Latest News

Lots to talk about

Monday, 07 April 2014 16:27

It's been great to have had so many opportunities to talk about my books and writing at public speaking events over recent months. I've been guest speaker at many Rotary Clubs, with more to come, and spoken and done book promotions at various writers' groups. Last week an interesting group of poets and musicians at Christies Beach, where Swirl & Reef hosted a regular event, and also a lovely large group of friendly and responsive listeners at the Ionian Club, an organisation that was new to me.

Two more are approaching rapidly. This Saturday (April 12) a 1 pm session at the Mt Barker Library, where I'll talk about the Oberammergau experience, and the fascinating tale of how the world-famous event of the Passion Play came into being and why it has lasted almost four hundred years. I'll enjoy telling this intriguing story, and also talking about my own trips there and the development of my novel, Passion Play.


Then the following Wednesday (April 16) is the regular Words at the Wall,a monthly event at the Treasures Wall of the State Library in North Terrace hosted by Friendly Street Poets, and a great opportunity for Adelaide poets to share their work. Ros Schulz and I are guest readers at the month's session at 6 pm, and looking forward to a chance to re-visit poems of the past as well as present - a sort of trip down the memory lane of our writing.

Both these are free events, and open to the public. It would be lovely to have friends come to support, as it's always good to see familiar faces in a crowd.

Back on deck

Saturday, 29 March 2014 18:43

Well, it's taken me a while to master this new web site - really only marginally different in management from the last, but hey, I've never pretended to be technologically competent. Having fought my way through the process, I've now reached the goal - to add to this Latest News page.

In fact, it's a catch-up on news from the last two months, which have been so crowded with book marketing and public speaking. However, I note from earlier entries that I was registering my disappointment with lack of any coverage of Passion Play in the Adelaide press …  that was well and truly compensated for when, in mid January, the Advertiser's SA Weekend, the Saturday magazine, featured my book as the major review on the Books page. A thoughtful and appreciative review by Katharine England, their senior reviewer, which more than made up for the weeks of waiting. Phrases like 'comedic cunning' brought joy to my heart, and her final comment recognised that the book was a verse novel, but readers 'should not be put off: the free verse is flexible and beautifully lean, an ideal medium for the pen-portrait and the interior monologue, the Chaucerian language is poetically decoded below each quotation to make the tantalizing link between the ancient and the modern, and the plot, or series of plots – so many well-drawn characters, so many complex lives, so much intriguing venality – is as readable, engaging and cleverly shaped as any good novel.'

You can understand my pleasure in this review from a critic whose comments I have always respected!

In this long series of talks to various organisations, many Rotary Clubs stand out as being very welcoming, but so also does a group I'd known nothing about: Adelaide's Ionian Club, where a gathering of about fifty people proved a wonderful audience for stories about Oberammergau and its Passion Play, a wonderful group of alert and interested listeners.

So now it's back to work  - more talks to writers' groups and service organisations, and a shared night with Ros Schulz as guest poets at the State Library's monthly Words at the Wall. That's at 6 pm on Wednesday April 16, at the Treasures Wall on the library's first floor - a warm invitation to anyone who can come. 

Up and running

Monday, 24 March 2014 16:51

And that could just about sum up the last two months - definitely 'up and running'!  They've been two very busy months indeed, with a lot of book marketing, public speaking, guest talks at various organisations, writers' groups … sometimes I wonder when I'll get back to writing. My basic production for the last few months has been a handful of poems and a few short stories - as well as a lot of thinking about the next major project. More on this later when I know where it's going. But I'll give more detail on what's actually been happening in my next entry.

So meanwhile it's been good to have the excuse of the new web site coming, as a reason why I haven't entered more news during this time. But now that the indispensable Maria has completed and installed the new site, that excuse has gone. So please do look through these pages, especially the sections on the books, where reviews and excerpts are included. I think she's done an excellent job, and it's great to have the site fully functional again. Thank you, Maria!

Of Galas and Other Launches

Thursday, 03 January 2013 10:30

A retrospective on November/December

Great book launches in two more states. Initially the trip to Queensland at the end of November for, first, taking part in the IP Publications annual Gala Event, in which four new books published by the house were launched. An afternoon at the Kookaburra Cafe in Paddington, with a lovely outlook over the gardens behind.

Another Great Review

Sunday, 13 January 2013 10:30

The Adelaide Review - January issue - page 22 featured my latest book, under the headline 'Grimmer Tales.' Quote reviewer Nina Bertok: "On the 200th anniversary of the printing of the Grimm Brothers' legendary collection of dark tales, The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, Australian author Valerie Volk's twisted adaptation of the classic stories takes the 'grim' factor to another level." ... "She takes much loved children's fairytales ... and completely flips them on their head."

Studio Review To Gladden Heart

Friday, 08 February 2013 10:30

The current issue of the journal 'Studio' gave me such pleasure that I'm reproducing it in full. It's the sort of review that makes one keep writing, even in the most dismal moments of self-doubt.

At The Francis Folk Festival

Tuesday, 26 February 2013 10:30

An excellent weekend at the Francis Folk festival in the south east of SA. In spite of the heat, it was well-attended with some terrific folk music. I had great fun sharing in the running of a poetry workshop, where we looked at bush ballads and what makes them work. And just why they've lasted so well. It was a really good group to work with, and I made a few discoveries as I prepared for it. I'd never realised that 'Clancy of the Overflow' was based on a real-life incident in Paterson's own legal office, when he was asked to write a letter to Thomas Gerald Clancy, at 'The Overflow' station, north of Nyngan. The rest, as they say, is history ... We're trying to expand the poetry component in this very popular folk music festival - so watch this space for next year!

Hallelujah!

Saturday, 11 May 2013 09:30

At last! Almost too good to be true! My web site seems to be functional again, after months of problems with hacking and security issues. Such a lot has happened in this period of time. Among the events was the launch of 'Through the Tunnel' - the anthology launched several weeks ago by the Hills Poets group that meets monthly at Crafers.

Recent Publication

Saturday, 18 May 2013 09:30

Real pleasure to have had several poems published during the last month in the Poets' Corner of InDaily, South Australia's online daily newspaper with an excellent arts review section. One issue published my 'Jasmine' - part of a flower sequence I've been working on every now and again - and several weeks later my villanelle 'Demolition Day' - a response to the sudden departure of fourteen huge old pine trees on grounds that they were 'offensive'. Interesting argument?

It's Happening!

Wednesday, 05 June 2013 09:30

After thirty years as a concept, and three years writing, hard to believe that this book is really about to be printed. But it's true, and 'The Oberammergau Tales' will be published by Wakefield Press in October! Another verse novel, inspired by Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' - but this one is a modern story, with a group of travellers setting off on a four day bus tour. Ever wondered about your fellow-travellers in any tour group?