Art shows in the bookshop

What we’ve been up to at Blarney Books…

Minnie's Mission by Emily McCormack

Well, we do seem to be becoming a rather busy little bookshop these days, and some of it isn’t even about books! Our art side of the shop seems to have been taking up a lot of our time lately, but in the weeks ahead we do have a few more literary events on. We still have our 2010 Biblio-Art Exhibition running (it finishes up on the 6th of September), and it is all on-line for people to browse as well. We have also put up short video clips of the opening night, and interviews with the winning artists(see below). All great fun indeed! The exhibition has been very popular and we’ve had a fair amount of media coverage too. Which means that more people have been through our shop this winter than in the previous five winters we’ve been open.

Tomorrow, we are putting on a play – a theatre group actually approached us to put it on in the space we have, because they loved the atmosphere of the shop. That’s wonderful to hear! I haven’t personally seen this play before, although it has been touring around for some time, and getting high praise in reviews. It’s a one-hour four-person play based around the life of Sylvia Plath, so very literary indeed. Of course, I have a table of Plath-related books set up, we have 45 booked so far to come and see it, and we are putting on a light afternoon tea afterwards. All for $20 a head. Hopefully it will be just the ticket for a cold wet Port Fairy Sunday afternoon!

The following weekend we have a local author, Paul Burman, launching his second novel (being published in the UK) “The Grease Monkey’s Tale”. His previous novel, “The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore” received wonderful reviews, so we are looking forward to this one! For the launch, we put on wine & nibbles, signed books are of course available, and we have another author of some repute, Dmetri Kakmi, doing the introductions! We hope for strong attendance and support – it’s not every day we can launch a local author!

Then we follow up with the first weekend of September (Father’s day weekend in Australia) being Port Fairy’s annual Ex Libris festival. Blarney Books & Art is playing host to the launch party of the weekend on the Friday night, and we are also hosting a couple of events over the weekend. This weekend attracts a number of bookworms to town for the author talks, the big secondhand book sale, and the usually hilarious and increasingly popular school debate.

We have also added to our activities a monthly, fortnightly, or even weekly (we haven’t quite decided which but to date has been monthly) life-drawing session for local artists. This involves hiring a model, rounding up some enthusiastic artists, and putting on wine & nibbles. We need to charge $15 p/head to cover model fees.

The Biblio-Art exhibition will be still on throughout these events, so even more people will be able to catch that before it packs up (sadly). And after that exhibition comes a children’s book illustration exhibition, being put on by friends of ours – over which time they are offering to take on the shop & gallery and give us a chance to have some time out!

We will be launching the 2011 Biblio-Art competition in November, to give us a greater time-line to organise the exhibition for June ’11. And meanwhile, we have some extraordinary and wonderful artists lined up to take us through to then!

The book side of this bookshop ticks over nicely at the moment. I’m not having trouble maintaining stocks at the moment, because I have a wonderful hunter-gatherer (who is also a good friend) who regularly supplies me with boxes of quality reading, and there seem to be no shortage of other people walking in with decent books of late. I have also found little oases where I can hunt out some terrific books for the right prices too, and with all of that, the stock is keeping quite fresh. I guess it would be nice if more people were actually buying the books off the shelves, but that will happen when the tourists return in summer – by which time I will have a very nicely stocked shop indeed.

So now you know what has been keeping me so busy! I do regularly check in with The Bookshop Blog, and have been enjoying all the new posts, wishing I had more time to add more myself.