The Independent Type + other bobs


‘Ello Guvna!

* Yesterday I checked out The Independent Type exhibition at the State Library of Victoria. If you’re a word-nerd you will probably enjoy it as much as I did. Highlights were Marcus Clarke’s notebook (c. 1853) where I could make out the line ‘A great deal of middling intellect’; Henry Handel Richardson’s gorgeous typrewriter; Bernard O’Dowd’s handwritten treatise ‘Be a poet by making your life a poem’; the chunky laptop on which Peter Carey wrote The True History of the Kelly Gang; portraits of familiar local booksellers; heavily edited manuscipts (wonderful to see how many mistakes famous writers make); and the uncanny similarity of Alex Miller’s handwriting to my own.

There’s plenty more to discover – discussions on the walls of storytelling in Victoria from its Indigenous roots, through to different movements (modernism, etc.) and genres. It reconfirmed my love for this city as a literary and creative one. I also enjoyed seeing some of the great first-edition books, including The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume, which you can read as an ebook here. I love all the familiar places in the opening chapters – St Kilda Road, Grey St, Acland St (then Ackland St) etc. The book also has an interesting success story.

Tied-in with the exhibition is a huge array of special events. Check out the program.

* The Melbourne Prize for Literature is now open, for published books.

* You can now RSVP on Bookface for the 15 Minutes of Fame events that I’m hosting at the Emerging Writers’ Festival…

Mon 25th May with Tom Conyers (his book Morse Code for Cats is fantastic, I’m really looking forward to our chat); Mickie Skelton; Jessica Rashcke; and Cher Chidzey
Tue 26th May with Daniel Ducrou (top bloke, great writer); Adam Wallace; Si; and Helen Hagemann
Wed 27th May with Anthony Noack; Amelia Roper; and Jennifer Scoullar
Thu 28th May with Tiggy Johnson (also awesome); Jenny Blackford (just read her book The Priestess and the Slave and enjoyed it); Peril Magazine (I’ll be talking to a computer screen – no, not really); and Helen Ross

Get googling! And remember, these nights are free, and there’s wine.

Also I would just heart it if you came to The Revolution Will Be Downloaded on Saturday the 30th of May. Book tickets now.

* Yesterday I participated in a podcast recording with my favourite film-blogger Gerard Elson aka Mr CelluloidTongue, and his friend (and my new friend) Kenneth Erickson. Films on the table were Star Trek, Samson and Delilah, Mary and Max, and Synecdoche, New York. Now, anyone who follows me on Twitter will be quite aware of my love for the latter film. And basically we ended up talking about SNY for over half the podcast – we yelled, we wept (almost), we interrupted, we got raw and honest and emotional. We drank scotch. We talked about our feelings people. And it was so fun and refreshing and probably as absurd as the film and won’t change anything about our condition, but I’m happy to let you know when it’s up on Gerard’s blog – probably in a few weeks.

* Some links I like this week:

Slow TV – Alain de Botton on the pleasures and sorrows of work God, I so badly want to do video blogging
50 useful Twitter tools for writers and researchers
James Bradley’s incredible essay ‘On Depression and Creativity’
New online journal Wag’s Review, including an interview with Dave Eggers
The Self Publishing Review (thanks Tim!). This is a really refreshing site. I encourage (dare) anyone who has self-published to send your book along
A really interesting article about authors who blog. A lot to ponder (via QLD Writers Centre blog)
I was looking for Scotland-themed books to recommend to my sister (as she’s travelling there soon) and found this great site. If you guys can recommend any, that would be great too. She loves the historical/fantastical, but has pretty broad tastes. And yes, she’s already read the Diana Gabaldon novels – in fact, they sparked her interest to travel there!

14 thoughts on “The Independent Type + other bobs

  1. I’ve not yet mustered the mustard to give our hooch-fuelled heart-baring a listen. Perhaps tonight…

    And again, thanks ever so much for getting onboard. ‘Twas grand. I’ll try get it up sometime this week.

  2. Glad you liked the exhibition. I actually work in the Manuscripts collection at SLV, am actually working on some new literary collections at the moment.

    Must drop by some of your talks in May.

  3. No worries Gerard, I’m still on a high today from it. You guys rock.

    Hi Greg, wow, sounds like you have a pretty sweet job. I do hope you can make it to some of the EWF stuff!

  4. Is it just me, or does seeing the actual typewriter used by Henry Handel Richardson feel a bit more romantic than seeing the laptop Peter Carey used.

  5. [It’s great to see modern writers still keeping handwritten notebooks and journals though, too.]

    Yep much better than – “and here’s the track changed first draft of his novel in Word 2004 version”.

  6. The laptop will seem romantic in about 40 years, either through the exponential increase of the “OMG they used that?” factor or as a symbol of a forgotten age in some hellish, Mad Max-esque dystopia.

  7. Pingback: Wolfbane (novel) » True History of the Kelly Gang

  8. Just wandered through the exhibition (I’m writing this in the State Library). Did anyone use the audio tour spoken by Ramona Koval? Verdicts?

    Can you imagine being Henry Handel Richardson (aka Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson) and receiving a letter from HG Wells about your book?

    Also, seeing the work that Peter Carey put into ‘The True History of the Kelly Gang’ was both an inspiration and absolutely frightening for another writer.

  9. I didn’t use the walking tour – did you? I should have checked it out.

    Re HG Wells. Who do you think the equivalent would be now? Who would you love to receive a letter from?

    And it’s wonderful to see what’s really involved in a book, particularly a historical one (and a subject steeped in myth).

  10. The walking tour was okay, but didn’t really add much. I only found it valuable for one or two of the exhibits.

    I’m not sure who the current equivalent of HG Wells would be. Probably a personal thing as well. I imagine a letter from Peter Carey, Helen Garner, Sonya Hartnett, David Malouf, or Tim Winton – someone of that stock – would be an Australian equivalent?

  11. For me, too, Alex Miller, Gail Jones, Peter Goldsworthy, Matthew Condon. Definitely a personal thing. Someone overseas – for me – Michael Cunningham, perhaps? Joyce Carol Oates?

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