The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

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.

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