Monthly Archives

January 2010

17 January 2010

MEGUMI AND THE BEAR

Megumi has only one wish. For the bear to come back.

Published by Walker Books, Megumi and the Bear is a heartwarming story about friendship. Written by Irma Gold and illustrated by Craig Phillips, Megumi and the Bear is for children aged 3+. For more information visit Walker Books.

Buy Megumi and the Bear from bookstores in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, or online here.

Praise for Megumi and the Bear
Gold’s understated text is beautifully crafted, while Phillips’ muted illustrations are endearing…There is a wonderful mix of warmth and pathos, heartache and joy in this delightful book.  The Canberra Times

A moving story of sadness and healing.  Bookseller+Publisher

This is a divinely sweet story about friendship and the power of hope. Gold’s text is warmly and beautifully written.  Kids Book Review  (read full review here)

Charming and whimsical…a book that adults as well as kids will enjoy.  HerCanberra

A beautiful story about friendship and a child‘s longing written with warmth and care, and with wonderful illustrations.  New Kidz Books in Oz

Megumi and the Bear is a gorgeous book…about friendship, loss, time and memory.  Whispering Gums (read full review here)

An utterly charming love story.  Barbie Robinson, ArtSound FM

A tenderly portrayed tale of friendship and an opportunity to talk about feelings of loss and partingRed Reading Hub

The snowy setting in this picture book for young children is refreshing…The depiction of snow naturally creates white space on the page that allows gaps in explicit content and encourages imaginations to open…Irma Gold’s text is as thoughtful as Craig Phillips’ illustrations. The language is sensory, daisies wound around themselves, and at times metaphorical, a star falls towards her like a flower…This tale of friendship could also be a possible resource when considering the Australian curriculum’s focus on Asia.  Magpies magazine

Selected links
Download classroom ideas for Megumi and the Bear here.
Read an interview with Irma about Megumi and the Bear’s strange journey to publication in the Age here.
Read about Megumi’s Canberra launch here and Sydney launch here.
Read about the importance of picture books (including the story of Megumi and the Bear) in the Sydney Morning Herald here.

Listen to ABC Radio’s Alex Sloan interview Irma about Megumi and the Bear:

1 January 2010

THE BREAKING

Out 1 March 2021

Hannah Bird has just arrived in Thailand. Disoriented and out of her depth, she meets Deven, a fierce and gutsy Australian expat who sweeps her into thrilling adventures rescuing elephants.

As they head deeper and deeper into the fraught world of elephant tourism, their lives become tangled in ways Hannah never imagined. But how far will they go to save a life?

Hannah is about to make a critical decision from which there will be no turning back, with shattering consequences.

The Breaking is an extraordinary debut. Sharply observed and richly vivid, it is an intensely moving story about the magnetic bond between two young women and the enduring cost of animal exploitation. It is at once devastating and exhilarating, and ultimately transformative.

Praise for The Breaking
‘A heart-stopping, unforgettable read. The Breaking will blow your mind.’
Angela Savage, author of Mother of Pearl

‘Evocative and urgent, The Breaking shows Gold’s talent and heart.’
Kate Mildenhall, author of The Mother Fault

‘Bold, passionate and fierce. A plea against powerlessness and indifference. I loved every minute.’
Karen Viggers, author of The Orchardist’s Daughter

‘Sensual and hyper-dangerous, Gold’s take on human love and animal cruelty is a real tour de force.’
John Clanchy, author of In Whom We Trust

‘I just inhaled The Breaking. So beautifully, clearly written — such skill. I never felt as if I was being ‘delivered’ information, yet by the end I’d learned so much. To write like this — to end up with something that feels effortless and complete, and moves with its own energy, like real life — it’s a bloody hard thing to do. An extraordinary achievement.’
Peggy Frew, author of Hope Farm and Islands

The Breaking is a brilliant novel. Tautly paced and immersive. Deeply emotional. A book that will be remembered.’
Fiona Robertson, author of If You’re Happy

‘So compelling, haunting and completely addictive. Irma’s writing style manages to feel literary yet easy reading all at once. I’m so keen to read whatever she does next.’
Liz Ledden, author and co-host of One More Page

‘An assured and powerful debut … gripping and moving … the novel unfolds in three sections, each leading seamlessly into the next … Gold has a real talent for dialogue … Hardly a word is wasted throughout the book, and Gold spins a narrative web around the reader, without being noticed, that is artful, without being too arty … Some of the passages in The Breaking will stay with the reader for a very long time after the book is finished. Gold has produced a rich and thought-provoking novel, written in lucid and engaged prose. I hope The Breaking proves to be her breakout novel, with many more to come.’
The Canberra Times, read the full review

‘The severe mistreatment of elephants makes this, at times, a harrowing read … Gold’s lyricism works, and the writing serves to illuminate, and not distract from, the scenes … An atmospheric novel that delicately educates as it entertains.’
The Weekend Australian

‘Writer and editor Irma Gold’s debut novel has a propulsive energy and a visceral sense of place that’s informed by Gold’s own experience of working with rescued elephants in Thailand … The Breaking doesn’t shy away from the complexity of its themes, acknowledging the imperfection of love and the complicated ramifications of following your convictions all the way to the end. It’s an unusual book, tackling both the messiness of human desire and the flawed nature of our relationships with animals, and may appeal to readers who enjoy the work of writers like Laura Jean McKay, Jessie Tu and Laura McPhee-Browne.
Bookseller + Publisher magazine

‘Gold’s taut, precise prose captures the atmosphere [of Thailand] … Whereas the media often treats young adulthood as a frivolous and self-indulgent stage of life, Gold astutely captures its agonies. In particular, she takes youthful idealism seriously, legitimising the quest of the two protagonists to find a way to live that does not simply capitulate to the status quo.
Newtown Review of Books, read the full review

‘I absolutely loved The Breaking. It had me with the opening sentence. After finishing I had to sit awhile, holding the book, and thinking it all through. I didn’t anticipate the end. At all. It’s a terrific novel. So much to get and learn from the story. Deven and Hannah will stay with me. And I’ve not been to Thailand but I had a real sense of place. Bravo!’
Deb Stevens, retired A&U sales agent

‘Wow! This is a book that makes you think and feel, and stays with you long after the heart-pumping ending. Golds characters are believable, her Thailand setting is evocative (you can almost feel and smell it) and the important (and devastating) issue of animal cruelty, endemic in elephant tourism is shown through a compelling narrative of two young women navigating the world and their place in it, as well as their feelings for each other. My copy of The Breaking came in the mail on Friday, and I thought Id have a quick peek inside … and I was hooked! I finished it on Saturday afternoon — it was that compelling! … A compelling, immersive, thought-provoking read.’
Deborah Tidball, author of The Scared Book

‘What I noticed as soon as I opened the first page was how beautifully written it was. It gives us plenty to think about of what we do when we go overseas to other countries, and what we do to try and change the world … I think its going to be a really popular read. Its something a little bit different — beautifully written with amazing characters.
Dani Vee, Words and Nerds podcast

‘The Breaking has broad appeal and has an urgency to its narrative style that matches the gravity of the eco themes it deals with … Irma captures the right beat with her two female characters, twenty somethings, young and fiercely passionate about animal rights and the state of the planet, poised for action right now, consequences be damned. I love how Irma traversed this; the consequences of taking extreme action were laid out in a clear ripple like effect and Hannah’s realisation of this in the moments of ensuing chaos was a powerful narrative force. Australian literature has an exciting new voice on the scene and I look forward to reading more from Irma Gold.
Theresa Smith, read the full review

‘An intimate and textured debut … thrilling and tense and urgent … The Breaking will remind you that good intentions aren’t always enough, and that real problems never have easy solutions.’
Keeping Up With the Penguins, read full review here

The Breaking is a visceral account that stimulates all the senses. Cultural sensitivities are observed, alongside the tricky balance of portraying both the beauty and violence of the country … Gold’s own experiences of volunteering on various rescue missions in Thailand lend the book an imprimatur of authenticity.’
The Saturday Paper, read the full review

‘This is such a gutsy novel: Gold is not afraid of exploring difficult terrain, including the intricate connection between culture, economic survival, and the treatment of animals. The narrative, which simply (or not so simply) refuses to take the easy road, also explores the way love can be, yes, surprising, but also frustrating, hard work, and, ultimately, life-changing. As to the elephants? Well, this reader will never look at them the same way again. Courageous, wonderfully written, wise, and unforgettable.’
Nigel Featherstone, author of Bodies of Men

1 January 2010

A MEETING OF MUSES

MUSES

What happens when nine ancient Greek Muses are brought together with nine contemporary writers? A Meeting of Muses shows the calibre of work that such a meeting can inspire. Nine imaginative pieces of writing on each of the muses that are lyrical, whimsical, sexy, moving — and totally inspired!

A collection of short fiction by some of Australia’s best writers, including Age Book of the Year winner Marion Halligan, ACT Book of the Year winner Craig Cormick, and Commonwealth Writers Prize winner Glenda Guest. Published by Ginninderra Press.

Buy A Meeting of Muses here.

1 January 2010

THE SOUND OF SILENCE

Winner, ACT Writing and Publishing Awards for Nonfiction, 2012
Winner, Canberra Critics Circle Award for Literature
, 2011

Miscarriage is so common and yet it is an unspeakable subject. Women often grieve alone, mourning a child they have never met but whose future they have already imagined. It is a private, hidden kind of grief. In The Sound of Silence twenty-two women speak out about their experiences of miscarriage. These are stories of loss and loneliness, hope and joy, strength and courage, and, most of all, overwhelming love. They are a reminder to all women who have experienced a miscarriage that they are not alone.

Featuring Enza Gandolfo (Stella Prize shortlisted author of The Bridge), Rebecca Freeborn (author of Hot Pursuit and Misconception), Choechoe Brereton (author of A House for Donfinkle), Melissa Ferguson (author of The Shining Wall), Karen Andrews (author of Crying in the Car and Trust the Process), and many more.

Buy The Sound of Silence here, or the ebook here.

Praise for The Sound of Silence
Penned by women who have experienced miscarriage, this collection of their stories is diverse and down-to-earth, and each account is beautifully written.  Child magazines

‘Extremely moving, eloquent and achingly beautiful  Parenting Express

Intimate stories that are sad, confronting and uplifting.  Birth Matters

This book is recommended for anyone who has experienced a miscarriage, but more importantly, for anyone working with childbearing families and others in society who have not experienced a miscarriage. No one can read this book and not gain a deeper understanding the impact an early pregnancy loss can have. It is seldom ‘just a miscarriage’…The Sound of Silence takes the reader through what can often be the shadow parts of this journey in a deeply moving and honest way. We all can benefit from the wisdom and experience of the stories captured and shared here. This book is a very good addition to the library of anyone drawn to the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology.  Birth Psychology, journal of the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, USA  (read full review here)

Confronting, authentic and grounded, these stories provide practical help for others who share the loss.  Leanne Raven, CEO, SIDS and Kids Australia

A courageous, deeply moving, well written anthology of true stories. They will reach right into you and make an impact. This may be an essential resource for someone you know.  Gaytana Adorna, Southern FM

An open, honest and insightful book that offers hope and understanding.  Trudi Penrose-Starr, co-founder, TLC Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Australia

Rather than being a depressing, sad account of an almost taboo subject I found this ultimately uplifting…Irma Gold as editor deserves a special mention. Not only has she judiciously selected the contributions to ensure a good balance of stories and to ensure the reader is not weighed down by dismal spirit-sapping accounts, but she has clearly demonstrated a gift for careful, respectful editing. Her introduction shows that she has her own story to tell and so she is empathetic with and sympathetic to the contributors. She sets their stories in the statistical framework but does not allow that to detract from the harrowing tragedies that they have experienced. Importantly, she allows the individual voices to be heard, and not edited out through any polishing process. Irma Gold is the best kind of editor—sensitive, skilled, and unobtrusive. An inspirational book.  Kristen Alexander

The Sound of Silence was the stand-out winner on every level. This book proved to be compellingly readable, boasted good production design and evidenced careful, respectful editing. Although neither of the judges initially expected to be taken by this volume, both ultimately found it absorbing and uplifting. The writing was of the highest quality and deserves a readership well beyond its niche market. In short: an inspirational book and a clear winner.  Judges report, ACT Writing and Publishing Awards for Nonfiction

Selected links
Read an article Irma wrote about her own miscarriage for Overland literary journal here, and another for Mamamia here.
Discover what readers think about The Sound of Silence here.

Listen to Louise Maher from ABC Radio interview Irma about The Sound of Silence:

1 January 2010

THE INVISIBLE THREAD

Winner, Canberra Critics Circle Award for Literature, 2013
Winner, special one-off award at the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards for
‘Outstanding Service to Writing and Publishing in the ACT and Region, 2013
Official publication of the National Year of Reading 2012
Official publication of the Centenary of Canberra 2013

Featuring Judith Wright • Bill Gammage • Alex Miller • Marion Halligan • Les Murray • Jackie French • Omar Musa • CEW Bean • AD Hope • Kate Grenville • Roger McDonald • Jack Heath • Garth Nix and 62 others

Sparkling writing from some of Australia’s finest authors. But what’s the connection between Miles Franklin and Omar Musa? AD Hope and Blanche d’Alpuget? Manning Clark and Kate Grenville? — apart from their tie with Canberra and the high country around it? Edited by Irma Gold, this inspired anthology reveals the rich diversity of writing that has emerged from the foothills, boulevards and hidden corners of the Canberra region over the last 100 years. But more than that, together these works bring something deep and fascinating into view. Follow the interwoven threads through this remarkable and revealing journey of Australian storytelling. With its mix of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, The Invisible Thread promises to captivate and enthral all lovers of literature.

Buy The Invisible Thread from bookstores or online here.

Praise for The Invisible Thread
This book should be on every Australian bookshelf. 
Whispering Gums (read full review here)

As Editor, Gold inserts some clever, revealing juxtapositions…an anthology should comprise a ‘box where sweets compacted lie’. The Invisible Thread does. Anthologies are intended to make us think about the principles of selection as well as the inclusions. This one does that, too.  The Canberra Times

A captivating collection…testament not only to the quality of the writing, but also to the insights of the editor…There are many individual jewels, some of them familiar to me, some new. Many of the fragments were so absorbing that I was propelled off the couch and into my study, or down to the library, to find the whole from which it had been extracted, needing to read more.  Australian Book Review (read review here)

A shining achievement.  BMA magazine

While we’re acutely aware of Canberra’s political legacy, what perhaps doesn’t spring immediately to mind is a strong literary heritage — something The Invisible Thread is likely to change...Connecting writers like this is intriguing, asking how a sense of place affects our broader interpretation of the world.  The Sun-Herald (read full review here)

Canberra is the only one of our cities to have been anthologised in this way and that seems meet and just. Canberra is a city owned not by any state but by us, the people of Australia, as a symbolic city to represent and display us as a nation state…Anthologies are of unique value among all books because in their different ways they capture the landscape of our minds and feelings as Australians at a particular time or by a particular theme. In special ways, anthologies are the history of our writing, our thinking — and this is a very special anthology about a special city.  Frank Moorhouse

At a time of some unease about our literary future — not just in Canberra — it is good to have an anthology that reminds us of the excellence, variety and longevity of Australian writing set in or emanating from the national capital.  Peter Rose

The publication of The Invisible Thread is a watershed moment in ACT-region literature: it’s the moment when people realise the contribution this small part of the world has made.  Nigel Featherstone

Selected links
Go behind the scenes on set here.
Watch an animation of Judy Horacek’s Invisible Thread illustrations here.
Read extracts from the anthology by Alex Miller here, Peter Stanley here, and Lesley Lebkowicz here.
Read Angela Meyer’s LiteraryMinded interview with Irma here.
Read an article about The Invisible Thread in The Sydney Morning Herald here and Meanjin here.
Listen to the ‘Out of Place’ panel of Thread authors at the NonFictioNow conference, RMIT Melbourne here.
Watch Irma’s video interviews with some of The Invisible Thread authors, including Roger McDonald, Marion Halligan, Omar Musa, Jackie French and Bill Gammage here.
Read about Woven Words, the spectacular Invisible Thread event with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra here.

Watch The Invisible Thread trailer, by filmmaker James Hunter.

Watch Irma interview Marion Halligan as part of The Invisible Thread series.