Book review column “Passion for Prose” launched in local newspaper

 

Earlier this month, my family and I celebrated the 24th anniversary of my arrival in Australia. This is the country I love, my country, which accepts me for who I am and supports me to become who I want to be. I am grateful for the many opportunities that life provides for me to contribute to our society and culture.

One of these opportunities is to write for our local newspaper, The Star Mail, reviewing books by Australian authors. I am pleased to share with you that my first review, of Laura Jean McKay’s The Animals in That Country (Scribe Publications, 2020), was published today.

I have never given up my dream of becoming a journalist, having studied journalism as a postgraduate degree and worked as an arts reporter back in the good old days. In recent years, however, with the prevalence of the Internet and especially due to the impact of the global COVID pandemic, local newspapers find it increasingly difficult to survive and are in dire need of our support. Particularly in this day and age where social media tend to play a role in dividing and polarising their users, nothing beats reading and writing for a local newspaper that makes one feel connected and belonging to one’s community.

I am also a passionate supporter for our local libraries. Here are the treasure troves of human knowledge and wisdom, of friendship and support, of open, equal, transparent and free access to information that is the foundation of our modern life. The more books we borrow from our local libraries, the more we can help to support our literary community and encourage others to enjoy the many benefits of reading, writing, publishing and reviewing. The more books we read that are written by our authors, the better we can appreciate the diverse nature of our society and culture.

I am dedicating my weekly column to reviewing books by Australian authors, both female and male, both emerging and established, both traditionally and independently published, and both fiction and non-fiction. Indeed, apart from visiting our local libraries and bookstores, my favourite hobby these days is to surf online and explore what people across and beyond Australia are reading. I look forward to reviewing and learning from books that educate, enrich, emphasise and empower. I hope you will enjoy this journey as much as I do.

 

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