Adelaide Writers’ Week

  • Congratulations to Carol Lefevre!

    Wakefield Press is thrilled to announce that Carol Lefevre’s Quiet City: Walking through West Terrace Cemetery has been shortlisted in the Non-Fiction category of the 2018 Adelaide Festival Awards for literature. Winners in each category will be announced on Saturday 3 March in 2018 during Writers’ Week. Visit the Arts SA website to see the other shortlisted titles, and for more information on SA Writers’ Week.


    About Quiet City:

    I do not think that I believe in ghosts, but just for this morning, just for the time it will take to ramble through this quiet city under clouds the colour of tin, or of pigeons’ wings, I am going to believe in them.

    Ordinary lives are revealed as extraordinary, as Carol Lefevre traces the stories of West Terrace Cemetery’s little-known inhabitants: there is the tale of the man who fatally turned his back on a tiger, and the man who avoided one shipwreck only to perish in another; there is the story of the young woman who came home from a dance and drank belladonna, and those who died at the hands of one of South Australia’s most notorious abortionists.

    Said to be the most poetic place in Adelaide, in this heritage-listed burial ground the beginnings of the colony of South Australia are still within reach. Amid a sea of weather-bleached monuments, the excavated remains of Australia’s oldest crematorium can be seen, and its quietest corner shelters the country’s first dedicated military cemetery.

    From archives, and headstones, the author recovers histories that time and weather threaten to obliterate. Quiet City is a book for everyone who has ever wandered through an old graveyard and wished its stones could speak.

    Praise for Quiet City:

    ‘Lefevre’s touching, terrifying, courageous characters return to haunt us in this rich and companionable book – a treasure trove of social history and a fine writer’s personal reflection on death and living.’ – Nicholas Jose

    ‘[Lefevre] has done thorough research in the cemetery archives and state records, and then enlivened and enriched this information with a true story-teller’s gifts – an eye for vivid detail and a lyrical turn of phrase.’ – Jennifer Osborn,Transnational Literature

    Quiet City is available online and at our Mile End bookshop.


  • Looking back on Adelaide Writers’ Week

    Saturday is an exciting day for us at Wakefield, as it’s the first day of Adelaide Writers’ Week, every local bibliophile’s week of bliss.

    It’s even more special because we have two authors in the tents this year, with Mike Ladd kicking off proceedings Saturday morning, and Ken Bolton joining in on the fun on Tuesday. Aside from those on the programs, we also have plenty of authors chairing events: Nicholas Jose, Peter Monteath, Cath Kenneally and Peter Burdon, with Louise Nicholas reading poetry, too. What a good Wakefield crew!

    Writers’ Week has been around for a long time, and for many of us it’s hard now to remember our first sessions. From its beginnings as a festival specifically for writers in 1960, it gradually broadened to become a place for readers and writers alike.

    A quick poke around the interwebs dredges up a few of the old programs, for anyone feeling nostalgic! —

    Adelaide Writers' Week programs

    Clockwise from top left: the programs from this year, 1962, 1996, 1970, 1976, 1980, 2015, 2016 and 2014.

    Most of these images come straight from the Adelaide Festival website, but I tracked the 1980 program down on the State Library of SA’s amazing Adelaide Festival Pinterest collection (where would we be without SLSA??), and the 1962 program comes courtesy the Wheeler Centre.

    And, look, this is completely off topic, but it feels like a Velvet Underground kind of day, so I’ma share. Maybe there’s a comparison with bibliophiles looking for a hit. Maybe that’s a complete stretch …