Brisbane Writers Festival 2021

The Brisbane Writers Festival is back — and done for the year (it’s staying in May, now, and next year is the 60th anniversary). It was lovely to see people again, and sketch in the cafe, and listen to talks on history and life, poetry and family.

Of course, sketching in the SLQ cafe mostly means sketching ibises

I (with Flyaway, although I got in a tangential reference to Travelogues!) was on the “Magic and Myth” panel with Krissy Kneen (The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen) + Tabitha Bird (The Emporium of the Imagination) + Melissa Ashley (The Bee and the Orange Tree).

The Three Burials of Lotty KneenFlyawayThe Emporium of the ImaginationThe Bee and the Orange Tree

Krissy ran a great discussion on three very different books (a novel of murder trials and fairy tale salons in 1699 Paris; a tale of a magical store that arrives by night in a Queensland town and heals sorrow; an Australian Gothic story of secrets and things in the trees; and Krissy’s memoir of searching through Australia, Slovenia, and Egypt for the true history of her grandmother). But there were many common elements too — secrets and generations, loss and what we cling to instead, and stories told and believed in different ways.

I usually have difficulty remembering what happened on a panel, but many people said lovely things about it afterwards, and there were some excellent questions.

I do remember one question on how you judge the parameters of magic/myth when writing it into a ‘real-world’ story. We all had different answers, of course — the fairytales in Melissa’s novel were specifically contained and retold within a historical, non-fantastic setting; Tabitha followed a theme and let the elements grow; I talked about (a) developing an ear for certain types of stories, so you can hear when you strike a false note, and (b) letting the magical elements sit in the setting/story until they start to change each other — and following the consequences.

There was another question, too, on the purpose/use of myth and fairytale. Melissa was specifically dealing with the way fairytales were used to communicate and argue around the restrictions of a society and royal censorship. Tabitha was using them as a way to allow the processing of grief and loss, and the preservation of what is mourned. I spoke about their usefulness as a template, because I find it more organic to use a fairy tale as a structural key than to think about acts and arcs — that’s a matter of familiarity and ease. But I also got onto another favourite topic, about how there are points in time where people sort of agree on how certain stories are to be told (you see it when artists agree what the basic cat should look like, which makes medieval cat drawings look implausible, until you meet cats who look just like them). I find that having a sheaf of alternative templates (fairy tales, for me) lets me shake those ideas loose, and look at them in a different light. So, for example, people are starting to tell post-lockdown stories, and those are starting to converge. But you could pick any number of fairy tales and retell the story through that: “Rapunzel” is an obvious one, but “Little Red Riding Hood” would work just as well (the year that was eaten by a wolf), or even Cinderella — I had just broken new shoes in at the start of 2020, and now I’m having all sorts of problems wearing them again.

I did make it to a few other panels! A few standouts were the First and Last Word bookends, Ellen van Neerven‘s talks, “The World’s Biggest Survival Story” (Melissa LucashenkoBruce PascoeLisa Fuller and Thomas Mayor). And then of course so many wonderful conversations in the green room and the cafe, at signing tables and over drinks.

A particularly memorable panel I went to was “Out of the Wreckage”, in which Kelly Higgins-Devine interviewed Margaret Cook’s A River with a City Problem: A History of Brisbane Floods and Jamie Simmonds’ Rising from the Flood: Moving the Town of Grantham. I still have very vivid memories of the 2011 floods (as well as being cut off, I’d started at the Department of Transport and Main Roads just days before they happened, and since something like 95% of the state’s transport networks were affected by that year’s rains, it was a crash course in the department’s responsibilities!), and was tangentially involved with some of the Grantham relocation. It was a vivid and compelling discussion (and surprisingly entertaining), so I am looking forward to reading these two.

November calendar: house plants

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: paypal.me/tanaudel
Further note: Travelogues: vignettes from trains in motion is out now to buy from Brain Jar Press and most of the usual online places, and is also just the right size to post to people who like words and trains and travel. And Flyaway, my Australian Gothic debut, is also out now for purchase (Tor.com and Picador).

I — possibly alone in my generation — have not acquired any house plants this year. But people won’t stop talking about them, and they started creeping into my thoughts.

There are a few tangential allusions in here, as well as some plants I just wanted to draw.

And here (for personal use) are the printable versions. If you like them and/or like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or through the tip jar at paypal.me/tanaudel.

Storied Imaginarium — fairy tale salon

The Storied Imaginarium is launching its new fairy tale salon series this month. On Friday (September 25 in the U.S. & Canada)/Saturday (September 26 in Australia), Edit: Friday October 9 in the US and Saturday October 10 in Australia I’ll be joining salon facilitators Carina Bissett and Nike Sulway for their first online fairy tale salon!

The salon includes a reading from Flyaway, an interview, a Q&A session, and a writing game. The salon is strictly limited to 20 guests, and is $US30.00 ($US25.00 for members of The Storied Imaginarium). You can sign up on their site today!

The Beauty and Horror of Fairy Tales

Olivia Brown of the University of Queensland’s School of Communication & Arts interviewed me about my writing (including but not limited to Flyaway), illustration, and research, and wrote this lovely long article (with lots of pictures):

The Beauty and Horror of Fairy Tales

July Calendar: Sew a fine seam

Note: This calendar is supported by patrons, who get it a little bit early, along with other sneak-peeks and behind-the-scenes art: patreon.com/tanaudel, and also by those very kind people who throw a few dollars towards it via the tip jar: paypal.me/tanaudel

For July, here are threads and bobbins and awls and wax, and the daily tools so often adjacent to fairy tales: bodkins for poisoned lacings, winders to hold the thread for clues, needles and pins to choose your path by…

There are no scissors, because I wanted this to tie in to the scissors calendar from November last year. I kept the colour scheme, but added pink (for the clover flowers and other details). And I’ve had a few requests for a repeating pattern for the scissors, so I’ll try to do both at once. I’ll let you know when they’re up. In the meantime, both this design and Scissors are up on Redbubble as prints, masks, cushions, etc.

And here (for personal use) are the printable versions. If you like them and like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early) at patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at US$1/month!) or through the tip jar at paypal.me/tanaudel.

More legs than strictly necessary

“I had a little pony,
His coat was dapple grey
…”

To make nursery rhymes creepy, usually only a slight wilful misinterpretation is necessary.

An additional leg here or there.

The slight twist that makes the familiar uncanny.

“… I lent him to a lady
To ride a mile away.

March Calendar: Giants

March-calendar-detail1

The March calendar (supported by patrons, who get it early, and you can too) is gargantuan.

March-calendar-art-lowres

They are perhaps a little more trollish than gianty, but they’re my giants.

think my favourite is the mountain giant just waking up. But I also like the one that just found a dragon.

(If you’re a fan of giants, sea-serpents, or remarkably strong and beautiful ladies, here’s an Irish fairy tale in a series Katherine Langrish is sharing on her site, Seven Miles of Steel Thistles: “Simon and Margaret”).

I was playing around with textures digitally in this one — some spare ink washes from when I did the City of Bones 10th anniversary edition illustrations. It’s a little more directional than I’d like but it was, by then, about 1 in the morning. Here is what the colours look like, without lines.

March-calendar-detail2

And here (for personal use) are the printable versions. If you like them and like supporting the arts, you can contribute to the calendar (and get it and other behind-the-scenes things early at) patreon.com/tanaudel (starts at $1/month!) or through the tip jar at paypal.me/tanaudel.

March calendar colour-blogresMarch calendar lines

February Foxes

February-Calendar-Art-Low-Res

Welcome to February, and a busy crew of librarian foxes, foxes in libraries, and general bookishness!

This calendar is brought to you, as usual, with the support of patrons on patreon.com/tanaudel, and if you’d care to see art and calendars early through that and help them happen, please feel very free to check out patreon or toss a few coins in the jar through paypal.me/tanaudel.

February-Calendar-Detail1

I’m hoping these sketches will turn into a bigger project, and I’ll put a repeating pattern up on Redbubble and Spoonflower as soon as I can (I’ve been out of action for a few weeks and am now scrambling to deal wth deadlines). I have put it up on Redbubble as a printLibrary Foxes, but there’s a bit of tinkering involved to make it repeat pleasantly.

In the meantime, below for your personal February-planning purposes, are the printable pre-coloured and colour-sheet versions of the calendar. (And of course, a tip through patreon or paypal.me never goes astray).

February Calendar Colour blogFebruary Calendar Lines blog

Be Bold prints

The original of the Be Bold, Be Bold paper-cut design has sold, but the white-on-black print is available on Redbubble, as an art print or other things (e.g. a hardback notebook which I think looks rather striking).

BeBold-Redbubble.jpg

The other, more fox-centric, “Be Bold” (originally a calendar page) is also available as a print, etc, too.

BeBold2-redbubble

 

South of the Sun

A new anthology of new Australian fairy tales is being crowdfunded by the Australian Fairy Tale Society, and my story “On Pepper Creek”, about a stowaway (of sorts) will be in it.

SouthOfTheSunCover

It will also have a cover by Lorena Carrington, and stories by such as Sophie Masson, Carmel Bird, Eugen Bacon, and Cate Kennedy — and more!

The Pozible campaign runs until 12 December (I think — I’m in a different timezone at the moment).

It is still open for submissions until 13 December 2019 (but although it is a paying market, there is a submission fee, so just be aware of that).