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  • Tamar Valley Storytellers: Yvonne Gluyas

    As well as being an Australian Poetry Slam coordinator, Yvonne Gluyas is an active member of the Tasmanian Poetry Festival, Toastmasters International and the Society of Women Writers Tasmania. After gaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Technology, Sydney, Yvonne worked in China as a teacher and journalist. She has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Tasmania, and in her spare time writes poetry and stories, researches family history, drinks tea, enjoys cuddles from her one-year old identical twin grandsons, and lives in Launceston with a three-legged cat, bee hives and free range chooks. 1. What are you working on? I am currently working on a few different projects: A re-edit of my work-in-progress novel, which is a historical fiction set in the time of Australian protests against the American war in Vietnam; putting together an illustrated collection of my poetry for publication; working on Family History stories; and organising a new online Toastmasters Club — “Write Online” — that features writers of all genres who meet up via Zoom twice a month for an hour (contact me for more details)! I am also involved in coordinating the Tasmanian heats and final of the Australian Poetry Slam during August 2021. 2. How does the Tamar Valley influence your writing? The Valley is my home. I escaped from Sydney over thirty years ago to live in this paradise on earth. The impact of this area and its people, are a huge influence on my life and my writing. I am grateful to be here, and totally appreciate the influence local writers have on my work, and the opportunity to be involved in community based events such as the Tasmanian Poetry Festival. 3. What themes are you exploring? The environment, social issues, protection of our precious natural recourses, people from all walks of life, family relationships and kids are the main themes I include in my writings. 4. Describe for us where you write. I write best when the household is silent, sitting at my recently upgraded desktop computer in my untidy study, with the occasional cat wandering in, hoping I will believe it is starving and feed it. At poetry workshops I use ‘pen and paper’, and I use my laptop when on the move. 5. Finish this sentence, "The thing I love the most about being a storyteller is..." ... Being able to take listeners with me on a journey. 6. What's your favourite read so far this year? Fragile Friday, which is the recently published book of beautiful and insightful poetry by Launceston poet Joy Elizabeth.

  • Tamar Valley Storytellers: Shirley Patton

    Dr Shirley Patton grew up in outback Western Australia and now lives with her partner in wine-growing country overlooking the beautiful Tamar River, Northern Tasmania. She left an academic career as a social work lecturer and published researcher on family violence over a decade ago to write fiction full time. Since then, she has had a number of short stories published in a variety of literary publications, and her debut novel, The Secrets We Keep (2018), by HQ-Harper Collins. 1. What are you working on? It’s been three years since Harper Collins published my debut novel, The Secrets We Keep. My recently completed Young Adult historical/legend novel, set in 5th century Cornwall, is now with my agent. Now I’m working on my second adult novel, set in 1860s northern Tasmania, based on real events. Parallel to that I’m gathering research material on a controversial issue, for a contemporary story, that’s bubbling away in the back of my mind. 2. How does the Tamar Valley influence your writing? It inspires me. I’ve lived in the Tamar Valley overlooking the Tamar River for almost thirty years. I love the sense of community and I’ve been involved with the writers’ festivals in the Tamar Valley since the first one at Beaconsfield, as a volunteer, and more recently as a guest author. Over the past decade of writing, I often walk along the river, stopping halfway at Lone Pine Point to reflect. The tidal river with its ever changing moods, the distant mountains, sometimes purple blue, other times snow tipped, seep into my writing, enhancing my creativity. 3. What themes are you exploring? Notions of ‘truth’: the way stories come down through time, rightly or wrongly. Choices: the making of them, the justifying of them and how we live with them interest me, and how that intersects with women’s lives and their sense of agency (or lack of). The idea of hope informs most of what I write about — I’m a born optimist and believe in the goodness of humanity. 4. Describe for us where you write. From my writing desk, I overlook the Tamar River, with a jetty in the foreground, mountains in the distance. My writing habit is usually Monday to Wednesday (except when on a deadline, when it’s seven days a week!). My room is furthest from the hub of the house with the door shut. I’m not one of those writers who can write in cafes, too much distraction — I disappear into another space and need the solitude. My large desktop computer sits upon a black see-through surround desk that reflects the sky through the window — which throws me sometimes when a bird flies by! My black chair is ergonomic — a sore back is a job hazard when you lose track of time writing! Butcher’s paper with timelines and key chapter points cover one wall; floor to ceiling bookcases line either side of the window. The walls are painted wisteria, the same colour as the sofa alongside my desk. Either side of the desk sit a printer and filing cabinet. Upon the desk are a few sentimental objects, along with a flowering cactus. On the return are piles of research papers, stacks of relevant books, notebooks, and print outs of my work in progress. As inspiration, I stick up pictures of my characters (historical and fictional) and the story locations on the sides of the bookcases. 5. Finish this sentence, "The thing I love the most about being a storyteller is..." …expressing the creative aspect of myself. Entering into a storytelling space satisfies that urge for me. Having the opportunity to share those stories is a privilege for which I’m grateful! Beyond that, being a storyteller allows me to bear witness to a time and place. 6. What's your favourite read so far this year? Oh, too many to choose from — I probably read one or two books a week. So here’s four, all Australian authors: Tara June Winch’s hauntingly beautiful The Yield; Tasmanian author, K M Kruimink’s A Treacherous Country - the story of a quixotic character; Pip William’s lyrical The Dictionary of Lost Words; and most recently, from one of my favourite authors, Susan Johnson’s epistolary novel From Where I Fell.

  • New Tamar Valley Storytellers series

    We are a region rich with talent! The Tamar Valley is not only abundant with wineries and sweeping water vistas, it is a place that cultivates great storytelling. To acknowledge this, the Tamar Valley Writers Festival is profiling some of the diverse talent emerging from this special Tasmanian region. From today, we will share a Q&A with established and emerging storytellers, so that you learn a little more about their life, inspiration and grounding in this valley. First up, you'll probably be familiar with the rising star of Adam Thompson, who earlier this year released his debut book Born Into This (UQP). Adam has been busy flying across the country promoting his book of short stories, but found the time (at an airport!), to share some insights with you. Adam Thompson and Aviva Tuffield from UQP Tamar Valley Storytellers: Adam Thompson 1. What are you working on? I am still writing short fiction — and I always will! At some point I will release another short story collection. I am writing a novel too, set in Tasmania, but that is all I will reveal . I am keeping the plot close to my chest. This is my main focus at the moment. I also have some exciting screen projects in the works. 2. How does the Tamar Valley influence your writing? I grew up in the Tamar Valley and it is the setting for much of my work. So I would say it has a HUGE influence on my writing. I hope fellow Tasmanians get a kick out of reading about the places that they are familiar with. I know I do. But I also like to change things up a bit, so don't be surprised to find a skewed version of Launceston in my novel. 3. What themes are you exploring? In Born Into This, my debut collection, I explored themes such as heritage and environmental destruction, identity and racism. The theft of cultural and human remains is another issue that I tackle in my work. I find fiction to be a powerful medium to educate and influence people's thinking around these issues. They are not being bombarded, as they are through media, but are taking up a book and absorbing the material in their own time and in their own space. I think it gets through to people that way. 4. Describe for us where you write. I mostly write at home. But I have taken up several residencies at the Varuna Writers House in the Blue Mountains. I have written on the islands, during cultural camps and throughout the muttonbirding season. I like the vibe at cafes and libraries as well. It's nice to have some activity around me when I'm working. I find silence distracting sometimes. 5. What is your day job, or are you a full time writer? I have a day job. I'm proud to have worked at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for almost 20 years. I've had various roles including working as an Aboriginal ranger. I fit writing into my life where I can. 6. Finish this sentence: "If I had all the time in the world I would..." ...be with my family all the time. As great as writing is, it's got nothing on family time. I wish time would just stop. I have such an amazing family life. I am married and have a 7-year-old boy. I want the present to stretch on forever. 7. What's your favourite read so far this year? What a hard question! I would say Aboriginal poetry would top my list, with Throat by Ellen van Neerven and Drop Bear by Evelyn Araluen. The novel I have most enjoyed is Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Flock, which is a newly released collection of First Nations short stories, edited by Ellen van Neerven, is also a must read.

  • Flanagan talks in Launceston this Saturday

    Richard Flanagan’s latest book, an exposé of the salmon farming industry, has sparked heated debate in Tasmania and around the country since its release just three days ago. Toxic: The Rotting Underbelly of the Tasmanian Salmon Industry is a powerful critique of an industry he says ‘is as secretive as its practices are destructive and its product disturbing’. Toxic is already prompting comparisons with Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking 1962 study of the pesticide industry, Silent Spring. This weekend the Sydney Writers Festival is presenting Richard Flanagan in conversation with the ABC’s Laura Tingle. This arrangement preceded the publication of Toxic, but the explosive new book and its controversial subject matter are bound to be the focus of their discussion. For Tasmanians keen to hear it, and in association with the Sydney Writers Festival, the Tamar Valley Writers Festival will livestream the session at the Star Theatre, Invermay, in Launceston, on Saturday from 4pm to 5pm. Flanagan won the Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the Commonwealth Prize for Gould’s Book of Fish. His other recent book The Living Sea of Waking Dreams offers a tender haunting portrait of a world disappearing around us. The Tamar Valley Writers Festival is also proud to be screening two other sessions from this weekend’s Sydney Writers Festival at Launceston’s Star Theatre. George Miller: Beyond Thunderdome will screen on Sunday, May 2 from 12 noon - 1pm, and Great Adaptations: Margaret (Pomeranz) and David (Stratton) Return, on Sunday May 2 from 4pm - 5pm. Miller is one of Australia’s best-known film creatives thanks to films such as Mad Max, Fury Road, Babe and Happy Feet. No doubt he will discuss the forthcoming latest incarnation of Mad Max, featuring Aussie golden boy Chris Hemsworth. Pomeranz and Stratton have long been Australia’s favourite film critics and they reunite in this special SWF event to discuss movie adaptations of Australian books. BOOK NOW FAST FACTS: What: Richard Flanagan in conversation with Laura Tingle. Where: Live-streamed from Carriageworks in Sydney to Launceston’s Star Theatre, Invermay. When: Saturday, May 1, 4pm-5pm Tickets: $20 adults, $10 students Bookings: Star Theatre 6333 1190 or www.startheatre.com.au

  • Sydney Writers' Festival comes to Launceston

    We are thrilled to announce that we are once again bringing the Sydney Writers’ Festival to the Star Theatre, Invermay, this year! One of Australia’s best-loved forums for literature, ideas and storytelling, Sydney Writers’ Festival will be streaming its headline events from Carriageworks in Sydney direct to the Star Theatre's big screen on Saturday May 1 and Sunday May 2. We are inviting you to be part of Live & Local, streamed live by Sydney Writers’ Festival and delivered locally to Launceston's Star Theatre. Prepare to be engaged by conversations, debates and discussions as the Festival brings some of the world’s finest authors to Launceston in real time. As well as hearing new ideas from great thinkers, audiences have the opportunity to participate in Q&A sessions at each event, sending questions direct to the stage. Tickets General: $20 each Student: $10 each Bookings through Star Theatre on 6333 1190 and startheatre.com.au Don't forget that the Star Theatre offers light snacks and beverages. Our partner Petrarch's Bookshop will also be on site with a popup book store and the featured authors' books for sale. The Lineup Saturday May 1, 4–5pm Richard Flanagan & Laura Tingle Richard Flanagan is a legend of Australian letters. His much-lauded novels are published in 42 countries. He won the Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the Commonwealth Prize for Gould’s Book of Fish. His latest book The Living Sea of Waking Dreams offers a tender, haunting portrait of a world disappearing around us. With ABC's Laura Tingle, he reflects on capturing in words the things we’re losing. Sunday May 2, 12noon–1pm George Miller: Beyond Thunderdome George Miller is a legend of cinema. From Mad Max to Babe to the recent triumph of Fury Road (with a Happy Feet or two along the way), it’s hard to think of a more revolutionary creative figure in Australia today. Sunday May 2, 4–5pm Great Adaptations: Margaret and David Return Greatly missed on TV screens, the nation’s favourite film critics Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton reunite in a special event discussing movie adaptations of Australian books. The famously sparring duo settle back into their critics’ chairs to offer their top five standout movies that do justice to the original text, the five-star films that bested the books and the flops that lost their lustre when transposed from page to screen.

  • Idyllic afternoon with Katherine Scholes

    Our sell-out event with international bestselling author Katherine Scholes at Waterton Hall was a great sun-bathed success on Sunday. Seventy patrons joined on the lawns in front of the convict-built barn, now a rustic function space and part of the beautiful Waterton Hall estate at Rowella. They were served sparkling wine and the option of gin tastings from Turner Stillhouse, and those who wished to were treated to a tour of Waterton Hall itself. Petrarch's book store was selling all of Scholes' popular books, and Moon Lily Kitchen and Cakes served a delightful afternoon tea once everyone was seated. But by far the highlight was the conversation that unfolded between Scholes and former ABC broadcaster Annie Warburton. The fact that the two inspiring women are friends was obvious by the candid and engaging conversation that unfolded. Scholes recounted her youth growing up to missionary parents in Tanzania; her father a doctor, her mother an artist. She shared the joys and the hardship of living in Africa, the reason they migrated to Tasmania and why, even today, Tanzania holds a special place in her writing career. Scholes brought along her first ever book 'published', scribed in her own hand as a girl, and shared how her author journey began, with The Rain Queen being picked up by publishing giant Penguin quite quickly. Scholes was a generous speaker, taking questions from the audience before signing books and chatting with anyone who wished to linger. The Tamar Valley Writers Festival committee is grateful to all who helped bring the event together, including the team of volunteers. We look forward to announcing more events of this calibre throughout the year ahead. View photo gallery from the event

  • TVWF Podcast in the Media

    A quick shoutout to Michael O'Neill from MVisuals who was interviewed on Chilli FM regarding the launch of our TVWF Podcast series. The podcasts have been filmed and produced by MVisuals, the Launceston-based visual media business that also co-created the eight-part fictional web series Australia’s Best Street Racer with Dylan Hesp, and has worked on content for notable Australian series including Rosehaven and The Gloaming. The Tamar Valley Writers Festival has launched the first in a series of podcasts featuring Tasmanian writers, poets, comedians, playwrights and deep thinkers. These audiovisual podcasts, hosted by Launceston teacher and emerging author Lyndon Riggall and former ABC Radio cultural broadcaster Annie Warburton, will be available on the TVWF website and social media platforms. We think Michael did a fantastic job and skilfully spoke to the motivation behind the podcast as we reimagine the Tamar Valley Writers Festival in a Covid-19 world.

  • TVWF Welcomes New Creative Director

    The Tamar Valley Writers Festival committee is excited to announce the appointment of Georgie Todman as creative director. The Launceston-based teacher, playwright, and accomplished theatre director has come on board to drive the Festival’s program into a more interactive and performance-based cultural space. This is a big step for the Festival, which until now has been totally organised by volunteers. "I look forward to bringing together my passion and experience in areas of writing, education, theatre and producing to develop exciting projects that are immersive, interactive and educational," Georgie said."To work closely with the dedicated TVWF team to develop creative projects telling the stories of our region is an opportunity I am thrilled to undertake." The appointment is part of a re-imagined program, including an 18-month rolling program of in-conversation podcasts with Tasmanian authors, special literary events, Back Bar Trivia nights and collaborative projects with other cultural organisations, instead of waiting until the Festival's next fully-fledged iteration in 2022. Festival president Mary Machen said Georgie would help maintain branding momentum during a difficult time for the arts scene. “Now more than ever, it is important to give a voice to creative talent in this state, it’s important to offer intellectual engagement as well as entertainment through conversation and exchange of ideas,” Ms Machen said. “From a strategy workshop we held in August it became abundantly clear during robust discussion that to put the Festival in mothballs until 2022 would risk sustainability of the Festival.“It’s amazing how a couple of month’s forced hibernation can channel collective thought,” Ms Machen said, in reference to the Covid-19 self-isolation regulations and closure of Tasmania’s borders. More about TVWF Creative Director Georgie Todman: Georgie completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts with a major in theatre and creative writing at UTAS and has had a long-standing relationship with creative arts. Highlights include co-writing the musical ‘Happy Me’ with funding to tour 13 locations in Tasmania, and co-writing the play ‘One, Two Three, Home’ which was subsequently published through Australians Plays. While in Victoria, Georgie worked with StoryShare in script development consultancy and presented workshops and papers with Drama Victoria/Australia. Other theatrical high points include directing ‘Something Natural but very Childish’ (Centrstage), ‘Dusty - the Original Pop Diva’ (LMS), assistant directing ‘We Will Rock You’ (Encore) and many one day projects as an actor or director with Mudlark. Her production of ‘Killer Joe’ for Three River received the Best Production Award (Community) at the Tasmanian Theatre Awards in 2018. Georgie is a Drama teacher at Brooks High, is on the Three River Theatre and Friends of Theatre North committees, recently started a lively bookclub and initiated a writing retreat for fellow writers, and loves to read and write poetry in her spare time.

  • Launching the TVWF Podcast

    The Tamar Valley Writers Festival has launched the first in a series of podcasts featuring Tasmanian writers, poets, comedians, playwrights and deep thinkers. These audiovisual podcasts, hosted by Launceston teacher and emerging author Lyndon Riggall and former ABC Radio cultural broadcaster Annie Warburton, will be available on the TVWF website and social media platforms. The podcasts have been filmed and produced by MVisuals’ director Michael O’Neill, who also co-created the eight-part fictional web series Australia’s Best Street Racer with Dylan Hesp. Writers Festival president Mary Machen said: “We are giving some of Tasmania’s brightest writers in diverse genres the opportunity to reveal their stories globally on the digital page. “We have filmed the podcast to give the viewer the sense they are at home with the author." The first round of podcasts will include a conversation with Robbie Arnott, who currently has two novels in the Top 10 best-seller lists and has just been awarded the University of Tasmania’s inaugural Hedberg Writer-in-Residence scholarship; comedian and actor Dylan Hesp; 2020 Vogel Award-winning author Katherine Kruimink; and Stella Kent, revealing the back story to plotting plays. Already available is a conversation with The Bluffs author Kyle Perry (watch it here). “We are excited to be back in planning mode,” Ms Machen said. “It’s imperative to maintain branding momentum but, more importantly, now more than ever, it is important to give a voice to creative talent in this state, it’s important to offer intellectual engagement as well as entertainment through conversation and exchange of ideas. “From a strategy workshop we held in August it became abundantly clear during robust discussion that to put the Festival in mothballs until 2022 would risk sustainability of the Festival. “It’s amazing how a couple of month’s forced hibernation can channel collective thought,” Ms Machen said, in reference to the Covid-19 self-isolation regulations and closure of Tasmania’s borders. “Our Festival was almost fully programmed with tickets due to go on sale in June, but with our focus being on welcoming mainland writers to Northern Tasmania and encouraging visitation to the Tamar Valley, the borders closing threw almost every element of our program into disarray. “Fortunately only a couple of mainland flights had been book rather than our full entourage of guest speakers. “As with all event organisers we were in close consultation with Events Tasmania, our major funding partner, and it was agreed the Festival should be cancelled rather than consider postponement. “The Festival until now has been organised 100 per cent by volunteers and as the pandemic began to take serious hold in mid-March I felt it was in the best interests of everyone that there be no distractions other than staying well as individuals and being with our families." In 2016 the Festival was the recipient of $180,000 funding over six years from Events Tasmania as part of its Major Event Partnerships Program. This tranche of funding will conclude with the 2022 Festival. The Writers Festival has also enjoyed strong support from the West Tamar Council and other Northern Tasmanian businesses. The most recent Tamar Valley Writers Festival was held in September 2018 at the Tamar Valley Resort, Grindelwald, with almost 2000 patrons attending the three-day event. The TVWF Podcast Audio podcast links: Spotify | Apple Podcast

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