CSI Tasmania 27 and 28 November 2021

DIGITAL Weekend – Sat 27 & Sun 28 Nov 2021, Online

Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival is excited to announce Tasmania’s first  international crime and mystery literary festival.

The awe-inspiring line-up of more than 35 writers of crime and mystery includes:

  • David Heska Wanbli Weiden, TAF2021 International Guest of Honour,
  • Ann Cleeves, TAF2021 Mistress of Mystery,
  • Val McDermid, TAF2021 Queen of Crime,
  • Liz Nugent, TAF2021 Prime Suspect,
  • Garry Disher, TAF2021 Australian Guest of Honour,
  • Naomi Hirahara,
  • Abir Mukherjee,
  • Vanda Symon,
  • J.P. Pomare,Candice Fox, and
  • Anita Heiss.

DIGITAL Weekend – Sat 27 & Sun 28 Nov 2021, Online

Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival is excited to announce Tasmania’s first  international crime and mystery literary festival.

The awe-inspiring line-up of more than 35 writers of crime and mystery includes:

  • David Heska Wanbli Weiden, TAF2021 International Guest of Honour,
  • Ann Cleeves, TAF2021 Mistress of Mystery,
  • Val McDermid, TAF2021 Queen of Crime,
  • Liz Nugent, TAF2021 Prime Suspect,
  • Garry Disher, TAF2021 Australian Guest of Honour,
  • Naomi Hirahara,
  • Abir Mukherjee,
  • Vanda Symon,
  • J.P. Pomare,
  • Candice Fox, and
  • Anita Heiss.

“We’re still pinching ourselves in disbelief at the incredible line-up of local, Australian and international best-selling authors who’ve joined us this year,” the Festival’s Director, Dr L.J.M. Owen said (pictured above).

With lively panel discussions, author interviews, intimate book clubs and writing masterclasses, TAF2021’s ‘CSI: TASMANIA’ offers something for everyone.

“It’s not just for readers of crime and mystery,” Dr Owen said. “Anyone with an interest in books, reading, writing or the publishing industry will find something to suit them.”

The two day program, which runs across the last weekend of   November, offers in-depth interviews with authors like Ann Cleeves, Garry Disher and Val McDermid, and panel discussions with authors such as Anita Heiss, R.W.R. McDonald, and Sulari Gentill.                                                                                                                                                                                                           

“During our online digital weekend we’ll share the love of Tasmanian, Australian and international crime and mystery fiction with an audience tuning in from around the world,” Dr Owen said.

The panel sessions will explore questions including why the Tasmanian landscape inspires so much brilliant crime and

mystery fiction.                                                                                                    

“We’re also offering 20 Book Clubs and Writing Masterclasses with some of Australia’s most loved writers, for instance Candice Fox, Debra Oswald and Meg Keneally,” Dr Owen said.

Originally, a second weekend of live panel discussions in Huonville was also planned for  November.

“Unfortunately, the recent snap lockdown meant we had to suspend having a live audience in early November. It’s an unfortunate loss, as we were on course to make a solid contribution to local economic recovery from two devastating bushfire seasons followed by the pandemic. While sad for everyone involved, the good news is that we’ve shifted a number of the panels across to feature at the digital weekend at no extra cost to ticket buyers,” Dr Owen said.

Pivoting to hold the panel sessions online instead of live was made possible by the festival’s existing work to digitally transform.

“Earlier this year, the festival won a 3 year, $120,000 grant, from the Regional Arts Fund to undertake digital transformation of its events,” Dr Owen said.

In a state where just 50% of the adult population is functionally literate, the project aims to support the ongoing development of the local literary sector, facilitate external professional development opportunities, and support continuing community engagement in literature.

“The work we’d already undertaken as part of the project meant we could make the shift from in-person to online in a matter of days,” Dr Owen said.


Earlybird Digital Weekend Passes to CSI: TASMANIA are now on sale. Priced at $90, each pass includes 15 author interviews and discussion panels, as well as two free Book Clubs or Writing Mini Masterclasses (subject to availability).

“It’s fantastic value and highly accessible. With the expanded program, this means the 15 sessions are costing just $6 each, and will be available on demand until 2022. So if you love crime or mystery fiction, we hope to share this amazing weekend with you.”

For more information on the festival and ticket links: https://www.terroraustralisfestival.com/2021-festival-live-and-digital


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The Media and the Massacre by Sonya Voumard

‘The Port Arthur massacre haunts Australia.’

It is almost twenty-two years since the Port Arthur Massacre. Martin Bryant continues to serve his 35 life sentences plus 1,035 years without parole in Hobart’s Risdon Prison. Some books have been written about the massacre and about Martin Bryant as if, somehow, words can be assembled to explain what happened and why. Other books seem to have been written to try to tap into the desire of some of us for as much information as we can get, accurate or not. In this way we apparently become knowledgeable, we become voyeurs and instant experts. And then there’s this book. Ms Voumard has written about the role of journalism surrounding the massacre.

I was looking for discussion of some of the ethical considerations which (should) come into play when journalists descend on traumatic scenes. I was looking for some recognition that sometimes the public’s desire for information should be secondary to the respectful treatment of human beings caught up in traumatic events. I was looking for acknowledgment that people are separate from events. While this book provided some of what I was looking for, reading it took me in another direction.

Ms Voumard looks at ‘Born or Bred?’, a book written by Robert Wainwright and Paola Totaro (published in 2009) about Martin Bryant and his mother Carleen Bryant. Carleen Bryant sued over the use of her personal manuscript in this book. She received an undisclosed settlement. So, what happened? While Carleen Bryant showed her manuscript to the authors, when she engaged them to write her version of events, Ms Voumard writes:

‘But there came a point at which Wainwright and Totaro must have decided to write the story they wanted to write, as opposed to the one Carleen wanted to have written .’

Okay. If Mr Wainwright and Ms Totaro were unable (for whatever reason) to write the story Ms Bryant wanted written, should they have used any aspect of her manuscript? What were the undertakings given to Ms Bryant? As I continued reading, I thought about quality of journalism, about how the desire for a 30 second ‘grab’ seems to have become far more important than the quality of what might be contained in that 30 second ‘grab’. I thought about the role of journalists in checking the facts, about the motives of those who want their side of a story told, about those of us who want to read such stories. And I thought about the victims of this massacre: the 35 people murdered, the 23 people injured, the large number of others who were traumatised by what they saw or experienced, and their families and friends.

I finished this book wanting more discussion about the conflicting roles of the media in reporting such traumatic events. For me Ms Voumard’s book is a starting point, not a conclusion.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith


Drawing Sybylla by Odette Kelada

‘And so it begins. I am Sybylla.’

At a Writers’ Festival, a woman named Sybil Jones is talking about the significance of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’. A panel of writers sit behind her, facing the audience. One of those writers is drawing a likeness of Sybil and, as she contemplates, her drawing starts to move. Just like the women behind the wallpaper in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story. Sybylla, for that is her name, takes our contemplative writer by the hand, draws her into the paper and into the past. Here we will spend some time in the lives of five Australian women writers between 1901 and 1979.

Each of these five women (and other women in their lives) is limited in some way by being female, by having particular expectations of them in terms of behaviour and occupation. Writing is not seen as a fitting female occupation and it, as in some cases, it is barely tolerated then it must be fitted around the myriad of other duties expected. It is not just the men in their lives responsible for these limitations: other women also impose expectations and requirements.

‘It is hard knowing there are women behind this wallpaper who never get near the outside pattern. Trapped always underneath, behind the shapes of other women even, who keep them locked in. These women are wallpapered over again and again. In time, they are stuck behind layers of glue, paste and faded prints. Who ever heard Ruby’s story?’

And Sybylla, freed from the page through our writer’s creativity, takes us into the different challenges faced by each of the five women as each one struggles to find time to pursue personal dreams as well as family and social obligations. Has anything changed since 1979? I wonder.

‘Some stories are dangerous, aren’t they?’

Reading this novel reminds me of how few works by Australian women I had read until comparatively recently. Why is that? There are some incredibly good Australian women authors out there. I cast my mind back, to my school days. Very few Australian works appeared in the English curriculum I studied during the 1960s and early 1970s. Yes, there was some poetry by Judith Wright. I recall few Australian novels, and Patrick White is the only Australian novelist I recall studying. Yes, I did read novels by Elyne Mitchell, Eleanor Dark and Ethel Turner. Just not at school.

I enjoyed reading this novel, thinking about the other Australian women writers I’ve read work by since and the ones I’ve yet to read. This is a novel to read and to think about. It isn’t just family and social issues that get in the way of women’s creativity. Women’s creative output is, it seems to me, generally not as highly valued. How can we change this?

‘We will lie between the worlds, you and I, pressed here against the letters and the page, caressed perhaps by a hand in passing, a rare touch that moves us for years. Here we will watch and walk, wait and let the faces wander by, a thought here, a catch of an eye threads a needle through a hook …’

Odette Kelada won the 2016 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. ‘Drawing Sybylla’ emerged from Ms Kelada’s PhD study about women and creative freedom. And, while I’ve not yet read ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, I will soon.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith


2016 Aurealis Awards shortlist announcement

Some excellent reading ahead!

Aurealis Awards

Aurealis Awards - Finalist - high resThe Western Australian Science Fiction Foundation (WASFF), organisers of the 2016 Aurealis Awards, are delighted to announce the finalists for the Awards.

Winners of the 2016 Aurealis Awards and the Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be announced at the Aurealis Awards ceremony, on the evening of Friday 14 April, 2017 as part of the Swancon convention at the Metro Hotel, Perth. Details of the evening and a link to the online booking website will be available soon.

2016 Aurealis Awards – Finalists


Blueberry Pancakes Forever, Angelica Banks (Allen & Unwin)

Magrit, Lee Battersby (Walker Books Australia)

Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket, Caleb Crisp (Bloomsbury)

The Turners, Mick Elliott (Hachette Australia)

When the Lyrebird Calls, Kim Kane (Allen & Unwin)

The Hungry Isle, Emily Rodda (Omnibus Books)


Mechanica, Lance Balchin (Five Mile)

BROBOT, James…

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Sign Up for 2017 | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog

My favourite Challenge returns for another year!  While I doubt that I’ll be reading/reviewing anywhere near as many books in 2017 as I have in 2016, I’m looking forward to this challenge!

Welcome to our 6th year of the Australian Women Writers Challenge! The AWW challenge was set up to help overcome gender bias in the reviewing of books by Australian women. The challenge encourages …

Source: Sign Up for 2017 | Australian Women Writers Challenge Blog



Some Rain Must Fall | Karl Ove Knausgaard |

I read the first three books of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s ‘My Struggle’.  I needed some space before deciding whether to tackle book four, and now book five is available.

I will at some stage, when I have the luxury for a leisurely read, pick up these books again.  There’s something in the writing which draws me in and holds me captive almost despite myself.


Source: Some Rain Must Fall | Karl Ove Knausgaard |