With new novel The Good People, Hannah Kent moves past Burial Rites

by admin on August 20th, 2019

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Author Hannah Kent. Photo: SuppliedYou could almost look at at it as a case of two for the price of one. Hannah Kent’s 2013 debut novel Burial Rites – the story of an Icelandic woman beheaded for her role in a dual murder – might have been one of the most talked about first novels in recent memory. But it also sowed the seed of her second novel, The Good People.
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“In the course of researching [Burial Rites] I had to translate a lot of Icelandic sources and this was incredibly tedious and laborious,” Kent recalls. “One afternoon I was basically brain-dead and thought – I was basically procrastinating – and I thought maybe a British newspaper would have reported the execution.”

She spent an afternoon looking through old British newspapers but didn’t come across any mention of Agnes Magnusdottir – the strong willed but tragic protagonist of Burial Rites. But she did stumble across a small article about an Irish woman “of advanced age”, named Ann Roche, who had been accused of a horrific crime. Ann’s defense case, which was briefly mentioned in the newspaper article, was so extraordinary that it “lit up” Kent’s curiosity – she claimed she had been trying to banish a fairy or changeling from the world.

Intrigued, Kent wrote the whole story down in her notepad and then got on with other things. “Years later when I was talking to publishers and they were acquiring Burial Rites, I was asked asked if I had a second novel in mind – and I immediately thought of this story,” she says.

The Good People is a sensitively drawn tale of love, grief, and terrible loss, set in a tiny Irish village in the early 19th century. Ann Roche, known in the book as Nance, is a folk healer. She’s summoned by a local woman, Nora Leahy, who is grieving the sudden, mysterious deaths of her only daughter and her beloved husband and is left alone, caring for her sickly young grandson Micheal.

Kent wanted to explore how grief, poverty and a lack of education combined in the lives of Nora and Nance. “They didn’t get involved in these activities simply through some inherent evil,” she points out. But she wanted to examine the ways that culture, society and politics intersected to shape the women’s lives into a particular, startling trajectory that ended in crime. “And you can’t escape gender and class in that situation.”

It’s a theme that her readers will find familiar from Burial Rites – where poverty, social class and gender roles bear down on Agnes Magnusdottir, forcing her into circumstances that ultimately lead to murder and her own execution. The Adelaide-born Kent was just 27 when she was offered a $1 million two-book deal for Burial Rites and there was no escaping the fact that the second novel weighed on her mind. But she says “it’s a wonderful problem to have. I mean how wonderful to have readers in the first place. I think it’s important to remember that if you focus on gratitude it enables you to get back to [the writing].”

The story of Agnes Magnusdottir’s life and her execution is known in Iceland and the records were well kept, offering Kent plenty of research material, and providing the historical bones on which to flesh out her novel.  But with The Good People, she had almost nothing to use from the historical record, save for the first article that piqued her curiosity, and a second story she found which illuminated the relationships between the women. She found herself free to create the detail of the women’s lives and fill in their stories.

“It was the first time really that I had such license and I found it a challenging in its own unique way – I wouldn’t say it was necessarily easier or more difficult, it was a very different process, and one which to me was almost like writing a debut novel all over again,” she says.

Like Burial Rites, this book is filled with descriptions of ritual and rhythm. Nance collects herbs and roots from the fields to spin her spells and heal the sick. A young villager is traumatised to find his wife wandering in her sleep to a fairy gathering place.  Kent spent time in Ireland researching the book and travelling alone was important to her, she says. She would meet fellow guests at B&Bs, or strike up conversations with fellow researchers in a library.  “Certainly in Ireland, someone told me they felt sorry for me – that I was just a girl by myself so they would always introduce me to people which was fantastic.”

A farmer who ran a B&B at his property allowed her to tramp through the fields, taking her to visit a piper’s grave surrounded by whitethorn trees, a fairy ringfort among the greenery, the river Flesk bubbling past in the rushes. “When I came to write the book it was too tempting to leave it out,” she says. “It was so clear in my mind’s eye – I had such a clear physical sensory experience of this river – and that’s what I wrote out of.”

And for the record, Kent had a black cat, so the supernatural fascinates her only as a lens for human behaviour. “Everyone either has a ghost story or knows someone who who knows a ghost story or knows someone who has a slightly supernatural experience, and I’m fascinated by these stories,” she says. “I’m interested because of what they reveal about us as humans – about our lived experience, our fears and insecurities.”

The Good People by Hannah Kent is published by Pan Macmillan. Hannah Kent will be in conversation with Jenn Webb at the Canberra Times/ ANU Meet the Author event on Monday, October 3 at 6.30pm. See anu.edu419论坛/events

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Litbits October 1 2016

by admin on August 20th, 2019

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ANNE EDGEWORTH FELLOWSHIP
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The Anne Edgeworth Fellowship, administerd by the ACT Writers Centre,  is provided to an emerging young writer in the Canberra region. It’s worth up to $5000 to be used to advance the recipient’s education in the craft of writing. Expressions of interest are due by October 14 at 5pm.

actwriters.org419论坛/awards/The-Anne-Edgeworth-Fellowship.shtmlWhat’s on

October 4-7: Adventures in Text: School Holiday Program for 11-13-Year-Olds from 9am to 3.30pm at Greyhound Racing Club, Jerrabomberra Avenue, Symonston,features instruction from local authors including Jack Heat and Kaaron Warren. Cost: $395 (+b.f.), $495 (+b.f.) for extra care until 5pm. eventbrite苏州美甲美睫培训学校/e/adventures-in-text-school-holiday-program-for-11-13-year-olds-tickets-27138275312?aff=litbits.

October 5: Holly Throsby will discuss her debut novel Goodwood, about a small community torn apart by rumour and mystery, at Muse Canberra at 6pm. $10 includes a drink. musecanberra苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛.

October 6: Spring Storytime. Come and share  some yarns from the National Library of Australia’s collection at 11.30am. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Ferguson Room, Level 1, National Library of Australia. $2 a child. nla.gov419论坛.

October 6: Children, Parents and the Court: Legal Intervention in Family Life by John Seymour will be launched in the foyer, ground floor of the National Library of Australia at 6pm. Admission is free. nla.gov419论坛.

October 7: On the weekend of October 7-9 Well Thumbed Books. The Cobargo Crime Convention will showcase eight of the best crime novelists including Candice Fox and Sulari Gentill beginning at the Bermagui Library  at 5pm. fourwinds苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛/whats-on or call 02 6493 3414

October 8: Descriptions that Delight with Cate Whittle from 10am to 2pm at B Block Meeting Area, Gorman Arts Centre, Braddon will help bringing writing to life. Cost: ACTWC Member $90 (+b.f.), Non-member (includes 12 months of membership) $155 (+b.f.) eventbrite苏州美甲美睫培训学校/e/descriptions-that-delight-with-cate-whittle-tickets-26773110093?aff=litbits.

October 8: In The Boy Behind the Curtain, writer Tim Winton will discuss the real characters and events behind his bestselling novels in a discussion with the ABC’s Andrea Ho. National Library of Australia Theatre, Lower Ground 1, 11.30am. $15 includes refreshments and booksigning. nla.gov419论坛.

October 8: Indonesian author Leila S. Chudori will talk about her novel Home at the Asia Bookroom, Lawry Place, Macquarie at 4pm. Admission by gold coin donation to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. RSVP to 62515191 by October 7.

October 9: To Plot or Not to Plot with Cate Whittle from 10am to 2pm at B Block Meeting Area, Gorman Arts Centre, Braddon, is about how to plot novels. Cost: ACTWC Member $90 (+b.f.), Non-member (includes 12 months of membership) $155 (+b.f.). eventbrite苏州美甲美睫培训学校/e/to-plot-or-not-to-plot-with-cate-whittle-tickets-26773170273?aff=litbits.

October 10:The Second Rush: Mining and the Transformation of Australia by David Lee will be launched in the National Library of Australia foyer at 6pm. Free admission. nla.gov419论坛.

October 14:  The School Magazine, the world’s longest continuously published children’s literary magazine, is celebrated at an exhibition curated by the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature at Civic Library until October 21. At 4pm editor Alan Edwards will reveal highlights over the years.

October 12: Mark Di Stefano, author of What a Time to Be Alive: That and Other Lies of the 2016 Campaign, wil be in conversation with Guardian Australia’s political editor Katharine Murphy at Paperchain Bookstore Manuka at 5.45 for 6pm. RSVP 6295 6723.

October 13: Senator Lee Rhiannon will launch A Lover’s Country by Stuart Rees, about love, murder and human rights, at Paperchain Bookstore Manuka at 6 for 6.30pm. RSVP 6295 6723.

October 20: Adventurer Tim Cope will talk about his three-year trek, 10,000-kilometre trek in On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey through the Lands of the Nomads at the National Library of Australia Theatre, Lower Ground 1, at 6pm. $15 includes refreshments. nla.gov419论坛.

October 23: In Wonderlands, illustrator and storyteller Robert Ingpen reveals the places, stories and people that inspired him. National Library of Australia Theatre, Lower Ground 1, 2pm. $20. nla.gov419论坛.

October 27: Paul Daley reveals how research into scientific and anthropological exploitation of Indigenous Australians in the early 20th century inspired characters in his novel Jesustown in the Conference Room, Level 4, National Library of Australia at 5.30pm. Free. nla.gov419论坛.

October 27: Moving On: A Tale of the Millennium by Don Aitkin will be launched by Claudia Hyles at Paperchain Manuka at 6pm. RSVP 6295 6723.

October 30: In the 2016 Harold White Lecture, Journalist and author Di Morrissey looks back on her years in the Australian writing world and speculates on the future. National Library of Australia Theatre, Lower Ground 1, 2pm. $20 Friends, $30 Non-members. Bookings: nla.gov419论坛.

* Contributions to Litbits are welcome. Please email [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 by COB on the Monday prior to publication. Publication is not guaranteed.

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Record numbers of people moving to Melbourne’s housing estates

by admin on August 20th, 2019

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Charles and Jane Kerbage with daughters Emily, 12, and Shanece, 9, on the block that will become their new home, at Woodlea Estate. Photo: Penny StephensRecord numbers of Melburnians are buying land in housing estates on the city’s fringe, proving the Great Australia Dream is far from dead – in fact it’s more desired than ever.
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Frantic apartment construction has recently threatened the traditional dominance of house and land packages in Melbourne. In mid-2015, more units were being approved than houses in Victoria.

But fast forward a few months and the housing estates are again on top.

More than 22,000 blocks have been sold in Melbourne’s outer suburbs in the year until June, with some developers struggling to keep up with the demand for serviced land, according to research by Charter Keck Cramer.

So why are so many people willing to sacrifice the convenience of established postcodes, for a block and backyard on the city’s outskirts?

For Jane and Charles Kerbage, it comes down to value for money and a traditional sense of community – one where neighbours still knock on your door for a cup of sugar.

“It’s a different feel from the inner city where people hide behind their houses,” Mr Kerbage said.

When the couple first ventured out to the then-burgeoning western suburb of Caroline Springs about 1999, blocks in the housing estate were being sold for $29,000 out of a caravan on the side of the Western Freeway.

Friends asked them why they would move “out the end of nowhere” and even today, when Caroline Springs has its own police station, post office and department store, people still say “it’s so far from everything”.

Soon the Kerbages will move even further out west, with their two daughters, to a bigger house on a new block of land in the new Woodlea Estate, still living and chasing The Great Australian Dream.

One of Melbourne’s new housing estates. Photo: Penny StephensWhy buy an apartment, when you can have a house?

Affordability remains the key driver behind the popularity of greenfield housing estates. The average price of a serviced block in Melbourne is $221,730, less than half the price of lots in Sydney, which average $460,375.

This means while you might pay $1 million for a property in Ascot Vale, Heidelberg and Thornbury, you can still buy a new three-bedroom house within a 30-kilometre radius of the CBD for less than $400,000.

Unlike the apartment market, which is dominated by investors, between 40 to 50 per cent of those who buy a house and land  in the outer suburbs are first-home buyers. Photo: SuppliedThe enduring aspiration of home ownership

Those closest to the housing estate industry say the Great Australian Dream remains a real and “unabated” aspiration in Melbourne, with people feeling a need to own their own house, preferably with a lawn and backyard.

Matthew Chun, the chief executive of builder Simonds Group, said huge importance was still placed on owning land.

“I think that’s not just in the Australian psyche, it’s also felt by people who come from other countries where they don’t have that opportunity.”

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SOAP 2016 opening night

by admin on August 20th, 2019

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2015 Winner: Middle School Lily Brice-Marwood – “Jetty Jumping”.
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The iconic Robe Institute will once again play host to the SOAP opening night this year.

2015 Winner: Robe District Council Award Jacqui Bateman – “Young Salt”.

The night is set for October 28at 7pm. Open to the public, opening night is set to achieve a number of things. The event provides a great opportunity for locals, traveling spectators, contributors and sponsors to celebrate and be a part of a diverse exhibition of regional artworks on display.

Also on offer will be a mixture of Robe andMt Benson wines as well as beer from Robe Town Brew and a selection of finger foods from Cantina Kick.This year’s event will open at 7pm with live acoustic tunes allowing for public perusal of the exhibition. Following this will be the commencement of speeches made by the committee, sponsors and of course judges with the announcements of the 2016 prizes.

The 2016 Judges are announced: This year will see the return of the jovial and enthusiastic Anthony Mckee – a professional photographer from Melbourne who is always impressed with the photographic entries. Alongside him will be Penola’s very own Dagny Strand – a professional of both sculpture and 2D works. Hugo Michell, an Adelaide gallery owner and director of an innovative and contemporary space will round out the diverse team of three.

2015 Winner: Photography David Summerhayes “An Egret takes flight near Fox Lake – Robe.

A number of new things have happened this year, and we are keen to observe public interest and feedback. SOAP must be designed to be an event supportive of every artist regardless of background and profession, and we want to continue to make this event an attraction to everyone involved.

In my commitment to this cause, I have reduced both entry fees and commission on sales this year. Additionally, size restrictions have been increased and a youth’s peoples choice award has been introduced – all in direct response to public suggestion.

I am particularly excited to see entries into the Robe District Council sponsored Award of “Changing Climate, Changing Environments”. This progressive category should unveil some creative representation of both the natural world and some of the global challenges we have ahead of us.

Back again this year – with support from the Morgan family – the Belinda Morgan Memorial Prize which will award local talent from the Limestone Coast.Opening night is free of charge to all participating artists, as well as event sponsors. All other spectators will need to buy a ticket at the door for $15 – which includes a raffle ticket, wine and nibbles, as well as entrance into the 2016 exhibition.

There is still time to enter this year’s prize!Entry forms are made available at several local Robe venues as well as online at苏州美甲美睫培训学校southernoceanartprize.weebly苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

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Clearly Innocent Country Horse of the Year

by admin on August 20th, 2019

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THE plaudits continue to roll in for Scone trainer Greg Bennett.
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SUCCESS: Tommy Berry on board Country Horse of the Year Clearly Innocent.

At Friday night’s2016 NSW Country and Provincial Racing Awards, his galloper Clearly Innocent was named Country Horse of the Year.

The ceremony was heldat the Sheraton on the Park, Sydney.

Bennett and jockey Tommy Berry joined forces to win the prestigious The Country Championships Final at Randwick,withClearly Innocent claiming the $210,000 first prize from ex-Muswellbrook trainer Mack Griffith’s runner Pera Pera.

Samantha Clenton, who also guided the four-year-old geldingto victory in the Horsepower Luskin Star Stakes, took homeCountry Apprentice Jockey of the Year.

The Country recipients of the awards for 2016:Simon Nivison Special Achievement Award Ian Giffin (Wellington)

Country Horse of the Year Award Clearly Innocent

Country TAB Race Club of the Year Murrumbidgee Turf Club

Community Race Club of the Year Walcha Jockey Club

Outstanding Achievement Award Moree Race Club (The Chopper Cup)

Country Trainer of the Year Brett Thompson

Media Award John Scorse (Sky)

Country Jockey of the Year Greg Ryan

Country Apprentice Jockey of the Year Samantha Clenton

Special Recognition Awards were awarded to Barbara Joseph (trainer) and Geoff Newling (media).

The Provincial recipients of the awards for 2016:Ted McCabe Provincial Recognition Award Peter Norrgard

Provincial Horse of the Year Lucia Valentina

Provincial Trainer of the Year Kris Lees

Provincial Jockey of the Year Brenton Avdulla

Provincial Apprentice Jockey of the Year Andrew Adkins

All finalists and nominees, however, should be very proud of their efforts during the 2015/16 season which deserves this level of recognition.

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