Posts Tagged ‘Bille Brown’

P1010192The last time I was this excited was my wedding day. I had practiced my vows until word perfect, but at the altar, went blank. The minister took pity on me and prompted me gently, “I, Christine Mary Bongers…” I stared at him dumbly. “Who??”

So this time, I took notes and the words came tumbling out…Stories of Bille Brown, a legend in our home town of Biloela. Treading the boards of the Royal Shakespeare Company, acting opposite Billy Connelly, John Clease and Jamie Lee Curtis, starring as the Prime Minister in The Dish, opening his new play The School of Arts at QTC in July.

P1010198Bil was, and is, an inspiration to people like me. For kids from the bush, he opened up an endless world of possibility beyond the farm, the town, the obscure little corner of Queensland into which we had been born.

He allowed us all to dream big dreams and to dare to believe that if we worked hard enough, we could make them come true.

Eight months ago, when I signed with Random House Australia, I confided in a friend that if I could choose anyone in the world to launch my book, I would choose the most famous person that I never knew, growing up in Biloela.

P1010213And he came. Bille Brown launched Dust; proof positive that if you dare to dream, all things become possible.

Friends, family, fellow writers, and people who were simply happy to celebrate a new author and a new book being launched into the world, packed the deck at Riverbend Books. They bought every single copy of Dust in the shop, then turned round and put in their orders for more.

What a night. And if that wasn’t enough, I woke up to this, fellow writer Lynn Priestley’s beautiful post on the evening. I’m still pinching myself.
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24 October – Toowoomba

English Teacher’s Association of Queensland Seminar, “Wining away the afternoon with Christine Bongers” (wonder who’s driving me home?)

Image_SchoolArts_HR22 June

International stage and screen luminary, the actor and playwright, Bille Brown will launch my novel Dust at Riverbend Books, Bulimba on 22 June.

Like me, Bille was born and bred in Biloela. Like Dust, his new play The School of Arts, is set in the landscape of our youth.

The good old Bilo network – kickin’ it for Queensland’s 150th anniversary!

TLCs57819864113_1447111_4162692

25 June

TLC Books at Wynnum-Manly is hosting an author event to launch Dust to bayside book-lovers on Thursday 25 June from 6pm. For bookings: click here or phone 07 33935130.

14 July

Dust will also enjoy an industry launch as part of the opening night festivities for Voices on the Coast, the youth literature festival run by Immanuel College and the University of the Sunshine Coast. Click here for more details on opening night or here for the full program and booking forms for school groups.

23 July

Watch this space! Plans are afoot for the much-anticipated Biloela launch of Dust. Queensland Heritage Park and the Banana Shire Council Libary are on full alert. My spies tell me it is safe to return to my old alma maters at Jambin State School and Biloela State High (after thirty-plus years, surely all is forgiven?) Stay tuned – more details as they come to hand!

Image_SchoolArts_HR22 June

International stage and screen luminary, the actor and playwright, Bille Brown will launch my novel Dust at Riverbend Books, Bulimba on 22 June.

Like me, Bille was born and bred in Biloela. Like Dust, his new play The School of Arts, is set in the landscape of our youth.

The good old Bilo network – kickin’ it for Queensland’s 150th anniversary!

TLCs57819864113_1447111_4162692

25 June

TLC Books at Wynnum-Manly is hosting an author event to launch Dust to bayside book-lovers on Thursday 25 June from 6pm. For bookings: click here or phone 07 33935130.

14 July

Dust will also enjoy an industry launch as part of the opening night festivities for Voices on the Coast, the youth literature festival run by Immanuel College and the University of the Sunshine Coast. Click here for more details.

Tell people you’re from Jambin and you get a lot of “Wear the fox hat” responses  (if you need to ask, just google it).

I sometimes attempt to triangulate it, saying “It’s up the road from Dululu, not that far from Goovigen and the nearest airport is Thangool.” But if I really want to be helpful, I mention the nearest Big Smoke twenty minutes up the road … Biloela.

Few people outside the State of Queensland can pronounce it correctly – Bill-o-wheeler – but in 2009 the place may be on more lips when its little mate Jambin, finally hits the literary stage.

My novel Dust, set there in the early 1970s, is coming out in July. The same month that Jambin, population about 20, makes an entrance in the QTC production The School of Arts, as part of Queensland 150th anniverary celebrations.

The play stars and is written by Biloela’s best-known contribution to the cultural firmament, legendary thespian Bille Brown.

The man has proved that coming from a patch of Brigalow 600 kilometres north-west of Brisbane is no impediment to an internationally-acclaimed theatrical career. With UQ buddy Geoffrey Rush, he has tread the boards with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and London, and gone on to share stage and screen with Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Jamie Lee Curtis and John Clease.

Now home to grace the local stage and screen once again, Bille Brown is making his own mark on the literary landscape.

I was in the audience at the 2007 Brisbane Writers Festival when this Shakespearian legend gave an extraordinary public reading of his short story, Playing with Fire – a childhood in Biloela, published in the Griffith Review. A heart-achingly funny coming-of-age story, it recreates 1960s Biloela with an eye for telling detail and a heart full of emotion.

It is a fascinating literary preview to The School of Arts, the play he wrote, set in rural Queensland in 1967, and my own novel, Dust, which is set in the  Biloela district in the early 1970s. 

That landscape of my youth resonated with such clarity that it became a character in the novel and inspiration for its title. I hope that with Dust’s publication during our State’s 150th birthday celebrations, I’ll be able to talk of that setting without quite so many quizzical looks: “Wear the fox hat?”

May 2009 realize your dreams and shine brightly on you all. 🙂