Monday musings on Australian literature: ACT Writers Showcase
The launch was a well-organised event: it found the perfect balance between formality and informality, and didn’t run too long! The book was launched by writer Felicity Packard, best known as one of the award winning writers on the Underbelly series. She spoke entertainingly about the invisible threads – people, places, events – between her and the book. It was nicely and appropriately done. She was followed by four readings from the book, three by authors Blanche d’Alpuget, Adrian Caesar and Francesca Rendle-Short, and one by Meredith McKinney, daughter of Judith Wright. Being of a certain age, I related to the fact that Wright’s and Caesar’s poems both dealt in some way with age. Editor Irma Gold concluded the launch with the usual thanks … and the whole was emceed by local radio announcer Alex Sloan. The venue – the New Acton courtyard – was perfect for the warm spring evening. It was a treat to be present.
Irma has also been interviewing many of the still-living authors included in the anthology. The interviews – and the stylish book trailer – can be seen on her You Tube channel. Well worth checking out during those hazy lazy post-Christmas days if you don’t have time now. Nigel Featherstone whom I’ve reviewed is there, as is the exciting poet and rap artist Omar Musa, as is the new-to-me poet Melinda Smith, as is … well you get the point. More interviews are to be added weekly over the next couple of months.
But, these are not, really, the point of today’s post. At the launch Irma announced another initiative associated with the book – wow, that woman has worked hard. It’s the ACT Writers Showcase, a website dedicated to, obviously, showcasing writers from the ACT. Irma explained at the launch that the anthology includes only 70 of the 100 plus writers considered for it. The showcase is an attempt to ensure that all writers are noticed, promoted and, most importantly, receive the due they deserve. Irma, herself, for example, is not in the book – but she is in the showcase.
Authors can be located via the search box or the writers’ index. There is a brief bio and list of publications for each author, and an excerpt of their work. I’m told this is a pretty unique site – but, whether it is or not, it’s not only a great resource for readers but also makes a significant contribution to documenting “all that’s past and what’s to come”* in ACT literary culture.
Are you aware of any similar initiatives in your corner of the world?
* from “A Valediction”, by Adrian Caesar