Category Archives: Events

Melbourne Literary App: Guerilla Literary Launch!

It’s almost spring, the Melbourne Writers Festival is in full bloom, and here comes the Melbourne Literary iPhone app to crank up the literary vibe another notch!

Full details of the app are listed below, but we’re also having a last-minute literary launch to coincide with the Writers Festival.

Launch: 6pm on Wednesday 1 September 2010 at Softbelly Bar, 367 Little Bourke St, Melbourne.

It’ll be rough-hewn, last-minute, lots of fun and oh so literary. See you there! (BYO beret)

Even if you can’t make it, please let your friends, members, associates, customers, subscribers and/or literary heroes (delete as necessary) know about the Melbourne Literary app and its celebration of our word-obsessed city!

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The iPhone app that uncovers Australia’s City of Literature:

MELBOURNE LITERARY

THE SHORT STORY
What?
Melbourne Literary app for the iPhone
Why? To celebrate Australia’s only UNESCO City of Literature via an easy-to-use guide to the city’s bookshops, writers, publishers, literary events, literary locations, and literary-themed cafes, bars and public art.
How much?
Only $3.99.
Where? From the App Store.
More? www.iwriter.com.au/apps

THE FULL STORY
Whether you’re based in Australia or in far-flung foreign climes, this app created by Melbourne writer Narrelle M Harris will take you on an inspiring journey down Melbourne’s literary byways.

You’ll encounter great writers and entertaining books at every turn, be they fiction or non-fiction.

This app can be used in many ways. On a rainy day, curl up in a armchair at home and read about Melbourne’s fine writers, or use the list of books set in the city to compile your next library list.

When the weather improves, head out on Melbourne’s streets to discover literary locations, funky bookshops, forgotten monuments and cool “hip lit” cafes.

What’s in the Melbourne Literary app?

For about the price of a cup of excellent Melbourne coffee, (just $3.99) you will get 161 entries about books, writers, publishers, bookshops, locales to visit and links to online bookshops where you can buy all titles mentioned.

Your purchase will also include regular future updates, providing more rich information on Melbourne’s literary history.

Download Melbourne Literary from iTunes via www.iwriter.com.au/apps, or directly to your iPhone from the App store.

MELBOURNE LITERARY allows you to search by category, including Literary Locations, Poetry, Bookshops, Cafes & Bars, Young Readers, Set in Melbourne, Writers, Events, Indigenous, Queer Lit, Publishers, and Monuments & Memorials.

Each entry includes a slideshow and descriptive text. If the entry is for a place you can visit, maps will guide you to the literary wonders.

Narrelle created Melbourne Literary in association with San Francisco-based Sutro Media. Narrelle lives in the city centre of Melbourne, Australia, with her husband, Tim Richards, and their apartment-bound cat Petra.

Worldcon – September 2010

For anyone coming to Aussiecon, the Australian Worldcon being held 2-6 September here in my hometown, I’ll be in several panels during the con. I’ve also been given a slot to do a reading and signing!

The confirmed spots are:

Saturday 4th September:
10am –  Rm 217: Science fiction and the theatre
Science fiction and the theatre don’t seem to be the most obvious bedfellows, but science fiction has and continues to be presented on the stage from time to time. Every medium brings its own benefits and drawbacks. What are the challenges that face playwrights when creating science fiction? What can you achieve with the theatre that you can’t achieve in any other media?
Robert Shearman, Alison Croggon, Narrelle M. Harris, Bob Kuhn

Sunday 5th September:

1400 – Rm 204: But this is real!
Why are we attracted to fictional horrors when real life can be so much worse?
Paul Haines, Narrelle M. Harris, Gary Kemble, Chris Lawson, Carrie Vaughn

1500 Rm 212: We are all fairy tales: Doctor Who’s fifth season;
In 2010 Doctor Who returned to the screens with a new writer/producer, a new TARDIS,  a new companion and a new Doctor in the form of Matt Smith. How has Doctor Who’s fifth season differed from the four seasons before it? Has the transition from Russell T Davies to Steven Moffat been a successful one? A critical review of the most significant change in
Doctor Who since it returned to TV.
Kathryn Sullivan, Narrelle M. Harris, George Ivanoff, Rani Graff

Monday 6th September:
1000 Rm 207: 25 things I learned from SF
How much of what you know did you get from science fiction? Chromatophores and Kuiper belts, tesseracts and teratrogens—what Newton dreamt and how anarchy might work—we’ve all received numberless infodumps. What are your favorites? Your most exotic. How has science fiction shaped your life, your worldview, and the cool stuff you spout at parties?
Narrelle M Harris, Priscilla Olson, Jenny Blackford

1100 Rm 207: Reading;
1200 Rm 201: Signing;

1400 Rm 204: Vampire and zombie smackdown
Two kinds of undead, no holds barred.
Participants on the one hand – Scott Edelman, Rob Hood, Chuck McKenzie
On the other – Narrelle M Harris, George R. R. Martin, Faye Ringel

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Real life hyperlinks

On Saturday 30 July I was lucky enough to be in the audience at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne for one of Stephen Fry’s two talks. Someone on JJJ remarked that the event was like spending two hours in conversation with one’s favourite disreputable uncle, which I think sums it up nicely.

Fry, with nothing but a microphone and his native charm, strolled back and forth across a bare stage talking about his life. He did brilliant impersonations of people he has known, was charmingly impolite and disarmingly frank about some ugly episodes in his life, and generally held us captivated for the entire period.

I suspect the evening performance varied from the one we saw, since Fry is likely to go off at tangents at a moment’s notice before returning to his theme. He mentioned (and did a funny impersonation of) Australian theatre great Frank Thring at one point. Tim and I had already noticed, prior to the show, a marble plaque at the entrance to the Regent in honour of Thring, who had been instrumental in saving a number of old theatres in Melbourne. I promptly tweeted a terrible picture of it to him after the show, and was fangirlishly excited beyond all measure when he tweeted back!

During his talk, he mentioned the concept of ‘real life hyperlinks’, where you discover something new to you via a mention elsewhere. As it happens, Stephen Fry is my Real Life Hyperlink into the world and works of PG Wodehouse.

Tim and I lived in Egypt from 1993-94, teaching English as a Foreign Language. Egyptian TV often showed odd English language programs in the mornings, and through this we caught Australian kids’ show The Girl from Tomorrow, and an Australian mini series set in the Queensland cane fields. One of the last series we saw before leaving Egypt was Jeeves and Wooster, starring Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster.

We were charmed and delighted. The language was exquisite. We promptly went and found the books on which the series was based, and discovered even more literary treasure with seven decades worth of books and short stories. Now we always have a Wodehouse story on hand as a way to de-stress when the world’s going a little bit mad.

It’s not the first time I’ve discovered literature as the result of a superbly done TV series. The 1990s Jeremy Brett version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes led me to the original Conan Doyle stories, after decades of an avuncular Holmes and dim, corpulent Watson had utterly failed to engage me.

I have gone to source material after reading comics with an intriguing premise. I have gone to history books after fictionalised films and series have sparked my curiosity. I have read fiction and non-fiction books mentioned in newspaper articles, and followed up recommendations made by friends.

More recently, in creating my Melbourne Literary iPhone app (coming soon!), I have discovered books and authors I knew little or nothing about. I’ve read books I wouldn’t normally have chosen, and have a long list of new and classic authors to try.

Discovering something new by following a lead from a book, film, tv show, conversation or newspaper article, is another chance to make our knowledge richer and deeper. It’s an opportunity to engage in fresh ideas, or older wisdoms, and to learn more about our literary heritage. I’m hoping that when the app is finally available that it will act as a psychological hyperlink and that its users will discover something wonderful as a result.