Winter 2018 Soiree | Helen McDonald

In August, Elwood Writers held its Winter 2018 Soiree at St Kilda Library in Melbourne. In this post, Helen McDonald describes the work she presented at the event.

2018_08_25-elwoodwriters_058.jpgIt takes time and a good deal of thought for Elwood Writers to arrange our program so that the literary readings are varied, complement each other and hopefully engage our audience. One of the things I enjoy most about our soirees is the range of genres covered, and not only hearing but delivering an interpretation of the pieces we have polished and workshopped in our group meetings.  Each member of Elwood Writers brings their own unique voice to the occasion across fiction, memoir, short story and creative non-fiction.

My own leanings are towards poetry and memoir, and in this, our first public performance, I read a selection of poems as well as haiku, a poetic form I‘m very much enjoying exploring.  Our appreciative audience were even subjected, from me, to a short analysis of what haiku is – and isn’t.

This time it was just as much a treat for us, as for the audience, to have Jenny’s chamber group providing musical interludes.  Duo Con Brio (two thirds of Trio Con Brio) chose Bach as the perfect accompaniment for the literary works, and the combined sounds of oboe and cello clearly delighted everyone.

St Kilda Library’s community room was the perfect venue for this intimate evening with friends, acquaintances and family, and we were so pleased to welcome members of Roomers, the City Of Port Phillip creative writing project.

It is such a rewarding experience to share our work and with each soiree I like to think we raise the bar just a little bit higher.


All images HarrietClaire Photography

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we live, work and learn, and we pay our respects to all elders past and present.

 

Advertisements

Armistice Day Centenary edition of Cover To Cover, podcast

A podcast of last week’s Armistice Day edition of Vision Australia Radio’s Cover To Cover is now available at the link below:

https://varadio.podbean.com/e/cover-to-cover-9th-november-2018/

The program, broadcast Friday 9 November and repeated Sunday 11 November, marks the hundred years since the end of the First World War, and features work from Elwood Writers.

We hope you enjoy listening to the program.


Cover To Cover is recorded in the studios of Vision Australia Radio in Melbourne.

Cover To Cover | Armistice Day Centenary

This Friday at 8:00 PM (AEST), Vision Australia Radio is broadcasting a special edition of Cover To Cover to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The entire program features work from the Elwood Writers.

Join us as Jennifer reads an extract from her novel set just after World War I, and a short story set in England at the time of the war. Helen reads ‘Reflections on My Grandpa’, a factual account of her grandfather’s experiences during the First World War and after. ‘Down to the Sea’ features Margaret’s memories of her grandfather, who had been a surgeon at Gallipoli. In Barry’s short story ‘Chloe’, a newly enlisted soldier is captivated by a portrait on the day he leaves home to serve overseas.

You can listen on the radio in Australia, or online from anywhere in the world. The program will be repeated on Sunday 11 November at 1:30 PM (AEST), and available shortly afterwards as a podcast. For listening and other information and streaming links, visit the Vision Australia Radio website, here.

We hope you can make it, and look forward to your company.


Cover To Cover is produced and presented by Tim McQueen in the studios of Vision Australia Radio in Melbourne.

Quote

THE CENTENARY OF THE END OF THE GREAT WAR — littlesmackerel

This recent post from Jennifer’s website includes details of a special Armistice Day edition of Cover To Cover on Vision Australia Radio. The program will feature work from Elwood Writers, and will be broadcast this Friday 9 November, repeated Sunday 11 November.

 

For much of my life World War I has hung in the dim past; a brown and white strip of celluloid showing huge, cumbersome guns, and soldiers marching through mud, sometimes at a pace speeded up by old movie film. People in my immediate family didn’t talk about it much, although my grandfather was there, […]

via THE CENTENARY OF THE END OF THE GREAT WAR — littlesmackerel

Quote

Sunday Radio — BARRY LEE THOMPSON

Just a reminder that if, like me, you weren’t able to tune into this week’s Cover To Cover from Vision Australia Radio on Friday evening, there’ll be another chance to catch the program this afternoon at 1:30PM (AEST). Join the team as they read stories by writers from all over the world, including The House […]

via Sunday Radio — BARRY LEE THOMPSON

We’ll be popping the kettle on and settling in for just under an hour of delightful storytelling on Vision Australia Radio’s Cover To Cover at 1.30 this afternoon. Included in today’s program, repeated from Friday, is Tim McQueen reading Barry’s short story The House In The Sky.

Winter 2018 Soiree | Jennifer Bryce

Elwood Writers recently held its Winter 2018 Soiree at St Kilda Library in Melbourne. Over four blog posts, each of the writers will tell us more about the work they presented at the event. We begin with Jennifer Bryce.

2018_08_25-ElwoodWriters_038

Elwood Writers soiree, St Kilda Library.

It’s daunting to get up in front of 30 or so people – even when they are friends – to read your own work. Daunting because what you’ve written is something of your own creation; you are vulnerable – you can see the response of the audience – it’s more immediate than receiving a critique (or a rejection notice) for something you’ve written.

But the experience of reading in a public setting is extremely valuable. We usually read work out aloud in our writing group meetings because we find that hearing our words brings out different aspects of a piece. You might have read a piece to yourself several times – but things jump out when you hear the words rather than just look at them. And when you know that it’s to be a public reading, you go through the work with a fine tooth comb.

Earlier this year I started work on my second novel. It is connected to the first (which is at present doing the rounds of publishers), but not necessarily a sequel. Publishers would classify it as historical fiction. For our Soirée I chose to read the very beginning of this new book. One reason for choosing the very beginning is that it should make sense to listeners without requiring any explanation.

I love to immerse myself in early 20th Century history – I’m intrigued to understand the world that existed just before I was born. In my new book a young woman travels to London in the 1930s to take up a scholarship at the Royal College of Music. So much happened at this time: World War II was brewing, Edward VIII was about to abdicate in order to marry a divorced woman (he also had Nazi sympathies), radio had developed and people liked to ‘listen in’ to news broadcasts and concerts.

My protagonist has completed a diploma at the conservatorium in Melbourne, but she is naïve to the extent that the trip to London on board the Strathnaver is indeed a rite of passage. She isn’t modelled on any particular person of that time although a few years earlier pianist Eileen Joyce had left Australia ultimately to become a celebrity known in films and on gramophone recordings as well as on the concert platform. Other young women, such as composer Miriam Hyde, also ventured overseas at that time because Australia was seen as a backwater and you had to study overseas to ‘make it’.

For the Soirée I divided the first chapter into two parts. In the first part, the ocean liner leaves Melbourne. The young musician is alone and she watches the coastline as the ship steams up Port Phillip Bay and through the heads. I have never travelled by ship, so I had to read memoirs and talk to people who had had the experience of a liner pitching in rough seas, sea-sickness, the layout of a large steamer. I found useful photographs on the Internet. In the second part, my protagonist has met one of her cabin mates (she is travelling tourist class and has to share a cabin with strangers) and they have dinner in the tourist class dining room. This part was assisted by an old menu I had from the time when my mother was taken overseas by her parents in 1939. Compared to today’s menus, the food was stodgy and plain – Brown Windsor Soup, roasts, caramel pudding.

I know, from experience, that this chapter will change a lot before I consider the piece to be ‘finished’ – indeed, is a piece of writing ever finished? But the challenge of reading at our Soirée meant that I gave the all-important opening chapter special attention.

My first novel took several years to write. I hope that the process will be a little shorter for my second. One thing I’m sure of is that in a year’s time the piece I read at our Soirée will be different. I hope that in a year’s time I will have finished a complete first draft of the novel. Even though I have a plan, it will change.

2018_08_25-ElwoodWriters_021

Duo con Brio, St Kilda Library.

At the Soirée I enjoyed the opportunity to play some music. Playing the oboe is an important part of my life and I’m in a chamber group: Trio con Brio. Our flautist has been unwell, so we were Duo con Brio: oboe and cello. We have found that some of Bach’s Two Part Inventions for keyboard work very well for this combination because Bach gives an interesting line to both treble and bass – it’s not a case of the cello plodding away and the oboe having all of the fun. We enjoyed playing some of these pieces in between literary items.


For more on Jennifer’s work, visit her website Little Smackerel.

All images HarrietClaire Photography

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we tell our stories, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.

Lit on a Winter Afternoon

At the end of August, Elwood Writers held a literary soiree in the community room at St Kilda Library in Melbourne. The event provided an opportunity for us to present a curated program of short readings from our own work, and included fiction, memoir, and poetry.

Duo con Brio, with Monica Edwards on cello and Elwood Writers’ Jennifer Bryce on oboe, punctuated the proceedings with musical pieces by Bach.

We’ll provide more information on the work presented at the event over the next few blog posts. For now, wherever you are, happy reading and writing.

2018_08_25-ElwoodWriters_064

The writers.

All images HarrietClaire Photography

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we tell our stories, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.