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  • Writer's picturesamantha battams

festivals galore 2023

Fringe, Adelaide Writers Festival and WOMAD 2023

How lucky are we in Adelaide to have so many diverse festivals! I love being in Adelaide during the #FestivalofArts and #Fringe, #AdelaideWritersFestival and #WOMAD! At the Fringe this year I saw 8 shows, some with French associations as I went with my friend #MatildaMarseillaise, including: Chansons: Piaf, Brel & Me; Carmen the Cabaret; Love on the Left Bank (about Juliette Greco) by Louise Blackwell (which won a Fringe award). Then there was the decidedly unFrench/uncultured Bogan Bingo, Nona Mona Hot Spinster and Comedy Singles Show at the Arkabar! There was also the 100% MBA Success: Whisky and Trivia with #ProfessorLongsword (having worked in a private university offering MBA’s and working as a management consultant made me truly appreciate this). I also saw a Nina Simone tribute show (love Nina Simone!) and my niece Abbey in the kids musical version of #TheLionKing at the #ShedleyTheatre. How talented are those kids out there! I didn’t see any of the main arts festival and regret not seeing more theatre (and missing a Holden St show and The Chaser event), but resolved to see more of it next year!

I also went to WOMAD this mainly to see the performance by #FlorenceandtheMachine, whom I also love! (the crowd control and facilities had much to be desired this year). As an alternative to The Adelaide Cup, I went to #TheCanineCup this year, bumped into the lovely Anne Johnson (who was one of my PhD supervisors), and got many beautiful things in the Silent Auction including a glass wave platter by Llewelyn Ash Glass, a print by Dana Kinter, and earrings by Jess Dare

I only attended one session of #TheAdelaideWritersFestival, ‘We Gasp for Air Among People Who Believe They Are Absolutely Right,' where the Panel was almost a #Manel (there was one woman and six men on the panel including the male presenter - as well as the statue in the women's garden with her head turned away, see below). I believe we need more women on such panels as, amongst other things, it shapes the discussion – ironically the whole thing was about ‘the forces that have shaped contemporary political life.’ It’s great that The Writers Festival is now on podcast and I’ve been able to catch up on another couple of sessions via podcast since the festival.

This weekend there are even more festivals (#BarossaVintageFestival and the #AdelaideEquestrianFestival, as well as a controversial golf tournament!) , I might just head off to the Barossa, land of my forebears to enjoy the vintage festival - something I used to do when living in Switzerland but haven't done here yet! Bonne Sante!

Birthdays and Easter

February, March and April was also the month of Easter and celebrating birthdays, including Raelene's 61st eighties party, Calli's 49th, Louie's 1st birthday (and Peter and Oliver's from the Park!) Penny's 53rd and Rikki's 40th Birthday. My own is coming up in less a month, better start organising! It was nice to have Easter catchups with friends (like Julie D) and relax. One thing I really enjoyed at Easter was the....AFFF

Adelaide French Film Festival (AFFF)

I have recently been enjoying the #AdelaideFrenchFilmFestival. I have seen #TheTasting and #TwoTicketstoGreece. Both comedies with serious themes as well. Enjoying wine, being single and having travelled a lot in France, I loved #TheTasting, which had some beautiful scenery – it was mostly set in Troyes, France. The main character, Hortense, is single and wants a child, so decides to take matters into her own hands and goes to a fertility clinic in Spain– something two of my friends in Geneva did, whilst a third had a child on her own when she returned to her home country. I also loved #TwoTicketstoGreece, having spent time in Mykonos with a friend when I lived in Geneva. I bought a painting of Mykonos from a drunk arts who came into the restaurant I was eating in, who said that every time I see the painting I would smile, and he is right as I think of him and his comment! The themes in the latter film were about friendship, love and mortality. A long film, it was also enjoyable with stunning scenery of Greek Islands. These two films are amongst others that will continue to play at the #PalaceNova beyond the festival period.

Footy Festival: Gather Round

From French Film to footy, I also enjoyed seeing #PortAdelaideFootballClub play at #GatherRound on Saturday 14th April, in cold and wet conditions. Looking forward to another 3 years of this event! I will also enjoy the ANZAC tribute footy round at Adelaide Oval. I will attend #ANZAC day commemorations at Semaphore next week. Thinking of all those who served, including those who served in WWI such as my Grandfather Stephen White (who returned) and Great Uncle Frank Rumbelow who is buried in Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, Belgium. Lest We Forget.

Books: The Countess of Kirribilli

This year I have read four books so far: #TheCountessofKirribilli: The mysterious and free-spirited literary sensation who beguiled the world (by Joyce Morgan), #OutThere (about online dating, by Kerry Sacksville -it has already saved me!), and two debut crime fiction books by South Australian authors (by Rebecca Heath and Michelle Prak, see below).

I really enjoyed #TheCountessofKirribilli, a fascinating non-fiction historical/biographical book about writer Elizabeth von Armin (1866-1941) (author Katherine Mansfield was her cousin, both of them had the maiden name Beauchamp). Elizabeth was a very successful writer of her time born in Kirribilli, NSW, but I had never previously heard of her. The movie Mr Skeffington with Bette Davis is based upon an Elizabeth von Arnim novel. The 1991 film The Enchanted April with Miranda Richardson is based upon an Elizabeth von Arnim book of the same. Elizabeth spent many of her years living in Switzerland, so that was something that I could also relate to.

Elizabeth was twice a Countess - she married a German Count and later Bertrand Russell’s brother Count Earl Russell who was a terrible narcissist. Her 1921 novel Vera is based on this marriage. Elizabeth Arnim also had a 3 year affair with writer H.G. Wells. Her story was truly amazing.

Subsequent to discovering Elizabeth I found this society dedicated to her.


SA History Festival – Author talk

I will be talking about my latest writing project, about my great great grandmother, titled 'Spiritualism, Charlatans and Police Stings in the late 19thC - and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle'

(not yet published) at the SA History Festival for the City of Charles Sturt, on the 21st May 2023 at City of Charles Sturt’s Woodville Library. Here’s the blurb for the event (event free, Tickets via Eventbrite).

Sisters in Crime SA

In January we had a great #SistersinCrimeSA author event at The Rising Sun hotel with #MercedesMercier (White Noise, Black Lies), #NinaCampbell (Daughters of Eve) and #VikkiWakefield (After You Were Gone) speaking about their latest novels.

Any true crime buffs who haven’t already heard (or had their head in the sand!), Sisters in Crime’s #VikkiPetraitis has developed a series of podcasts on #TheFrankstonMurders which are now available on #CaseFile. They have quickly become number one in Australia and other countries!

On the topic of podcasts, my book #TheSecretArtofPoisoning and #MarthaNeedle were recently featured on the US podcast #TeaTimeCrimes. The link to this podcast can be found here.

We have another Sisters in Crime SA author panel coming up 31st May, with #MichellePrak and #RebeccaHeath. I have just read their two debut crime fiction books set in South Australia: #TheRush by Michelle Prak (coming out 3 May 2023 – Simon & Schuster Australia, I went to the pre-launch and the launch is coming up!) and #TheSummerParty by Rebecca Heath (published January 2023, Head of Zeus). How exciting to read books set in your home state, by debut authors, both members of Sisters in Crime SA! Michelle and Rebecca will be speaking about their books at the Sisters in Crime SA event on 31st May 2023, at The Rising Sun Hotel, details here.

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