Inland Anthology to be launched at NT Writers Festival 19 May 2019

Our next publication in the Inland Writer’s Series – Campfire Satellites; an inland anthology – will be launched at the NT Writers Festival in Mparntwe Alice Springs this Sunday 19 May.

This stunning collection of central Australian writing explores what it means to live ‘inland’ from the voices of four women; Maureen Jipyiliya Nampijimpa O’Keefe, Gretel Bull, Linda Wells and Emma Trenorden.

Through poetry, short story and memoir, the authors enter into a landscape where cultures meet, revealing the power of family and the tender connections between women.

We will be showcasing each author in the lead up to the launch event which will be held at 4.45pm Sunday 19 May at Bean Tree Café Olive Pink Botanic Gardens. It’s free – RSVP here.

For more information contact Olivia Nigro: 0405 406 731 | olivia.nigro@ptilotuspress.com

Emma Trenorden is one of our first-time-to-be-published authors to feature in Campfire Satellites - in fact the title of the anthology comes from one of her beautiful poems!

She says: "Writing is a way for me to sift through the layers of experiences that have accumulated over time. Finding a moment of quiet with pen and paper, I hope to make some sense of the emotions and thinking that are stirring about within me. Sometimes inspiration strikes and I reach for pen and paper to run with it. Other times, even when it feels like I have nothing to say, I make myself sit with pen and paper and just start writing - something, anything, to see what comes.

This is the first time for me to share my writing publicly and it's exciting to be published by a community publisher in Ptilotus Press - a collective of local writers who share not only a passion for writing but also a shared experience of place, here in the red centre. I really enjoyed writing about the theme of 'inland.' This theme allowed me to reflect on the many facets of what a sense of place and home means to me here in Central Australia".
Just to give you a little sample of the stunning work by Emma Trenorden. There are four poems in her 'Approaching Inland' series, one of which has also been selected for the Australian Poetry Journal! It is called 'Utju - ringing like bells' and features on p.45 of Campfire Satellites.
Gretel Bull is another first-time-to-be-published author in 'Campfire Satellites' with her beautiful poem 'Highway To Utopia'.

She says: "Writing for me is a catharsis. It helps me to make sense of the world around me which I see as largely nonsensical. Central Australia can be as heart-breaking as it is beautiful. As a writer, I’m deeply inspired by the landscape here, but I also feel a desperate need to make sense of the everyday tragedies and inequalities I see around me. One of the major draw cards to living in Alice Springs is the thriving creative community. Now that I’ve settled here to raise a family, it’s such a pleasure to be able to contribute to that myself.

‘Highway to Utopia’ is a deeply personal work actually. It was written following a series of research trips into the Utopia region of central Australia. We kept passing a place where I lost a child a few years earlier and I was inundated by the memory of what had, until then, been a quiet, private tragedy. That got me thinking about the way our stories leave their impressions on the landscape, and I felt compelled to write my own".
An extract from Gretel Bull's vivid poetry features on the back cover of Campfire Satellites. Gretel gives us insight into her work in her bio:

"Gretel Bull is a writer, artist and mother, living and working in Mparntwe/Alice Springs. Influenced by Jungian theory and journeying epics of the Homeric and Aboriginal Dreaming traditions, her work explores the reciprocal influences between history, mythology, person and place. Gretel's writing experiments with fracturing and rearranging temporal tenses and physical and metaphysical imagery to deconstruct the boundaries between time/space, unconscious/conscious, land/body and past/present. Written following a series of research trips into the Utopia region of central Australia, ‘Highway to Utopia' examines the post-colonial themes of dispossession, cultural destabilisation and enduring connection to country. Memories of a past tragedy are interwoven with the inanity of the present and the poignancy of place in a philosophical exploration of the utopia/dystopia dichotomy".
Meet Linda Wells! Her short story 'Two Women and A Coffin' set at the iconic local tip shop features in Campfire Satellites.

She tells us: "I write therefore I am. I love writing to explore and express and share knowledge and ideas. It’s just my thing and I need to do it.

It is always an honour to be chosen for publication, to have your work recognised. It’s wonderful to have my work recognised by Ptilotus Press. In my story about two women and a coffin I am particularly fond of the two characters and the relationship that develops between them. I think it is one of those uniquely Central Australian experiences and I am pleased to be able to share it with others.

The Central Australian community has experiences and faces challenges that are quite unique to Central Australia. I think it enriches our lives and sense of who and where we are to read creative works that are specifically about those Central Australia situations".

The opening scene of Linda's captivating short story featured in our inland anthology Campfire Satellites.

Linda Wells, originally from Melbourne, has lived in central Australia for many years. She is the author of Still A Town Like Alice (2011) commissioned by the Alice Springs Town Council and Kultitja: Memoir of an Outback Schoolteacher (2016). Linda is currently in Melbourne, undertaking a PhD.

ILF honours Living In Hope on anniversary of apology

Wednesday 13 February marks the anniversary of the National Apology to Stolen Generations.

Eleven years ago Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s official Parliamentary apology to the Stolen Generations of Indigenous Australians acknowledged our nation’s history and the profound pain, suffering, grief and indignity that was inflicted.

Today, the future and legacy he so strongly articulated – for our Parliament and all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to work together to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity, remains our biggest challenge.

What legacy will our generation leave behind? This is a sombre question, but in 2019 this date marks one of the most solemn anniversaries in Australia’s history.

Frank Byrne’s Living in Hope is an incredibly moving story of a boy, Goodarrie, taken away from his mother and family when he was just six years old. That was forever. He had no say in it. His family had no say in it. As Bruce Pascoe writes, Goodarrie’s story is an incredible testament to survival and ‘the toughness and determination of our people’.

In Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (edited by Anita Heiss) Doreen Nelson talks about the importance of story, and for elders to write about their experiences and how they have come to terms with the past. As she says, by ‘recording our stories we leave behind a rich and important legacy for future generations’.

May our stories reflect a legacy of hope and reconciliation.

2018 highlights & 2019 horizons!

Looking back on the #2018highlights is like tending to seeds that have been planted, seeing how they’re growing and blossoming into #2019horizons. Over the next week, we will be posting what is being cultivated by Ptilotus Press for the year ahead.

#2018highlight: CAAMA radio callout in June 2018 for submissions to a multiple author anthology, the third publication in the Inland Writers Series. Five authors were selected (all women!) who contributed stunning and diverse work including short story, poetry and memoir. 

#2019horizon: This anthology will be launched this year! Keep in touch through social media for updates.

See interview with press member, Meg Mooney, at this link: http://caama.com.au/news/2018/ptilotus-press-seeking-writers-from-central-australia .
#2018highlight: Last July, Living In Hope won Best Non-Fiction category of the Territory Read Award by the NT Writer's Centre. The late author's son Trevor Byrne and grandaughter Delphene Byrne are pictured centre with the award. This award was an affirmation of the social importance of the book both as a memoir of the Stolen Generations and a highly unique window into the author's childhood on Country. Living In Hope was selected for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation's distribution program in 2017 which saw over 500 copies delivered to schools nationwide.

#2019horizon: This current edition of Living In Hope is the childhood section of Frank Byrne's full life story (only the first three chapters). Ptilotus Press is honoured to announce that we are currently in production with the Byrne family and co-authors to publish his entire memoir! Support this process by buying a copy of the book online or offering a donation through our website - www.ptilotuspress.com/donate/

Photo credit: NT Writer's Centre.
#2018highlight In October 2018, Living In Hope was shortlisted for the Most Underrated Book Award 2018 by the Small Press Network. In November, Byrne family members, co-authors and Ptilotus Press met at the Byrne family home on western Arrernte Country to plan a road trip to Naarm (aka Melbourne) for the award ceremony. Radio National journalist Harry Hayes joined them and recorded interviews about the book which then featured on the Indigenous arts program, Awaye!

#2019horizon The Byrne family and co-authors are working collectively with Ptilotus Press to plan the next steps for the ongoing national distribution of 'Living In Hope' and to build an audience for the forthcoming publication of Frank Byrne's complete life story.

Pictured left to right: Trevor Byrne, Delphene Byrne, Gerard Waterford & Frances Coughlan.
#2018highlight In October 2018, Living In Hope was shortlisted for the Most Underrated Book Award 2018 by the Small Press Network. In November, Byrne family members, co-authors and Ptilotus Press met at the Byrne family home on western Arrernte Country to plan a road trip to Naarm (aka Melbourne) for the award ceremony. Radio National journalist Harry Hayes joined them and recorded interviews about the book which then featured on the Indigenous arts program, Awaye!

#2019horizonThe Byrne family and co-authors are working collectively with Ptilotus Press to plan the next steps for the ongoing national distribution of 'Living In Hope' and to build an audience for the forthcoming publication of Frank Byrne's complete life story.

Pictured left to right: Trevor Byrne, Delphene Byrne, Gerard Waterford & Frances Coughlan.
#2018highlight In October 2018, Living In Hope was shortlisted for the Most Underrated Book Award 2018 by the Small Press Network. In November, Byrne family members, co-authors and Ptilotus Press met at the Byrne family home on western Arrernte Country to plan a road trip to Naarm (aka Melbourne) for the award ceremony. Radio National journalist Harry Hayes joined them and recorded interviews about the book which then featured on the Indigenous arts program, Awaye!

#2019horizonThe Byrne family and co-authors are working collectively with Ptilotus Press to plan the next steps for the ongoing national distribution of 'Living In Hope' and to build an audience for the forthcoming publication of Frank Byrne's complete life story.

Pictured left to right: Trevor Byrne, Delphene Byrne, Gerard Waterford & Frances Coughlan.
#2018highlight In October 2018, Living In Hope was shortlisted for the Most Underrated Book Award 2018 by the Small Press Network. In November, Byrne family members, co-authors and Ptilotus Press met at the Byrne family home on western Arrernte Country to plan a road trip to Naarm (aka Melbourne) for the award ceremony. Radio National journalist Harry Hayes joined them and recorded interviews about the book which then featured on the Indigenous arts program, Awaye!

#2019horizon The Byrne family and co-authors are working collectively with Ptilotus Press to plan the next steps for the ongoing national distribution of 'Living In Hope' and to build an audience for the forthcoming publication of Frank Byrne's complete life story.

Pictured left to right: Trevor Byrne, Delphene Byrne, Gerard Waterford & Frances Coughlan.

Ptilotus Press signed by NewSouth Books for national distribution

Ptilotus Press is ecstatic to announce that as of 22 November 2018, NewSouth Books is managing the sales and distribution of our titles across Australia and New Zealand.

NewSouth Books is an Australian general and specialist sales, marketing and distribution force. NewSouth Books is wholly owned by UNSW Press Ltd. NewSouth Books represents agencies from Australasia, the USA, Canada, and the UK. A list of agencies, can be found here.”www.newsouthbooks.com.au

NewSouth have begun representation of the Inland Writers Series by Ptilotus Press which includes the titles ‘Living In Hope’ by Frank Byrne and ‘Summary of Small Things’ by Carol Adams.

To see the NewSouth announcement of our partnership, see links below:

28 November 2018: ‘Living In Hope’ available from NewSouth Books. Books & Publishing.

28 November 2018: Change for Ptilotus Press. Books & Publishing.

Media Highlights of MUBA Win!

Small Press Network profiles Living In Hope for #MUBA18

Small Press Network publishes a spotlight on ‘Living In Hope’ in the lead up to the announcement of the winner of #MUBA18 on 22 November 2018. The judges comment, “Told in simple but powerful language, the story is one that all Australians should read to understand the impact of the Stolen Generations on individual lives. Byrne writes: “I still have memories of my life at Christmas Creek before I was taken away.” He writes fondly about his time with his extended family in the Kimberley, hunting kangaroos with his stepfather, visiting his mother’s family at Fitzroy Crossing and hiding in a cave during World War 2. But then he was taken from his parents and left to fend for himself. It is heartbreaking to read his words: “I was only six years old and had to survive the best way I could.”” To read more, click here.

Vale Frank Byrne: 20 July 1937 – 20 October 2017

It was one year ago today that Frank Byrne sadly passed away. He may not be with us any longer, but his voice continues to resonate with heart-felt wisdom and powerful resilience. Ptilotus Press pays our deep respect and condolences to the immediate Byrne family, extended families, friends and community. We will dedicate this week to remembering him; his life, his story and his intent determination to pass ‘Living In Hope’ to the future generations.

Frank Byrne was a gentleman in every sense. He spoke softly with great authority about those things he knew of stock work, family and resilience and much much more. He loved his family and wanted to share with them his journey to give them a sense of perspective of “living with hope” as he had managed to do despite the adversity he had faced. He was a lovely singer and musician and we very much enjoyed the nights he’d sing with us and friends. He is deeply missed by his families and friends” (Jo Dutton – author and founding member of Ptilotus Press).

Photo by Chris Hallet, 18 August 2015. On the road between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing.

In 2015, Frank Byrne journeyed from Alice Springs through to the Kimberley with Frances Coughlan & Gerard Waterford to retrace his childhood steps & write his life story. Driving west on the Tanami Highway, he would say "those rosary beads keeping us safe". Photo by Chris Hallett,15 August 2015.
Writing on the road. Frank Byrne sits with Frances Coughlan and Gerard Waterford in their 'office' at Gnylmarung, just north of Beagle Bay mission on 21 August 2015. The son of a Gooniyandi woman and Irish stockman, Frank was born on Christmas Creek station in the Kimberley on 20 July 1937. He is a child of the Stolen Generations, taken from his mother at the age of six. Frank spent the next nine years at Moola Bulla settlement and Beagle Bay mission.
Frank Byrne visits Beagle Bay Mission 69 years after being taken there with other stolen children. He describes on page 27: "One day, without any warning, Alf George got us all together and picked all of these kids out from the mob. Like he was culling cattle. He just rounded up a few of us half-caste boys and girls, got us on the truck and away we went. It was 2 September 1946. I was nine years old. We just left Moola Bulla this day. I did not say goodbye to anyone, not any of the old people who had cared for me for the last three years, nobody. None of us said goodbye". Photo by Chris Hallett. 24 August 2015.
Frank Byrne sketches an early draft of Living In Hope in his own handwriting
Whilst retracing his childhood steps through the Kimberley, Frank meets Johnny Cooper again. Johnny was three years old when he was stolen from Lamboo Station and taken with the Moola Bulla kids to Beagle Bay mission. Frank describes on page 28, "I don't remember seeing little Johnny's mother that day. Maybe she could not face it. We just picked Johnny up and took him, no clothes, no blanket, no goodbye. We did not see anyone there to support the little guy. The blackfellas were all too scared. They feared the government, they just come and take the kids away, they had no say in it".
In the church at Beagle Bay mission, Frank and his mother's story is found on p202 of 'From Patrons to Partners: And the Separated Children of the Kimberley' by M. Zucker (2005.
Roadside consultations with Frank whilst writing Living In Hope. Photo by Chris Hallett, August 2015.

Past News

Small Press Network Shortlists ‘Living In Hope’ for Most Underrated Book Award 2018

Ptilotus Press title ‘Living In Hope’ by Frank Byrne has been shortlisted for the Most Underrated Book Award 2018 (#MUBA2018). The winner of the award will be announced by the Small Press Network (SPN) at their Independent Publishing Conference in Melbourne on 22 November 2018. Members of the Byrne family, co-authors Gerard Waterford & Frances Coughlan along with Ptilotus Press will travel from Mparntwe/Alice Springs to attend the MUBA 2018 ceremony.

Earlier this year, ‘Living In Hope’ won Best Non-Fiction Territory Read Award 2018. It is a powerful childhood memoir and story of resilience by a survivor of the Stolen Generations.

Ptilotus Press is a community publisher based in Mparntwe/Alice Springs managed by a collective of local writers. To learn more, see the SPN announcement here or visit www.ptilotuspress.com

For media enquiries, contact Olivia Nigro: 0405 406 731 | olivia.nigro@ptilotuspress.com

Best Non-Fiction award for ‘Living In Hope’

Trevor Byrne and Delphene Byrne (pictured centre) accept ‘Best Non-Fiction’ award for ‘Living In Hope’ on behalf of their father and grandfather Frank Byrne at the 2018 Territory Read Awards in Darwin on 29 July 2018. Photo: NT Writer’s Centre.