I’m smiling with gratitude as I write this tonight, remembering the most extraordinary evening at the State Library of QLD on Saturday. For the first time in my writing career, I watched my words leap from pages of my novel and onto the stage, via the skills of local Indigenous actors. The event left me speechless, and anyone who knows me well, will understand how meaningful that is.
For someone to read my novel Paris Dreaming and love the narrative so much they want to bring it alive in performance, leaves me humbled
I am indebted and grateful to:
1. NADINE McDONALD-DOWD: I first met Nadine when she was artistic director of Kooemba Jdarra in Brisbane, many years ago. Now, she’s Program Coordinator for kuril dhagun Indigenous Knowledge Centre at the State Library of Queensland, but clearly still got her theatrical hat on. Nadine directed and performed in the reading of Paris Dreaming¸ filling the roles of Lauren Lucas and Libby Cutmore’s mother, Aunty Iris. I am grateful for the overwhelming enthusiasm, energy and talent of my deadly tidda, who I must say looked particularly gorgeous in her black frock on Saturday, but then again, she can look fetching in pantaloons!
2. SLQLD: If you haven’t been to the State Library of Qld, with its seaside inspired cafe, it’s talking circle, and writing spaces overlooking the river, then you are certainly missing out on something special. And of an evening, the libraries function areas become something completely magical with lights reflecting off the river. I’m grateful that the SLQLD hosted the event in their glassed in room – the Red Box, and even hired little Eiffel Towers to enhance the Parisian feel about the night! Such generosity, thank you.
3. TALENTED MURRIS: What can I say? The night was successful because of the deadly, gorgeous, talented Murris who performed carefully selected excerpts from the novel, in their best French and Murri accents... sometimes even blended! I’m grateful and pay kudos to the actors (below) from left to right: Steven Oliver, Barbara Bough, Georgia Corowa, me and Nadine McDonald.
4. LOCAL FRIENDS: The experience of sitting in the audience was made more special and meaningful because the room included some of my oldest and dearest friends, and many locals. I’m grateful to all those who bought tickets to come along and support the work and the event and indeed, the many who bought copies of the novel afterwards. I wish to make special mention of Amanda Hayman and Sidonie Carpenter who are my ‘research assistants for my next novel.
5. THE BRISBANE RIVER: By day the Brisbane River is a murky brown, by night it comes alive with the reflection of city lights from buildings along its banks. Standing on the river deck below the Red Box listening to the sounds of Edith Piaf being sung by a local performer, a hot French barman nearby mixing French martinis, and trays of delish French cuisine (snails, Boeuf Bourguignon and macaroons) being enjoyed by all, there was nowhere else I wanted to be last Saturday night, because it could quite easily have been the romantic Seine.
The pic above is of Nadine McDonald and Sidonie Carpenter, you should check out her work, she’s a deadly landscape architect and designer.