mardi 28 septembre 2010

Bilan de ma tournée littéraire en Australie

Le Festival des écrivains de Brisbane :

My heartfelt thanks to Jane O’Hara for having me as a 2010 official guest at BWF. I am truly appreciative of the very warm welcome I have received, from the minute I've stepped off the plane to the very last day of the festival.

Sanctuary Cove epitomized by its massive continental breakfasts, the complimentary lunch cruise along with the fabulous dinner, plus the inaugural writers’ session, the mixing with other international authors, was a real treat, and no less. This paradisiacal getaway gave us enough stamina to embark on the following five-day frenzy.

I ventured trying things à la française when chairing the panel on Australian writing. And it worked out really well. Rather than having each writer discuss their own work at length, it sounded like a good idea to ask them to sum up their work briefly in relation to the given topic. So they would comment on each other’s work following this pattern: A discusses the work of B, B discusses the work of C, and C discusses the work of A (the chair would allocate the roles)

Questions were asked so as to trigger opinionated responses and get the audience involved in the quarrels and triumphs of Australian fiction.

The hospitality suite is a brainwave for encouraging socialising and networking. Writers I didn’t get to see throughout the festival were more readily available in that suite :) Some people DO love socialising !

I was so happy to be able to attend as many sessions as possible.

On a more personal note, it was unfortunate that my publisher BROLGA did not receive the sea freight stock in time. Several people asked for The Great Australian Novel—A Panorama, but it was not yet available. The book is now available through Pan Macmillan and it can be ordered from here:

Hopefully I’ll get invited to more Aussie festivals in 2011 and will be able to promote my book and Australian fiction more efficiently.

I am so elated that Jane gave me my first opportunity to experience an Australian festival and meet so many Australian writers. It is to remain in my memory as my 2010 highlight. I have clicked with many writers and I hope to meet them again in a near future. I think Peter Goldsworthy, Carmel Bird and Sue Woolfe were very pleased with our session.

And I owe it all to you Jane, so A BIG THANK YOU for this out-of-the-world experience.

Best regards, JF


I was happy to donate a copy of the French version of my literary survey, Panorama du roman australien (Hermann, 2009) to the State Library in Brisbane. A big thank you for welcoming all writers on the premises.

Comments from the State Library taken from

Writers’ Footsteps: A Queensland Literary Companion

Book launches are wonderful things! The author nervously anticipating that wonderful moment when their brainchild makes its debut; readers chatting animatedly, eager to clasp the latest addition to their bookshelves and smell the new ink on its pages.

The launch of Stanton Mellick’s, Writers’ Footsteps: A Queensland Literary Companion, last Friday evening teased these emotions to twanging point. Right up until minutes before the launch, the glue was still drying on the binding and there were legitimate fears that it would not make it to its own launch!

This new reference book examines the places around Queensland that inspired authors to write poetry, prose and plays about them. He covers 530 authors spanning the past 150 years.

Me with the author, Stanton Mellick, at the launch of his book, Writers’ Footsteps: A Queensland Literary Companion

(Above Photo: Me with the author, Stanton Mellick, at the launch of his book, Writers’ Footsteps: A Queensland Literary Companion)

I also enjoyed some very intriguing trivia that emerged during panel discussions over the week:

‘A la-Francaise’

Jean-Francois Vernay observed that David Malouf’s, Johnno, was the only one of his larger works that French publishers were not interested in translating into their language probably because it was set in Brisbane and there was too much Australiana that would be difficult to grasp by a French readership without frequently turning to an encyclopaedia.

‘Writing about Crooks’

Val McDermid (of Wire in the Blood fame) was beaten up by a wrestler. She explained that this was why, when her protagonists got knocked around, they didn’t immediately bounce back and pursue the villain. She knows how they would feel so she always gives them a reasonable period of convalescence before putting them back into the fray.

Jake Adelstein (author of Tokyo Vice) explained why many Yakuza bosses have liver transplants: It’s because the Japanese tradition of body tattooing requires the use of a particular ink, which is highly toxic. It creates a lot of stress on the liver and in many instances causes liver failure. He also mentioned that the traditional method of tattooing is extremely painful because traditional needles are much longer than the modern ones and their use kills the skin cells, which in turn results in the loss of the ability to sweat. This is why people who have these body tattoos find it very uncomfortable to be in the sun. He also added that women with body tattoos are highly prized because tattooed flesh remains cool, so it is very pleasurable for men to lie on top of them in summer! It’s amazing what you can learn during Brisbane Writer’s Festival.

Leanne Day

Queensland Authors & Legal Deposit Librarian

State Library of Queensland


Le salon littéraire de Melbourne
remporta un franc succès avec près de 70 personnes présentes et une vingtaine de livres qui sont partis en un éclair. On se rappellera pendant longtemps des feuilles de la très charmante Elaine Lewis qui tombaient parterre à intervalles réguliers en attendant que son preux chevalier les lui ramasse :)
La chaleureuse discussion entre les auteurs, Elaine et moi-même, a été menée en anglais. Je publierai bientôt un commentaire sur le livre captivant de Elaine Lewis Left Bank Waltz (Vintage, 2006). Une vidéo de l'évènement sera bientôt disponible, quant aux photos vous pouvez désormais cliquer ici :

le mardi 14 septembre 2010 à Perth, Australie Occidentale, un reportage fut réalisé dans le bâtiment des arts de l'UWA (University of Western Australia). L'auteur néo-calédonien Jean-François Vernay y terminait sa tournée australienne dans le but de présenter son livre Panorama du roman australien des origines à nos jours. L'essayiste a parlé au micro de Kris Borgraeve.

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