Blog posts

Helen Published in Creatrix #50

Congratulations to Helen whose two poems ‘Gasp’ and ‘Carry the Truth’ have been selected for inclusion in Creatrix #50, the online poetry journal of the WA Poets Inc. You can find Helen’s poems here.

Earlier this year, when poets could still meet, perform and share their work in person (remember those times?), she was awarded Poet of the Month at Chamber Poets, held in regional Victoria, for her poem ‘Unsaid’. The judge was poet and author Kevin Brophy, Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne.

Don’t ever let it be said that a mere world-wide pandemic can hold back Elwood Writers!

‘Broken Rules’ is out!

Barry Lee Thompson’s short story collection, Broken Rules is already proving to be a stunning success. It is to be launched, virtually, by Readings bookstore next Monday 14th September at 6.30pm Eastern Australian Time. Don’t miss out on the chance to hear Barry ‘in conversation’. The event is free, but you need to book: https://www.readings.com.au/event/barry-lee-thompson-in-conversation

Already there has been a range of very complimentary reviews, including in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. The following review was written by Amanda Rayner of Readings Books. We hope to see you at the Launch next Monday.

The short-story collection from a single author is something I have grown to appreciate, especially in the last ten years or so. Australian writers have definitely made their mark in this area, ranging from those works with a strong sense of concept (Ceridwen Dovey’s Only the Animals), those linked by a sense of mood (This Taste for Silence by Amanda O’Callaghan) and those that are simply an impressive, varied collection (Fabulous Lives by Bindy Pritchard). Broken Rules and Other Stories by Barry Lee Thompson (who was born in Liverpool but now lives in Melbourne, so we’re claiming him!) touches on all these approaches but is its own unique collection and brought unexpected tears to my eyes in the closing pages.

Broken Rules and Other Stories is described as seventeen interlinked stories. I found coming to each story individually and not worrying too much about how it should ‘fit’ resulted in me slowly seeing the possible links between them. By the time I read the final and longest story, ‘Angel’, I had developed my own perspective on how these stories worked together, which bought a sense of closure for me as a reader. The stories cover two main themes. The first focuses on stories from gay male perspectives: fantasies as a young boy, first approaches, random encounters with strangers, sex work, and the continuing search for true intimacy. Scattered between these stories is a group of tales that centre on family dynamics, with a particular focus on the relationship between mother and son.

Regardless of connections the individual reader may make between the stories, there is not one weak link. All pieces capture your attention quickly and none outstay their welcome. It is Thompson’s ability to create a vivid sense of place and tone that makes this an exciting (although sometimes unsettling) reading experience. At this point I am still wondering if I can forgive the author for the terrifying pictures in my head after reading the opening story!

Meet the Author

And finally in today’s trio of dispatches to mark the release of Broken Rules, here’s a recent post from Margaret’s blog where she shares a Q&A Barry did with In Their Own Write.

WRITINGS AND MUSINGS OF MARGARET MCCAFFREY

Barry Lee Thompson, member of Elwood Writers, has a guest interview in relation to his newly released book, Broken Rules and Other Stories. The interview features on the website, ‘In Their Own Write’.

Barry talks about his writing process. For him there is no such thing as writer’s block. If he gets stuck, he works on something different for a while, dipping in and out of stories.

‘I don’t sit down for lengthy periods in front of a page, but dip in and out through the day. Writing is a series of problems. I walk a lot, and think a lot, and sit and daydream, and ideas and solutions arrive in those moments.’ 

Barry addresses other topics pertinent to writers, but today let’s just look at what to do if we get stuck on something. Dabble with another piece, for instance, try something new, go for a walk. Let…

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Book launch invitation

Here’s the info on Barry’s online book event for Monday 14 September. We’re looking forward to attending.

Barry Lee Thompson

Broken Rules and Other Stories

Join me on Monday 14 September at 6:30pm when I’ll be chatting about my new book with fellow Transit Lounge author Catherine de Saint Phalle. This is an online event with Readings, and free to attend, though booking is required to get the Zoom link on the day. Details and booking info can be found here.

Just a reminder that the book’s official release is next week but it’s now in stock at Readings and available from the Transit Lounge website.

Happy reading. See you soon.

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Reasons to be cheerful

Congratulations to Barry on yesterday’s official release of Broken Rules. Definitely a cause for celebration. That dolphin had the right idea.
We’ll post some info on an upcoming online launch event shortly.

Barry Lee Thompson

Supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, and by Varuna, the National Writers’ House.

The sun’s shining. I saw a seal or dolphin splashing about in the Maribyrnong River this morning. It’s the first day of spring and I’ve been smelling jasmine in the local laneways for days now, even through the fabric of my facemask. And it’s publication day. Yippee! Broken Rules is officially released.

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Every Second Tuesday, update

The publication of Every Second Tuesday, an anthology of our writing from over the last ten years, is being held back until early November. By that time we anticipate seeing a little more stability in the literary landscape as new and exciting models of delivery are embraced.

In the meantime, here’s a peek at the book’s back cover:

And before the anthology arrives, we have the release of Barry’s collection of fiction to look forward to. Broken Rules and Other Stories is coming out on 1 September. More information is available at the Transit Lounge website, here.

So please stay tuned – there’s a lot happening this year, and we’ll be providing plenty more updates along the way.

Happy reading and writing.

Upcoming Anthology from Elwood Writers

‘Writers are fortunate to be able to pursue their ideas through story.’ They certainly are! This post about the upcoming anthology from Elwood Writers is from Margaret’s website. Thanks, Margaret.

WRITINGS AND MUSINGS OF MARGARET MCCAFFREY

But if a book has brought you from one place to another, so that you see something you didn’t see before, you’ve arrived at another point.’ James Baldwin, The Paris Review 1984.

My writing group, Elwood Writers, is to release its anthology in November of this year. Every Second Tuesday is a collection of fiction, memoir and poetry drawn from work we have produced, published and recorded over the last ten years. You’ll learn more about it in the coming months here, and at the Elwood Writers website.

In editing my stories for the collection, I started thinking about James Baldwin’s quote. When you write, you might start off at one place – with one idea in mind – and by the end find yourself in a completely different spot – often unexpectedly.

Writing helps me refine my thinking. I make connections that I hadn’t seen before…

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Broken Rules and Other Stories, update

From Barry’s website, news and reviews of his forthcoming book Broken Rules and Other Stories.

Barry Lee Thompson

Some early reviews of the book have appeared. There’s a write-up in Westerly, here, and one from The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, here.

The book’s release date is now 1 September, owing to the COVID-19 reschedule. There’s a chance it might come out a bit earlier, possibly late August. But the main thing is it’s printed and waiting to meet the world. For more info, visit Transit Lounge at their website, below.

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Winter on the Wireless

There’s another chance to hear last night’s special edition of Cover to Cover on Vision Australia Radio tomorrow at 1:30PM (AEST). You can listen live from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Just follow the links on the VAR website, here.

This program was first broadcast in winter 2019, and was chosen for rebroadcasting. It features fiction, memoir, and poetry written by, and in some cases read on air by, Elwood Writers.

https://radio.visionaustralia.org/

The Vision Australia Radio Network incorporates ten community radio stations across Victoria, southern New South Wales, Adelaide and Perth. There are also five digital radio services available in the three metropolitan areas as VAR, VA Radio and IRIS.

‘Every Second Tuesday’ is coming

We may have been in lockdown for a few months but Elwood Writers has been busily putting the finishing touches to a project we’ve been working on over the past two years. We’re currently checking printed proof copies of Every Second Tuesday, an anthology of our writing drawn from over the last ten years.

Now we’re excited to share news of the anthology’s forthcoming publication in both paperback and ebook forms. We’ll keep you posted …