Special Event: Wild Asparagus, Wild Strawberries

Wild Asparagus, Wild Strawberries

Cover of the book

France bewitched Barbara Santich as a student in the early 1970s. She vowed to return, and soon enough she did – with husband and infant twins in tow.

Wild Asparagus, Wild Strawberries tells the story of the magical two years that followed. Buoyed by naive enthusiasm, Barbara and her husband launched themselves into French village life, a world of winemaking, rabbit raising, cherry picking and exuberant 14 Juillet celebrations.

Here we see the awakening of Barbara Santich’s lifelong love affair with food history, and also a lost France, ‘when the 19th century almost touched hands with the 21st’. Shepherds still led their flocks to pasture each day and, even near the bustling towns, wild strawberries hid at the forest’s edge.

 

 

I drank Normandy farmhouse cider, ate strawberries dipped in red wine then sugar, and tasted truffles and soft goat cheeses for the first time. I returned to Australia inspired to become a food writer.

Join us for the launch of Wild Asparagus, Wild Strawberries: Two years in France at the Wakefield Press bookshop on Saturday May 5. The afternoon will begin at 2 pm and end at 5pm, with the book being launched by Amanda McInerny early in the afternoon.

Drinks and light nibbles will be provided, and you can enjoy 20% off all Wakefield Press titles (excluding Wild Asparagus, Wild Strawberries).

Please RSVP by Monday April 30 to maddy@wakefieldpress.com.au

If you are unable to attend the launch, but wish to purchase a copy of the book, you can visit us at our Mile End bookshop or find the book online.

Thanks to Coriole Vineyards and Woodside Cheese Wrights for their kind donations and support of Wakefield Press.

Book Extract: Big Rough Stones

Big Rough Stones

front cover of Big Rough Stones

Cover of the book

They surged across King William Street, around and up onto the bronze Boer War horseman at the corner of North Terrace. Ro linked arms with the woman next to her. ‘Take the toys from the boys’, they sang. The hero almost disappeared under a festoon of women, but clung valiantly to his rifle, bronze upper lip stiff. It was his horse who looked most horrified.

Meet Ro at thirty-something. She is committed to cures for every ill from monogamy to orange armpit fungus. Her ambitions are passionate, her energy boundless, her intentions generally good …

Thirty years later, are the edges any smoother?

‘You thought feminism would stop violence against women,’ said Julia. ‘And that would stop war. And stop people trashing the Earth. You tried.’

‘Not alone,’ said Ro modestly. ‘I had help.’

This is a story of community, friendship, sisterhood, and the coming of age that continues all our lives.

Read an extract of Big Rough Stones below.

The Farm

The road was narrower now and soon began to twist. Trees met overhead. Valleys, green with tree ferns, fell away beside the car. They turned off onto a dirt road that became little more than a track through a gap in the towering forest. Gerry stopped the ute in front of a battered wooden gate.

‘I’ll do it,’ said Ro, reaching for the door handle.

‘I’d better. It’s a bit temperamental.’ Gerry jumped out and Ro watched as she unlatched the gate and lifted it slightly so that it could swing. The gate posts stuck out at odd angles. Ro wound down her window and breathed in the late afternoon air, eucalypt, a touch of smoke and a dark coolness that would be mist in the hollows by nightfall.

‘I’ll have to go straight over to Steve’s and see what’s happening with Lark. Might have to borrow Steve’s float to bring her back.’ Gerry looked up at the sky, gauging the angle of the sun. ‘Or maybe wait till morning for that. But I have to go and see. Thought you could stay here and get the fire going. It’ll be cold tonight.’

‘Okay.’

The track wound round the side of a steep hill through orchard trees, bright green against the dark background of the forest. They passed a clutter of sheds and curved round to a cup-shaped hollow in the hillside.

‘Here we are,’ Gerry said, voice nervous. ‘I’m still working on it.’

It was a small fibro shack with a chimney pipe sticking out the top. Nothing was square or symmetrical. On one side a lean-to slid down into an apple tree. On the other side a smaller shack was connected by a roofed-in walkway. All three structures were propped up by tanks. The overall effect was fungal, a strange grey mushroom that had sprung from the hillside and was now subsiding back into it again.

But this was not an abandoned ruin. When Ro looked more closely she could see evidence of loving attention. One side of the main shack had been opened out, the wall replaced with stained glass windows at various heights. In front of the house one of the few flat areas had been paved with old bricks. Garden table and chairs had been painted a neat green.

‘It’s beautiful,’ Ro said, moved by the signs of careful work, prepared to embrace any amount of rustic charm.

Gerry eased the tarp off the back of the ute and lifted their packs out.

‘Dot and Maria live the other side of the hill. There a track to their place further along the road. You’ll see tomorrow.’

The house was not locked. Gerry pointed out a basket of kindling, chopped wood and the old Metters stove.

‘What say you light the stove? I won’t be long,’ she said. ‘Oh, and I’ll bring Hester back. Okay?’

Without waiting for an answer she backed out. Ro heard the engine cough into life and the ute recede up the track. She sank into the one armchair. Hester? She, Ro, must have made a mistake. This wasn’t a seduction scene at all, not with someone called Hester staying here as well. The space was tiny.

Surely she hadn’t made the live-in girlfriend mistake? One of the worst in the available range of seduction mistakes, most of which Ro had made. The very worst was to come on to a woman, assuming she was a dyke, and find she was straight. The discovery of a live-in girlfriend wasn’t as bad as that, but disappointing enough.

Her radar couldn’t be that faulty. She and Gerry hadn’t actually discussed it, but none of the signs pointed to a live-in lover. And everyone she’d asked had spoken of Gerry as if she was single.

Now that she came to think about it, Ro wasn’t sure that she herself had mentioned Sascha. That would have to be dealt with. She dismissed the idea quickly. Tomorrow.

Another thought struck her. Could Hester be a daughter? Ro’s heart sank. That would be worse than anything. Gerry looked an unlikely sort for a mother, but who could tell?

Ro jumped to her feet and pushed open the door of the lean-to. Bathroom. And a window in the right place so that you could sit in the bath and look out into the branches of a tree. A chip heater, but no toilet. Must be outside.

She crossed the main room to the walkway and passed through into the one bedroom. The bed was a chipboard platform on milk crates with a mattress on top. No sign of toys or kids’ clothes. Oh well. She’d find out soon enough.

Big Rough Stones is Margaret’s third book with Wakefield Press. Margaret’s previous novel, The First Week (2013) won the Unpublished Manuscript Award at Adelaide Writers’ Week, and then was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award, the NSW Premier’s Award and the Onkaparinga People’s Choice Award. In 2014, Wakefield Press published her Fables Queer and Familiar, illustrated by Chia Moan. The ‘Fables’ started out as an online serial and they have also been broadcast around the country as a radio serial.

Join us for the launch of Big Rough Stones by Chia Moan at The Joinery on Friday 13 April from 6pm. If you are unable to attend the launch, but would like a copy of the book, visit us at our Rose street bookshop or find it online.

A Royal Murder Extract

A Royal Murder cover

Cover of the book

A macabre murder during the Women’s Australian Open golf tournament at one of Australia’s most prestigious golf courses sees food and wine journalist and amateur golfer Rebecca Keith on the murder trail once more. Fortunately, Rebecca’s sleuthing takes her on a journey of eating and drinking through many of Adelaide’s bars and restaurants. Little does Rebecca know that her visits to nearby Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island will reveal clues that will become crucial in the hunt for a killer.

A Royal Murder, a light-hearted thriller full of intrigue and betrayal, features a full cast of eccentric characters set against the rich backdrop of South Australia and its lush food and wine culture.

Read an extract of the book below, as our heroine, Rebecca Keith, is first on the scene of a grisly discovery at the Royal Adelaide golf course.

The Adelaide-to-Grange Line

Rebecca had drunk more than she should have. When the phone alarm went off at five o’clock, she had to stop herself from flinging it across the room. She listened to the news and weather on the radio.

She couldn’t face breakfast and instead spent the extra time in the shower.

It was just before seven o’clock as she walked alongside the railway tracks at Royal Adelaide, heading to her position on the second tee. The course was again bathed in a golden glow. Her footsteps left imprints on the fairway still damp from the overnight watering.

Rebecca heard the train’s whistle, signalling it was about to pull off from the Seaton Park station. She could hear the ding of the boom gates. Within a couple of minutes, she saw the train in the distance as it emerged from the bushes by the fence line and started its journey alongside the fairway. Rebecca was surprised when she heard the train’s whistle again. It startled her. Something was wrong. The train only whistled as it approached walk-crossings on the golf course, and it wouldn’t be approaching one for a few hundred metres. It shouldn’t be sounding its whistle now, nor should it be putting on its brakes. She could tell by the screeching that the train was stopping hard. Rebecca looked along the tracks and spotted a large red duffle-like bag sitting squarely in the train’s path. There wasn’t enough time to stop. She watched as the red bag was flung aside, rolled down the embankment, and came to rest just on the edge of the fairway.

Rebecca stood up and started to jog toward the train. Before she reached it, the driver jumped out of the cab and ran toward the red bag. He looked distressed. Within moments, Rebecca was standing next to him and they were both looking at a bloodied, severed arm lying a couple of metres from the torn bag. The duffle bag appeared to be made from expensive silk, embossed with what Rebecca thought was Chinese calligraphy. She was in no doubt the rest of the body was in the bag. The protruding bloodied leg was a giveaway.

‘Oh my God,’ moaned the train driver as he lowered himself to a crouch on the ground, resting his head in his hands. Rebecca was pretty sure whoever was in the bag was dead, but she needed to know for certain. She walked up to it, undid the drawstring at the top, and gently lowered the silk to uncover the victim’s lacerated face. Rebecca stared. The glazed lifeless eyes appeared to be gazing up to the sky. Rebecca not only knew the victim was dead, she also knew who it was.

The first in the series, The Popeye Murder

Join us at the Beetson Lounge at Grange golf club at 1.00 pm on Tuesday 13 February for the launch of A Royal Murder, in conjunction with the re-release of the first Rebecca Keith mystery, The Popeye Murder. If you cannot attend the launch, but would like to purchase a copy of the books, they can be found on our website, coming soon!

New Release: Valour and Violets

cover of Valour and Violets by Robert Kearney and Sharon Cleary

Cover of the book

Valour and Violets, the latest release from Wakefield Press, is a meticulously researched catalogue of the stories of hundreds of South Australians who gave their country everything.

Close to 35,000 South Australians enlisted for service overseas during the Great War. Around 5500 never came back. Countless more returned with physical and psychological injuries that would affect them for the rest of their lives.

Valour and Violets brings together for the first time the stories of the campaigns and battles in which South Australians served, set against the backdrop of the South Australian home front. Here are the stories of Frederick Prentice, the first of three Indigenous South Australians to be awarded the Military Medal; Thomas Baker, the gunner who became an ace pilot; and Sister Margaret Graham, awarded the Royal Red Cross for her contribution to army nursing. Here too are lesser known stories, such as that of Alexandrina Seager, who formed the Cheer-Up Society back home and worked every single day during the war, despite losing her youngest son at Gallipoli. Or Clara Weaver of Rosewater, who not only lost five sons to the war but also her husband, George, who died at home before the war ended.

Drawing on the work of the many who have written on the subject previously,Valour and Violets provides a wholly South Australian perspective on the impact of the Great War on individuals, on families and on our state’s coastal, regional, and outback communities.

Read an Extract >>

Copies are available online, and from our bookshop in Mile End.

Special thanks to Veterans SA.

New Release: The Day They Shot Edward

Front cover of The Day They Shot Edward

Cover of the book

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.

Both The Day They Shot Edward and Hunger Town are available for purchase online, or at our bookshop in Mile End.

Love your Bookshop Day

‘What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.’

― Neil Gaiman

In an age of Internet sales a humble bookshop could seem archaic. In a march to digitise and automate, something so small as a bookshop could be considered an afterthought. Yet, those of us who frequent shelves and bookstalls, who know of other lives and worlds and realms within pages, we know a bookshop is more. It is the soul of a place, wherever that place may be, and the heart of a community.

This Saturday 12 August marks Love your Bookshop Day, an occasion that invites anyone to celebrate his or her local bookshop, with events and programs throughout Australia. Drop into your local this Saturday to support and celebrate what makes your bookshop special.

A taste of the events happening around Adelaide:

  • Booked at North Adelaide has a giant book raffle (drawn at 4 pm)
  • Dillons Norwood Bookshop has book readings (2 pm), face-painting and giveaways
  • Imprints Booksellers on Hindley Street has countless of activities and prizes
  • Matilda Bookshop in Stirling has book-buying advice from authors, an illustrator in residence and a competition for a stack of books
  • Mostly Books in Mitcham will be championing a young writers group along with raffles and more

And of course we are open with our Mile End store, 1 – 5 pm. All books are 3 for 2 (cheapest book free) with a free cat or dog book bag if you spend over $75. We have an I Love My Dog and My Dog Loves Me book giveaway as well.

Fifty – Australian Dance Theatre

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 heart Radio Adelaide

Just a reminder (on this lovely, not-too-hot Monday) of how great Radio Adelaide is.

Diana Chessell, author of Adelaide’s Dissenting Headmaster, was interviewed by the very well-spoken and engaging Ewart Shaw on Sunday. Listen to their fascinating conversation on John Lorenzo Young here.

<em>Adelaide's Dissenting Headmaster<em> launch

Meanwhile, Mag Merrilees continues her instalments of Fables Queer and Familiar at Radio Adelaide, all of which are available here.

And then there have been interviews with Kate Strohm, Dino Hodge, Janis Sheldrick and Phil Butterss – just in the last year!

Radio Adelaide was Australia’s first ever community radio station, founded by the University of Adelaide in 1972. With over 400 volunteers helping them run the show, they have numerous awards to their name and keep the conversation about art, politics and current events going with some damn fine music in between.

Keep up the good work, guys. It’s very much appreciated. Read more about Radio Adelaide here, and have a browse through their podcasts here.

Wakefield Press has MOVED HOME

Sorry about the absence without leave, guys, but we’ve been pretty darn busy over here —

As some of you will be aware by now, Wakefield Press has moved!

Rose St flags

Through the doorway there you can see our epically cool new conference room (cheers Liz!)

We were the cool kids on the block in Kent Town for twenty-five years, and it’s an area that we will always love dearly.

Sometimes, though, it’s time for a change. A new place. More storage space. A shake-up, if you will.

And we’d been admiring the energy of the west side of town for so long …

So, update your rolodexes! Tell your friends! Recommend some boutique beers from the Wheaty!

Empty office

Check out all this natural light, guys!

Our new address is 16 Rose St, Mile End, and you can give us a call on (08) 8352 4455.

Bookshop is now open and – as always – we’d love to see your smiling faces.


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7 steps of publishing

One of the things that constantly surprises in this industry, is how little most people actually know about the publishing process. While we’d all like to pretend that the book is written, a wand is waved and then it’s ready to hit the shops, the process is actually a little more laborious than that.

So here, in the time-honoured tradition of digestible seven-point guides, is Wakefield Press’s seven steps of publishing:

1. Write the book

Step one is, of course, deceptively simple. Harness your inner genius, find that moment of divine inspiration, dust off those shoeboxes of notes in the attic, sit impotent in front of a blank screen for days in a row – do whatever it is you’ve got to do! But by the time you come to us, there should be a complete manuscript in your hot little hands. We can’t write it for you (also, surely that would take the fun out of the thing?).

<em>Throes of Creation</em> by Leonid Pasternak

Wait, did we say fun? We meant existential torture.

2. Find the right publisher

Again, a deceptively simple step. It can be hard to know what publisher would be right for you, so a good rule of thumb is to check who published any of the books that are similar to yours – or any of your favourites of the genre you’re writing in. Most publishers have a website (like this little guy here) where you can check out what they’ve been producing. Judging from Wakefield Press’s website (and a little insider knowledge) I’d say that submitting to WP for SA history, cookbooks or art books would be a good idea. Children’s books, on the other hand, aren’t generally our bag. Spend a bit of time researching for this step!

3. Get signed

Perhaps the hardest of the lot. Was it Fitzgerald who had a wall full of rejection slips? And we all know that Harry Potter didn’t get picked up first go. It’s tough out there! Some people go through a literary agent, others slog it out alone. Either way it’s important to remember to remain polite and well organised. Try your best to follow the guideline submissions, and where something hasn’t been specified, just use your common sense. Turnaround times are typically along the lines of weeks or months, rather than days, so give it a good space of time before you consider calling to follow up. Once the publishers have expressed interest, you’ll have a few discussions to negotiate contracts, for which the Australian Society of Authors have a very nifty contract guide to help you out.

4. Editing

This is where the fun is at! Your work will most probably be structurally and copy edited, meaning that it will be shaped to bring out the best in the structure as well as being checked for typos etc. It’s common to feel protective at this point, but anyone who’s had a good edit will tell you it’s entirely pleasurable. A good editor will bring out the best in your work and make it look like no big deal at all.

Editing

Entirely pleasurable …

5. Typesetting

Everyone’s hung up on the design of a book, and tends to forget about the critical step that takes place before designing: typesetting. The term typesetting is a hangover from the time when every line of type had to literally be set in a press before publication. These days, the term refers to the process of laying out and styling a document so that the text will flow correctly once it has been designed. This means making sure your paragraphs are placed correctly and differentiated from your headings, subheadings, dot points, inset quotes …

Metal movable type

Ah, the good old days, when everything was painfully time-consuming.

6. Design

Have you seen the Chip Kidd TED talk?? He designed the Jurassic Park book! So cool! And book design is a damn cool area. We’ve all heard not to judge books by their covers – but we totally do, and the designers are totally aware of it. At WP, we consult with our authors over cover design, to make sure we come up with a cover that everyone’s happy with. This is how everyone will picture your book for years to come – you wanna get that stuff right!

7. Printing

And now the fun part. So far, it’s just been an idea. But at a certain point, all the word files, all the look-and-feel docs, all the tracked changes and all of the blood, sweat and tears need to become something concrete. The files get sent off and, a few weeks later, a truck backs up to our warehouse with pallets of glorious books. (The smell. The freshness of them. The purity. There’s nothing like a pallet of brand new books.)

At this point, we send the books out to the bookshops and then the punters come rolling in!