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.