Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memoir Club: Vanessa Berry in conversation with Jessica Kirkness

Tuesday, 26 May 2015
6.00 - 9.00 PM

The Randwick Literary Institute,
60 Clovelly Road, Randwick 2031

'Vanessa Berry’s special genius is her affection for, and ability to describe, place. ... Her eye for detail and her great affection for the quotidian bring her writing alive with layers of meaning and observation. She is deeply affectionate towards her surrounding environment, even while being occasionally tormented in her personal life. Berry translates her fascinating personality into the places and things she encounters.' (Walter Mason, Newtown Review of Books)

Next Tuesday’s Memoir Club presents Sydney artist, writer, zine-maker, blogger and 'expert chronicler of memory' Vanessa Berry in conversation with Jessica Kirkness about Vanessa's memoir Ninety9. 

Described as a 'glorious celebration of youthful naïveté and friendship' as well as an exploration of 'the most outrageous parts of one's own persona', this memoir takes us on Berry's youthful journey into family, friendship and 1990s popular culture.

Do join us next Tuesday for an evening of life and cyber stories that evoke a unique and perhaps forgotten side of Sydney, the world of Vanessa’s memoir Ninety9: 'nostalgic, multilayered and fun’. Not to be missed!

From the Sydney Morning Herald, 7 August 2008

Vanessa Berry Vanessa Berry is a writer and artist. She is the author of two memoirs: the collection  Strawberry Hills Forever (2007, Local Consumption) and Ninety9 (2013, Giramondo) a memoir of growing up in the 1990s.

Her current major work is the Sydney exploration blog MirrorSydney. Her writing has appeared in her many zines, the blog Biblioburbia and literary journals and anthologies such as Meanjin, Heat and The Sleepers Almanac. Her zines have been exhibited at the MCA and at numerous smaller galleries, and are held in the collections of many zine libraries in Australia and around the world.

Vanessa is also known for her creative cartography and her map-based works have been exhibited at the Museum of Sydney, Macquarie University Art Gallery, and Verge Gallery.

Jessica Kirkness is a young aspiring writer who lives and works in Sydney. She is a first year PhD student in the Department of 'Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies' at Macquarie University. As part of her research, Jessica is writing a memoir about the lives of her deaf grandparents, and their experiences within a hearing world. In her writing, Jessica explores the ways that deaf people (and in particular her grandparents) engage with music. Jessica is interested too, in the emerging discourses around creative nonfiction, life-writing and ethnographic research.

When: last Tuesday of every month.

Time: 6.00 - 9.00 PM (come for a cuppa and help us set up at 5.30 PM - please remember to bring your own cup!)

Where: The Randwick Literary Institute, 60 Clovelly Road, Randwick 2031. Tel: 02-9398 5203 (for directions and venue info). Street parking available. Clovelly bus 339 on the doorstep. For how to get there, see:

What: A communal space to meet other writers and readers and converse about all things to do with reading and writing memoir. We are interested in all kinds of life stories and in different ways of telling them. The genre of life writing and the possibilities of expanding and reworking the genre is exciting to us. Therefore we have a somewhat open and inclusive approach to what makes a memoir, and we hope you do too! Here is a space to connect with others and share ideas, questions and just hang out. Each meeting will start off with a talk, conversation or discussion about a particular topic or book, sometimes with a guest speaker or facilitator, then we move to an informal gathering and catch up.

Donation: $15 at the door for hall hire, refreshments and speakers.

Food: $15 for a plate of delicious vegetarian finger food (different each meeting). Ring or text to book a plate: 0450 907 422.

Future Speakers: Anne Gorman (June); Rosie Scott (July)

Look forward to seeing you there! Please do pass information on to anyone who might be interested in this community gathering.

mem·oir /ˈmemˌwär/
Noun. A historical account or biography written from personal knowledge. An autobiography or a written account of one's memory of certain events or people.

"Because they're not separate, you know, boldness and writing, timidity and not writing. In my mind, I keep coming back to those sea swallows and that sea-cave. And I want you to see them too. I want you to see the world in my words, to be my words, just for a hair breadth's moment in time."
Michelle Hamadche

“The 90s were an era of self-consciousness and obsession with authenticity. Liking things only in an ironic way was a method of personal defence as well as a way to seem knowledgeable about  trashy or kitsch things it might be too embarrassing to admit otherwise. Zines were part of an underground world that seemed somewhat free from these preoccupations. They existed firmly on the margins, in the same DIY world as community radio and local punk bands playing all ages shows. This was a world of people making messy, weird things for the love of making them."
                                                                                                          —Vanessa Berry

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