Wendy Scarfe’s second novel, The Day They Shot Edward, tells a tale of a family in turmoil, set against the political mess of the First World War. Told from the perspective of a nine-year-old Matthew, the narration has an air of innocence, making the horrors of what is to come all the more confronting.
About the book:
It is 1916. The Australian community is riven over a referendum to conscript more troops for the killing fields of Europe. Nine-year-old Matthew’s family, divided politically and sinking into poverty, reflects the social conflict. Handsome, generous Edward is at the centre of the family friction. Gran hates the war as Edward does, Mother flirts with him to escape the misery of her marriage, and young Matthew adores him.
As patriotic frenzy takes hold, police informers spy on Edward and track his anti-conscription activities. Sabotage and anarchism are meaningless words to Matthew. Absorbed in childhood fantasies, he is unaware that he too is helping draw the net around Edward. It is left to Matthew’s German headmaster to teach him that, like music, people grow with love.
Praise for The Day They Shot Edward:
‘The Day They Shot Edward is a beautiful and compassionate story. The deep sense of mystery and heightened awareness of emotion, which are the spiritual gifts of the child, become lenses for examining fundamental issues of life, death, peace, and what it means to love.’ – Di Bretherton
Praise for Wendy Scarfe’s Hunger Town:
‘A powerful evocation of an era which is soon to lose the last of its witnesses … trust me, it is a compelling page-turner; it’s riveting reading.’ – Lisa Hill, ANZ Litlovers
The Day They Shot Edward is being launched at Brightbird Espresso in Warrnambool on Tuesday 13 February. For more information, visit our website.
It’s difficult to know how to begin talking about a book as beautiful as this. Tracing Australian Dance Theatre’s often tumultuous and always interesting fifty-year history, Fifty contains interviews, archival research, and stunning photography.
Did you think I was exaggerating?
Read an excerpt below, or find out more about the book here.
The beginnings of Australian Dance Theatre were radical, daring and new. The company was created in Adelaide, South Australia in 1965 with a vision to support Australian dancers, choreographers, composers, and musicians, as well as visual and other associated artists. We planned to pioneer contemporary dance throughout Australia and across the world. Through our dance we wanted to inspire people everywhere with the philosophies of the modern art movement that encouraged an awakening in consciousness and an honouring of our shared humanity.
By 1970 ADT had become a visible force in the theatrical landscape of Australia and was considered to be the national contemporary dance company. How did we do this? In the beginning ADT accepted every opportunity to perform – in theatres, outdoor venues, fashion parades, social functions, school halls and on television talent shows. I constantly sought performance opportunities locally, nationally and internationally, and during the first 10 years we presented regular seasons in Adelaide, toured regionally throughout South Australia, and made regular tours to Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Brisbane and regional Queensland and Tasmania. Additionally, the company presented dance workshops, lecture demonstrations, forums and some of the first dance-ineducation programs in Australia, quickly building up audiences for modern dance. Company records for 1971–1973, for example, show that the number of performance attendees was over 58,000. Records show that the number of performances varied each year, ranging between 68 and 173 in the years 1965 to 1975.
It was a struggle all the way, but I believed passionately in the validity of dance as a powerful art form and an essential part of our humanity. I saw the modern art movement as a vehicle for the expression of contemporary ideas and hoped that it would help lift Australia out of its colonial stagnation. I also believed that modern dance was an excellent way for Australian dancers and choreographers to express themselves as artists, particularly as Australian artists. Through all of its work ADT contributed greatly to the exciting revolutionary social changes that were happening during the 1960s and 1970s both in Australia and internationally. The fruits of the seeds sown by the company in those years are still visible today in both professional dance and educational arenas.
Founder of ADT, Elizabeth Cameron Dalman
(Photos top to bottom: Creation. 1969. Dancers: Bert Terborgh, Jennifer Barry, Roc Ta-peng Lei. Choreographer: Elizabeth Cameron Dalman. Photo: Jan Dalman. This Train, 1966, photo taken 1970. Dancers, left to right: Cheryl Stock, Bert Terborgh, Delwyn Rouse, Elizabeth Cameron Dalman, Jennifer Barry, Neville Burns. Choreographer: Elizabeth Cameron Dalman. Photo: Jan Dalman. Be Your Self. Dancer: Troy Honeysett. Photo: Chris Herzfeld, Camlight Productions.)
We had so many wonderful entries for our January newsletter’s Summer Rose Giveaway, thank you all for taking the time to send us your beautiful roses.
We all agreed, however, that the $250 Wakefield Press voucher should go to Ray Tyndale who sent in this lyrical, floral poem:
scant apologies to Tennyson!
Come my poppy
Fling open your flaming petals
Give to me your black heart.
Come my pansy
Toss back your knowing head
Share with me your secret thoughts.
Come my rose
Fill the air with your pungency
I will swim in your scented sea.
Come into the garden
My poppy, my pansy, my darling rose
Entwine with me.
The sun shall succour your black heart
The moon will keep your secret thoughts
And I will drown.
If you would like to keep up to date with Wakefield Press on goings and win prizes, why not subscribe to our email newsletter? Sign up here today!
Music writer, bookseller and history buff Robert Brokenmouth paints a picture of the man and the circumstance behind the classic war novel, 101 Nights by Ray Ollis.
The night [was] whirling about them, tossing them easily on its powerful way… Their throttles were open now, straining against the storm. Hyde checked his petrol, checked his watch, and cast a troubled glance over his shoulder looking for the dawn. If this weather strengthened, the day might find them still over Europe. (101 Nights)
101 Nights is, as far as I can tell, the first book, fiction or otherwise, to accurately address most of the issues connected with the bombing of Germany during WWII, issues which became more distorted for decades after the end of the war. 101 Nights tells the story of Ray Ollis’s squadron, 101, and its operations over the skies of Occupied Europe, by night and by day.
In our September newsletter, we ran a giveaway for Ivor Hele and asked entrants to tell us about their favourite holiday destination. We just had to share this amazing response sprinkled with historic family photos from our prize winner, Meg.
A place where I have spent many wonderful holidays is Myponga Beach on the Fleurieu Peninsula. It’s a beautiful blend of rural ‘Southern Mount Lofty’ landscapes along with a crescent bay which can be so calm and benign at times, yet thrilling in its energy when the winds and tides change. As a child I walked to the nearby farm to buy milk, cream and eggs. We were “in another world” yet able to look across the sea to the twinkling lights of Aldinga – now much more extended – and the peaks of Mount Lofty. How privileged we were!
There is a long family history from my great grandparents’ time down there; many photographs; and it is the place where I first gained a childhood awareness of the aboriginal culture – artefacts having been found in the sandhills which were once a burial ground.