lizabelle: (Book and sea)
[personal profile] lizabelle
Sydney's coolest bookshop has opened another outlet in the Inner West, and this weekend the city's literati turned out to celebrate. Booker winner Thomas Keneally was among the authors appearing at Gleebooks in Dulwich Hill on Saturday. He was joined by Miles Franklin-shortlisted (and local) Charlotte Wood, Commonwealth Writers' Prize-shortlisted Michelle de Kretser and young adult author Georgia Blain, before the day was wrapped up with a serving of poetry.


Party time on Marrickville Road


Sunday morning was family time; I arrived to find the store lined with kids waiting to get their Tashi books signed by Anna Fienberg. Next up was Garth Nix, who had plenty of advice for budding Inner West authors. Read in a variety of genres, he suggested, because if all you read is, say, crime, when you come to write, all you'll be able to do is imitate your favourite crime writers. He spun an alluring tale of a flat tyre in the English Lake District that led him over a wall to an old Roman fort, where he discovered a mysterious coin that became his inspiration. Except that the story isn't strictly true; instead, it's an example of the way Nix mixes facts and fantasy to create a good story. (That said, his tale of clambering over the wall into a different world also reminded me of Sabriel and the Old Kingdom stories - time for a reread?)


Sunday morning is for kids

The instant Nix's audience of kids stood up, their places were taken by a host of stalwarts eager to hear David Marr and Annabel Crabb speak on the first day of the election campaign. I'm afraid I quailed before such determination and retired to the cafe over the road to refresh myself with tea, so I can't report on what they said. But since they attracted a large crowd, I'm sure their doings will be reported elsewhere.

Gleebooks,Garth Nix

Queuing to get Keys to the Kingdom books autographed

I returned to hear Irfan Yusuf talk about fear of the unknown, misappropriation of terms by fundamentalists and why he wrote Once Were Radicals: My Years as a Teenage Islamo-Fascist. Yusuf is an entertaining, endearing speaker and seemed to go down well with the audience. He also promised that his book is written in very simple language and will not give you a headache. So there you go.

My last event of the day was listening to PM Newton read from her book, The Old School. I've been beguiled by the idea of Newton's protagonist (a female, half-Vietnamese police officer in early nineties Sydney) since coming across her a few weeks ago, and Newton's reading didn't disappoint. Her discussion of the developments affecting the Australian police in the 1990s also provided valuable background, at least for this clueless Brit. I bought the book and am looking forward to reading.

Faced with a long hike home across Sydney with my haul of books (see photo below), I couldn't quite handle staying for the last event with Anne Summers, but the rest of the audience looked well settled, so I'm sure she received a great reception.


The verdict: a fantastic way to kick off a new bookshop, and booklovers in this corner of the Inner West no longer have to head to Newtown or Glebe for their fix.
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