Monday, September 14, 2015

Memoir Club Readings 29 September 2015

Tuesday, 29 September, 6.00 - 9.00 PM
The Randwick Literary Institute,   
60 Clovelly Road, Randwick 2031
A Special Night of Readings 

by Members and Guests

- flickr creative commons
Louisa Callanan
Sue Emery
Sophie Guest
Diana King 
Kira Legaan 
Catherine McGrath 
Bastian Fox Phelan 
Mark Roberts
Rikki Stubbs 
Donald Yates
This month the Memoir Club presents our annual showcase readings of works-in-progress by members and guests. 
At the Memoir Club, we celebrate the imaginative act of writing as well as the pleasure of reading. ‘…it is in the simple act of reading that the living and the dead, the real and the imagined, meet,’  Junot Diaz writes. ‘It is in the simple act of reading where we exercise those two most sacred of human vocations: compassion and creativity.’  
On this night, we experience the great pleasure of being read to by several writers. Listening to the voice, the rhythm, the cadences, is at the heart of the writing and reading life. Voice helps to carry words further and deeper than the eye, Seamus Heaney says.
From seasoned performers to readers who have never read in public before, our readers offer us their unique views. Please come and support this night of sharing and celebration!
Some readers celebrate memories of childhood. Rikki Stubbs remembers her eccentric Queensland aunts, Trix and Myrt. ‘… known by everyone as “the girls”, [they] watched the cricket for hours in identical leather recliners, feet up, smoking and eating chocolate.  I would go there for treats and to have a chat. From the door I couldn’t see their faces, just the swirl of smoke from their long cigarette holders below the brim of the tennis shades they wore to stop the light reflecting off their glasses.’

Sue Emery reflects on the elasticity of time in childhood memory, those …moments when time drew out like a long bow searching for a target.
Don Yates draws from his mother’s diaries to tell us he was born during a bushfire in country Victoria,  ‘…on a scorching hot day, in a hot wind, with the smell of smoke in the air.’  

Image from Backstage Blog Stage
The Readers:

Louisa Callanan is a postgraduate writing student at the University of Sydney.

Sue Emery is a former high school English teacher. Her memoir concerns the fun and strangeness of growing up in a close knit family in what was once working class Summer Hill in the 1950's.

Bastian Fox Phelan is a queer and gender diverse writer, zine maker and musician from Sydney. Bastian is the creator of the highly popular zine 'Ladybeard', which is held in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Australia. The success of 'Ladybeard', a personal story about growing a beard as a woman, inspired Bastian to continue telling the story of their unconventional gender journey. Bastian is currently working on a memoir about their experiences on both sides of the binary and in the spaces between.

Sophie Guest has a background in teaching languages and literature, lecturing on architecture and place, and in practising psychotherapy. Nearly 20 years ago, she wrote a long essay called "What is it to be Authentic?" which might be the first half of a book, if she could just get on with it.  She writes the odd poem, short pieces of memoir relating to place, and  her early life, and writes and performs standup comedy at spiritual retreats.

Diana King is coming back to writing after a working career as an architect. She moved away from writing in the mid seventies to earn a living. Now retired she is easing back to her primary love, hoping the little grey cells are still up to the challenge. In 2015 Diana was awarded second prize in the OutStanding Stories competition.

Kira Legaan has a background in professional theatre and dance, and is currently undertaking a D/Arts at Sydney University. She has also published in The University of Sydney Anthology 2014, Hodder and Stoughton’s Breaking The Silence, and Dance Australia magazine.

Catherine McGrath is a textile artist and an independent researcher in applied research projects in health policy, particularly the social impact of illness. In a past life she was a lawyer. We lived the DINK, the double-income-no-kids life, but beneath the surface another life we thought we had put behind us lay in wait, like lava, warming up, heading for the cracks in the seams, getting ready to blow it all up.

Mark Roberts is a Sydney based writer and critic. He currently runs Rochford Street Review ( and edits poetry for Social Alternatives journal. He also edits the occasional literary journal P76. Six Months will shortly be published as a chapbook and he has a collection of poetry, Concrete Flamingos, due for release in 2016.
Rikki Stubbs was packing up treasures from her mother's old Queensland homestead on the Darling Downs after her mother's death, when she bagan a memoir about her mother, 'home' and growing up in Queensland in the 1960s and 1970s; about her first career choice to be a nun, after winning the school Divinity prize, and her wonderfully eccentric great aunts Beatrix and Myrtle. 

Don Yates grew up on a farm in the Central Highlands of Victoria. He is writing the story of his mother's life in a small community and has at his disposal forty years of her diaries and a desire to do justice to her creative life.

When: last Tuesday of every month (27 October: Rosie Scott; 24 November: Beth Yahp)

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: $10 at the door for hall hire, refreshments and to pay our 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: Rosie Scott (October); Beth Yahp (November)

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.