Backroom Press Events 2020
2020 was dominated by COVID-19 and as a result Backroom Press events were seriously curtailed. In fact, the first event was a Corrugated Lines event which took place July 31 to August 1.
Writing competition 2020
This was a writing competition run as a lead-up to the Festival. Entrants were invited to write a short story with a Kimberley theme. Winners were announced at the Festival opening with three cash prizes being awarded.
Prizes were drawn from royalties accumulated over three years for the second edition of Beyond the Lattice by Susan Sickert. Susan was a founding member of Backroom Press and passed away in 2018.
The competition was fierce, but the judges finally decided on three pieces:
First Prize: Jess Miller for “Curry”
Second Prize: Gordon Byers for “50 Years”
Third Prize: Myra Kendall for “Ebb and Flow”
To read the stories check this link.
Launch of Me and My Semicolon by Rani Middleton
It was a beautiful evening at St Mary’s College for the launch of Rani Middleton’s Me and My Semicolon.
Rani would have loved her book launch. She would have laughed,
cried, applauded and been proud. Surrounded by her friends, family, colleagues and students, we all celebrated the release of her book, Me and My Semicolon, at St Mary’s College on 15th October 2020.
It was a beautiful Broome evening and the dancing and singing performances
by the students were heartfelt. Interspersed were speeches from Rani’s
husband Nathan Laird, her father Matthew Middleton and friend Deb
Hannagan, who officially launched the book. Vanessa Mills brought it all
together in a professional way, as MC for the evening.
The event was ‘live’ on Facebook as well as connected via Zoom to Rani’s family in Queensland. About a hundred people sat, many on picnic rugs, on the newly planted lawn
outside the performing arts building, to honour Rani and the gift she gave us in
this precious book.
Backroom Press is indebted to the wonderful staff and students of St Mary’s
College for hosting the launch, especially Vicki Thompson who magically made
it all happen. She was ably supported by Justin Cudemore, who set up the PA
and IT systems, Mark Ross who sang and played guitar to welcome us, and the
SMC food science class who prepared and served delicious food. Students
who danced and sang deserve a special mention. They all performed
magnificently. There was barely a dry eye in the crowd when Isaiah
McKenna sang Beyoncé’s ‘I was Here’.
Rani’s story began as a blog at the beginning of her year-long journey with
bowel cancer. Her honesty, humour and eternal optimism shines through as
she relates intimate details as well as describing the love and support she felt
from her community.
Author and journalist Trent Dalton says it all when he describes Rani’s words
as “a truly harrowing, often hilarious, always illuminating literary odyssey”.
Rani’s book now sits proudly on the bookshelf of the Kimberley Bookshop,
alongside authors such as Julia Baird, Leigh Sales and Trent Dalton. She
would be very proud.