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Q is for Tarella Quin Daskein

Thanks to some friends I’ve now got an author for Q.

Tarella Quin Daskein often published under her maiden name of Tarella Quin. You might know of her good friend and illustrator, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite.

Quin wrote many fairy stories. They number amongst the best in Australian literature at the time. Her works were carefully detailed and innovative but she didn’t pull her punches and children actually died in her works, unlike nowadays where there is generally a happily ever after.

She has an entry in The Bibliography of Australian Literature showing her works and a four line biography and also in the International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, although I haven’t been able to view this entry.

Growing up on sheep and dairy farms in both NSW and Victoria would have fueled her stories, most especially the romance novels about outback life.

I had some issues finding information about her. She was born in 1877 in Wilcannia and died in 1934. I do wonder if she’s one of those writers whose books need resurrecting and reading in detail.

Friday Photos at OzComicCon

My software began working again today but I’m still going to leave Friday Photos. For this last official day of Friday Photos I’m giving you some shots from Oz Comic Con but I’ll put all the rest on Instagram for you, loading them a few at a time to tease and tantalise and make me feel as if I’m still at Oz Comic Con.

Ander Louis

Ander Louis

Ander Louis is a lovely man, always patient with me despite me not being able to pronounce his name.


Avatar: The Last Airbender

I don’t watch Avatar religiously but instead I catch up on the odd episode when someone else in the house is watching it. I was quite taken with this cosplay.

Beards and Beads

Beards and Beads

I have forgotten what this person is meant to be, maybe you know and can fill me in on the details. I did love how she took the time to create some props out of Hama Beads.

Jacinta Maree

Jacinta Maree

The talented Jacinta Maree. I didn’t manage to interview her on camera but she writes young adult paranormal romance and won the 2014 Horror of the Year.

Vampire in bathroom

Vampire in bathroom

The things you find in the bathroom. I came across this young lady putting on her nails and teeth. Once they were on they looked as if they had grown like that.

Z is for Fay Zwicky

Picnic by Fay Zwicky

Poetry is an interesting creation. It’s something I have issues with but also great admiration for anyone who can write it. Fay Zwicky has spent more than 60 years writing poetry and in 2005 the committee of the Patrick White Award decided her efforts had not been recognised appropriately. When they rang Zwicky thought it was a hoax, she doesn’t expect recognition.

One of her most famous works is called Kaddish. It was written as an elegy for her father who drowned without having had Kaddish recited for him. The Kaddish (prayer, not poem) is a very beautiful prayer which is recited when someone dies and then at various points in the mourning process. It’s not Hebrew but Aramaic and rather than talking about the deceased it actually talks about the living, I’m not sure why it generally has me in tears. One day I’ll find Zwicky’s poem and read that to see if it has the same effect on me there.

As Zwicky is fourth generation Australian and born in Melbourne I’m prepared to bet she knows my family. Having said that she has lived in Perth for many years and I’m sure would be absolutely horrified to find I’ve used her in this series. She seems to be a quiet lady who just ‘gets things done’ and doesn’t expect anything else.

She’s been writing during an interesting phase in Australian Jewish writing and has made some pertinent observations about the ways Jewish female writers are marginalised in Australian literature in her book The Lyre in the Pawnshop. I would have linked to that for you to look at but I can’t find it available for sale as a new book.

I’d like to meet her.

Videos from OzComicCon

People were very patient with me at OzComicCon. I have 10 interviews for you to enjoy. You’ll notice the slight amusement at the end when I unveiled my signature question. Despite my low technology everything came out fairly well.

Ander Louis

C.S. Pacat

Troy Barnes

Craig Bruyn

Marianne de Pierres

Nath Stones

Melanie Tomlin

Isobelle Carmody

Doug Holgate

Michel Mulipola

Oz Comic Con!!!!

Not enough exclamation marks for my liking today. Looking at me I’m sure I look cool, calm and collected but this weekend is Oz Comic Con and I’m going, not only that but they’ve been kind enough to give me media accreditation.

So, just because I can and because I have permission and all that kind of stuff I’m putting in their logo!

It’s going to be all sorts of fun and games this weekend. The guest list includes a number of writerly type people and I promise not to haunt them too much but I will be looking at them critically with a ‘you’re a writer, drop at their feet and bow’ type of eye.

I will bring my usual photos of stalls and books throughout the weekend on Instagram and then later on Twitter, Facebook and then a round up with various photos and squees here on the blog for the next week or two until I run out. So, watch out for the hashtag #OzComicCon

One of my good readers here sent me some notes as to the writerly type of presentations happening over the weekend and I’ll endeavour to get to some of those and report back on how they went.

I know John Barrowman will be there but as I’m only small fry I really don’t expect to even see him except from a distance. Bearing in mind my propensity to lose my mind, and become a dribbling mess whenever I come across a luminary, I suspect that if I did actually meet him my mouth would open, my mind would disappear and all sorts of rubbish would come out.

I will finish my Author by Alphabet at the same time as I really don’t like leaving a series in the middle.

Y is for Beth Yahp

eat first, talk later by Beth Yahp

Yahp has the sort of writing experience I’m jealous of. She lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney, if she were in lecturing at Deakin in Burwood then she’d end up being one of my lecturers. I find that a bizarre thing that I’m writing about people who could potentially be teaching me.

Anyway, enough about me. Yahp is pretty amazing. Having migrated to Australia at some stage she’s gone on to do fabulous stuff. She took her parents on a trip following their honeymoon trail and got lots of information about her family as they travelled. She then published this in the book pictured (yes, I’ve linked to it so you can buy it and make me smidgeons of money). Just have a look at the image for a moment. I love the montage of sepia photos of her parents, of the city overlaid by the bright red hibiscus flower.

One thing I admire about Yahp is a club she started in Sydney. Called the Memoir Club they get together to talk about writing memoirs. Founded in March 2013 so it’s currently three, they meet in Randwick on the last Tuesday of every month.

One thing I found in going back to the beginning of her blog is that she was a writer/tutor on some writing workshops in Nepal. It seems you could travel to Nepal to view the country and also be taught writing by Yahp. Wow! What a trip that would be.

X is for Xanthé Mallett

I’m stretching a point here as I really can’t find a female Australian author with a surname beginning with X. I’ve tried and friends have tried and Xanthé is the best we can come up with. And just to push the point I’m breaking my unwritten rule of using the surname as reference.

Xanthé is a forensic anthropologist currently working at the University of New England in Armidale. I guess that makes her Australian despite being born in Scotland. She’s got a pretty interesting job and has helped police break a paedophile ring in Scotland. She did this by comparing pictures of hands between offenders and suspects, minute details could make the difference between jail or freedom and she had this under her control.

As I type I’m listening to an interview and I find her accent is far more Australian than Scottish. I was expecting something more like Peter Capaldi or David Tennant but on the whole she sounds Australian.

Her book looks absolutely fascinating, you’ll find a link to it in the photo. We expect mothers to be nurturing but sometimes we’re pushed to the limit and you can’t go further than murder.

W is for Edel Wignell

Bilby Secrets by Edel Wignell & Mark Jackson

Edel Wignell, her name caught my eye and when I googled her story caught my brain. Read on MacDuff!

Some little facts

Her first name rhymes with medal.

She lived on a sheep farm in northern Victoria when she was little.

She was born in Echuca. It’s a lovely little town, my first memories are of one of the most beautiful trees…but I digress.

She’s bequeathed her writing earnings and copyright to the Australian Society of Authors who have created the Edel Wignell Mentorship for new writers for children.

Wignell has written 100 books for children. Her writing for adults can be found in more than 100 journals!

Now for the big stuff

Wignell has been in pain for 30 years and while she’s done as much as she can she’s decided she’d like to be able to end her own life when she chooses. Just like Terry Pratchett she’s a full advocate of dying with dignity and as this is a topic dear to my heart I looked no further for an author to write about today.

So, here she is on the ABC website in July last year. Eloquent and covering the pain well, she looks like she could be the poster girl for any dying with dignity campaign. If you read the article you’ll notice the last paragraph talks about the End of Life Choices inquiry, it’s due to report this month and with a little googling I found it has until the 31st May. They’ll have to get their skates on, and I’m sure Wignell will be watching with great interest. The government then have six months to respond.

V is for Valerie Volk

Passion Play: The Oberammergau tales by Valerie Volk

I’ve found some absolutely fascinating people for today but I’ve gone with Volk for the useless reason that she was born near where I live and she was born in the same suburb as Sandy Stone, Barry Humphries fictional character. But also because of the book of Volk’s I’ve linked to and I’ll come to that.

She has multiple degrees that make my mouth water including a Masters in Creative Writing and a PhD in Gifted Education. Volk is also living in Adelaide, the number of authors I know in that little place is growing exponentially…I suggest if you want to author you should move to Adelaide, there’s something in the water.

She’s travelled on the Trans-Siberian Railway twice and ridden a camel in Mongolia. Such an amazing life. What really brought her to my attention is the book, I’ve linked to it so you can buy and read should you choose.

I first learned of the passion play in Oberammergau in the Chalet School books. It’s a play that has been performed every tenth year since 1634 and while it’s been criticised as being anti-semitic that doesn’t detract from the enormity of the event. Here’s a link to more details. Volk’s book seems to be a mixture of Oberammergau and Canterbury Tales.

I promise I’m not mentioning how she writes for the Lutheran Church, that’d be telling.

T is for Tangea Tansley

I’m getting up to the interesting letters of the alphabet and just to illustrate that point I find the most interesting name with a fascinating history. She’s only had a handful of books published but this one has just gone on my GoodReads Want To Read list.

It seems Tansley’s had an interesting life, I reckon she has my Grandma’s itchy feet. About 20 years ago she sat down and wrote a list of addresses she’d lived in, there were 60! You can read her biography for yourselves, it makes for dizzying reading and she’s only put in the highlights.

Then there’s her family. You’ve heard of Kozminsky? The jewellery people in Bourke Street, Melbourne? If you haven’t then you should, their stuff is just gorgeous. It turns out Tansley is related and she didn’t know for quite some years and it was only when her sister looked at a book written by Isidore Kozminsky on their shelves that they started putting two and two together. The book pictured is the story of her family and it sounds like a fabulous story. I must read it…

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I want to thank the Koolin people for their thousands of years of guardianship and caretaking of the area where I live.