Wednesday, 27 November 2013

29th November is Prose with Helen Hagemann 10am-noon.  Final class in the 2013 series world-wide short fiction, looks at “Writing Love – Part 2”. Class will read Baby Oil by Robert Drewe from The Bodysurfers. Writing exercises on “love’s  practices”.


Venue:  Room 2, Upstairs, Fremantle Arts Centre, 1Finnerty St. Fremantle
$20 OOTA :  $25 NON-OOTA 
No Booking needed.  All welcome!



Robert Drewe was born in Melbourne, but moved with his family to Perth, at the age of six. He was educated at Hale School, later working as a junior reporter for The West Australian. He moved to Melbourne in his twenties working for The Age and went on to be literary editor at The Australian before turning to fiction. His first book of stories, The Bodysurfers has become an Australian classic – regularly reprinted, widely translated and adapted for screen, stage and radio. His other prize-winning books include The Bay of Contented Men and novels Our Sunshine, The Drowner, Grace, Montebello (2102) & The Local Wildlife (2013). His most prominent work The Shark Net, a semi autobiographical account of Drewe's childhood and adolescence, is a memoir that has been produced as an ABC television series. The name, shark net is a metaphor for the modus operandi of a character in the story, the serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke, whom Drewe met in his childhood and who terrorized the streets of Perth during 1959 to 1963 where he committed 22 violent crimes, 8 of which resulted in death. Robert Drewe is currently working on a sequel to his memoir The Shark Net.
   The Bodysurfers, first published in 1983 by Pan Macmillan, is a collection of twelve short stories that focus on the beach, holidays and coastal living. Certain stories are set in Western Australia while others are on the Pacific Ocean side, especially the Central Coast of NSW. Although most have a coastal setting, Baby Oil (appearing to hint at a 60s tanning lotion) is set apart from the rest. This story explores the shift in relationships that occurred during the sixties with the advent of the pill and sexual freedom for women. In a middle-class Australia, it was no longer the realm of men to have many sexual partners. Anthea is the antitheses of the woman who believed her body was her own agency. As she states in the story ‘my body is mine to do with as I like.’
   In a review of The Bodysurfers, Van Ikin states that, ‘Drewe develops these concerns in more detail, exploring the conflicts and contradictions in the national character. One of the epigraphs about the loss of national values in a statement by Manning Clark was that this was a generation, stripped bare of all faith, stripped bare to lie comfortless on Bondi Beach. Times have changed, but the bedroom scene in Baby Oil supposes the same nudity (esp. with the smell of oil) as the characters slip around on satin sheets, ‘undulating like an ocean swell, rolling and curving towards shore.’

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    Writing at the Centre is an independent writing class conducted each Friday at the Fremantle Arts Centre, Print Room, upstairs in the main building.

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