Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm back!

My Dears,

Please accept my sincere apologies for not having updated in so long. There was some palaver with lost passwords and 'Google log-ins' and the like ... Luckily my very clever and patient young nephew has finally sorted it all out, so I'm back on the air!

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of my dear readers for their emails, especially all the ones from Nigeria -- who'd have thought my little blog would have so many fans in Africa!

love, Gladys.

Grey Gorillas awarded

For some inexplicable reason, my invitation to the APA’s 60th anniversary dinner was ‘lost in the mail’, but I hear that a fine time was had by all and I congratulate so many of my oldest and dearest friends for being recognised in the inaugural George Robertson Awards (which I suspect will forever be known as the ‘Grey Gorilla’ awards). Along with all the MDs and publishers, I was particularly pleased to see that Trevor Klein, the indefatigable sales manager for Adelaide’s Wakefield Press, got a gong. Trevor, however, has told his local paper that he was lucky to be around to receive his award. ‘They have to go and catch us before we all die,’ he said (with his tongue presumably firmly lodged in his cheek). ‘We’re all getting old and decrepit, teeth and limbs are falling off.’ Once Trevor reaches the final chapter, he even has a bookish plan for the hereafter: ‘When I die I want them to bind me in a hardcover, drop it in the incinerator and … end of story.’

Near-death experiences at MUP?

While she seemed very upbeat after participating in the Prime Minister’s 2020 Summit, one of my old friends wonders if MUP publisher Louise Adler may have had a near-death experience lately. As evidence, he offers this list of recent MUP titles:
Swimming in a Sea of Death
Sweet Sorrow: A Beginner’s Guide to Death
A Good Death: Argument for Euthanasia
Sacred Places: A Memorial for War Dead
Book of Dead Philosophers
I Lost my Love in Baghdad
A Family History of Smoking
‘Let’s hope Peter Costello isn’t suspicious!’ my correspondent writes.

Message in a bottle

Bruce ‘Salty Sea-dog’ Macky of Dymocks Adelaide has managed to find an empty rum bottle and has sent the following message afloat from an idyllic atoll somewhere in the Pacific:
Dear Gladys, I am extremely flattered that the revered Gladys Bembo would even notice my absence, let alone make note of it in ‘THE’ column. I thought I’d bring you a little more up to date. We indeed arrived at Qingdao on Valentines Day, to the most phenomenal welcome. The following Tuesday was presentation night. The Chinese Olympic Committee did us hugely proud. The Book Industry Awards have a huge distance to go to match the pizzazz. We left on the 24th, on schedule, in absolutely freezing conditions. We had some beautiful sailing down under the bottom of Korea, and across to Honshu Island, Japan. We were making great progress until, on 5 March, our mast broke. What had been 85 feet became 40, with the rest over 4000 metres down in the Pacific. We were incredibly lucky it happened in 8 knots of wind. 36 hours later we had 35+ knots with 20-foot waves. Had it happened then, I'm sure someone would have been lost. The silver lining to this horrible cloud was that we managed to rig a "jury rig", and sail and motor about 1400 nm to Midway Island. This former military base is now a wildlife jewel, home to nearly 2 million albatross, assorted other sea birds, and the very rare Hawaiian Harp Seal and green and loggerhead turtles. We stayed two nights, to fill up with fuel and food, and had a fabulous welcome from the 57 residents on the island. Got parts flown in, fixed to motor, and spent another 6 days motoring 1100nm to Hawaii. We are now enjoying Waikiki while we wait for bits for the boat We will head either for Santa Cruz, California, or to Panama as soon as it is repaired. Gladys, I'm sorry I have rambled, but I cannot emphasise enough how beautiful Midway is, and what a threat plastic is to the worlds' wildlife. Enough. I shall see you in Oz, sometime after July 13. Bruce.

You go girl!

There were sad farewells last month at Hardie Grant Egmont for Susannah McFarlane, who left the firm after six years' hard work turning it into Australia's most dynamic children's list. The creative force behind such bestselling series as 'Go Girls' and 'Zac Power' was presented with a special gift by her staff - her own 'Go Girl' avatar.

Does Aunty speak with a forked tongue?

In the week that my keen and efficient young editor is politely but firmly insisting that I finish my column, the ABC has been ‘flatly denying’ a report in the papers that the ABC Shops are about to close and that one book chain will get an exclusive deal to sell ABC-branded products. However a number of very reliable and well-connected old friends have told me that according to their inside info from our national broadcaster not only are the ABC Shops on their way out sooner rather than later, but more than likely ABC Books as well … who wants to wager a bottle of passable red on the outcome?