Coming soon to a Zoom near you

Wednesday 22 July 2020, 6.30-7.30PM, I’m greatly looking forward to talking online about Mother of Pearl as part of the Yarra Valley Writers Festival Book Club. Book club hosts Michael Veitch & YVWF Director Brook Powell invite you to join in a conversation in two parts. First, they have a chat about the book among themselves–you can listen in and send questions and comments via the chat function on zoom; then they invite me in to talk to them a little more about my process, answer questions and join in the conversation. These evenings are inclusive, accessible and about readers indulging in talking books for an hour a month. And it’s free. Details here and you can sign up to be part of the Book Club here.

Recently I was interviewed by Justine the Librarian (aka Justine Hanna) for her wonderful podcast Literary Elixirs, which works like this: ‘Matching books to food and drink! Justine is a librarian who loves good food and drink and can’t stop talking about what book she’s read which would pair perfectly with that delicious cheese, wine, coffee, beer, chocolate … you get the idea! She is on a mission to chat with purveyors of delicious elixirs and suggest some literature which would be a perfect match because books go with pretty much anything!’ In the podcast, I chat with Justine about Mother of Pearl, then talk about what I food I would pair with two books I’ve recently read and loved: Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe (2019), and Swallow the Air by Tara June Winch (2006), both published by UQP. One of my matches is literal, the other lateral! Be warned: once you start listening to Justine’s podcast, you’ll find yourself mentally pairing every book you read with food and/or drink. You can read more and listen to our conversation here.

I feel truly fortunate that despite the cascade of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I still get to participate in this kind of literary activity.

One of my recent online festival sessions is also available to view for free online (click on the title): Tapping the Zeitgeist, part of Willy Lit Fest Vision 2020, was a conversation between me and Alice Robinson, chaired by Kate Mildenhall, about writing ‘issues novels’: why do it, how to make it work, and the value of fiction in exploring contemporary life. As an added incentive, Alice’s wonderful novel, The Glad Shout, has just been longlisted for the 2020 Colin Roderick Literary Award, which is awarded to the best original book, in the judges’ opinion, that is published in Australia in the previous calendar year.

Finally, a large segue: after a decline in COVID-19 cases and an easing of restrictions on 25 May, my home town of Melbourne has experienced a surge in new infections. We are still fortunate to be experiencing very low numbers overall compared with other countries, but the trend is worrying. Residents in 12 suburban postcodes have gone back into lockdown (my place is only a few blocks from one of these locked down suburbs). Also locked down, as of yesterday and with no notice, are nine, high-rise public housing residencies in inner Melbourne. A fundraising page has been set up by the Victorian trade union movement to support these vulnerable communities. You can donate here. The Victorian union movement will work with community groups, residents and the Victorian Government to ensure every dollar raised goes to residents.

About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. She won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and the Scarlet Stiletto Award short story award. Her latest novel is, Mother of Pearl, published by Transit Lounge. Angela holds a PhD in Creative Writing, is former CEO of Writers Victoria, and currently works as CEO of Public Libraries Victoria.
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13 Responses to Coming soon to a Zoom near you

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    I’m happy for you, Angela, that you’re still able to connect with the world, even if it’s not the face-to-face connections we’re all so accustomed to having. It’s amazing to me how fast technology has been improving, so that we can have events like these.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Angela, I have booked for your with the Yarra Valley Writers Festival Book Club and am very much looking forward to it. I too have been feeling for those people locked down in those public housing residences. So I went to make a donation. I was unable to as the total has been reached! A wonderful result and another demonstration that when we all work together we can get through whatever challenges we have to meet.


  3. Kathy D. says:

    Thank you so much for the information about the zoom calls. I would love to hear everyone speak about books. I have to remind myself and write down the dates and sign up.
    So glad you can join into these panels.


  4. Kathy D. says:

    I guess that 6:30 PM UTC is 2:30 pm EDT


  5. Kathy D. says:

    I’ll watcg at 4:30 a.m. I am a notorious night owl. But is that 4:30 a.m. Wed. or Thurs. since the event is the evening of July 22, Wednesday? You all are ahead of the U.S. Right?
    I just watched you, Alice and Kate. Loved it and wrote down all of the book suggestions.
    I could spend days watching podcasts or webinars of women writers talking about books.


  6. Kathy D. says:

    Did you mention a title, The Crime Place? Or did I get it wrong?


  7. Kathy D. says:

    Thank you. I like the summary of the books you mentioned plus Swallow the Air. Love to expand reading about Indigenous peoples and migrants.


  8. Kathy D. says:

    That was really an excellent forum. Your book is much appreciated. I did like Anna’s character because I identify with her the most, but Mukda is an excellent character, too. Your book made lal of the readers think which is a trait of a very good book. I think of your fist book, “Behind the Night Bazaar,” which was such an expose of a terrible situation, made possible by extreme poverty, which a character points out. And I wonder, too here, the role of poverty in surrogacy.
    I’m glad you mentioned the invisibiity of surrogates about the ads in Bangkok aurrogacy agencies. An article in the NY Times magazine a few years ago was about a wealthy woman who hired a working-class woman to have a child for her. The woman’s daughter needed college tuition money. And the rich woman never introduced the birth mother or said her name when they met people.
    And I have to say that several pro-feminist friends had that very strong urge to have a child; many did that, and their children, and now some grandchildren, are cared about by us all.
    I think feminism is about women having choices and being able to realize them.
    Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for tuning in, Kathy. It was so exciting to have a friend at the session all the way from New York (the hosts were way impressed!). And thank you for your contributions to the discussion. Your observation about the invisibility of the surrogate mothers gave me the perfect opening to talk about why I made the (somewhat controversial) decision to write from the POV of the Thai surrogate mother Mukda/Mod. And on the subject of caring for children being communal responsibility, I believe Sarah Sentilles explores this in the new book she has recently signed to publish. More details when I have them.


  9. Kathy D. says:

    Thank you for your reply. It was exciting to watch the discussion. And I’m thinking more about surrogacy, in that many celebrities here, including gay men, have hired women to bear children for them. The NY Times just wrote about this issue. I also learned from that article that in early April, New York state legalized surrogacy for money.
    I have to think about this. Your book reinvorated my thinking about surrogacy.
    There are such class issues involved. Middle-class, usually white people hiring poor women of color to bear children for them, with all the risks of pregnancy and childbirth involved. And because of the case you explained Thailand now outlaws it or at least for “foreigners.” And India now outlaws it for non-inhabitants of that country. I then think of Kiran Desai, in Sea of Love, talking about the hundreds of thousands of street children who need families and homes.
    It is a dilemma. I am against the exploitation of poor women whether it’s for surrogacy or in sweatshops with terrible working conditions or sexual abuse, etc. Your first book talked about the exploitation of children and the desperation of their poor parents to bring in income.
    However, I do understand the desire to have children and know the lengths women and now gay men and gender-nonconforming people would go to. I would recommend adoption, but I know so many women who wanted biological children. (I also know so many who had problems in pregnancy and very difficult childbirth, leading to emergency C-sections.)
    If there is surrogacy, then I would wish relatives or friends would volunteer to carry children for loved ones, rather than it being a financial issue. (This happened with a known gay TV meterologist here.) If then it has to happen in a financial arrangement, then I’d be for strict protections for the surrogate woman, medical and legal and background checks on the potential parent, as that awful case of an Australian man showed, which was in your blog.
    And I do know many feminists or women’s rights activists who desperately wanted children; some had them. And some have gone through IVF and I agree about the financial motives here of the fertility industry.
    Hope to see more books by you.

    Liked by 1 person

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