The launch of Peter Boyle’s fabulous new book Ghostspeaking takes place this afternoon, Friday 23 September at Gleebooks, Sydney, launched by Luke Fischer who’ll also chair a discussion with Peter, Michelle Cahill, Judith Beveridge, and David Brooks (tbc) on themes connected to the book. The event is free, RSVP (02) 9660 2333.



Too often I hear (usually from men) that women never did anything in history to write about. What they are generally referring to are those ‘great deeds’ of men who were able to dedicate their lives to and sustain an uninterrupted focus on their area of specialisation. Women’s yearnings were sidelined and their lives circumscribed by multiple childbirth.

A.H. Chisholm wrote a ‘complete’ biography of Elizabeth Gould in 1944. In contrast, Melissa Ashley has written a fictional biography, or biographical fiction, of her in The Birdman’s Wife, which revitalises Elizabeth, colouring in her passions, her struggles, her continual negotiation of the demands of being a working artist and a mother.

This beautifully written novel presents a ‘complete’ picture of a family unit—that one man’s crowning achievements were in fact a family enterprise. John Gould may have been able to strut about like a peacock, but his ‘story’ his more complete when put in context alongside the female of his species, their young, and the materials from which he made his nest.

(From Kali Napier’s blog at Kali Napier)


Dear FB friends.

How do you solve a problem like this:

Many years ago I wrote a book and gave it a provocative title. Now – 40 years later – we are holding a conference to talk about that book and its legacy. Not surprisingly, we are giving the conference the same name as the book. We are trying to spread the word far and wide about the conference in the hope that it will attract a good crowd.
We have a fabulous line up of speakers (you can go to my website – which has the same name as me, with a at the end of it) and I think people would like to know about it.

Here is the actual link (hope it won’t stop this post being shared!) :

Damned Whores and God’s Police 40 years on – Three Day Conference

The problem?

FB has judged that the content of my posts are “profane” and will not allow me to boost them. This means that I cannot reach out to as many people as I would like.

I am not sure whether it is the title of my book (and hence the name of the conference) that is “profane”.
Or perhaps it is the quote from former prime minister Julia Gillard, who talked about my book in her book. This is what she said:

“As early as 1975, in her book Damned Whores and God’s Police, feminist and author Anne Summers explained that during our nation’s history, women were always categorised in one of these two roles. It felt to me as prime minister that the binary stereotypes were still there, that the only two choices available were good woman or bad woman. As a woman wielding power, with all the complexities of modern politics, I was never going to be portrayed as a good woman. So I must be the bad woman, a scheming shrew, a heartless harridan or a lying bitch.”
Julia Gillard, My Story (2014) pp.106-107

I was denied permission to boost a post containing this quote.

So here’s the thing. If you don’t mind, can you share this post widely just so people can find out about the conference.

I was prepared to pay FaceBook to boost my post.

Now even better if we can distribute it for free.

What do you think?

Anne Summers


… almost all of us here already know what an extra-ordinary fellow Pete Hay is. If you don’t know Pete yet, chat to your neighbour later, for they are likely to have a story as good as any I can tell. Suffice for me to say that Pete is our most important public intellectual not because he has a comment to make on every development in the news cycle but because he doesn’t.

Pete asks his own questions and rejects the chaining of knowledge to the small-minded and specialised expert. No other scholar has had such an influence in changing ideas about Tasmania. For four decades he has been resourcing, coaxing into being, an intelligent, compassionate, imaginative reflection of what it means to make home on this island, AND what it has meant in the past and what it might mean in the future.

(James Boyce, launching Pete Hay’s new poetry collection ‘Physick’, at Hobart Bookshop, 18th August 2016)

– Read James’ full speech here


Book Launch and In-Conversation with Tim Cox at Hobart Town Hall
6pm Tuesday September 6

Robert Forster met Grant McLennan at the University of Queensland in the mid-1970s; two
undergrads with a shared passion for music, film, poetry and pop-culture. Soon they formed The
Go-Betweens whose bohemian pop music full of literary allusions and local references stood out
amidst the exploding local punk rock scene.

‘The truest and strangest poet of our generation’ Nick Cave

Over the next decade, and with the addition of other members, they recorded nine studio albums
and toured the world, playing alongside bands such as The Birthday Party, Orange Juice, The
Triffids, The Smiths and REM. By the time these two ambitious but rock-star-wrecked handsome
men sacked their own band in 1989, their unique contribution to the Australian music scene had
sparked comparisons with Lennon/McCartney and delivered songs that have gone on to become
part of our cultural musical lexicon: ‘Cattle and Cane’, ‘Spring Rain’, and ‘Streets of Your Town’.
Thirty years after they first met, and ten years after Grant’s tragic passing, Robert Forster has
written a deeply personal reflection on his life-long friendship and collaboration with Grant
McLennan; covering the background stories to some of their most well-known songs; adventures in
London, Glasgow, Europe, the US – and Brisbane; and dealing for the first time with the
devastating personal consequences of their band’s break-up.

Tickets on sale at Fullers Bookshop:
1 x ticket: $20
1 x ticket + 1 x book: $49.95
(Grant & I RRP: $35)

Robert will be in conversation with Tim Cox and playing songs at Hobart Town Hall, Tuesday
September 6, 6pm. Tickets from Fullers Bookshop


1. To make something beautiful. Beauty does not have to mean prettiness, but can emerge from the scope of one’s imagination, the precision of one’s words, the steadiness and honesty of one’s gaze.

2. To make something truthful. ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty.’

3. To make use of what you have and who you are. Even a limited talent brings an obligation to explore it, develop it, exercise it, be grateful for it.

4. To make, at all. To create is to defy emptiness. It is generous, it affirms. To make is to add to the world, not subtract from it. It enlarges, does not diminish.

5. Because as Iris Murdoch said, paying attention is a moral act. To write truthfully is to honour the luck and the intricate detail of being alive.


‘Reasons to write’ is part of Charlotte Wood’s acceptance speech (19th April, 2016), on winning the 2016 Stella Prize literary award – celebrating women’s writing – with her novel The Natural Way of Things.


Pufferfish, aka Detective Inspector Franz Heinekin, is in trouble. He’s stuck in a “grindingly dull” professional development lecture listening to “the nasal drone of the lecturer soporific over a mid-distance lawnmower” on a stuffy late summer afternoon in Tasmania. Or as Pufferfish would have it, “Down Under’s icicle-hung nether region likened shapewise to nest-warm female pudenda”. Pufferfish has a prose style all his own.

Number seven in this endearing series is, as always, firmly rooted in the particularities of the “26th largest of Planet Earth’s three thousand or so inhabited islands”. This is hardly surprising since the author, David Owen, is private secretary to its governor, and a former editor of the Tasmanian arts magazine, Island, which in its May issue carried a gem-like Pufferfish short story with a keen sense of play that carries over into this latest instalment. Watch out for Commander Danny Deronda of the Australian Federal Police: Owen likes playing literary games.

More from Sue Turnbull at The Sydney Morning Herald, 12th August 2016


Dr James Boyce — multi-award-winning author whose books include Born Bad (2014), 1835 (2011) and Van Diemen’s Land (2008) — will launch Physick: Catharsis and ‘The Natural Things’, the latest work by Pete Hay.

Pete Hay is a poet, essayist, environmentalist, and academic, having taught geography, politics and philosophy at the University of Tasmania. His previous publications include Main Currents in Western Environmental Thought (social theory), Vandiemonian Essays (personal essays), and Silently On The Tide (poems), along with innumerable essays, book chapters, articles and reviews.

Physick is a poetry collection representing ’10 years of thought and scribble’ and will be available for signing at the launch.

Where: The Hobart Bookshop, 22 Salamanca Square
When: Thursday August 18, from 5.30pm

Free event, all welcome.