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2017 Russell Prize for Humour Writing Shortlist Announcement

2017 Russell Prize for Humour Writing Shortlist Announcement

The State Library of NSW has recently announced the shortlist for their biannual humour prize which I did enter since I’ve been told by many that Destination Dachshund is humorous at times. True story. But obviously not funny enough – as I am not shortlisted. Ha! My husband tells me I’m not that funny all the time but he is so wrong. The judges picked very well though – the books listed below are all winners – and if you like a bit of humour in your books then check them out.

DD on its way to the State Library to enter the awards!

I am pleased to see Rosie Waterland’s memoir ‘The Anti-Cool Girl’ on the list. She is hilarious but had a tough year so hopefully this shortlisting lifts her spirits.

Congratulations to all shortlisted authors.

Winner to be announced at the State Library on 8 June 2017.

  • Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure by Ross Fitzgerald and Ian McFadyen is the fifth volume detailing the farcical adventures of a Queensland academic who finds himself holding the balance of power in the Australian Senate. How this eventuated is as much a mystery to Senator Everest as it is to everyone else. He is still obsessed with his penis, as his life and career continue to drag him through a series of preposterous adventures.True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia — Volume 2 by David Hunt
  • True Girt: The Unauthorised History of Australia — Volume 2 by David Hunt is the sequel to Girt, David Hunt’s first history, which told the story of the white settlement of Australia up until the rule of Governor Macquarie. True Girt continues the story, unpicking our national myths about peaceful settlement and universal progress as he details the settlement of Van Diemen’s Land, Victoria and the extension of settlement in NSW — with occasional sideswipes at South Australia.
  • A Toaster on Mars by Darrell Pitt contains no appliances that heat bread on the surface of the red planet. What it does contain, however, is Blake Carter, star agent for the Planetary Bureau of Investigation. Blake is having a very bad day, with a missing daughter, a cyborg partner, and the world domination plans of Bartholomew Badde. What ensues is a mad plummet down a hill of ridiculousness defying not just the laws of physics but often those of sanity as well.
  • Error Australia by Ben Pobjie uses his skills at recapping reality television with precise hilarity, by recapping the ultimate Australian reality show: Australia itself. In his hilarious Error Australis, the comedian and TV columnist takes us from the initial cooling of this simple rock to the modern developments that place it so significantly in a far-flung corner of the world. This is history as farce, or rather it’s about finding that reality has been farce all along.
  • Quicksand by Steve Toltz is the much-anticipated second novel, whose debut of A Fraction of the Whole, garnered rave reviews internationally when it was published several years ago. Indeed, Quicksand owes much to its epic predecessor as its genesis springs from material cut from the earlier novel. The story — narrated by Liam, an aspiring writer-turned-policeman — chronicles the life of his friend Aldo Benjamin, an eternally optimistic ‘born loser’.
  • The Anti-Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland is a memoir about a childhood that by most standards would be considered disturbing. The story starts before Rosie was born and takes us through her first twenty-eight years which are packed with most varieties of trauma: both the author’s parents were addicts, she witnessed her mother trying to commit suicide, there were narrow escapes from drug-dealers and dodgy boyfriends, she was severely bullied at school — and yet, Rosie Waterland makes us laugh.
State Library of NSW announces new award: Mona Brand Award for Women Stage & Screen Writers

State Library of NSW announces new award: Mona Brand Award for Women Stage & Screen Writers

The State Library of NSW has announced the launch of the inaugural Mona Brand Award for Women Stage and Screen Writers with prize money totaling $40,000. This is the only award of its kind in Australia. Nominations are now open.

State Library

Details: (Provided by The State Library of NSW)

The Mona Brand Award recognises outstanding women writers for the stage and screen, with a major prize of $30,000 and an additional $10,000 prize for a writer in the early stages of her career, this award will be presented for the first time at the State Library in November 2016.

To be awarded biennially, the Mona Brand Award has been made possible by the generous bequest of the late Mona Alexis Fox nee Brand (1915–2007) and the State Library of NSW Foundation.

Mona Brand
Mona Brand

Brand was a trailblazing Australian poet and author whose prolific output included over 20 plays. Her work, which often addressed socially relevant and controversial topics, has been performed on stage, radio and television in Australia, England, Eastern Europe and India.

As the custodian of Mona Brand’s literary papers, the State Library of NSW will administer and present this award in honour of her rich legacy and the extraordinary work of Australia’s women writers today. The State Library of NSW is delighted to deliver this new award through this important philanthropic gift.

Kim Williams AM, Senior Judge and Chairman of the State Library of NSW Foundation, commented that “scriptwriters make a vital contribution to the cultural fabric of Australia. Through these awards we celebrate Mona Brand’s legacy and those outstanding Australian women who have created stories which have led to brilliant, memorable and engaging performances for Australian and international audiences.”

“The State Library of NSW is the home of literature and the work space for many established and emerging writers, and I’m delighted this new award will recognise and encourage break through female talent,” said Dr Alex Byrne, NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive.

The conditions of entry and nomination form are available on the State Library website. Entries close at 5pm on Friday 12 August 2016. The inaugural winners will be announced at the State Library of NSW in November 2016.


2016 #PremiersLitAwards- ‘..a celebration of artists and artistry’

2016 #PremiersLitAwards- ‘..a celebration of artists and artistry’

Oh, what a night was had at the announcement of the 2016 Premier’s Literary Awards at the historic State Library of NSW last night! Moving, inspiring, entertaining with some of the most amusing speeches I have ever heard at a literary award ceremony – this was an epic night of literary celebration and I was glad I didn’t miss it. Thank you for the invite State Library of NSW.

There was quite a buzz in the room as we waited for the night to begin. Not only were the excited and talented award nominees gathered, including Magda Szubanski and James Bradley, but also Thomas Keneally and Wesley Enoch, plus many more. And, of course, The Honourable Mike Baird, Premier of NSW was in attendance since he had to be, but he certainly looked very happy to be there.

Amongst the crowd there were two other VIP’s, me – and Angela Long, my fellow contributor at Welcome to My Library. We sat in the 3rd row, tweeting and taking notes to record some of the nights events. We tried to look very busy and important. We have decided we helped the night trend on Twitter. Go #PremiersLitAwards !!

The night began with the sounds of the didgeridoo from Matthew Doyle from the Gadigal people, the original custodians of the land, followed by the Welcome to Country.

Alex Byrne, the NSW State Librarian, then began the proceedings, followed by an inspiring speech by Wesley Enoch who described the awards as ‘a celebration of artists and artistry.’ Wesley talked of history, culture, and of what came before on the land that a city now sits. He eloquently spoke of the recognition of art, and how our ancestry ‘is a complex collection of stories..‘ and when we ‘..connect to our history we access a deeper cultural purpose.

The engaging Jennifer Byrne, journalist and host of ABC’s The Book Club, then took to the stage as MC and announced the first prize. The awards presentation began with gusto with Osamah Sami, the winner of the Multicultural NSW Award for his book, Good Muslim Boy. He was an exuberant winner, hilariously entertaining the audience for such a lengthy acceptance speech that even veteran TV host Jennifer Byrne could not make him budge.

When Osamah finally left the stage (to much applause), the night continued on with the inaugural Indigenous Writer’s Prize. Premier Mike Baird welcomed the long overdue award, commenting ‘..our history is not complete without their stories.’

Each speech of the night, from the funny Angus Cerini, to the moving acceptance speech by Merlinda Bobis, the acknowledgement of Dr. Rosie Scott AM with the 2016 Special Award, to Magda Szubanski walking to accept the award for Reckoning: A Memoir while talking to her 92 year-old mother on the phone. Mike Baird kindly held her phone up so Magda’s mother could listen to her wonderful acceptance speech. Magda described her book as ‘an attempt to bring together a sense of family.’

Towards the end, the Book of the Year was awarded to Bruce Pascoe for Dark Emu. Not only did he want go and have a beer afterwards, but he talked of the many people in the room, and that we bring our story with us. ‘I want to hear your story,’ he commented, ‘because I would be spellbound.’

Photos Angela Long
Photos Angela Long

Categories and winners:

  • Book of the Year ($10,000)
    Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe (Magabala Books)
  • Christina Stead Prize for Fiction ($40,000)
    Locust Girl. A Lovesong, Merlinda Bobis (Spinifex Press)
  • UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing ($5,000 – sponsored by UTS)
    An Astronaut’s Life, Sonja Dechian (Text Publishing)
  • Douglas Stewart Prize for Non‐fiction ($40,000)
    Reckoning: A Memoir, Magda Szubanski (Text Publishing)
  • Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry ($30,000)
    brush, Joanne Burns (Giramondo)
  • Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature ($30,000)
    Teacup, Rebecca Young & Matt Ottley (Scholastic Australia)
  • Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature ($30,000)
    Laurinda, Alice Pung (Black Inc.)
  • Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting ($30,000)
    The Bleeding Tree, Angus Cerini (Currency Press in association with Griffin Theatre Company)
  • Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting ($30,000)
    Deadline Gallipoli, Episode 4: “The Letter”, Cate Shortland (Matchbox Pictures)
  • Multicultural NSW Award ($20,000)
    Good Muslim Boy, Osamah Sami (Hardie Grant Books)
  • Indigenous Writers Prize ($30,000) (NEW PRIZE)
    Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe (Magabala Books) AND Heat and Light, Ellen van Neerven (University of Queensland Press)
  • Special Award ($10,000)
    Dr Rosie Scott AM
  • People’s Choice Award
    The Life of Houses, Lisa Gorton (Giramondo)
PLA Winners
2016 Premier’s Literary Award Winners Photo Angela Long


#Shakespeare400 Sonnets & Celebrations at the State Library of NSW

#Shakespeare400 Sonnets & Celebrations at the State Library of NSW

It’s all happening at the NSW State Library in April! I am hoping to visit our beautiful library to see some of the Shakespearian highlights over the coming weeks.

It has been 400 years since the death of the most famous bard in the world and one of Australia’s all time favourite singer/storytellers, Paul Kelly, will headline the Shakespeare 400 celebrations. Paul Kelly will launch his new Shakespeare inspired album Seven Sonnets & A Song in the historic Mitchell Reading Room on Saturday evening 23 April.

As the home of Shakespeare in Australia, the State Library is thrilled to be joining the international celebrations to recognise the life and work of the renowned poet and playwright,” says NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive Alex Byrne.

But wait, there’s more… The library will present a series of events for all ages including:

  • A silent film festival
  • A Shakespeare Trivia Night (21 April)
  • Shakespeare 400 Fan Day (23rd April) featuring performers from Bell Shakespeare, a fairy grotto, drawing workshops with award-winning children’s author Leigh Hobbs, and a sonnet slam.
  • Shakespeare fans can now read Australia’s only original copy of the first publication of the Bard’s plays – known as the First Folio 1623 – fully digitised and available for the first time on the State Library of NSW’s website

→See the full Shakespeare 400 program here:  #Shakespeare400

Paul Kelly Album
Paul Kelly album cover. Seven Sonnets & A Song
Shakespeares First Folio, 1623

The First Folio, featuring 36 plays, was donated to the Library in 1885 by two English brothers, Richard and George Tangye, who were said to be “greatly struck by the fine collection of works in the [then] Sydney Free Public Library…” during a recent visit (European Mail, 1885).

Apart from the Bible, the First Folio is considered the most influential book ever published in the English language. While 750 copies are believed to have been printed, only 234 are known to survive today and very few of these are available to access online.

State Library

For more information and full media release please see the State Library of NSW’s website

See the full Shakespeare 400 program here:

Federation Square Book Market – My Kind of Heaven!

Federation Square Book Market – My Kind of Heaven!

During the school holidays the family flew to Melbourne for 2 nights, and having been there before I went searching for a few different things to do rather than just shopping and eating, for which Melbourne is famous for both. Well, we did do that, ($75 Review dress thank you very much) but what we also found was the Federation Square Book Market.

Every Saturday from 11am to 5pm at the Atrium in Federation Square bibliophiles like me flock to the tables of book dealers to browse through rows of books. And as well as books, new and old, first editions and vintage magazines, there are book signings and artists and the whole set up is surrounded by cafes, art galleries and shops. Nice place to stop into!

Our book haul:

A favourite for Holly, The Secret Garden and a classic with Breakfast at Tiffany’s (which she read in one day) and Dog Stories and another classic with Cannery Row for me!



When & Where:

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Russell Prize for Humour Writing

Russell Prize for Humour Writing

Last month the State Library of NSW announced the launch of the inaugural Russell Prize for Humour Writing, the only award of its kind in Australia. What a great prize for Aussie writers! Have a crack at it people!

Aussie Humour

Light or dark, fun or farce – published works of fiction, memoir, poetry and verse by Australian writers will be considered for the biennial $10,000 prize, with entries now open. The Prize has been made possible by the generous bequest of the late Peter Wentworth Russell, a farmer, businessman and passionate reader. Administered and presented by the State Library of NSW on behalf of the estate, the prize aims to celebrate, recognise and encourage humour writing, and to promote interest in this genre.

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Family Fun Day at the State Library of NSW

Family Fun Day at the State Library of NSW

hairymaclary-credit original artwork Lynley Dodd (1985)
Hairy Maclary (original artwork Lynley Dodd) Copyright & TM Hairy Maclary and Friends, Lynley Dodd, 2012 Reproduced courtesy of Penguin Group (NZ) and the artist.

Its Family Fun Day at the State Library of NSW this Saturday 22nd November! 

Visit the State Library to see Hairy Maclary and all his friends on display in the free exhibition Lynley Dodd: A Retrospective.

Come dressed as your favourite Lynley Dodd character & join in the fun! From 10.30am to 3pm there will be storytelling, face painting, balloon twisting, craft activities, dress-up parade, film screenings and more! As well as Dame Lynley Dodd, the author, illustrator and creator of Hairy Maclary who will be signing books from 11am – 12 noon and 1.30pm – 2.30pm (one book per person).

See below for more details about the activities.

This exhibition, part of Lynley Dodd: A Retrospective Exhibition from Tauranga Art Gallery in New Zealand showcases a collection of 59 original drawings from Lynley Dodd’s popular children’s books, including the Hairy Maclary series, the Schnitzel Von Krumm series, Slinky Malinki, and Scarface Claw. A celebration of Dame Lynley’s work to date, this exhibition also includes drawings from her first work dating back to school days, through to the most recent publication, Shoo.

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