Women of Note was launched on Saturday night to a full house with people queuing outside the venue. It was the dream ending for this project which has consumed me for three years. But really it is the beginning. My book has been born, grown and has now moved out of home. Go well Book, be free! May you be enjoyed by countless readers.
I have included some photos of the amazing evening so you get a sense of the fascinating concert,
the composers who performed,
and the warmth and joy that surrounded the event (even when it threatened rain!).
Below is an edited version of my speech from the night.
Speech Notes: Launch of Women of Note
I believe in miracles.
When I started this project I thought it could potentially be a huge expensive waste of time. Then the Department of Culture and the Arts came on board with a project grant which funded my research and writing.
When I first contacted the composers I worried they would reject me outright. But they overwhelmed me with their encouragement and generosity.
When I first started looking for publishers I was terrified that all my hard work would never reach the shelves – then Fremantle Press said they were interested – very interested.
When it came time to promote the book I thought there wasn’t going to be a launch, but then the Perth Writer’sFestival and Tura New Music came on board.
The biggest miracle is that the jigsaw of Australia’s composing history has been completed. We now have something that more closely resembles the complete picture of how our composing scene has developed over the past century. I have peace about that now.
Thankyou Fremantle Press: Jane Fraser, Wendy Jenkins, Allyson Crimp, Claire Miller, Jenny Gillam. It has been a wonderful experience working with such a hardworking team. Especially as a freelancer, I have relished the chance to work alongside people and share the journey. I will never forget the past 12 months of working with you all. The end product is far better than I could have ever imagined. You have made a dream become reality –for me and for Australia’s women composers.
Gordon Kerry came onboard half way through as a consultant editor and his detailed comments as a composer and critic and industry expert have been so crucial to the historical accuracy and integrity of the book.
Stephen Bevis – my very sympathetic editor at the West Australian who has been very understanding with my workload and spoken such kind words tonight. It is an honour having you launch my book.
Thank you to my incredibly supportive husband Andrew, who has never let finance get in the way of fulfilment. Behind every successful woman is a strong partner and that is why this book is dedicated to you and our beautiful baby Matthew. We are a team and our little family is my greatest achievement and joy and foundation.
I would like to acknowledge music – which has had its grip on me since I was very young. Music fuels me and inspires me and heals me and turns me again and again to my Maker who I acknowledge as the Source of all creativity.
Finally the composers – I thank them for their vulnerability, passion, tenacity. For their vibrant, eclectic and beautiful music. For modelling for me what it means to persevere, to love both your family and your work, to pursue excellence, to turn obstacles into opportunities. Thank you for changing the landscape of Australian composition. Thank you for making up 25% of our composers, more than almost any other country in the world.
Can you believe it: Australia!
Their lives are more tragic and their output more brilliant than the many celebrities and sports stars who steal the headlines. Long may their music be heard and celebrated. It is time to celebrate one of Australia’s best kept secrets.
Is it time for champagne??