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John Doyle – A Covid Memoir

How John Doyle coped with Covid We were very fortunate that John Doyle agreed to speak at a FOBL event. A date was set for September and there was a great response with a big, enthusiastic audience, many of whom had not been to a FOBL event before. They, especially, enjoyed the supper and wine provided and stayed long after …

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Deborah Oswald – “A Murder I Could Imagine Committing”

We had a wonderful start, albeit belated, to our FOBL events this year. In May Debra Oswald joined us in Balmain Town Hall to talk about her book, The Family Doctor, to a large and enthusiastic audience. As some of the audience had not read her book, she was careful not to give away too much of the plot. She …

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Jonica Newby and “Beyond Climate Grief”

On a cold, rainy night we held our last FOBL event for 2021 in Balmain Town Hall. An enthusiastic FOBL audience welcomed award winning science reporter, Jonica Newby, and her partner, Robyn Williams, beloved ABC science journalist and reporter, to talk to us about her book “Beyond Climate Change”. In a fascinating discussion Jonica explained why she wrote her revealing …

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An evening with LA Larkin

An evening with LA Larkin. With the title “Cyber trolls, serial killers and the FBI – how does local author, L.A. Larkin, create such terrifying stories?” it was bound to be a fascinating talk. We were fortunate to host the launch of LA Larkin’s new book, Widow’s Island, at our second FOBL event for this year. It was held on …

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Chair’s Report – FOBL AGM 2021

Good evening everyone, I am very happy to welcome you to the FOBL AGM for 2021 and indeed for 2020. I am Fiona Mitchell, the Chair of FOBL. I’d like to welcome and thank Beverley Malone, the archivist from the Balmain Rowing Club, for agreeing to speak tonight. We look forward to her talk. To begin: “I would like to …

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“Her Kind of Luck” – A Talk by Michelle Balogh March 2021

Michelle Balogh was worth waiting for. Her talk was originally meant to take place in March 2020 but at that time we had felt it was wise to postpone her talk as government restrictions were beginning to be put into place. We were very grateful that a year later, Michele agreed to come back to be our first speaker this …

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A great night with Bruce Beresford

On the last Friday of November, we co-hosted with the Inner West Council our final event for 2019. We were extremely fortunate that Bruce Beresford, well known and much- loved film director and Balmain resident, agreed to be our speaker. Bruce proved to be a great draw card with tickets selling fast. The staff from the Inner West libraries and …

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July 2019 Quiz Night

Friends of the Balmain Library present Christmas in July Quiz Night– 26th July 2019 All the important people were there, the Quiz Mistress, Santa Claus and the little Green Elf dressed to the nines in tutu and boots.  And of course the players.  Those who had come along prepared to show off their knowledge about all things Christmas. Members of …

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Nadia Wheatley – Her Mother’s Daughter

Our first FOBL event for the year was such a treat. Nadia Wheatley, a great supporter of FOBL over many years, spoke to a packed room about her latest book, her memoir, Her Mother’s Daughter. Mariella Totaro-Genevois, our former FOBL Chair and friend of Nadia’s, introduced Nadia. She spoke of Nadia’s many achievements, her prolific writing career and her support …

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FOBL AGM 2019 – Chair’s Report

Fiona Mitchell is the current Chair of the FOBL committee.  She delivered this report at the FOBL AGM for 2019. “I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land where we are meeting tonight, the Wangal and Cadigal people of the Eora nation. Here, at this FOBL gathering where we always celebrate books and writing, it is good …

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Chair’s report – FOBL AGM May 2022

Good evening everyone, I would like to welcome you to the FOBL AGM for 2022. I am Fiona Mitchell, the Chair of FOBL. I’d like to welcome and thank Duncan MacAuslan, the President of the Balmain Association, for agreeing to speak to us tonight. We look forward to his talk. To begin: “I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians …

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Friends of Libraries Australia (FOLA)

Prior to the formation of FOLA, a Friends Sub-Committee of the Library Promotion Committee of Victoria (LPCV) was established in 1987 by Daniel Ferguson. Friends of Libraries Australia (FOLA) was officially launched on the 9th of December 1994 by Justice Michael Kirby AC, SMG at the State Library of Victoria. On that occasion Daniel Ferguson, newly appointed Executive Officer, outlined …

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Chair’s Report – FOBL AGM 2021

Good evening everyone, I am very happy to welcome you to the FOBL AGM for 2021 and indeed for 2020. I am Fiona Mitchell, the Chair of FOBL. I’d like to welcome and thank Beverley Malone, the archivist from the Balmain Rowing Club, for agreeing to speak tonight. We look forward to her talk. To begin: “I would like to …

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News from FOBL

Dear FOBL members, We hope that this finds you and your loved ones well at this difficult time. We are delighted that our Balmain Library is open once again as, for us, at least, reading has been a great solace whilst we are keeping our distance from one another. The FOBL committee has been keeping itself busy. Just last week …

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Professor Steve Rayner (1953-2020)

Many members, I am sure, will remember the memorable talk delivered in August of 2018 by Professor Steve Rayner of the James Martin Institute, Oxford University entitled “Climate Change: Armageddon or Damp Squib”. It was one of our most successful events attracting a large audience of both members and non-members alike. Few however, would have been aware at the time …

Pam Dingle – (1933-20.11.2019) Friend of the Friends of Balmain Library.

Pam was a very early member of FOBL.  She served as both Chair and Membership Secretary as well as being involved in our other activities. She stepped into the role of Chair at a moment’s notice when I had to leave the role hastily for medical reasons.  She was rather horrified by the large amount of paperwork I handed over …

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Nadia Wheatley wins the Nib Literary Award

Nadia Wheatley was our first speaker of 2019. We are thrilled to hear that she has won the prestigious Nib Literary Award, chosen out of a short list of six finalists. It is a recognition of the meticulous research that went into her insightful and thought-provoking memoir, Her Mother’s Daughter. On winning Nadia said that writing the memoir was something …

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November 2022 Open Book Group – The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. He worked for 20 years in investment banking before publishing his debut novel Rules of Civility in 2011. It became an instant bestseller. A Gentleman in Moscow (OBG October 2020) and The Lincoln Highway followed in 2016 and 2021 respectively. The three novels have collectively …

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October 2022 Open Book Club – Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Congratulations to all members of OBG as we celebrate the 15-year-old anniversary of OBG this month. In Oct 2007 Jan and Annette (another FOBL committee member) and I met to start a book group. Trish walked in to join us, and the rest is history. I enjoyed moderating Booth by Karen Joy Fowler. It was longlisted for the 2022 Booker …

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September 2022 Open Book Group – Still Life by Sarah Winman

Welcome to Jacqui and Robyn. Thank you to Jan for moderating Still Life by Sarah Winman.  Still Life is a sweeping saga covering four decades from the 1940s to the 1970s. We first meet the main protagonist, Ulysses Temper as a young soldier in Italy in 1944. Here he and his commander Captain Darnley cross paths with Evelyn Skinner a …

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August 2022 Open Book Group – Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Welcome to Susan and Steve. Thank you to Trish for moderating Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout. We first met Lucy Barton in My name is Lucy Barton (OBG June 2017) 30 years later in Oh William! we meet her again. In the wake of being widowed from her happy marriage to David Abramson, Lucy is now a successful 63-year-old writer …

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June 2022 Open Book Group – The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

In 1857 work commenced on the first Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the successor to Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary. It took 40 years to complete the first volume – the letters A to B – so imagine the lexicographers’ consternation when in 1901 they were informed a word was missing. The word was bondmaid. Williams tells the story of Esme, the fictional girl …

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May 2022 Open Book Group – Boy swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

Trent Dalton is a journalist with Walkley and similar awards to his credit. Like many journalists, he has turned to writing novels. This ensures accurate and readable prose but nothing exciting as to style. There is a high proportion of profanity and scatological language in the story and while this is in keeping with a setting grounded in drugs and …

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February 2022 Open Book Group -Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Thank you to Rob for moderating Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, winner of the 2020 Booker Prize.  Shuggie Bain is the story of young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a gentle and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic …

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November 2021 Open Book Group – An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Thank you to Trish for moderating An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Black, university educated newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. One day they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced …

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