Category Archives

New release

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.

 

Forthcoming: Christmas Eve in a Gum Tree

Christmas in fiction – a time when families reunite and love blossoms, when evil is overcome and tragedy is averted. Cruelty and revenge are offset by heroism and forgiveness, and constancy in love is rewarded. But in Australia Christmas stories are also marked by fire and flood, cyclone and drought, and the perils of isolation. Cattle drovers find themselves stuck in a gumtree, a sheep stealer’s son is lost in the bush, and love’s ‘cooee’ is heard as far away as London. All the drama of nature and humanity is vividly recounted in this collection of nineteenth-century Australian Christmas stories.

Christmas Eve in a Gum Tree is the second title in Obiter’s ‘To Be Continued’ series. It collects previously unpublished stories unearthed in an Australian Research Council funded project that has produced a bibliographic index and full-text archive of fiction in Australian newspapers from 1803 to 1955. The stories are contextualised in an introduction by Professor Imelda Whelehan, a scholar of women’s writing, feminism, popular culture and literary adaptations and the current Dean of Higher Research at the Australian National University.

Christmas Eve in a Gum Tree and Other Lost Australian Christmas Stories will be published next month. Further info soon!

You can purchase the first title in the ‘To Be Continued…’ series, How I Pawned My Opals and Other Lost Stories by Catherine Martin, from the shop section of our website.

Forthcoming: Blue in the Red House

Obiter Publishing is excited to announce the forthcoming release of our first ‘Futures’ experimental non-fiction title, Blue in the Red House.

Blue in the Red House is a hybrid memoir/magic realist novella from debut author Sarah Madden, which recreates her experience of being diagnosed with Autism at age 34.

Sarah Madden grew up in New Zealand and has been based in Victoria for the past 5 years, after spending a number of years living in the Middle East. Since landing in Australia, Madden has rediscovered her love of writing and words, and was awarded a Write-ability Fellowship by Writers Victoria in 2014. Madden writes fiction, memoir and poetry, most with a lyrical, slightly magical treatment woven through the threads of the everyday. Madden has been published, as Sarah Widdup, by Underground Writers, The Big Smoke and Hot Chicks with Big Brains.

In Blue in the Red House, readers follow the journey of Ms De Beer who seeks out a doctor to assist with removing her eyes, figuring she no longer needs them. She is surprised to learn the true source of her concerns. Ms De Beer cannot see red. As a result, she has been leaving a trail of heart-blood behind her everywhere she goes.

Reeling from this information, Ms De Beer sets out on a journey to rediscover herself. Along the way she discovers far more of herself than she expects. But piecing all of the parts together and learning to see clearly will be harder than she thought.

Through the journey of Ms De Beer, Madden recreates her own story of being diagnosed as autistic. The story reimagines Madden’s sensory perception of the world around her and her place within it. In fiction, Madden illuminates the truth in ways that strict facts often cannot manage.

Blue in the Red House will be released in November 2018.

Singed Sisters in the spotlight

Local Canberra media has been quick to respond to the launch of Obiter’s Pozible campaign for Tears, Laughter, Champagne. The story of friendships forged through food and fire resonates with Canberrans who can all tell you where they were and what happened on 18 January 2003.

Kathryn Vukovljak discussed the book with Karen Downing for City News and Elias Hallaj has given it a plug on RiotACT.

Some 40 wonderful people have pledged to the project already. With 22 days to go we need some more supporters to reach our target!

 

Singed Sisters on air!

Singed Sisters Liz Tilley, Liz Walter, Alison Mills and Karen Downing joined Lish Fejer on ABC Radio Canberra’s ‘Sunday Brunch’ on Sunday 15 October to talk cakes and their upcoming cookbook come memoir Tears, Laughter, Champagne.

Liz W bought along Aunty Pat’s Chocolate Cake, a family recipe that tastes like chocolate cake used to take.

The Sisters love an opportunity to get together and love a chat – you can listen to them on the ABC website and get Aunty Pat’s recipe as well.

You can also help us reach our funding target to make this project a reality at Pozible.

From tea and tears to laughter and champagne

Spread the word. Our Pozible campaign for Tears, Laughter, Champagne is now live!

On 18 January 2003, four bushfires that had been burning in the Brindabella mountains for more than a week combined and roared into Canberra’s south-western suburbs, destroying 500 homes and claiming four lives.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the people behind the headlines?

Tears, Laughter, Champagne is the story of nine women who forged an unbreakable bond in the weeks and months following the fires, brought together by the one thing they had in common, loss. In this cookbook come memoir these ‘Singed Sisters’ recount their fifteen year journey from the day the fires changed their lives. Share in their story of recovery through the recipes that gathered them together and celebrated the milestones of rebuilding what was lost.

As devastating bushfires become part of life for so many communities around Australia this book will serve as a reminder of the enduring nature of friendship, good food, and great champagne in tough times. This book is also a chance for the Singed Sisters to pay forward the charity and kindness they received in the aftermath of the fires. All profits from the sale of this book will go to YWCA Canberra – chosen by the Singed Sisters because of their work in housing support, child care services and family counselling as well as their advocacy on gender equity and women in leadership.

To make this book a reality there are some upfront costs to cover such as photography, design, layout and printing. The Singed Sisters have been talking about this book for over a decade now – they are ready to make it happen. And with just a little bit of help from you through our Pozible campaign it will!

We would be very grateful if you could share this email with friends and family who might also like to support Tears, Laughter, Champagne. Thank you!

An emerging sisterhood of women

Katherine Bode has given us her introduction to How I Pawned My Opals and Other Lost Stories and, as the best introductions do, she gives us a greater appreciation of the work of Catherine Martin.

Martin’s family (the Macaulays) began their life in Australia as farm labourers but by the time Catherine moved to Adelaide in 1876, aged 29, she was well educated, fluent in a number of modern languages, particularly German, and widely read in literature, theology and philosophy. Although Martin escaped the extreme poverty of her childhood, she had to work to support herself for much of her life.

Catherine married Frederick in 1882, when she was 34. He was an accountant, social reformer, and writer. The marriage seems to have been a happy and equal one. They shared a belief in social justice, a desire to write and, and together they travelled the world. Martin described Frederick and herself as “comrades”.

No wonder, then, that Martin’s stories have an independent and strongly delineated female character at their core. These women are different in so many ways but they are all decisive and determined, and resist or actively go against the mores of their respective societies.

It is Bode’s fascinating insight that although Martin, with her depiction of Stella Courtland in her most famous work, An Australian Girl, has long been seen as responsible for creating a uniquely Australian form of the ‘New Woman’, these lost stories show that she conceived of this figure as a global phenomenon, an emerging sisterhood of women independent in thought and action.

We are looking forward to introducing these women to you!

 

 

Satirical photo from 1901, with the caption ‘New Woman—Wash Day’, US Library of Congress.

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