On Events, with Chris Gordon
Here is my advice for this crazy ramshackle time (with a little help from some of the books in our events calendar). In this Electric and Mad and Brave year, where Everything Feels Like the End of the World, let authors’ words swim over you. It is after all the Desire of The Unbelieved and the Women I Know_that has caused _The Rising Tide. The Map of Night has changed, with new political leaders and new means of understanding The Matter of Everything. If we are to make sense of a year where Provocations seem to arise at every corner; be comforted by those who use words as their defence. Be grateful to authors who continue to write and share experiences, fictional or otherwise, so that we can be more informed, inspired and empathetic.
Authors who continue their craft despite the grief that we all hold. Join us at a Readings- hosted event to celebrate these authors and their extraordinary impact. August marks 100 years since Queensland became the first place in the British Commonwealth to abolish the death penalty. Writer, teacher, lawyer, social activist, polymath, former politician and national treasure Barry Jones joins us to examine the lessons we should take from early activist campaigns against the death penalty and what still needs to be done. Jones edited the seminal 1968 collection The Penalty Is Death, and an updated edition will be released in August with a new introduction. He will be in conversation with Melbourne broadcaster and writer Sally Warhaft (Thursday 11 August). Later in the month (Thursday 18 August), join us at Readings Carlton to listen to Jeff Sparrow who is one of Australia’s most crucial political thinkers with a restless curiosity. His latest collection of essays, Provocations, tackles topics such as the psychology of gun massacres, queer bushrangers, atheism, vampires, and even Enid Blyton.
And then there are those writers who feed our imaginations. Together with the Australian Crime Writers Association, Readings is beyond delighted to welcome British crime writer Ann Cleeves (Wednesday 17 August). Famed for her Vera Stanhope, Jimmy Perez, and Matthew Venn series, Cleeves has written more than 35 critically acclaimed novels, and in 2017 was awarded one of the highest accolades in crime writing, the CWA Diamond Dagger. We are thrilled she will be here in Melbourne, in person, revealing her thoughts on a world without Boris and explaining the tenacity of being a writer.
If all that is simply too much, please join me over a glass of wine and a sumptuous feast as I chat with Karen Martini at her glorious restaurant at ACMI, Hero (Saturday 6 August). Martini is a gifted raconteur and I just know she will make you laugh and remind you that discovering and sharing with others is a humbling experience.