• CWL Events

    April  2023
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Classics Book Club

Happy Birthday Anniversary to Miles Franklin

Miles Franklin, born Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, on 14 October 1879 and died 19 September 1954, was an Australian writer and feminist who is best known for her autobiographical novel, My Brilliant Career, published in 1901. Franklin travelled to the USA in 1906 and worked in a secretarial and editorial capacity for Alice Henry in the National Women's Trade Union League. She then moved to England and served as a nurse in Europe during the First World War. She returned to Australia in 1933 with an established literary reputation. Other novels, plays and essays include My Career Goes Bung, Old Blastus of Bandicoot, All That Swagger and Back to Bool Bool. She has had a long-lasting impact on Australian literary life through her endowment of a major literary award known as the Miles Franklin Award. You can read The Diaries of Miles Franklin edited by Paul Brunton for a revealing insight. Our Classics Book Club has also been discussing her works with the Cowra group meeting on Tuesday 26 October from 12.30pm – 1.30pm to talk about My Brilliant Career.

Mark Twain (or Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Mark Twain (aka Samuel Lanhorne Clemens) was famous for saying “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” after his obituary was published in a US paper. But April 21st is the 100th anniversary of the death of this American author and he gets a mention here because he's the writer Cowra Classics Book Club is currently discussing. On Tuesday 27 April at 12.30pm at Cowra Library the group will talk about the life of Mark Twain and his visit to Australia during a world wide lecture tour to raise much needed funds. According to Ernest Hemingway, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn . . . ,” and some would argue that it's still one of their best books. In addition to many books, he published hundreds of stories, essays, and nonfiction pieces. Here are some more classic quotes:
” “A discriminating irreverence is the creator and protector of human liberty.”
” “High & fine literature is wine, & mine is only water; but everybody likes water.”
” “They spell it Vinci and pronounce it Vinchy; foreigners always spell better than they pronounce.”

Mark Twain on ABC Radio National and Cowra Classics

Cowra Classics Book Club are onto something  they are already reading up on Mark Twain and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to discuss at the next meeting on Tuesday 23 March from 12.30-1.30pm at Cowra Library. ABC's Radio National are also championing the writer by dedicating a program to his works: “This year is the hundredth anniversary of the death of one of America's greatest writers and humorists: Mark Twain. Books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, made Twain easily the most popular American author of his generation. But those books are just a small fraction of his prodigious output — some of which he banned from publication until years after his death.” Actor and Mark Twain fan Chris Wallace put together a show based on several of Twain's unpublished works which aired on ABC's Radio National recently  here is the link to Late Night Live:

Classics Book Club Links Austen to Dracula & Dorian Gray

Prepare to be amazed as we link Dracula and Dorian Gray to Jane Austen. True. Our Classics Book Club readers are enjoying catching up with Thomas Hardy novels and some gothic horror by revisiting Bram Stoker's Dracula, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Did you know that Bram Stoker attended dinner parties hosted by Oscar Wilde's mother Lady Jane Francesca Elgee Wilde at the family's chicly bohemian salon. And guess which star from the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice is to star is a film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray? Yes that's the Austen connection  would you believe Colin Firth? as Lord Henry alongside Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray(pictured). Sounds all good so far.

And the next Classics Book Club meetings are:

Blayney Library on Tuesday 22 September from 11am – 12 noon to talk about Under the Greenwood Tree and Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy.

Orange Daytime Group on Thursday 24 September 12.30pm – 1.30pm to discuss Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Orange Evening Group on Thursday 24 September 5.30pm – 7pm to discuss Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Cowra Library on Tuesday 29 September from 12.30pm – 1.30pm to talk about Bram Stoker and Dracula.

PS. If you want to see a combined storyline with Frankenstein and Dracula then check out the film Van Helsing  stars Richard Roxburgh, Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsdale  great for the special effects and Brides of Dracula.

Jennifer Byrne Presents Monsters and Bloodsuckers on TV

As our Classics Book Club readers know  classic horror fiction is a hot topic. So tune into Monsters and Bloodsuckers on ABC 1 on Tuesday 8 September at 10pm. Jennifer Byrne presents a series of individual treats for lovers of books and writing. It features discussions with leading authors and investigations into the popularity of writing genres such as crime, sex and romance and fantasy.

Jennifer and her guests explore the very darkest of literary worlds including Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.

For the Monsters And Bloodsuckers special, Jennifer has summoned a quorum of dark souls to lead us through this murky world:

Catherine Jinks is the author of more than thirty books in most genres and for all ages – including The Reformed Vampire Support Group. She's currently up to her neck (ahem) in werewolf research for her next book…

Will Elliott's first novel, The Pilo Family Circus, picked up many major horror awards and was shortlisted for the 2007 International Horror Guild Award where he was up against fellow horror-meisters, including Stephen King. His latest book, Strange Places, is a memoir in which both werewolves and vampires have walk-on roles.

Leigh Blackmore is an academic, editor and contributor to such blood-drenched journals as The Australian Horror and Fantasy Magazine, Terror Australis and The Encyclopedia of Supernatural Fiction – to name just a few.

Tara Moss writes best-selling crime novels and reads in even darker places, counting Dracula and Frankenstein among her favourite gothic ghouls.