Nine News political editor and former Canberra Times journalist Chris Uhlmann, and his brother Paul, have collaborated on a children's picture book, The Useless Tune.
The Useless Tune is about the search for a place in the world; and discovering that art and love matter as much as skills and experience.
"The words for The Useless Tune were penned over 30 years ago," says Chris.
"I was in my 20s and lost, having another bad year in the many bad years that followed my decision to leave a Catholic seminary in 1982. The life of a priest was not for me but, having signed up at the age of 18, I had no plans for any other life.
"I emerged without money or direction and didn't seem to fit anywhere. I had made some very bad life decisions and, in a land where jobs were scarce, had no useful skills. I liked to write and tell stories but that just didn't pay the bills. The world seemed a very hostile place and I felt very alone.
"The story is unashamedly a parable about belonging. It is a journey to finding your own place in the world. It is about discovering that art, poetry and music are as vital to sustaining life as more practical skills."
Paul is a Fremantle-based artist who has exhibited internationally.
Walker Books Australia has acquired world rights, via Jeanne Ryckmans at the Cameron Creswell agency, Cameron's Management. The Useless Tune will be published in 2022.
December 5: Veterinarian and well-known Canberra author Karen Viggers will launch former journalist and pastry chef Marilyn Chalkley's new children's book. Swifty the Greyhound where is my Pie?, with illustrations by British artist Jane Ostler, will be launched outside the Yarralumla Brasserie in Weston Park at 2pm. Ten per cent of the proceeds go to charity Greyhound Connections and the free event will be dog and greyhound friendly. Contact email@example.com. Book details at brogobooks.com
December 10: Poetry Book Fair at Manning Clark House, 11 Tasmania Circuit, Forrest, from 5-7pm. $5 entry. Further details on Manning Clark House website. Bookings essential on trybooking.com.
December 11: Prize-winning author Robyn Cadwallader will launch Jenny Horsfield's new book, A Bookshop in Wartime, at Tuggeranong Homestead on Friday, December 11 from 5pm-7pm. Horsfield's book, a story of how books and reading sustain us in difficult times, centres on Verity Hewitt's bookshop, which became a meeting place for Canberrans during the war years. Bookings essential as COVID-19 guidelines will be followed. Bookings by Monday, December 7, via firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the current laureate, Ursula Dubosarsky, nears her halfway mark, the Australian Children's Laureate Foundation board is embarking on the selection process for the 2022-23 Australian Children's Laureate and they would love to hear from you. The first five laureate terms, with Boori Monty Pryor and Alison Lester (2012-13), Jackie French (2014-15), Leigh Hobbs (2016-17), Morris Gleitzman (2018-19) and Ursula Dubosarsky (2020-21), have been a resounding success. Now you have a chance to nominate up to three people you would like the ACLF panel to consider for selection as your next Australian Children's Laureate. For details about the Laureate program visit childrenslaureate.org.au.
Calibre Essay Prize
The $7500 Calibre Essay Prize is open until January 15 to all essayists writing in English. Entries must be essays of between 2000 and 5000 words on any subject and may be personal or political, traditional or experimental. The winner will receive $5000; the runner-up will receive $2500. More information and entries: australianbookreview.com.au.
- Submissions to Litbits should be sent by Monday COB in the week of publication, with the date in the subject line. Publication is not guaranteed. email@example.com.