English Department Book Launch: Gentle and Fierce, Reading like an Australian Writer, and Sydney Spleen.
To celebrate the recent releases of new books by Vanessa Berry (Gentle and Fierce), Belinda Castles (Reading Like an Australian Writer) and Toby Fitch (Sydney Spleen), please join us for a launch event, featuring readings from the authors.
Belinda Castles’ Reading Like an Australian Writer (New South, 2021) is a collection of essays by established and emerging Australian writers on reading Australian fiction. Described by Kathryn Heyman as “a communal praise song to Australian literature in its many guises” the collection, edited by Belinda Castles, includes contributors such as Ellen van Neerven, Nicholas Jose, Fiona MacFarlane, Beth Yahp and Tegan Bennett Daylight. The collection forms an ode to the magic of reading, and to the bonds and connections which shape literary community.
Toby Fitch’s new poetry collection Sydney Spleen (Giramondo, 2021) takes Baudelaire’s concept of spleen as melancholy with no apparent cause, characterised by a disgust with everything – and combines it with a contemporary irony so as to articulate the causes of our doom and gloom: corporate rapacity, climate change, disaster capitalism, the plague, neo-colonialism, fake news, fascism, and how to raise kids in a world fast becoming obsolete. Fitch, writes Justin Clemens, “sings the poems of his city and his climate with his signature insight and verve”.
Vanessa Berry’s Gentle and Fierce (Giramondo 2021) is a collection of essays on the relationships between humans and animals. Focussing on attention, empathy, and acute observation, the essays consider how encounters with animals in everyday urban life can provide meaningful connections between human and non-human beings. With subjects ranging from a taxidermy Kodiak bear, a Japanese island overrun with rabbits, a porcelain otter, and Georges Perec’s cat, the collection, as described by Mireille Juchau: “elevates and commemorates those lives that are entangled – too often invisibly – with our own.”
This event will be held online via Zoom.