We’re slowly coming to terms with the enormous loss of our very dear friend and writing colleague Jennifer Bryce, who died on 27 April.
Jennifer co-founded Elwood Writers with Barry Lee Thompson in 2007. She achieved so much in her writing career, and was published widely in Australia and overseas.
Jennifer has written a broad range of fiction, both historical and contemporary, spanning themes such as loss, love, grieving, war, and the environment. The strength of her vision was a key driver in the production of the Elwood Writers anthology Every Second Tuesday. 2019 saw the publication of her debut novel, Lily Campbell’s Secret, launched at Readings in Carlton by Toni Jordan. Jenny’s follow-up novel had been successfully pitched to a publishing house, and the manuscript was under consideration at the time of her death. You can read more about Jenny’s work in her bio from this website – just click on the link here.
We’re honoured to have been invited by Tim McQueen of Vision Australia Radio (VAR) to create a special tribute, and this will be broadcast in Tim’s weekly literary program Cover to Cover. We’re working on the material now, and will showcase a selection of Jenny’s finest work. We’ll record at the studios of VAR in Melbourne in July, and the tribute will air soon after that. Details to follow as soon as they’re available.
Jenny is deeply missed by all who were fortunate to know her. For us, she will forever be the beating heart of Elwood Writers.
Helen was browsing in Stoneman’s Bookroom in Castlemaine last week, and spotted something rather exciting. In the middle of the second shelf in the photo below is a copy of the Elwood Writers anthologyEvery Second Tuesday. Helen sent this pic to the group, and we ran our eyes along the shelves, absorbing the host of excellent authors whose company we’re keeping. And, thanks to the orange Transit Lounge logo on that singular green spine, we quickly spotted another reason to cheer, nestled quietly on the left of the top shelf: Barry’s Broken Rules and Other Stories. So it’s a double hooray! for Elwood Writers and its members.
Thanks for your eagle eye, Helen, and for capturing the moment. And a huge thank you to Stoneman’s for supporting writers and writing everywhere.
In the literary world, being on the shelf is definitely a very good thing. Mind you, it’d be even better to be off the shelf and in the hands of an eager reader. Don’t forget to keep supporting your local bookshops and libraries. Especially the smaller independent booksellers who might be struggling a bit at the moment. If you want them to still be around this time next year, go and browse their shelves. And maybe take a punt on a book you might not otherwise have thought to read. Its author might turn out to be a favourite.
Whether you buy or borrow your next book, happy reading.
The Best Of Cover To Cover 2022: on Vision Australia Radio over two weeks from Monday to Friday at 1:00pm (AEST) 26 December to 6 January. That’s ten of the best episodes from this year.
We don’t know for sure which day the Elwood Writers ‘Adelaide’ program will re-air, but a little bird tells us it might be Thursday 29 December.
To avoid missing out, make this a literary holiday season and listen to all the broadcasts. What better way to transit from one year to the next than by immersing yourself in stories and the soothing sounds of spoken words.
Listening details and further info can be found at the link below:
It’s that time of the year again. How quickly it comes around. Maybe you’re on the lookout for some original festive gift ideas? For the reader in your life, might we suggest a copy of the Elwood Writers anthology Every Second Tuesday? We think there’s something in the book for everyone. But don’t just take our word for it:
The anthology Every Second Tuesday hangs together well. It covers periods from the First World War to the far-too-soon future, with a variety of poetry, memoir, fact and fiction. The evocation of place, from the 1916 trenches near Boulogne to Luna Park in St Kilda is marvellous. Each of the authors has their own distinct voice – the voices blend together like a great choir.
Tim McQueen | Producer and presenter of Cover to Cover, Vision Australia Radio
You can order the paperback from most online platforms. Book Depository offers free worldwide delivery, and they currently have 10% off their list price – find them at the link below:
In recent weeks I have been aware of a light tap-tapping on my shoulder, sporadic but consistent, that I’ve been trying to ignore. Waving it away like a bothersome fly, I finally began to tune in after receiving my fifth, albeit encouraging, rejection from a literary journal.
I hasten to add that I have been fortunate enough to have had a number of my poems published, in Australia and overseas, so I know that the tap on my shoulder is not a gentle suggestion to pack away my pens and give it all up. My thinking has changed from the years when a ‘no’ from a publication would send me into a spiral of rejection with thoughts of ‘I’ll never be good enough!’ My mantra now, thanks to experience and the unwavering support of Elwood Writers, is: ‘this poem hasn’t found a home yet’. I’ve come to realise that it can all come down to a suitable ‘fit’ – whether the publisher or journal editor can find a place for this particular poem. It might not complement other work chosen for the collection, or indeed may not be what the editor has in mind. Of course we won’t always hit the jackpot. I’m jostling for recognition in a field of highly talented and creative poets. The way I write won’t appeal to everyone, and – this is an important point – one editor might love the piece, while another won’t be moved at all. In many cases it comes down to an individual’s choice.
I think the message I’m now receiving from the universe, is maybe it’s time to step back and reflect on exactly what I have been saying for all these years. I write because I have to and there’s always more to say. It’s my way of making sense of where I fit into the whole chaotic turbulence that is life. Affirmation is incredibly important to all artists, but so too is trusting in oneself.
So I’m taking time now to gather my poems into a collection that will say: this is me – my work, my thoughts. This is how I navigate this world. And I hope to learn something about myself along the way.
This edition of AWR, The End or the Beginning?, features stories from two members of Elwood Writers. Jennifer’s ‘The First Day’ and Barry’s ‘Half Life’ are included among contributions from writers and artists all over the world.
There are a couple of ways to buy the book: either contact San Fedele Press directly by clicking here, or go via Amazon by clicking here.
For more information on American Writers Review and the work of San Fedele Press, visit them at their website, here.
Congratulations to San Fedele Press and to all the contributors to this edition of AWR!
In Barry’s recent blog about the background to his short story ‘Twitch’, he talks briefly about a story he’s currently writing that shares similar themes. It’d be interesting to hear more about this new story sometime. Come to think of it, it’d be great to hear a little about what other members of Elwood Writers are working on at the moment. But only those who want to share. Writers don’t always like or feel comfortable discussing current work, for a variety of entirely understandable reasons. Oh, hang on just a moment, there’s a call coming in … why, it’s Jennifer Bryce – what a nice surprise! What’s that, Jennifer, you’d love to tell us about a project you’re working on? Well, we’d love to hear about it, so please go right ahead, in your own time. Absolutely no rush.
And now that a forthcoming blog post has been successfully solicited, let’s continue with the current project of spending this wintry Melbourne Saturday afternoon in the warmest way possible, all cosied-up with a good book. The Evenings by Gerard Reve, if anyone’s interested. But first let’s pop the kettle on and open up the cookie tin.
The podcast of last week’s special episode of Cover to Cover is now available. The program features Elwood Writers and our individual takes on the theme of ‘Adelaide’. If you’d like to listen to, download, or share the podcast, or browse previous episodes of Cover to Cover or other Vision Australia Radio programs, visit the following link:
Barry first visited Adelaide Writers’ Week in 2008, when Elwood Writers wasn’t yet one year old. The event took place every two years back then, and he enjoyed it so much he went to the subsequent weeks in 2010 and 2012. Thereafter, Writers’ Week became an annual affair, and the other members of Elwood Writers began to attend. Since then, one or all of us has attended almost every year. We had a break in 2021 because of pandemic restrictions, and our only representative this year was Jennifer, but it’s fair to say that Adelaide has been and continues to be important to us, and not just because of its literary festival.
And so last year we suggested ‘Adelaide’ as the theme for a brand new Cover to Cover program for Vision Australia Radio. The program’s presenter Tim McQueen liked the idea, and we’ve been putting together our pieces, including selecting musical interludes, over the past few months. We were particularly excited to have the opportunity to record our work last week at Vision Australia Radio, as access to the studios had been restricted until recently.
The program is almost ready to air, and will be broadcast over the Easter weekend, on Friday 15 April at 8:00PM (AEST), repeated Sunday 17 April at 1:00PM . Listen on the radio in Australia (check the VAR website for state-by-state broadcast variations) or online via the ‘listen live’ option from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. A recording of the show will be available to download after broadcast, and we’ll be sharing that here on our website.
So whether you tune in or connect on the day, catch the repeat on the Sunday, or download the recording, we hope you enjoy the show.
The city of Adelaide in South Australia is very special to Elwood Writers. Over the last fifteen years, we’ve regularly attended Writers’ Week, part of the annual Adelaide Festival. Our last visit was in 2020, just before the world started to close down. None of us was able to go in 2021. But Jennifer is planning to be there this year, and we’re looking forward to her dispatches from the beating heart of the festival. No pressure, Jenny.
But right now we’re all excited to be creating and refining the material for a brand new edition of Cover to Cover on Vision Australia Radio, with Adelaide front and centre as the unifying theme. The program is taking shape, and broadcast has tentatively been scheduled for Friday 15 April (repeated Sunday 17 April).
This will be the eighth edition of Cover to Cover featuring Elwood Writers, and we’re grateful as ever to producer Tim McQueen and the entire team at Vision Australia Radio for their ongoing support of the group.
Stay tuned for more details over the next couple of months. If you’d like to be notified of new blog posts, click the ‘follow’ button near the top of this page. And don’t forget you can show your love for any of our posts by hitting the ‘like’ button or letting us know in the comments below.