Forever Dare (III)

Coona Feast of Words

So I’m back from Coonabarabran, and Coona High’s Feast of Words festival. (Forever Dare, because it’s Coona High’s motto, and (III) because it was my third time out there). This school punches far above its weight. Just goes to show how good a public school can be when it has incredible staff and the support of a community. Feast of Pi is run at the same time as Feast of Words, which means a number of mathematicians visit the school, including, this year, Fred Watson, astronomer extraordinaire.  

The general feeling is that since its inception Feast of Words is paying off. For example, Coona’s recent placings in the Henry Lawson Short Story Competition. 

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The students have had writers – and not just fiction authors, but also screen writers and journalist/lawyers – talking to them about the writing process for three years now. More

Off to Coona, I am …

… and apparently it means I must talk like Yoda. Coona is short for Coonabarabran. This is my third straight year at their Feast of Words festival. No doubt someone else deserves a turn next year. I love the Coona community (including, of course, all the students and professional nodders and other repeat presenters) and they have been very kind and generous to me. If you’ll remember, there were bush fires out there earlier this year, so I hope things have started to regenerate. I know, thanks to reports from Kellie Nash, uber festival organiser, that Blaze Aid have been involved with the rebuild. What a great organisation.   

I was going to complete this post with a picture of stars, as one should when one’s about to visit the Astronomy capital of Australia, but instead I leave you with the song that is in my head non-stop today. I will be listening to it on the drive.


Tres vampire chic. I love her. I like what she has to say in this interview, about the music industry, about being a female in that industry, about the thinking behind the clip for Oblivion (below). Like the film industry, the way women are digested by the music industry depresses the shit out of me. Better yet, I like what Grimes has to say here

 And it turns out her boyfriend is James Brooks from Elite Gymnastics (which I didn’t know, but is interesting to me in a six-degrees-of-separation-on-the-internet kind of way, simply because I have been playing the bejaysus out of Little Things, below), who also wrote a really interesting post on the music industry here.  

And Whiteley (and women)

Also on the subject of Night Beach and its influences – I checked out the National Gallery’s Brett Whiteley painting while I was down there. That’s right, they only have one. I’ve seen it live before, the last time I was there, but I’d forgotten until I saw it again. It’s called Interior With Time Past, and it’s awesome. Huge, for a start. Huge and orange. If you haven’t seen it, the National Gallery can give you a quick YouTube tour:


When you walk into the area where this painting is, it’s the only thing you notice. Nothing around it compares. I think Whiteley was just a lot more alive than everybody else. He had to have been, to paint like that.

They had a bench seat set up in front of it, so I sat there for ages (this was sans kids, obviously). People kept coming up to talk to me about the painting. More

The Turner exhibition

While we’re on the subject of Night Beach (well, I was yesterday), or, more specifically, its influences, I’ve been down to see the Turner exhibition in Canberra.  

Moonlight, a Study at Millbank exhibited 1797 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851I like seeing paintings live. The first time I saw Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Dorothea Tanning I was shocked by how small it was – and how perfect. And after staring at Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights all through uni (I’d find it in the art books section of Uni of Qld’s central library and study all that lovely perversion in preference to studying – probably a weird perversion in itself) seeing it for real was a big moment. 

Likewise with Turner’s work. More

WA premier’s book awards

Night Beach has been shortlisted for the Young Adult category!  Congrats to all the other shortlisted authors. 

Hard to come back online after a three month absence – I feel like a student slinking into class late. And arriving on a self hyping post, too –  bad form, really. More to come (posts, not self hyping).