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Sydney Writers’ Festival 2014

April 21, 2014

SWF Program


I’ll be at the Sydney Writers’ Festival this year for a few events relating to Ninety9. First of all I’m running a teen memoir workshop called “Puberty Clues” on Saturday May 17th at the State Library, in which I will tell you all I know about writing a coming of age memoir. The next Friday, the 23rd of May, I’m on a panel about music and memoir with Emma Ayres and Omar Musa, “A Life in Rhythm“. It’s on from 4:30 – 5:30pm at Pier 4/5. Later that night I’m reading at “Mixtape Memoirs“, hosted by The Lifted Brow at the Festival Club. This jolly event will be from 7:30pm and features writers reading stories about an important song which changed their life somehow. This song will be performed live by the house band, and there will be accompanying visuals from comic artists – something for almost all the senses! What song have I chosen? There’s no fun in me revealing it now, but I will say that it’s usually listened to alone in a darkened room, or when emerging from the dry ice on the dancefloor, swishing your cape around. 

Other Worlds Zine Fair

April 2, 2014

other worlds zine fair


There’s a new zine fair in Sydney this May, set up as an alternative to the annual MCA zine fair. It’s on the same day as the MCA fair, May 25th, from 11am to 4pm, on Level 3 of Central on 28 Broadway (the future-building with the living wall and the heliostat where the brewery used to be). I’ll be there debuting my new I am a Camera zine which has been moving glacially towards completion since mid last year.

Here’s a quote from the organisers explaining how the Other Worlds Fair came into being: “The MCA is sponsored by Transfield, a corporation that operates service contracts in the detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Transfield derives brand value through its association with the arts, and it derives considerable profit from the extra-judicial incarceration of asylum seekers. By participating in events that are sponsored by Transfield we add value to their brand. We, a small group of zine makers from Sydney, inspired by the current campaign to boycott the Sydney Biennale over its relationship with Transfield, have decided to boycott the MCA zine fair in 2014. We do not want our zines to add value to a corporation that profits from the Australian government’s indefensible treatment of asylum seekers.”

Find more information about Other Worlds here.

Re:make Fundraising Exhibition

March 18, 2014

Along with Leigh of Hello Bookcase, I’ve been organising a fundraising exhibition for East Sydney High School. It’s a school in Darlinghurst for disadvantaged kids who can’t access mainstream education and is in a big old building on William Street – this is where we’re having the exhibition opening on Saturday 29th.

The exhibition is of transformed found artworks – Leigh and I have been on the lookout for abandoned paintings by the side of the road and, as with many things, once you start noticing them, you see them everywhere… There’s more information about it on the Re:make website if you’re curious to know more and the Facebook event page for it is here. The exhibition has some of my favourite Sydney artists in it: Sarah Goffman, Emily Hunt, Garry Trinh, come and see what they’ve done with the abandoned landscapes, unwanted portraits and found photos from Sydney streets.


Penrith Arcades Project Map Zine

March 8, 2014


Penrith Arcades Project Fold-up Map

To accompany my Penrith Arcades Project exhibition that’s currently on at the Penrith Regional Gallery, I have printed a map on The Rizzeria. It’s for sale in the gallery shop at Penrith and I have also put a few copies on Etsy if anyone is keen to have one and can’t make it to the exhibition.

The exhibition is on until May 25th – you can go along and add your Penrith memory to the Memory Mall wall – joining the memories of bookstores, weddings, and being punched at Phriction Nightclub already there.

Penrith Memories

On the way home you can visit the real Memory Mall to complete the experience. I like to buy a sandwich from Top Sandwiches and sit in the Memory Mall food court and read the Penrith City Gazette. Then I pop into the Salvos, then the cake decorating store in the NK Centre for some cake decorating figurines, such as my exhibition mascots here, the bowling ladies.

Penrith Bowling Ladies



Newtown and Penrith, Talking and Mapping

February 1, 2014

Remember Newtown in the 1990s? I’ll be doing a time-travel talk about it and about Ninety9 at Newtown Library on February 25th as part of the Better Read’s Talking Heads series. Expect this head to talk about the owl clock with moving eyes on the wall of Singapore Gourmet, book landslides in Goulds, mischief in Sydney Park and buying tie dyed slips at the night markets at Burland Community Hall.

Newtown 1990s higher res


In one of my other lives, the one where I am a DIY cartographer, I am part of the Mud Maps exhibition at the Penrith Regional Gallery  where I’ll be showing work related to my Penrith Arcades Project. It opens on March 1st so if you’re of the westerly persuasion do come and visit. My friend and fellow cartographer Keg de Souza is in the exhibition too.

Calokerinos Arcade Penrith

One of Penrith’s many blue arcades.

Zine News for January

January 8, 2014

There’s plenty of zine activity on the horizon and this post is going to be a round-up of various zine-related announcements and events rather than news of my own zines, although I have a couple in the works, as ever.

For those in Sydney, if you haven’t visited a Rizzeria Zine Club yet, come along next Thursday, January 16th for the launch of the Bizoo zine anthology, with music, gocco printing, and a panel on DIY in Australia.



The Rizzeria are currently running a Pozible campaign to buy a gold ink drum – if you’re thinking of printing with them sometime this year some of the rewards are printing credit, so it’s a good way to support the Rizzeria and also make sure you do end up making that thing you were thinking of! Another reward is a series of Sydney themed postcards, of which I designed one.

postcard theme parks

Also coming up in Sydney this month is the Take Care Zine Open Day at Junior Gazette – these don’t happen very often so make the trip to Marrickville to browse and buy from their great catalogue of zines. It’s on the 25 January from 12-5pm. Junior Gazette is at Level 1, 91 Railway Parade, Marrickville.

take care open day


There are a few callouts for upcoming zine fairs, the first is Sticky’s Festival of the Photocopier zine fair in early February, and also taking stall applications is the Canberra Zine Emporium for their zine fair in March.

cze callout


That’s all for now, do leave a comment if there’s anything else ziney coming up in the next few months I haven’t mentioned, and see you at the Rizzeria next week.

To my dear readers at the end of 2013

December 31, 2013

Dear Readers,

Thank you for following my exploits this year, whoever and wherever you may be. It’s a sunny, cicada-loud morning as I write this on the last day of the year and I’m feeling a kind of lazy, holiday contentment with things, even though I’ve been slowly working away on a writing project for the new year. Distractions come easily, but I let them.

In the year past I had my 90s teen memoir Ninety9 published by Giramondo, which led to a string of launches, a recreation of my teenage bedroom, and a walking tour of 1990s Newtown. I kept delving into the mysteries of Sydney on my blog Mirror Sydney, writing stories and making maps. I wrote a blog series for Sydney Living Museums for Public Sydney, hosted a Band T-shirt Tea party and a Morrissey party, found kittens in my yard, bought a giant teapot, wrote letters, saw Einstürzende Neubauten, went to the drive-in cinema, took at least 7750 photographs, taught students how to use semicolons properly and how to make zines, made my hair into a beehive, felt happy, felt sad, felt thankful for everyone who supports me, my readers and followers, i.e. you.

See you on a fresh page of the calendar,

x Vanessa.

Vanessa BOMB


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