The Books Are With the Printer!

I’m excited that I can now share with you the covers of the Pentridge trilogy, as I am calling the forthcoming three books.  

(To see the writing on the back covers more clearly, click on each pic.)

The trilogy label might be a little misleading, as I wrote only two of the three, although I have some writing in the third (which was actually the first). But I can claim a degree of authorship of that one too. 

The first edition of Blood from Stone, the poetry anthology emanating from Pentridge Prison, was published in 1982 under my then imprint Abalone Press. I am also the publisher of this new edition, under my own name.

Simultaneously with writing my memoir of that time in my life, and with all the renewed interest in both the history of Pentridge and that of the Melbourne poetry scene of the eighties, it seemed the time was right for a new edition of Blood from Stone.

The Memoir, as you'll see from the first illustration, is called Breaking into Pentridge Prison: Memories of Darkness and Light. (There was plenty of both!)

Then there’s the little spin-off chapbook,
Letters to a Dead Man, which can stand alone, but is directly related to the memoir.

I was very lucky to find a local printer. Like most things associated with this project, it happened serendipitously. I didn’t think we had any book printers in this town, but I had lunch with a friend who mentioned that she was getting her family history published as a book by one of the printers here. It’s not the major part of their business, but I’ve now seen samples of the books they’ve produced and they do a lovely job. It’s a nice coincidence that I have a history with this printer, from many years ago when I was conducting a lot of Reiki classes and they used to do all the printing associated with that.

It’s particularly convenient to use a local printer, because I’ve decided against travelling to Melbourne for a book launch there. Travel’s a bit arduous for me these days, as I age, so it will be a Zoom launch instead, in October, and later a local launch in person. It’s a smallish print run initially. The plan is to go to POD and ebooks a little later on.  Stay tuned!

It's All Happening!

Oh wow – with what I am now calling The Pentridge Trilogy  (i.e. my memoir, Breaking Into Pentridge Prison; a new edition of the prison anthology Blood from Stone; and my spin-off chapbook, Letters to a Dead Man) everything keeps falling readily into place. The latest is that just when I need the printer, who lives in Melbourne, to show me some cover stock to make a choice from, it happens that he is visiting this area and will be in my town tomorrow! How's that for perfect timing, synchronicity etc.?

My lovely book designer and her husband and young daughters came through on a holiday road trip not long ago, and took a quick detour to meet me over coffee. A lovely family altogether, delightful to meet. She and I already had great rapport via emails and texts; getting acquainted in person only confirmed it. She has been working extraordinarily hard on my project, even while travelling. I have been doing a fair bit of work myself, to make sure the manuscripts are perfect. It’s all coming to fruition very well.

We’ve settled on launch dates: October 14 in Melbourne, and November 12 (my birthday) in my own locality. They’ll be weekend afternoon events, which hopefully should suit most people.

I’ve asked local poet and educator, my dear friend Sarah Temporal, the moving spirit behind Poets Out Loud, to do the honours with the local launch, which will be held at Pulp Fiction bookshop.

The Melbourne launch will be in Pentridge, which is no longer a prison. I wrote in my memoir that I had no intention of ever setting foot in there again, but writing that book has enabled me to contemplate things which for a long time I couldn’t. No doubt it will be emotional, but also, perhaps, a kind of completion.

I’ve invited Ray Mooney, an ex-inmate (shortly before my time there) and now a noted author and playwright, to officiate at the Melbourne launch. Peter Norden, once Pentridge chaplain, these days a distinguished criminologist and author, has consented to contribute a Foreword to the new edition of Blood from Stone, for which Ray has also provided some thoughtful commentary.

It’s exciting and a bit overwhelming all at once.