Portrait of a recipeGiven Debra Oswald's novel The Whole Bright Year is set on a peach farm in Australia, and given Dame Nellie Melba was such an Australian icon, we settled on a Peach Melba Eton mess as our dessert. After all, what could be more peachy, or Australian, than a Peach Melba, right? As it turns out, the Peach Melba was actually invented by a French chef in the 1890s named Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel, in honour of Australia's great soprano; and Eton mess, is a traditional English dessert - but there was a method to our madness!
Author Q&ADebra Oswald, creator of the TV series Offspring and author of The Whole Bright Year , shares her greatest inspirations and challenges as a writer, in a career that has brought her to the vibrant heart of Australian culture. For those of you who don't know, Debra's screen credits also include: Bananas in Pyjamas, Police Rescue, The Secret Life of Us, and various dramas for ABC TV Education. Debra also shares her passion for food. The Whole Bright Year is set on a peach farm in the 1970s, and she takes great pleasure skewering the hilarious food moments of the era.
Iconic literary food momentsIn honour of our super '70s episode, we decided to dedicate this moment in literary time to a poet who was actually writing during the period. Li-Young Lee is a Chinese American poet renowned for the zen-like simplicity and passion of his poems, a refreshing break from the angst of modern poetry, and he penned the most sublime poem about peaches, titled From Blossoms. Of course, our guest Debra Oswald's novel The Whole Bright Year is set on a peach farm in Australia in the 1970s, so it seems the perfect celebration. It is a poem so vivid in its evocation, it lingers in the memory, suspended in time. Enjoy!
Kate's reviewThe gorgeous title and cover of this novel are instantly enticing … and then I open the book and find a quote from Homer referencing my favourite Greek myth, the story of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, whose daughter Persephone is ravished away by Hades, the god of the underworld. At once I wonder if Debra Oswald plans to allude to the myth in a book that I know (thanks to the blurb) is set in Australia in 1976. I love books that drawn on myth and folklore in bold and unexpected ways, and so I settle in to read with a heightened sense of anticipation and interest.
We're living in the 70sThanks to Penguin Books and Harper Collins, Word of Mouth TV has a super 70s giveaway to celebrate the season finale with one of Australia's most talented literary couples, Debra Oswald and Richard Glover. Their books The Whole Bright Year and The Land Before Avocado will take those of us who remember it on a rollicking romp back in time to Australia in the 1970s - few better times to be. And for those so careless as to be born post-1980, they will take you to a place of wonder that defies belief - a foreign land. You know the drill! Don't forget the hashtags!
Join us for this fun and fab night with one of Australia's most talented and interesting literary couples, Debra Oswald and Richard Glover, as they share the backstories of their fantastic books: The Whole Bright Year and The Land Before Avocado. Both books were set in the 1970s and it was an absolute blast from the past as we ventured back into one of the most fun and fascinating eras in Australia's recent history. This season finale is a classic and very funny!! It was just a fantastic way to end the first season of Word of Mouth TV.
Kate's novel biographiesA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was published 176 years ago, on December 19th 1843, but its popularity only continues to grow with a new generation of movies including The Man Who Invented Christmas two years ago. It’s one of my own personal favourites of his works, simply because of its vitality and Dickens’ signature mix of joyousness and poignancy. I like to re-read every year at Christmas – it only takes an hour or so, with a glass or two of mulled mead and perhaps a thick wedge of fruit cake.
Iconic literary food momentsCharles Dickens' ability to paint a picture with words is perhaps unmatched in literature. From Magwitch swimming in the muddy Thames in Great Expectations, to the rolling London fogs in Bleak House, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, in A Christmas Carol, the reader is thoroughly immersed in Dickens' England. But perhaps the most unforgettable Dickens scene is that of Miss Havisham's bridal cake in Great Expectations - a torrid, insect infested, decaying mass that mirrors the mired, rotting soul of its would-be bride. Once seen, never unseen.
Word of Mouth TV's Kate Forsyth reviews five books to help tide our friends and viewers over during lockdown. It includes a range of genres to cater for different tastes so hopefully there is something for everyone. This is the first of several we hope to serve up over the next few months. Filmed on the iphone, it's a bit of experiment, and we will be tampering with presentation as we perfect this. It's 30 minutes so long, so you can dip into it at your leisure and maybe listen to one or two at a time. Or if you find yourself in desperate need of literary contact, the whole damn lot! Enjoy!!