGIONAL SERVICES – Many Queensland regions are home to a diverse population and celebrate the resultant cultural vitality through many community festivals.

In addition to a range of multicultural services, Regional Councils provide useful information to new-comers, in a range of languages. In the Far North of our State, Cairns Regional Council now provides information to help people prepare and stay relatively safe during cyclone season. Currently the website provides guides in: Chinese, French, Hmong, Italian, Japanese, Nepalese, PNG Pidgin, Swahili, Tagalog and Arabic. www.cairns.qld.gov.au/disaster (Some regional websites are also being upgraded)*

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