Monday musings on Australian literature: ACT Litbloggers under way

A few weeks ago I posted on the ACT Litblogging program for which I am a mentor. But, I’ll just recap in case you missed that post. Titled ACT Lit-bloggers of the Future, this is a collaborative program between the ACT Writers Centre and the National Library of Australia (NLA). It provides for two emerging ACT-region writers to attend events at the National Library of Australia and post their experience on the Writers Centre’s Capital Letters blog, as well as for that mentorship from me.

The two bloggers, playwright and performance maker Emma Gibson, and blogger/podcaster and writer Angharad (Tinted Edges), are now well underway. They have posted on three events, and more posts, I know, are scheduled for the next month. The posts to date reveal the variety of programs offered by the National Library, an impressive variety really, when you know that the bloggers, due to their work and other life commitments, have not been able to attend every event available.

Here are the posts published to date:

  • Hugh Mackay, Selling the dreamAuthor talk with social commentator and prolific writer Hugh Mackay, held on 6 June, and posted by Angharad. The book was Selling the dream, on the advertising industry, and Angharad, who loves attending author talks – as most keen readers do – enjoyed both the overall experience and what she learnt about advertising, including its increasing role in political campaigns. As you usually do at author talks, she bought the book and had it signed!
  • Presentation on the life and death of botanical illustrator Dorothy English Paty by curator Nat Williams, on 28 June, and posted by Emma. Emma, who has always liked botanical illustration, was throughly engaged by this introduction to Paty (1805-1836), a little-known early Australian amateur artist. The Library has two of her Newcastle sketchbooks in its Nan Kivell Collection and this talk focused on presenter Williams’ research. As Emma says, although there are many gaps in our knowledge about her, the survival of these notebooks, together with research by people like Williams, will ensure that she (and the contributions she made) are not lost to us.
  • NAIDOC 2017 week collection talk titled Our voice, presented by librarian Ryan Stoker on 6 July, and posted by Emma. Described as a collection talk, this event involved Stoker highlighting “a variety of interviews, social histories and folklore recordings” that the Library has collected from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. As a playwright, Emma is attuned to things aural, and takes her own audio recordings when travelling. Not surprisingly then, she found the talk illuminating, particularly in relation to how this collection at the NLA might help keep indigenous languages alive.

More posts, as I said in my introduction, are coming, including one from Angharad on an author talk by the popular and successful Australian fantasy and historical fiction writer Kate Forsyth. Look for that, and others by our two bloggers, on the Capital Letters blog. You can subscribe to it via the box in the right sidebar.

Meanwhile, our two bloggers would love it if you read these current posts and left them a comment!

You are very likely to hear more about this program later in the year, but I did want to share what’s been done to date – and give a little heads up to the good work being done by the NLA, ACT Writers Centre, and our two bloggers.

A short post today, but I’m sure you won’t complain about that!