#FridayFreebie The Last Lighthouse Keeper – John Cook, Jon Bauer

The Last Lighthouse Keeper

John Cook with Jon Bauer

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760875381

Description:

A beautiful memoir from John Cook, one of Tasmania’s last kerosene lighthouse keepers. A story about madness and wilderness, shining a light onto the vicissitudes of love and nature.

‘John Cook’s ripping life story exposes Tasmania’s old kero-fuelled lighthouses: relentless physically and emotionally demanding labour, done under the often cruel vagaries of nature. Noble work that can ultimately redeem a lost soul. Or break them.’ – Matthew Evans

I loved the life of the island, because I knew my body was more alive than it was on the mainland. People asked how we stood the isolation and boredom, but in some ways, it was more stimulating to have your senses turned up.

In Tasmania, John Cook is known as ‘The Keeper of the Flame’. As one of Australia’s longest-serving lighthouse keepers, John spent 26 years tending Tasmania’s well-known kerosene ‘lights’ at Tasman Island, Maatsuyker Island and Bruny Island.

From sleepless nights keeping the lights alive, battling the wind and sea as they ripped at gutters and flooded stores, raising a joey, tending sheep and keeping ducks and chickens, the life of a keeper was one of unexpected joy and heartbreak. But for John, nothing was more heartbreaking than the introduction of electric lights, and the lighthouses that were left empty forever.

Evocatively told, The Last Lighthouse Keeper is a love story between a man and a dying way of life, as well as a celebration of wilderness and solitude.

 

**What an incredible life story unfolds in these pages! Today, thanks to the generous people at Allen & Unwin I have 3 copies of The Last Lighthouse Keeper to giveaway ( toAustralian residents only)  in the comments answer me this: where did the Keeper of the Flame work? Entries close 15th September 2020**

Day One Of The Margaret River Readers And Writers Festival

Margaret River Readers Writers Festival 2015 Panel The Season of Youth

The Margret River Readers and Writers Festival began today with sessions devoted to Beautiful Seasonal Gardens – with award winning landscape designer Janine Mendel, followed by a Season of Creativity with expedition artist and author Jo Bertini.

After the lunch break we were  introduced to the Season of Discovery which focused on the art of writing memoir by author and journalist David Leser. David has recently written and published his 7th book, ‘To Begin To Know: Walking in the Shadows of my Father’, an honest and poignant narrative that delved into his relationship with his father. In this session David talked about the ethics and impact of writing about the personal.

To Begin to Know David Leser

This led us smoothly into the next session The Season Of Youth – in which a panel of local authors plus special guest David Leser, talked about their autobiographical writing journeys (this session was very successfully chaired by one of my favourite Perth author’s Ray Glickman.) Hello to Ray 🙂

The final session of the day focused on the Nature Writer. Author Victoria Laurie talked about her book ‘The Southwest: Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspot.’

What a great start to an wonderful festival!

I  am looking forward to the official launch later tonight. More soon 🙂

Post Script: Poster Girl – Beccy Cole

Heart warming and sincere.

Poster Girl

Poster Girl

Beccy Cole

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733632587

 

Description:

Beccy Cole’s inspirational memoir from the heart of Australian country music.

Beccy Cole has country music in her blood. Daughter of a country music star, Carole Sturtzel, she is one of the most popular country singer-songwriters in Australia today. This is the story of her life – in her own words.

 

At fourteen, Beccy was performing in her mother’s group, Wild Oats. By her late teens, Beccy had teamed up with the Dead Ringer Band – Kasey Chambers’ family band – and had attracted the attention of the country music world by winning the Star Maker quest: the same award that started the careers of Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan, James Blundell and Gina Jeffreys. It was just the first of many awards and accolades for this multitalented woman with a big heart.

 

With refreshing candour, Beccy shares her story: leaving everything she knew to pursue her dream, making a name for herself with her own band; her marriage and motherhood; her subsequent divorce, becoming a single mother and maintaining the nurturing love of family. Performing for the Australian troops in Afghanistan. Coming out, and what it has meant for her and her fans. Taking control of her own life – and finding love.

 

Heartfelt and honest, Poster Girl is the inspirational memoir of a strong woman who epitomises the authentic spirit of country music, and of Australia.

 

 

My View:

This is a very honest, open and optimistic book – Beccy Cole you have earned yourself a new fan! And (I loved the album Sweet Rebecca that was released at the same time as the book – such a great voice and you can sense that 1000w smile in every note).

 

It is very obvious that singing is Beccy Cole’s passion and has directed her life from early child hood. It is hard to believe that Beccy Cole considers herself a shy and introverted person (but perhaps the nerves and vomiting before performing gives us a little hint of this condition) – when performing she is focussed and confident; she has the gift of sharing – her sense of humour, her wonderful voice and her love of making people smile. Beccy Cole’s story is courageous, grounded, optimistic and full of love. I enjoyed every minute of this heart-warming and sincere story.

 

Thanks for sharing your story with us Beccy and good luck in all your future endeavours.

 

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher.

 

Calling All Writers

Please check this out, a great opportunity to be  published by Harper Collins Publishers – submissions open to Australian, New Zealand and through out the world. See more details here.

The Wednesday Post

Calling all writers – do you want to be published? HarperCollins wants to hear from you!

HarperCollins is inviting unsolicited manuscripts from aspiring authors in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. Whether or not you’ve been previously published, this is the perfect opportunity to submit your work and have a chance to be published by an award-winning, international publishing house.
Our online submissions scheme, The Wednesday Post, is ready to uncover the best voices writing today. All entries will be considered for both print and ebook publication as well as digital-only publication.
Every Wednesday, we will accept submissions through the website. Submissions must be sent through this portal and should meet all the guidelines outlined below. Please note that submissions sent by post or email will NOT be considered for publication.
If we are interested in seeing more of your work, we will contact you within four weeks. Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to provide feedback for unsuccessful submissions.
We are currently looking for: Adult fiction, particularly commercial women’s fiction, erotica, romance and young adult fiction. Non Fiction including memoirs, biographies, narrative histories and illustrated non-fiction.
We are not currently accepting: plays, poetry, short stories, essays, mind body spirit, religious titles, health and fitness, children’s books and educational texts.
When you submit to The Wednesday Post, we will ask you to supply.

  • • a synopsis of your work
  • • the first 50 pages or first three chapters of your manuscript
  • • a short note about yourself
Please return on Wednesday to make your submission.

 

 

Post Script: Salt Story – Sarah Drummond

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Salt Story of Sea-Dogs and Fisherwomen

Sarah Drummond

Fremantle Press

ISBN: 9781922089069

 

Description:

In this warm, lively, salty account of living on and by the sea, Drummond writes of fishing and feuds, of life as an apprentice fisherwoman, and of all the fish that got away.

Salt Story pays homage to sea-dogs, fisherwomen, oystermen and storytellers everywhere.

‘Too few writers capture the essence of now: the flavour, smell, feel, language. But Sarah Drummond has done it. This is real, but you know this way of life won’t last. Her account of a fishing community on the south coast of Western Australia is a gift. Salt—a real person but not his real name—delivers his philosophy while teaching Sarah the tricks, craft and dodges of making a living from the sea. Salt should be sent to lecture in the corridors of Canberra and corporate board rooms.

 

My View:

Let me shre one of my favourite descriptions in this book, for this is a book of poetic language and earthy salty colloquialisms and rustic sepia drawings melded into a beautiful narrative: (p. 25) “Wheat silos, smooth white chrysalids, stood among the praying mantis gantry and chugging conveyor belts, orange lights, steaming mountains of woodchips, ships high on the water out in the Sound. All night, the port worked to clear the backlog. Ships in, ships out. Breathe in, breath out.” This is just one example of the visual writing that is Salt Story. I can see so clearly in my mind’s eye this large metal Praying Mantis – the description is just perfect!

 

This is a beautifully written story filled with personal accounts of small scale commercial fishing in the town of Albany Western Australia, a life and a community you can feel is on the brink of extinction…or is it? Small scale commercial (Estuarine fishing in this case) are largely family run business and as such have a vested interested in keeping fish stocks at a sustainable level for the next generations.

 

Snapshots of life in this community are told in a real and personal way, Sarah Drummond spent many years working an unofficial apprenticeship with a larger than life local fisherman, “Salt” – this is their story, their history and a glimpse of a world so few of us will experience or happen upon.

 

And did I mention the illustrations in this book? I fell in love with these sepia reproductions – a piece of history in themselves.

 

A thoroughly enjoyable read told with passion and integrity. This is creative memoir at its best.

 

Erebus & Terror scan 1-1

(image – Salt Story – Same Tribe As Me – Introduction)

Post Script: The Removers – Andrew Meredith

A candid and at times brutally honest view of life and death and a child’s struggle to not be like his parents.

The Removers

A Memoir

Andrew Meredith

Scribner

Scribner

ISBN: 9781476761213

Description:

A dark, poignant, and emotionally brave coming-of-age memoir: the story of a young man who, by handling the dead, makes peace with the living.

 

For almost twenty years I mistook my father’s downfall as my own. But it wasn’t. It was not my sister’s either, nor my mother’s.

 

A literature professor at La Salle University, Andrew Meredith’s father was fired after unspecified allegations of sexual misconduct. It’s a transgression Andrew cannot forgive, for it brought about long-lasting familial despair. In the wake of the scandal, Andrew’s parents limp along, trapped in an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile, Andrew treads water, stuck in a kind of suspended adolescence—falling in and out of school, moving blindly from one half-hearted relationship to the next, slowly killing the nights drinking beer and listening to music with his childhood friends.

 

Broke, Andrew moves back home to his childhood neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia and takes a job alongside his father as a “remover,” the name for those unseen, unsung workers who take away the bodies of those who die at home. He describes, as only a professional can do, the intimate, horrific, poignant, and occasionally morbidly comedic aspects of handling the dead. Just how do you carry a 500-pound corpse down winding stairs? What actually happens to pacemakers, tooth fillings, surgical screws, artificial hips, and anything else that the deceased has within his or her body? Andrew begins to see his father not through the lens of a wronged and resentful child, but as a sympathetic, imperfect man who loves his family despite his flaws. Eventually the chip on his shoulder starts to lose its weight.

 

Poetic without being florid, and with the literary ability to transform the naturally grotesque into the exquisite, The Removers is a searing story of a young man who finds in death a redemptive path toward the forgiveness of the living, including himself.

 

 

My View:

Meredith writes with ease and a lack of self-consciousness that is refreshing and engaging; that he is able to analysis and describe his formative years with such honesty and naturalness is a pleasure to read. Thoughts and actions flow easily onto the page. Meredith survives the breakdown of his parents’ marriage, the discovery that his parents are sexual beings (this seems to gross all adolescents) and his determined efforts to not become like them – which involve many self-destructive behaviours and a void in his life.

 

Work becomes a redemptive therapy – but one that takes many years to achieve the unconscious goal of self-love. It is a strange and unique industry (death) that opens the door to Meredith’s release and allows him to grow and flourish. I think that we will see good things from this author in the future.

Post Script: Everything to Live For – Turia Pitt with Libby Harkness

Everything to Live For: The Inspirational Story of Turia Pitt

Everything to Live For

Turia Pitt with Libby Harkness

A William Heinemann book

Random House Australia

ISBN: 978 085798 026 7

 

 

 

 

Description:

Everything to Live For is the story of one young woman’s survival against extraordinary odds, a testament to the human spirit. In September 2011, Turia Pitt, a beautiful 25 – year – old mining engineer working her dream job in the far north of Western Australia, entered an ultra – marathon race that would change her life forever. Trapped by a fire in a gorge in the remote Kimberly region, Turia and five other competitors had nowhere to run. Turia escaped with catastrophic burns to 65 per cent of her body.

Battle up[on battle has followed: first to survive, next to adapt – to the remnants of her face, the loss of her fingers, daily therapy, endless operations – and then justice. Because the race should never have happened. Turia’s fight with the race organisers is ongoing.

 

Everything to Live For explores Turia’s journey and the web of people and events around it. It is a study of strength – of Turia will; of the love of her partner, Michael, and the couple’s families; and of the support from their community in Ulladulla, New South Wales, who have rallied, raising funds to help with huge medical bills.

 

It is a miracle Turia lived when she was expected to die. But Turia was not ready to die – she had too much to live for.

My View:

This is an amazing story of courage and a demonstration of inner strength and wonderful family and community support. I was moved by this story and want to applaud the many people involved in the initial rescue and aid supplied by those first on the scene – the fellow competitors, the helicopter crew… their demonstration of courage and determination to rescue/assist the victims of this fire in such adverse conditions is commendable.

This is a story of which many people (and in particular, Western Australians) are familiar with, through the media coverage of the disaster at the time. What we weren’t privy to is the huge physical and mental challenges a burn’s survivor faces; the many operations, the huge changes to the survivor’s life – survivors of severe burns require years of treatment and support. Turia is a survivor – not a victim – that is very clear.  Turia’s story is one of unconditional family love and by family I include her boyfriend, close friends, extended family and community; Turia truly does have everything to live for and her inner strength shines through these pages.