September 8

Rich and Rare…

rich-and-rare-frontAt over 480 pages, Rich and Rare, may at first seem like a challenge – but as a collection of Australian short stories, poetry and artwork, it is probably one of the most accessible books published in Australian YA fiction recently.

Editor, Paul Collins, has described it as as ‘a sumptuous literary feast’ in which ‘no one will go away hungry, as the collection is a literary banquet with something for everyone.’ And like a feast or banquet, it is a book which you can dip in and out of wherever you want, and, as much as you want or need.

With the contents divided into 13 different genre groupings, there will be parts that appeal to many different readers, at different times in their reading journey. With an amazing collection of contemporary Australian authors, it also provides a tasting of writing by our very best, well recognised Australian authors, poets and illustrators – which is truly inspirational.

As a collection of short stories, the anthology provides many great examples of how to tell tale succinctly; which will appeal to a generation which wants things ‘fast and furious’ and who read with ‘a need for speed’.

As a collection of short stories, set in Australian condoitions, it provides many ‘aha’ moments which readers will recognise – for example:

  • the perfect weather which ends school holidays (A Tidy Town)
  • the sadness of losing a sibling (My Brother’s Keeper)
  • the tussles of brotherhood (the Knitting Needle Ninja)
  • when talent and perserverance triumph (Bringing Luisa to Life)

It also provides some interesting tales, which challenge:

  • the rights of privilege and inheritance (the Two-faced Boy)
  • the spirit of adventure (Search)
  • what you should/could do to support your family in times of crisis (I Can’t Sleep)
rich-and-rare

# Young and free creators in ‘Rich and Rare’

While Brodie writes diary entries to frogs (the Frog Diaries), a precious pet is lost in Carpet Capers, and a vindictive teacher makes life uncomfortable for his young students (Dr Lovechild Regrets) – but will he reap what he sows? In the mix, with many many more tales, there is a great assortment to both please and intrigue readers – indeed, too many to write about individually.

In the busyness of daily life, this anthology could be  a welcome collection. With reknowned authors, interesting genres/themes and inspirational tales to share, it provides strong but concise stories without huge time demands on readers. Perhaps ones that will inspire discovery of lengthier stories written by many of these talented creators? Indeed, there are many more stories to discover within and beyond this amazing collection.

Which is your favourite:

  • tale with the book?
  • author within the book?
October 15

Hatched – Tim Winton collects…

Hatched V1Tim Winton is passionate about writing. As a celebrated author who decided he wanted to be a writer at the age of ten, he is an inspiration for many writers. From a practical point of view, he has also encouraged young writers over the last 20 years having established an award for students in Western Australia.

Hatched is a collection of the award winners, celebrating 20 years of the Tim Winton Award.

In association with the Subiaco Library in his home state of Western Australia, and other sponsors, Tim has been actively encouraging students with the same passion for storytelling which he felt as a child:

‘It’s a great pleasure to see young people exercising their storytelling instincts. During the twenty years in which the award has been given in my name I’ve had the privilege of witnessing this stubborn, lovely impulse as it lives on in a new generation. Whether they’re writing feverish fantasy or gritty realism these young writers are coming to terms with their language and their lives, using stories to shape or unpack what they know and what they fear and what they hope for.’ Quote from: http://www.fremantlepress.com.au/books/newreleases/1370

Hatched includes a great range of stories, from students in middle primary through to upper secondary school, from 5 to 18 year olds. Tales cover many different things, told from the point of view of articulate young Australians. Weird and fanciful, down-to-earth reality, and out of this world concoctions of fertile young minds. Many tales are a reflection of the emotions and experiences of our youth, while others bear witness to their creative abilities.

Luckily, archives of past winning entries in 5 different age groups can also be viewed here.

What an amazing privilege for these young writers! And if their writing skills have continued to develop, what great hope there is for the future of storytelling in its various forms in Australia. Inspiring stuff!

July 26

Wilful Eye – fairytales retold

‘When I was a child, I did not love fairytales…They frightened me almost as much as they fascinated me (but) when I grew up, I came to love fairytales for all the things that had frightened me as a child…’ writes Isobelle Carmody in the introduction to ‘Tales from the Tower: the Wilful Eye’.

This collection of 6 short stories by renowned fantasy authors revisits classic fairytales to give them a modern twist. At the same time, each of the stories reflects the differences and nuances of individual authors.

Carmody invited the authors to explore fairy tales of their own choosing. Some chose familiar tales (like Rumpelstiltskin and Beauty and the Beast) as their foundation; others worked with slightly less well-known stories. All have moved away from the Disneyfied versions known to modern children, and have provided some interesting and varied scenarios.

Indeed, a binding feature of the stories is the way in which traditional tales have been transformed, as they move away from their traditional audience of young children to a much more mature one. Already the tales have raised some controversy, many questioning whether they even suit a young adult market. (But then, this may just give the book greater appeal and material for exploration and discussion?)

We are forewarned of the nature of the book in both its blurb and Carmody’s introduction:

‘Characters are enchanted, they transgress, they yearn, they hunger, they hate and, sometimes, they kill.
Some of the stories inhabit a traditional fairytale world, while others are set in the distant future. Some are set in the present and some in an alternative present. The stories offer no prescription for living or moral advice and none belong in a nursery.’

However, the depth and detail, and the twists and turns which each tale takes, inspired by fairy tales of old, makes this book well worth the study – particularly for students in years 11 and 12 Extension English. That some of these stories touch on controversial issues, or that others are dark and enchanting, is nothing new to the world a fairytale appropriation, or indeed to many dark fairytales passed down the generations in the past – after all, many children have been frightened by fairytales, as attested to by Carmody herself.