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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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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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February 2019 Open Book Group – Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto

Thank you to Pat for moderating Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto. Yocchan and her mother are recovering from the death of their musician father/husband in a murder-suicide by a woman with whom he was having an affair. She drugged his drink and then killed them both. Looking for a fresh start Yocchan moves alone from the family’s condo in Meguro …

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December 2018 Open Book Group – The Book of the Night Women by Marlon James

I welcomed the chance to moderate The Book of the Night Women by Marlon James, a Man Booker Prize-winning author. A historical novel set in 1785, Lilith is one of six mulatto house slaves born on Humphrey Wilson’s Montpellier estate in Jamaica. Their mothers were all raped by the same overseer Jack Wilkins. Through Lilith, speaking in Jamaican patois, we …

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November 2018 Open Book Group – Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

Thank you to Maggie for moderating Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift. The OBG crowd quickly swelled to 18 as they streamed in to grab a seat before our ever punctual 1.00 pm kick off. It’s  Mothering Sunday 1924 twenty-two-year-old Jane Fairchild, foundling and maid to the Niven household has no mother to visit. Her clandestine lover for many years Paul, …

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