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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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FOBL 2018 Writing Competition Report

This is the ninth year in which FOBL has held writing competitions for the primary schools on the peninsula and for the Balmain Campus of the Sydney Secondary College (SSC). As in previous years, for the Secondary writing competition we worked in conjunction with Mirjana Simic, the Head Teacher of English, to choose a theme to fit with the English …

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October 2018 – Inaugural Trivia Night

It was our first, and I hope our inaugural, FOBL Trivia night. The Balmain Town Hall small meeting room had been turned into a patchwork of colourful tables. These were waiting to be filled by teams testing their literary knowledge as well as the occasional question about Balmain history. The evening started with people helping themselves to the delicious supper …

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Professor Steve Rayner – “Climate Change: Armageddon or damp squib?”

On the 30th August FOBL was proud and fortunate to be able to present Professor Steve Rayner while he was in Sydney attending a conference on the Social Study of Science.  Not a stranger to these shores, Steve had previously visited Australia on several occasions. In 2010 he delivered the Jack Beale Memorial Lecture at the University of NSW and …

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Andrew Andersons AO talks about the Sydney Modern project

FOBL’s year opened on Friday April 27 with a fascinating talk about the Sydney Modern project by Andrew Andersons AO, the renowned architect who designed the previous extensions to the Art Gallery of NSW. The function was well attended with FOBL members and non members who clearly had an interest in what is a closely scrutinised project. Our speaker’s talk was illustrated …

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Kate McClymont, Investigative Journalist, Sydney Morning Herald

It was a full, excited, house on Friday 6th October to hear Kate McClymont speak to FOBL. Her talk was entitled The Bold, The Belligerent and the Bagmen. Kate McClymont is an investigative journalist currently reporting for the Sydney Morning Herald. In the late 1980s, McClymont worked for two years as a junior reporter on Four Corners. In 2002, she …

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Boosting the Books with FOBL in October 2015

Friends of Balmain Library workers had a very happy time presiding over our Third Book Boost. We spent almost $5,000.00 buying books for the Library on the weekend of 17/18 October. This is how it works: we ask the Library staff which areas need a top up. Last year it was non-fiction which resulted in a very colourful supply of …

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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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March 2020 Open Book Group – Small Island by Andrea Levy

Thank you to Pat for moderating Small Island by Andrea Levy, 2004 Orange Prize winner and Whitbread Book of the Year. In Small Island Levy examines the experiences of Jamaicans who migrated to England after the Second World War. The year is 1948. We meet Hortense, an almond skinned Jamaican and her dark-skinned husband Gilbert. They are lodging with warm open-hearted …

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February 2020 Open Book Group – The Buried by Peter Hessler

Thank you to Dianne for moderating The Buried by Peter Hessler. Peter Hessler, a journalist, spent a decade in China. He documented his time there in Country Driving (OBG July 2011). On returning to Missouri he and his US-born Chinese wife, Leslie were not ready to settle down. Armed only with a three-month course in Classical Arabic, not a spoken …

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November 2019 Open Book Group – The Power by Naomi Alderman

Thank you to Sandra for moderating The Power by Naomi Alderman.  The Power opens with a series of letters between Neil and Naomi. Neil is asking her for an opinion on his draft novel. Neil explains that the point of his book is to show how present-day power structures, based on gender divisions, originated in a brutal matriarchal society that …

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September 2019 Open Book Group – Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors

Thank you to Narelle for moderating Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Danish author, Dorthe Nors. Shortlisted for the 2017 International Booker Prize. In Nors slim, contemporary, novel we meet Sonja Hansen a 40-year-old single woman who is learning to drive for the first time. Her aggressive, bullying, driving instructor Jytte won’t let Sonja change gear on her own. Jytte keeps her …

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August 2019 Open Book Group – The Green Road by Anne Enright

Welcome to Dianne and thank you to Maureen for moderating The Green Road by Anne Enright, a Man Booker Prize-winning author. The Green Road was published in 2015, the same year that same-sex marriage was legalised in Ireland. It’s Enright’s most recent novel and won the Irish Novel of the Year.  The book is character rather than plot driven. It …

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July 2019 Open Book Group – Red Notice by Bill Browder

Thank you to Gerry for moderating Red Notice – How I Became Putin’s No. 1 Enemy by Bill Browder.  Red Notice (an international arrest warrant) is a Bill Browder’s memoir of his life as a fund manager investing in the turbulent emerging markets of Poland and Russia. Catastrophic events in Russia change Browder’s life and he becomes a human rights activist. …

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June 2019 Open Book Group – Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Thank you to Trish for moderating by Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. Home Fire addresses a very contemporary problem – the radicalisation of young men, disaffected with their lives in first world countries, going overseas to fight for terrorist groups such as ISIS. 19-year-old British born, but ethically Pakistani, Parvaiz Pasha is the young man in question in this novel. …

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14th May 2019 – Autumn by Ali Smith

Autumn is the first of Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet. As one member commented, it is a beautifully written postmodern novel that considers, among other things, the chaotic condition of today’s social life in Britain (and elsewhere) brought about by the mess modernity has gotten itself into. The group was split in terms of enjoyment of the book, some commenting that …

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