Blog posts

New-Year Highs

While last year was taken up with the production and launch of our anthology Every Second Tuesday, each of us was also busy working on our individual projects. We all rounded off the year on personal highs.

Jennifer’s short story ‘The First Day’ was awarded a Highly Commended in the Port Stephens Literature Awards 2020.

Margaret’s story ‘Pastry Fever’ appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of Door Is A Jar literary magazine (Issue 16). Door Is A Jar is a US publication of poetry, short fiction, nonfiction, drama and artwork.

Helen was excited to have her poem ‘In deep blue’ selected for Democratic Poetic | Poetry Matters Issue 40 December 2020, a gathering of the journal’s finest poems from 2006 to 2019.

The successful launch of Barry’s first book Broken Rules and Other Stories in September was followed by the publication of Every Second Tuesday, and Barry is already planning and writing his next book.

The creative spirit surges. Watch this space throughout 2021 for more Elwood Writers news.

A ‘Live’ Concert at Last! Music, She Wrote

“The theme of this concert: ‘Music, She Wrote’ was an admirable exploration of the work of women composers of the 19th and early 20th century.” Jennifer has begun 2021 by attending a live concert, with live performers and an in-real-life audience, and no Zooming in sight. From her own website, here’s Jennifer’s review.

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The venue for this concert was a fairly new space in suburban Melbourne, The Button Factory. A pleasant place to be on a hot day with a bar at the back, plenty of indoor plants and an interesting gallery. https://thebuttonfactory.com.au/

I had heard nearly all of the performers in pre-Covid days – often in concerts associated with the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). I had assumed that all were fully professional and was surprised to read that some of them have ‘day jobs’ such as pharmacist and physiotherapist – a sign of the hard lot of the professional musician.

The theme of this concert: ‘Music, She Wrote’ was an admirable exploration of the work of women composers of the 19th and early 20th century. The only composer I’d heard of was the most recent, Margaret Sutherland (1897 – 1984).

As I sat listening to engrossing substantial pieces…

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Art Inspires Art

Helen McDonald reflects on how art forms enhance each other:

“I’ve always been interested in the way that one creative process influences another. When I was writing my poem ‘Stark against the sky’ the third stanza wasn’t working for me – the words on the page didn’t capture what I was trying to say. I struggled, then left it alone for a while.  Sometime after I went to a musical concert and was mesmerized by a beautiful new composition by composer Alice Humphries – Salt. Her work is inspired by her personal connection to and love of the sea. And as I listened my third stanza wrote itself.

‘I want to float on waves
of roiling love and not
be pebble-sucked
and churned beneath the watery depths’

Months later I walked into an art gallery, and there, right in front of me, was the exact twisted tree I had imagined in the first stanza of ‘Stark against the sky’ – a perfect miniature lithograph by artist Robyn Leeder. I bought it on the spot and it hangs in my study above my poem – a visual impression of my written words. Music, poetry and art melded into one.

Give thanks for the artists – without them we would all be soul-starved.”

You can read Helen’s ‘Stark against the sky’ and other works by Elwood Writers in our new anthology Every Second Tuesday, available now in paperback from Readings online bookshop (in Australia), or from Book Depository (for overseas buyers). The ebook is available from all the main ebook platforms, including Kindle.

That Was the Week That Was

A quick summary of last week’s Elwood Writers events:

Wednesday saw Lee Kofman launch Every Second Tuesday. This online event was hosted by Readings, and included a Q&A where Elwood Writers talked about the group and the anthology.

On Thursday, Jennifer and Barry discussed Every Second Tuesday with David McLean on 3CR’s Published…Or Not.

Friday’s special edition of Cover to Cover on Vision Australia Radio featured readings of stories from the anthology. The program was repeated on Sunday.

For more information on how to pick up a copy of Every Second Tuesday, please click here.

Now, Voyager

It’s one week since Every Second Tuesday was launched by Lee Kofman in a wonderful online event hosted by Readings. If you booked a ticket to the launch, you will have received a link to the recording. That link is still live, but will expire shortly. But you can save the video forever by clicking on the link and choosing the download options in the viewing window. Then you can watch it this year, next year, or whenever suits.

Now the book is sailing steadily on its journey. One of the best ways to support Elwood Writers is to read our work. For book lovers in Australia, we’d encourage getting hold of the anthology from Readings. Overseas readers might want to go here.

Or if you’d like to support a favourite bookstore but they don’t have the book in stock, why not ask if they can order it in for you. The ISBN is 978-0-6450041-0-6 and the publishing imprint is Rightword Enterprises.

The e-version is available from all the usual places.

If you have any issues or questions, do get in touch in the comments and replies box below this post.

Happy reading!

Anthology stories

The podcast of last week’s Cover to Cover is available by clicking through to the Vision Australia Radio website. You can also find the podcast on Spotify.

The program features readings by Alison Davies and producer Tim McQueen of stories by Elwood Writers from our new book Every Second Tuesday, including Jennifer’s ‘Teleférico’, a selection of Helen’s haiku inspired by Japan and Australia, Margaret’s ‘The White Woman’, and Barry’s ‘Tongue’.

Happy listening!

Tonight’s stories

Tonight on Cover to Cover:

Jennifer’s ‘Teleférico’;
Helen’s ‘The Lake’, poems ‘In deep blue’ and ‘New’, and haiku inspired by Japan and Australia;
Margaret’s ‘The White Woman’ and ‘Home and Away’;
Barry’s ‘The Longstanding Arrangement’ and ‘Tongue’.

Thanks again to Alison Davies and Tim McQueen for reading the pieces, and to Tim for producing the program.

For all the information you’ll need to listen to the stories, click here.

Turn on, tune in, but don’t drop out

This evening, Tim McQueen presents a special edition of Cover to Cover showcasing stories and poems from our brand new anthology Every Second Tuesday: 8:00PM Vision Australia Radio 1179 AM and VA Radio Digital, repeated Sunday 1:30PM.

Listen on the radio if you’re in Australia, or online from anywhere in the world. The times listed are Australian Eastern Standard, so make sure you do any necessary adjustments. Online listening links can be found by clicking here.

A podcast of the program will become available after this week’s broadcast. VAR podcasts are now available on Spotify.

Thank you to Alison Davies and Tim McQueen for reading our work on air. We can’t wait to hear the readings.

Learn more about the work of Vision Australia Radio at their website, here.

To find out how to get hold of a copy of Every Second Tuesday, go here.

FAQs for the online launch

As we look ahead excitedly to Wednesday evening’s online launch of Every Second Tuesday, here’s a few frequently asked questions pertaining to the event.

How much does it cost?
It’s completely free, though you need to register to ensure you’ll receive the special Zoom link on the day of the event. This link will be emailed by Readings about an hour before the event starts.

I love free things. Where do I get my ticket?
You can book your ticket here. For more info on the event, click here.

I booked a ticket weeks ago, but now realise I’ve got a diary clash on Wednesday night and can’t make it to the launch. Should I let Readings know?
Good news: because you’ve booked a ticket, you’ll also receive a recording of the event shortly afterwards, whether you attend on the day or not.

I live overseas and the time difference means I’ll be asleep while the launch is occurring. Help!
You don’t have to miss out. Register in the regular way, here, and shortly after the event is finished you’ll be emailed a link to a recording. You’ll receive the recording even if you didn’t attend the live event.

Will other people be able to see me at the event?
Only if you keep your video enabled. If you don’t want to be seen, you can easily turn off your video for the entire time. At Barry’s launch event for Broken Rules in September, attendees were invited to leave their video on if they wanted to. Many chose to do this, and it was fun to be able to see people. But at some events attendees are encouraged to turn their video off to conserve bandwidth and/or make the viewing experience easier for the participants. So it depends on the event. Summary: if you’re asked to turn off your video, please do; if you’re invited to leave it on, it’s entirely up to you.

Can I eat my dinner during the event?
Of course. You can do anything you want. But if you don’t want anyone to see you, remember to turn off your video. And you’ll be asked to mute your microphone, so we won’t hear you enjoying your food or doing whatever you’re doing. In fact, sometimes the microphones of everyone apart from the participants will be muted by the MC, Christine Gordon from Readings.

Is there a dress code?
No. Come as you are. But see the above answer.

What if I’m late arriving?
Don’t worry, you’ll still be admitted. Just click on the emailed link and wait for Readings to let you in from the waiting area.

What if my dog starts barking during the event?
You’ll be encouraged to mute your microphone during the event, so only the dulcet tones of the participants will be audible to the audience. So please bring your dog along. We’d love to see dogs at the launch. Especially Petula. Cats, too. In fact, all animals are very welcome.

Who’s Petula?
A dog who loves book launches. Mainly because there’s snacks involved. Though the snacks are virtual these days.

What if I have to leave early?
You can leave whenever you want. No one will judge you.

I’ve never used Zoom before. I’m not sure I’ll know what to do. What do I need to know?
It’s straightforward, and fairly intuitive. And anyway, Christine Gordon from Readings usually gives a quick run-through of Zoom and its etiquette right at the start of an event, just in case anyone is a bit unsure. One of the Elwood Writers was a trepid Zoom virgin back in March, and now they’re never off it. We won’t mention any names. Barry. Oops. Slipped out.

Do I have to download any apps or special software?
From the Readings event page: “You do not need a Zoom account to join a meeting, but mobile users will need to download the Zoom app for their device. Desktop and laptop users can either download the Zoom application or access the event via their web browser.”

I hate being on Zoom. But I’d like to see the launch.
We’d love you to attend on the night, but if you’d rather not, just register in the usual way. At some point shortly after the event has concluded, you’ll be emailed a recording which you’ll be able to watch at your own leisure. You’ll find the booking page here.

I’ve never been to a book launch before. I’m not sure how to frame this as a question, but it is a question.
Please come and join us. This is a great and easy opportunity to find out what happens at book launches, without having to leave the comfort of your own home, or wherever you are at the time. And you don’t have to do anything apart from watch. With your video turned off and your microphone muted, it’s quite close to being a voyeur or a fly on the wall. We guarantee it’ll be a fun and interesting night. And if in the unlikely event you don’t like it, you can just exit the session whenever you want without any fuss.

How long will the event last? I tend to drop off if I’m watching anything online for more than an hour.
We anticipate the event will run for about 45 minutes in total. After Lee Kofman has officially launched the book, she’ll conduct a Q&A session with the authors. Once it’s over, you can shut down your device or computer and go and do something else. Go to sleep, if you want. And you don’t have to travel to and from the venue, because the event comes to you. Accessibility is one of the many beauties of online events.

These questions are really interesting, but now I’ve forgotten what’s being launched on Wednesday night. This is a question, by the way.
We feel the question mark. The book is Every Second Tuesday, an anthology of work by Elwood Writers Jennifer Bryce, Margaret McCaffrey, Helen McDonald, and Barry Lee Thompson. It’s being launched online by Melbourne author Lee Kofman, and hosted by Readings.

Where?
Your place.

When?
Wednesday 9 December at 6:30PM.

Sorry, I’ve misplaced that link for booking. Can I have it again?
Elwood Writers | TryBooking Australia

My question isn’t listed here. What shall I do?
Pop your question in the comments and replies box below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we pick it up.