Saturday, October 20, 2012

Geelong Rocks!

Local sista Sha who came along to Waurn Ponds librar\y!

I had no idea Geelong was so deadly! It wasn’t until I cruised there last Monday for a yarn with locals about identity, that I even realised it was coastal! Taking the wrong turn (I was apparently heading to the wrong destination altogether), I found myself on the stunning shorefront of the town an hour outside of Melbourne. Had I known that it was so gorgeous there I would’ve packed my bikini and stayed a few days. Alas, I only had a couple of hours to fall in love with Wauthaurong country, and I did.

This is just a short list of what I am grateful for following that visit:

WAURN PONDS LIBRARY: Yes, Waurn Ponds Library  is that funky building right next door to the fabulous LeisureLink Aquatic and Recreation Centre. There’s no signage because the space is so hip it doesn’t need it. Inside the venue it’s vibrant and friendly and aside from a wonderful collection of resources, it also hosts a series of events including the Open Mind Lecture Series, of which I was part. I will remain forever grateful to Maryanne Hyde (Manager Lifelong Learning) from Geelong Libraries Corporation, for the invitation to help celebrate the National Year of Reading and deliver a talk on Aboriginal identity in the 21st century, the subject of my memoir Am I Black Enough For You? That invitation, extended over a quick chat at the ALIA Conference in Sydney last July, lead me to a place and a community who welcomed me immediately.


LOCALS: Now, Monday night in Waurn Ponds appeared to bring out the best locals as 70 ‘open-minded’ readers and thinkers came along to join in the conversation. I wanted to take them home with me – not literally – what I mean is I wanted to take them on thh road with me because as an audience they were warm, engaged, and they laughed in all the right places (and some other places too but that’s okay!). It’s the most fun I’ve had in a library and /or on a Monday night in the longest time. Who would’ve thought the place to be on a Monday night was Waurn Ponds library?

LOCAL KOORIS: It made me smile to see a large group of local Koories, Noongars from WA and two women from Gurindji country (NT) there to support, enjoy, and affirm my work on the Monday night. It’s great to see Indigenous reading audiences growing and participation in literary events on the rise. I remain grateful for so much local support (and from those who drove some distances to be there!). The photo above also shows the First Nations mob helped demonstrate the diversity of identity – and what Aboriginal people actually look like – by standing up during my presentation. The point being, we come in all different shapes and shades. Thanks you mob, you rock!

PATONS BOOKS: A shout-out of gratitude also to Patons Books who came along to sell my novels and memoir  on the night. I appreciate the support of all booksellers but also the work of independent booksellers many who support the Indigenous Literacy Foundation also.

I can't wait to get back to Geelong... if you've got a tip on where I should go and what I should see please let me know!

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