Friday, March 30, 2012

A Grimm Reminder: Belgrave Library 29 March 2012

Last night we launched A Grimm Reminder at Belgrave Library, one of the libraries in the Eastern Regional cluster.

Around the world story folk are celebrating the anniversary of the publication of the first anthology of the Grimm's Children's and Household Tales.

A Grimm Reminder is a collection of tales for adult audiences and we were uncertain if we would attract a crowd. Well!! We had a full house!

One of the very special surprises of the evening where the ancient editions of the tales that two of our guests produced. One was printed in England in 1897 with superb illustrations by Robert Cruikshank. Another was a Dutch edition, a family treasure that had been rebound will illustrations by Anton Pieck. In this photo, I am holding neither unfortunately - it is a copy of Grimm's Grimmest, a contemporary anthology. Wonderful nonetheless.

Thanks to Eastern Regional Libraries for making us so welcome, to storyteller JJ Sheills for the planning and the fabulous story (a modern re-telling of Red Cap) and to Matteo for all the driving and The Griiffin. My contribution to the evening was the tasteless tale of The Three Army Surgeons.

Next Grimm Reminder: Saturday April 21 PAVE Festival

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kamishibai at the State Library of Victoria Childrens' Book Festival

How fantastic is this!!
Bernard Caleo drawing the crowds in Queens hall in the State Library - not with some fandangled digital thingy but with a wooden box full of drawn stories - a kamishibai.

Oral storytelling is so often overlooked in literary/book festivals and yet we all know that the spoken story predates the book - is connected to the book like blossom to fruit. The book is only half the story.

Bernard and I share the beautiful Kamishibai made by my friend Ted Smith. It's shunted between Newport and Northcote and used whenever either of us get the chance.

What is Kamishibai storytelling? Listen to Bernard here and he will tell you.

More info about Bernard here
More info about me here

Lets aim to keep the K on the road throughout 2012!

Children's Book Festival Family Fun Day: State Library Victoria 2012

What a day! Children everywhere.

From 10.00 am - 400pm the State Library of Victoria and forecourt was packed with authors, illustrators, publishers, entertainers, storytellers.

For a change - I had nothing to do except wander around snapping friends in action and helping lug the gear.

Victoria has nurtured so many talented folk working to produce beautiful books. Our authors and illustrators are celebrated well beyond the borders.

Snapped here are Leigh Hobbs - artist, author and globetrotter. Leigh has a brilliant website where you can get a glimpse the breadth of his talent. Leigh is so many things - enviably multi talented.

And then there was Graham Davey snapped outside the YABBA tent in Little Lonsdale. YABBA stands for Young Australians' Best Book Award. A non-for-profit group that seeks to ignite curiosity and inspire a passion in young people for reading.

Friend, Claire Saxby was busy for hours meeting her fans. Her book There was an Old Sailor is in schools, libraries and kindergartens wherever I go. The illustrations by Cassandra Allen continue to amaze me - they are just so right!

And these folk were just the tip of the iceberg.

Thanks SLV. It was a wonderful day and I loved seeing you all in those yellow t-shirts. No one escaped it seems and you were all so friendly and patient with the throng.

And finally let me say - the Exhibition: Love and devotion: from Persia and Beyond - rare illustrated Persian manuscripts is gobsmackingly gorgeous. The depth of this exhibition is extraordinary. I recommend a visit to get acquainted with the works and then a second visit with a guide.

A must for story lovers! or just lovers!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Grimm Reminder: Belgrave Library 29 March 2012

click on poster to enlarge

Story mates from Storytelling Australia (Victoria), JJ Sheills, Matteo and self are plotting a little Grimm telling to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the first anthology by the well-known Bros.

We plan to repeat this exercise throughout the year.

I'll keep you informed. We may arrive in a town near you!

Belgrave Library
Reynolds Lane


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Port Fairy Folk Festival Storytelling 2012

The Port Fairy Festival ... too much fun!

I spend the bulk of my time at the festival listening to music and dreaming of coming back for another crack at life as a musician.

However one of the highlights of the weekend is a spoken word event - the Pat Glover Storytelling Award. Now banned from entering since I took home the trophy for a third time in 2009 - I participate on the judging panel.

Jim Haynes MCs the Pat Glover and kindly invites me tell a tale at some point in the preceedings. What storyteller could resist standing on the stage of the old Lecture Theatre in front of those plush curtains. Looking at the pic taken by my friend Stephen Whiteside, after 3 days of camping, I'm looking a tad crumpled!

My mate from the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club, Greg Jenkins and I enjoyed sharing hot tips from the program. Greg and I will be co hosting WORDS WORDS WORDS - the spoken word event for the Newport Folk Festival in July. Check out the Club here. News of our festival will soon start trickling through.

Back to the Pat Glover ... I thought this year was one of the best. The winner, Andrew McKenna, floored us with a brilliant, dark, Irish selkie story. In the hall with nothing to assist in the telling, storytellers have to work against a slightly inhospitable environment. From the moment Andrew spoke, we were transported and held captive to the end.

I managed a couple of snaps of Andrew. In one he is being congratulated by Jim and in the other, he is alongside Teresa Jordan who was visiting from the US. Teresa and husband Hal Cannon presented a piece called Songs and Stories of the Rancher's World. How this went under my radar - I don't know, but I was fortunate enough to meet Teresa and the first thing I did when I got home was look at her beautiful website. Teresa is now off to central Australia but hopes to return to Victoria and with luck, I will have the pleasure of introducing her to the tellers at Storytelling Australia (Victoria) one day.

Well, that's all folks. There are now tents to pack away, several loads of washing to hang out and its back into harness. The week of storytelling begins tomorrow at a kindergarten.

Stories for all ages... I love my job!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Canterbury Tales Book Club Project: Williamstown Literary Festival 2012

The Canterbury Tales Book Club Project ...

WARNING: Coarse language, violence, sexual references and blasphemy.

The WiIliamstown Literary Festival is well and truly engraved in my calendar. This is my community coming together to celebrate ideas, language, new publications, old tomes ...

As well as honouring locals who have made their mark in the literary world, established authors from afar are invited to come and share the talk and of course there are open mics for poets and storytellers who have something to say.

In my continuing enthusiasm to have spoken language at literary festivals, some mates and I have been entrusted with a spot on the Sunday of the festival where we will be sharing our examination of The Canterbury Tales and yes ... they are rude and blasphemous - hence the warning.

The Canterbury Tales mark a turn in the history of English Literature, a popularising of the vernacular, a shift away from the use of French and Latin for the purposes of literature.

This is Chaucer 101 for enjoyment and education. It will be provocative but above all it is our wish to whet your curiosity. Isn’t that what a Festival of Literature is all about?

Here we are at our first meeting. That's Catherine Ryan with the bike. Catherine is preparing 'the lecture' and Danny O'Connell, (pointing the finger) is tackling the Miller's Tale. Simon Leverton is sitting at the head of the table eating and thinking about music - he's our MD.

Missing for the first meet/moot was Bernard Caleo, comic book maker, who is creating a Kamishibai version of the Nun's Priest's Tale. Bernard is busily making a documentary about the Melbourne's Graphic Novelists. Check it out:

Claire Saxby was also absent from our first meeting. Lordy! its like herding cats getting a bunch of creatives in the same place at one time. Claire is a well loved writer for children but what is less well know is she is an amazing poet and our favourite MC.

Learn more about the Williamstown Literary Festival here.


Blog Archive