Author Archives

Karen Downing

Editors help writing be the best version of itself

Author Sarah Madden was complimentary about the editorial process for Blue in the Red House  when interviewed by Jessica Gately for the latest issue of Underground Writer’s zine Roots (issue 25, page 8). She said ‘it made the book flow better, read better, and ultimately be the best version of itself it could be’. We may be a little biased, but we agree that Aidan’s editing was thoughtful, encouraging and supportive – just what every author hopes for.

Sarah’s novella was our first experimental non-fiction title – which is the only genre for which we are currently open to submissions.

Some more TLC for YWCA Canberra

Obiter Publishing and the Singed Sisters were able to donate a further $3500 to YWCA Canberra in January from sales of Tears, Laughter, Champagne. In her thanks, CEO Frances Crimmins reminded us that we are helping to ‘make a difference in the lives of women, children and families in Canberra by ensuring they have the essential supports and resources they need to live’. Richard Perno talked to Karen on Radio 2CC about how the Singed Sisters turned the tragedy of losing their homes in a bushfire into a positive money-raising effort.

There aren’t many copies of the book left now, so if getting hold of a copy has ever crossed your mind don’t put it off much longer. Check out Canberra stockists or buy online.

Two titles launched into the world

Obiter ended the year doing what we love most, sending two new books into the world!

We raised a glass of congratulations to Sarah Madden in Melbourne last Tuesday evening at the launch of her debut novella Blue in the Red House. And we learned, finally, where the name for Sarah’s protagonist, Ms De Beer originated. We had been trying to conjure metaphors of diamonds but, no, the name is simply a fun nod to a certain amber brew of which Sarah is quite fond!

It was a pleasure to work with Writers Victoria to celebrate Sarah and her work and we thank them for their hospitality and generosity.

Pic left: Sarah Madden, a former Write-ability Fellow at Writers Victoria in conversation with writer and
director Fiona Tuomy, who was also Write-ability’s founding Mentor-in-Residence.

We would also like to thank Katherine Bode, our series editor for ‘To Be Continued’, and Imelda Whelehan, who selected the stories for the latest title in the series and wrote the introduction, and Martin Willis who read excerpts from the book at its launch. It has been a pleasure to work with them on Christmas Eve in a Gum Tree and Other Lost Australian Christmas Stories.

Last Monday in Canberra, Marnie Hughes-Warrington did the book proud in her launch speech in which she pointed out that despite the heat and disastrous weather events in Australian Christmas stories they all do end up being about love: love between sweethearts, love between parents and children, love lost, love earned, love that endures time and place.

Pic right: Professor Imelda Whelehan and Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington.

 

Raise a glass to our debut author

If you are in Melbourne on 11 December, please join us for the launch of debut author Sarah Madden’s magic realist memoir Blue in the Red House. We are very excited to mark this special occasion with Writers Victoria, where Sarah was a Write-ability Fellow. Sarah will be in conversation with writer and director Fiona Tuomy, who was also Write-ability’s founding Mentor-in-Residence. And there will be champagne of course! RSVP at the Writers Victoria website.

If you can’t join us Blue in the Red Houseis out now and available through the Obiter online store.

Just in time for Christmas

‘This collection,’ says Imelda Whelehan, ‘is for everyone who wants their Christmas stories to mirror their Christmas location – with the heat on their backs, perhaps wondering if lowering clouds presage a storm or more extreme weather event. They will be best savoured as the barbecue sizzles or while dipping a toe in the water, enjoying fresh raspberries, cherries or apricots, or during lunch at the cricket.’

‘It might be a tonic, too,’ she points out, ‘for those travellers who find themselves in the northern hemisphere longing for the characteristic smells and sounds of an Australian summer holiday.’

Professor Whelehan is a scholar of women’s writing, feminism, popular culture and literary adaptations and the current Dean of Higher Research at the Australian National University. She and her family moved to Australia from England eight years ago where Christmas was shaped by Dickensian images of Victorian English celebrations recycled on chocolate boxes and biscuit tins and Christmas Day was accompanied by adaptations of A Christmas Carol on television. Like all migrants, she says, ‘we gradually acclimatised and adjusted our family traditions to make the most of a beautiful Australian summer.’

Imelda has written the introduction to our collection of ‘lost’ nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Australian Christmas stories that have not been previously published beyond their original serialisation in newspapers. We are delighted with the gorgeous cover from the talented team at Giraffe, using a perfect image by photographer Jane Worner at Austockphoto.

The book is available for pre-order in our online store.

 

To Be Continued – you can get involved!

We are working on some more exciting collections of nineteenth-century fiction in our ‘To Be Continued’ series – details soon! – but in the meantime, you can get involved in the project by editing texts and adding your own discoveries to the 21,000 works already uncovered.

Associate Professor Katherine Bode’s amazing Australian Newspaper Fiction Database has analysed the mass-digitised newspaper archive, and national treasure, called Trove to bring to light a vast new collection of fiction that is providing new insights in the development of Australian literary, publishing and reading culture.

You can explore the database, but you can also help correct the text and add instalments and new stories – many tens of thousands of stories remain undiscovered in the newspaper pages.

Correcting text will make searching the database more reliable and will also improve the quality of the newspaper text in Trove. Adding newly discovered instalments and publications will grow our knowledge of what fiction was published and available to read.

How I Pawned My Opals and Other Lost Stories is the first title in Obiter’s ‘To Be Continued’ series. Kath Bode’s introduction to this collection gives us a greater appreciation of the work of Catherine Martin and a taste of the deeper understanding of Australia’s literary history that the Australian Newspaper Fiction Database is opening up to us.

A little more TLC for YWCA Canberra

Sales of Tears, Laughter, Champagne to date has meant nearly $5000 worth of donations to YWCA Canberra. The Singed Sisters were delighted to be able to make a second donation in April to YWCA Canberra that will support the YWCA’s work on addressing the shortage of affordable housing options for women in Canberra. Read the full story in the Canberra Times.

And Obiter spread some TLC further in sending books to the community in Tathra following their devastating bushfires in March. Copies have been distributed to the Recovery Centre in Bega, the Bega Library, the Red Cross for emergency volunteers, Candelo Books for fundraising, and directly to some of the fire-affected families.

Photo: Singed Sisters Karen Downing, Chandani Prammer, Liz Tilley and Julie Pham, donate the proceeds of their book to the YWCA through executive director Frances Crimmins. Photographer: Elesa Kurtz.

National coverage for How I Pawned My Opals

The first title in our ‘To Be Continued’ series was launched at the beginning of this month at a public lecture by Associate Professor Katherine Bode at the Australian National University. Both the lecture and the book were warmly received – and Kath became a media star for 48 hours with pieces in the Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times and interviews and coverage on radio (you can listen to the ABC’s PM with Linda Mottram). The excitement has us all fired up to keep moving with further titles!

We will be especially looking at stories that are uniquely Australian whether they are about the early days of Botany Bay or bushrangers or cricket! The stories that have stood out for Kath – and which the Obiter team are particularly looking forward to reading – are the ones that represent Aboriginal characters in complex ways. Kath says that literary historians have long thought that Australian fiction followed the legal lie of ‘terra nullius’ in obscuring the presence of Australia’s original inhabitants, but much of the local writing about bush life is characterised by consistent depiction of Aboriginal characters.

Stay tuned as we dig more ‘lost’ stories out of Kath’s literary treasure trove of a database!

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Announcing the launch of How I Pawned My Opals and Other Lost Stories

We are delighted to announce that the first title in our To Be Continued series will be launched at the Australian National University on Thursday 1 March. This project is a collaboration between Obiter and Associate Professor Katherine Bode who has written the introduction to this collection of Catherine Martin’s nineteenth-century tales of manners. The book will be launched at a public lecture – Uncovering the true history of Australian literature – at the Australian National University in which Kath will explore the broader implications of her research. We’ll celebrate the book with a glass of champagne after the lecture and books will be available for sale.

We hope you can join us! Event registration.

 

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