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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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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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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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June 2021 Open Book Group – The Dickens Boy by Tom Keneally

Welcome to Sue and thank you to Pat for moderating The Dickens Boy by Tom Keneally. In the late 1800s, rather than run the risk of your under-achieving children tarnishing your reputation at home, you sent them to the colonies. In The Dickens Boy, our narrator is Charles Dickens’s tenth child, Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens, known as Plorn. Sixteen-year-old Plorn is …

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May 2021 Open Book Group – No Friend but the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani

Thank you to Kevin for moderating No Friend But The Mountains by Behrouz Boochani. In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani sought asylum in Australia. The government had just enacted punitive border controls. Those who attempted to arrive in Australia, via dangerous leaky boats, from Indonesia were picked by the Australian Border Force. They were taken straight to a detention centre on Manus …

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March 2021 Open Book Group – Lila by Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson is frequently named as one of America’s most significant writers. Lila is the third book in her Gilead trilogy. Gilead (OBG June 2014) won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction,, Home. The Orange Prize for Fiction and Lila The National Book Award. All three books are set Gilead, a nondescript, fictional town surrounded by the corn prairies of Iowa. …

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December 2020 Open Book Group – The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes

I enjoyed moderating The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes. Julian Barnes saw John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Dr Pozzi at Home in 2015. He was struck first by the decadent crimson dressing-gown and then by the life of its occupant Dr Pozzi. Barnes confesses he knew nothing about Pozzi despite his avid interest in the period in …

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November 2020 Open Book Group – The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power

Thank you, Kevin, for moderating The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir by Samantha Power. Can we change the world by our actions? In The Education of an Idealist, Samantha Power indefatigably proclaims “yes we can”. After graduating from Yale in 1993 Power travel to Bosnia as a war correspondent covering the Yugoslav war. She experienced first-hand how America’s intervention had prevented …

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October 2020 Open Book Group – A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Thank you, Karen, for moderating A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles The novel opens in Moscow in 1922 where Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat, and Former person, by a Bolshevik tribunal. Rostov’s perceived crime was the publication in 1913 of a poem titled ‘Where is it Now?’ or said another way, where is our purpose …

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September 2020 Open Book Group – Buckley’s Chance by Garry Linnell

Thank you to Gerry for moderating Buckley’s Chance by Garry Linnell.   In 1835 three British men sitting on the shores of Port Philip when a 6ft 4″ white, hairy man, wearing animal skins and carrying a spear, walked out of Australian bush. That man was escaped-convict William Buckley. He had spent the past 32 years living with an aboriginal …

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August 2020 Open Book Group – Girl, Women, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Thank you to Trish for moderating Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, Winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize, at OBG-Zoom’s inaugural and successful meeting. Girl, Women, Other follows the stories of 12 black women. Among them are Amma, a lesbian, socialist, playwright, Morgan who identifies as non-binary, ambitious Carole negotiating the corporate banking world, Shirley a teacher who wants …

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April 2020 Open Book Group – Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Oh would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us. Robert Burns 25/1/1759 – 21/7/1796 The novel is presented in vignette-style, or individual episodes, that paint a picture of a community as seen/experienced through the lens of the ‘personality’ of Elizabeth Strout’s main character, Olive Kitteridge. Strout has skilfully created a complex and enigmatic female …

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