Blog2019-08-09T17:33:17+10:00

WORD OF MOUTH BLOG

Latest news and literary food moments

Hello Ladies! … and Gents … farewell for now

What's up and coming
Hello Ladies! and Gents ... Thank you for joining us for our season finale with Debra Oswald and Richard Glover – and what a season it’s been. We’ve interviewed such a wonderful range of Australian writers, from debut writers to seasoned pros, and covered so much ground. Now that the season is over, we intend to celebrate – over lunch and champagne of course – and plan the future of Word of Mouth TV. We intend to continue but there will be a few changes. In the meantime: Good reading!!

Straight from the authors’ mouths

Recommended Reads
One would think upon reading Crazy Rich Asians that it is too shallow and stereotyped to be worthy of a recommended read. But that's the whole point. For those who know anything about Singapore, where the book is set, this book couldn't be closer to the truth - and there lies the humour and literary merit. Meanwhile, Kate has taken the high-brow road and recommends Tracking the Seven Sisters by Margo Neale, explores the history and meaning of songlines, the Dreaming or creation tracks that criss-cross Australia.

Sylvia Plath’s adoration of the avocado

Iconic literary food moments
To celebrate Richard Glover's book, The Land Before Avocado, set in Australia in the 1970s, we have opted for another modern author, Sylvia Plath, as the subject of our iconic literary food moment. Plath never experienced the 1970s, having committed suicide in 1963, not long after she published her novel The Bell Jar. But it is a fairly safe bet that she would have found the prospects for women in the 1970s just as dreary as for women in the 1950s and 1960s. As Richard stresses in his book, we have come a long way.

Straight from the authors’ mouths

Recommended Reads
Our guest Debra Oswald, author of The Whole Bright Year has chosen An Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn as her recommended read for Word of Mouth TV. A novel that echoes the themes and circularity of the original Homerian epic; the second oldest surviving work of Western literature and the sequel to the Iliad, which is the oldest, An Odyssey reminds us of the universality of themes surrounding fathers and sons, trickery and truthfulness.

Straight from the authors’ mouths

Recommended reads
Prepare to take your seats (or beds) whatever the case may be as we have a slew of recommendations for our season finale. Richard Glover kicks off with You Daughters of Freedom by Clare Wright, a momumental history of the suffragist movement. Both Kate and Sarah are strong feminists, so it was right up our alley. Usually, we just run the publisher's blurb but to celebrate the finale, Kate has reviewed both Richard's and Debra Oswald's suggestions. Enjoy!

Richard Glover’s take on 70s life and food

Author Q&A
ABC talk-radio presenter and author of The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover, shares his thoughts on the 1970s with Word of Mouth TV. After incorporating extensive research and personal experience, he reminds us that the Australia of 50 years ago is not the great place that nostalgic, dewy-eyed boomers would have us believe: it was boring, insular, authoritarian and intolerant. Nor is our country going to the dogs; life has improved on nearly every metric. On the upside, he says going back in time offers a great opportunity to laugh at ourselves and to appreciate just how far we've come.

The Land Before Avocado – Richard Glover

Sarah's review
Richard Glover really knows how to pick his topics and The Land Before Avocado, set in the 1970s, is no exception. Despite being the land of plenty, Australians endured a myriad of deprivations, which Richard investigates with excruciating humour. The cars, the food, the fashion - they all left something to be desired. Yet the clumsiness of the period is reminiscent of any pubescent teenager, and The Land Before Avocado reminds us that the 1970s was a tipping point for Australia, the decade in which it graduated from small pants to big pants. A wonderful read.

Debra Oswald shares her passion for the delicious

Author Q&A
Debra 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.

Li-Young Lee’s sublime ode to the peach

Iconic literary food moments
In 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!

The Whole Bright Year – Debra Oswald

Kate's review
The 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.

The history of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

Kate's novel biographies
A 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.

Miss Havisham’s cake – one scene never to be unseen

Iconic literary food moments
Charles 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.

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Word of Mouth TV is the first series to combine food, books and wine. Your hosts, Kate and Sarah will be interviewing and cooking with top authors from Australia and around the world.

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