THE OVERFLOW ROSEMARY SORENSEN
NAOMI Wolf headlines the Perth Writers Festival but the authors we’re tipping to provide surprises are Nathan Englander ( For the Relief of Unbearable Urges , The Ministry of Special Cases ), Cullen Murphy ( Are We Rome? , editor of Vanity Fair ) and Maureen Freely ( The Life of the Party , translator of Orhan Pamuk’s Snow). Also on the program for the February 22- 24 event is Kate Forsyth, who has no fewer than five books ( parts two to six of her Chain of Charms series) short- listed for the Aurealis Awards, the winners of which will be announced in Brisbane on Australia Day. Yes, that’s a weird day to announce literary awards, but Aurealis is all about weird ( well, science fiction, fantasy and horror, at any rate). IRFAN Yusuf’s Once Were Radicals , which won the Iremonger Award for writing on public issues, will be published by Allen & Unwin. Yusuf, a regular reviewer for these books pages, was born in Pakistan, spent his childhood in Sydney, was educated in Karachi, the US and Australia, gained an economics and law degree from Macquarie University, and was a Liberal Party candidate for local and federal elections: no wonder judge Kate Crawford called Once Were Radicals a ‘‘ story for our times’’. Also a story for our times is the runner- up for the award, which Allen & Unwin will also publish next year: that’s Paula Shaw’s Eight Streets: Two Years in Aurukun . BEEN everywhere? Done everything? Bet you haven’t done the Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains , a book written by Georgann Eubanks that describes day walks. Not only can you follow the William Bartram Trail, walking in the footsteps of Charles Frazier’s Inman from Cold Mountain , you can also stay at the Nu Wray Inn in Burnsville, choosing, according to your taste, to experience the bed allegedly slept in by Mark Twain or Elvis Presley. Celo, where Anne Tyler apparently lived for a brief time, is also part of the enticements. ( Memo for last- minute Christmas giftbuyers: Tyler is tops and Digging to America is now in paperback.) A LIBRARIAN at a public library in Ohio was jailed for 10 days for stealing. First editions? Lavish encyclopedias? No, chairs. Could have been worse. She could have been filching computers. ■ overflow@ theaustralian. com. au WHICH literary festival would an author most like to be invited to? The Rund um die Burg sounds like a good one. It’s held in a tent outside the Burgtheater in Vienna and is a 24- hour nonstop reading program. Peter Goldsworthy was the feature author at this year’s event, following the translation into German of his Maestro , which is also celebrating its 200,000th copy. Took a while ( 18 years) for Goldsworthy’s piano teacher to return to his home in Vienna, but the author says it was worth the wait. ‘‘ The reviews were absurdly over the top,’’ he complains. INDIGENOUS Literacy Day ( September 3) has received a boost from a bunch of barristers in NSW. They’ve added $ 65,000 to the project, which focuses on literacy for children in remote communities, almost doubling the fundraising goal for 2008. More info at www. worldwithoutbooks. org.