Clare Valley Readers and Writers Festival

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I am super excited to let you all know that I am an invited guest to this year’s Clare Readers and Writers Festival in the beautiful Clare Valley in South Australia. Once again, I have drawn the lucky straws when appearing alongside other authors (and one agent) and am thrilled to share the stage with this year’s list.

The festival runs from 25-26 November and registrations open from 1 September.

I hope to see you there!

Jo x

You can read the official announcement here.

Literary Events for July

Hello!

I have two exciting literary events this month:

Read on…

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So first off, come join me for a literary lunch at the Grand View Hotel–Queensland’s oldest licensed hotel. Here’s the spiel:

Josephine Moon, Australia’s first foodie fiction author, describes her novels as ‘books like chocolate brownies’– rich, inviting and a treat for soul, but with chunky nuts to chew on. She is the author of The Tea ChestThe Chocolate Promise and The Beekeeper’s Secret, all published internationally. Enjoy a two-course lunch with wine while Josephine entertains you with the delightful stories behind her books and readings that will make your mouth water.

Sound good? You can book tickets here.

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Next up is the Burdekin Readers & Writers Festival, 15-17 July in North Queensland.

Three days of wonderful programming and a ripper lineup of Australian authors, including:

Kimberley Freeman, Frances Whiting, Nick Earls, Graeme Simsion, Susan Johnson, Morris Gleitzman, Katherine Howell, Matthew Condon, Annie Buist, Lesley & Tammy Williams, David Metzenthen, and one of my all-time heroes, John Marsden.

I’ll be there for:

Beer & Bubbles on the lawn

Dinner with the Authors (Greek banquet… oh yeah!)

High Tea with Josephine Moon (who could resist??)

Happy Hour with the Awesome Foursome (in conversation with Susan Johnson, Kimberley Freeman and Frances Whiting… and apparently we’re going to share our secrets on how we get that whole work-life-parenting balance thing happening)

In conversation with Lynne Butterworth 

Lunch with the Authors

Wow! There’s a lot of food in this program, which sounds right up my alley! This looks like a really rich program so if you can escape the cold and head north for the weekend, why not come along? Book tickets here!

 

 

Filling the Well in 2016

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Hungry unicorn

To keep myself accountable to my unicorn for providing her with input from which to draw inspiration for new work, this year, I am keeping a list of everything I’m feeding her. She’s a hungry magical being–an insatiable appetite for creativity–and does tend to get stroppy if I neglect her.

I’m excited about what’s on there already, and looking forward to seeing this grow. If you have any awesome events you know of in the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane or southeast Queensland area, I’m keen to hear them. 🙂

So far, I have:

Books Read (completed, or at least half way, not including the hundreds I read to my toddler). Don’t be alarmed by the brevity of this list. As I’ve said many times, I’m a very slow reader.

  • Hester & Harriet, by Hilary Spiers
  • Fall of the Beasts (Spirit Animals), Immortal Guardians, by Eliot Schaefer
  • Diamond Spirit, by Karen Wood

Theatre Productions/Music

  • Australia Day (Noosa Arts Theatre), February
  • 2016 Season of One Act Plays (BATS, Buderim), April
  • Educating Rita (The Events Centre), April

Speakers

  • Elizabeth Gilbert, February

Workshops/Courses

  • Cheesemaking, Brisbane, March

Travel (research, inspiration)

  • Melbourne, April
  • Writing Retreat, June
  • Burdekin Writers Festival, July
  • Bundaberg Writers Festival, October
  • Tuscany, September

Movies

  • Under the Tuscan Sun

Elizabeth Gilbert: “Most in Show”

I just smiled and smiled when I read this today. The ever-inspirational, Elizabeth Gilbert, posted this on her Facebook site and I, like others in her comment thread, just had to share it on my blog. There’s not much I can say to add to this, other than, yeah, sister, right on. (And as an author who’d written ten manuscripts before cracking a publishing contract, I can attest to the value of ‘most in show’.) Enjoy 🙂

1536741_573424569406329_240531612_nI found this photo the other day at my mom’s house, and I burst out laughing.

This is me in 1980, ten years old, showing off everything I had made that year for our local 4-H fair. (That’s an agricultural fair, for those of you who aren’t so familiar with 4-H.)

I had a dream that year. I wanted to win BEST IN SHOW in the Home Goods department. I’d been coveting that giant purple ribbon for years, and wanted to make it mine.

My plan was to enter as many items as I could in every single category (cooking, canning, baking, gardening, sewing, industrial arts) in the hopes that at least one thing would be BEST.

I worked all summer at this. I drove my mother crazy. I cooked, I canned, I baked, I picked (and pickled) beans and beets and cucumbers, I made a teddy bear (!), I built a coat-hanger, I made a automobile first aid kit, I did needlepoint, I was out of control. (By the way — thanks, mom. Because of course I didn’t really know how to do any of this, so she spent the summer helping me as I hijacked her kitchen, her sewing machine, her craft table, her garden…)

After all that, I didn’t win BEST IN SHOW. Another kid did, for a dessert that he had made. I don’t even want to talk about it. I’m sure he was a very nice kid and the desert was probably fine — but seriously, it killed me. I was a sobbing mess.

But then some sympathetic judge must have put it together and noticed that — out of the 300 exhibitions in the Home Show that year — about 175 of them had been made by the same girl. Somebody must have been like, “Oh my god, that poor pathetic child.” Because later in the day, I was given a special award — a giant ribbon upon which some kind soul had written: “MOST IN SHOW”.

Which soothed my sad heart and made me very proud, though today in makes me laugh my ass off because: MOST IN SHOW? That it the best turn of phrase ever. “You, little girl, are not the best at any of this stuff…or even the second best…or the third best…but, by god, you are the MOST.”

But you know what? I’ve always been MOST IN SHOW. I wasn’t the best writing student in any class I ever took, but I was the MOST — I was the one who tried hardest. I think I finally got published because I was MOST IN SHOW — because I spent years writing and writing and writing and writing and sending out those stories to publishers and getting rejected and rejected and rejected, and sending out more and more and more stories until I finally wore them down and they published one at last.

I’m not the best at anything, you guys. Not the smartest, not the most talented, not the prettiest, not the strongest, not the best traveler, not the best journalist, not the best public speaker, not the best with foreign languages, not the best novelist, not the wisest, not the best meditator, not the best yogi, not the anything-est. But by god, I show up with a truckload of effort and participation and preparation, and I give to life the absolute MOST I’ve got. In every category I can.

The uniquely talented guy with the fancier dessert still usually wins the big prize, but you know what? I still wear them down (the great judges of life, that is) and they still have make up special ribbons for me all the time.

Because I just won’t go away.

Persistence forever!

MOST LOVE,

LG

Elizabeth Gilbert will be in Brisbane on 5 March at the Brisbane Powerhouse, talking about creativity and inspiration. You can find more information from the Brisbane Writers Festival program.