A booklover’s guide to Reconnect Festival – Week Two (@EasternRegional)

The Reconnect Festival, running from 1-31 May and presented by the Eastern Regional Libraries, is about bringing our community together. Week Two explores the theme of Literacy, with events that help us grow more confident, connected and purposeful.

Below is a list of interesting talks and workshops recommended by Christine Yunn-Yu Sun, the Star Mail’s book reviewer. All the events are free, but bookings are essential.

For those gnawed by travel bugs, author and illustrator Glenda Wise will present her book The World is Your Pearl at Belgrave Library on Tuesday 11 May, 2-3PM. This is a memoir to inspire anyone wishing for adventures, from patting yaks in Nepal to diving with giant manta rays in Hawaii and everywhere in between.

The World is Your Pearl (Pearl Fairies, October 2020) by Glenda Wise

For a different kind of adventure, the experts from Ringwood Toastmasters will help you learn the fundamentals of public speaking at Realm on Saturday 15 May, 10:30AM-12PM. These tips will help you sound confident and charismatic whenever the need arises.

For history buffs, Darren Arnott will discuss his book No Regard for the Truth at Rowville Library on Saturday 15 May, 2-4PM. Probing a tragic shoot-and-kill at the Rowville Internment Camp in 1946, the book received a Community Diversity Award Commendation at the Victorian Community History Awards 2020.

No Regard for the Truth (Bookpod, September 2019) by Darren Arnott

Meanwhile, Sue Thompson from the Lilydale & District Historical Society will share the history and development of Kinley – Melbourne’s newest Eastern suburb – at Mooroolbark Library on Thursday 13 May, starting 10:30AM.

At Bayswater Library on Monday 17 May, 2-3PM, the Historical Radio Society will talk about old radios from the 1920s to the 1960s. Neither technical knowledge nor previous experience is required to reminisce those old radio tunes and shows from your childhood.

Specifically designed for aspiring family historians, the “Ancestors Who Served” Workshop (Yarra Junction Library, Friday 14 May, 10:30-11:30AM) and the “Hands-On Ancestry” Workshop (Croydon Library, Saturday 15 May, 10AM-12PM) will teach you all the tricks to become proficient in ancestry researching.

For our First Nations readers, the “Researching Koori Family History” Workshop will take place online on Monday 17 May, 9:30AM-12:30PM. Via Zoom, Jenny Bates from the Koori Heritage Trust will introduce how to start researching Aboriginal family history, tips on staying organised, and where to access available records.

Finally, booklovers are in luck, as two more authors will showcase their books.

At Croydon Library on Thursday 13 May, 2-3PM, award-winning author, journalist and speechwriter Leah Swann will discuss her debut novel Sheerwater. Highlighting a mother’s love for her children, this family story is described by Booktopia as packing an emotional punch that is “gut-wrenching, dark, and achingly beautiful”.

Sheerwater (HarperCollins Publishers, April 2020) by Leah Swann

Then, at Belgrave Library on Friday 14 May, 11AM-12PM, author Marian Matta will discuss her collection of short stories Life, Bound. The book is described by Cass Moriarty as “warm, witty and thoughtful, an interesting collection by a mature writer whose life experience is demonstrated in her array of ideas”.

Life, Bound (MidnightSun Publishing, October 2020) by Marian Matta

Readers are advised to check out the full festival program at the ERL website: https://www.yourlibrary.com.au/reconnect/

Note: This article was originally published under the title “Reconnect with Literacy”, by Ranges Trader Star Mail, May 11, 2021, Page 7.

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