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Literature Talks and Treats in February

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There’s a book-nerd talking to a soon-to-be-emerging writer in a bar.

‘Hey,’ she murmurs over the rim of her vodka pineapple. ‘There’s this Gala Night of Storytelling on at The Wheeler Centre next week.’

‘Like they know what a story is.’

‘John Birmingham is going to be there. It’s on Feb 11, at 7.00pm.’

‘Sell-out,’ he huffs and drops his rollie into his empty long neck of Melbourne Bitter.

‘Sonya Hartnett?’ She stirs the melting ice.

‘Creep.’

‘Nam Le?’

‘Fashionably exotic.’

‘I think it’ll be pretty good.’

When the book-nerd was younger she loved reading RL Stine books. Not Goosebumps, cause they were for little kids, but the more teenage ones where people occasionally masturbated each other before getting decapitated. She knew she was a book nerd for two reasons.

One: Those books got her off.
Two: Whenever her brother walked past her room, he’d shrilly crow, ‘Booook-nerd!’ in imitation of a chicken’s cluck.

‘I’d rather go see Tom Trumble speak about his book at Travellers on the 24th.’

‘Who?’

‘Dude who walked 800km in the footsteps of some monks or something. It’s called Unholy Pilgrims.’

When the soon-to-be-emerging writer was younger, he carried around a dog-eared copy of On the Road in the pocket of his school blazer. He knew he was a soon-to-be-emerging writer for two reasons.

One: He only works his shit job three days a week, preferring to sit around in his underwear and chain-smoking under the pretence of ‘writing’.
Two: When he’s stoned at parties, he tells people he’s a soon-to-be-emerging writer.

‘Right,’ the book-nerd answers. ‘Well there’s an event called Thousands of Sails on at the Wheeler. It’s the launch of a new organisation called Australian Poetry, on the 15th.’

‘Ginsberg gonna be there?’

‘I don’t think so.’

‘Bukowski?’

‘No, but some internationally renowned poets,’ she frowns, pushing her thick-rimmed glasses up the tip of her nose. ‘One’s that’re still alive,’ she adds.

‘There are no good poets alive.’

‘If you’re into dead dudes, there’s a lecture on Patrick White on the 22nd’

‘Who’s Patrick White?’

‘Nevermind. What about some of the events at Readings?’

‘There’s nothing on there this month.’ He rolls another cigarette. ‘Unless you’re a pre-schooler.’

‘Well this Friday there’s a get-together at Beer DeLuxe at Fed Square.’

‘At a bar huh?’

‘Yeah, it’s called Melbourne Publishing Drinks: The Return. You should become friends with them on Facebook. Heaps of people from the publishing industry are going to be there, it’s a networking thing.’

‘Like social networking? Facebook is for tweens and stalkers.’

‘Like building contacts in the industry…’

‘Oh right,’ he exhales, straightening up on his milk-crate seat. ‘Hey have you got a spare two bucks? I’ve only got nine and I want another long neck.’

‘Sure,’ she says, handing over the money. ‘Well there’s Erotic Fan Fiction on the 28th at the Wheeler Centre, but it’s a gay and lesbian edition.’

He shrugs. ‘I’m open to that. Can’t shut out new experiences, you know. If it’s good enough for Bowie, it’s good enough for me.’


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