LIFE AT ONE thousand metres above sea level is inspiring. Not only do we get four distinct seasons, but we live on the edge a little, and it generates plenty of creativity…
From the Brontëan country in the ranges behind Dorrigo and the Celtic vibe of Glen Innes, to the grasslands of Tenterfield that inspired Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Peter Allen and generations of bush poets; from the Dreamtime legends of multiple Indigenous language groups, to the tales of bushrangers and explorers who walked the granite country, the NSW New England region has always inspired storytellers.
Here at The Makers Shed, we reckon it’s time to pay tribute to the wordsmiths… and we don’t mean those whose work has been platformed already, we mean those who’ve slogged away for years and probably been a bit overlooked. We want to explore their work by reading it at our High Country Book Club, offering it for sale in our bookshop and considering it for an award for independent authors and titles that have been published by independent presses.
Each year, resident wordsmith, author and journalist Michael Burge curates finalists in the High Country Indie Book Award. Having had books published traditionally and independently, Michael is a ‘hybrid author’ whose work has been selected for literary festivals and conferences. He knows how tough it is to get an indie book out there to readers.
“For years, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen, from publishers to politicians, that what Australia needs is more awards and opportunities for independent authors,” Michael said. “Indie authors are having a go, not taking no for an answer, and being as agile as governments have encouraged us to be. It’s time to grant us more access”.
“I am thrilled to be able to contribute to the creation of one such initiative here at Glen Innes in the NSW New England high country where I was born.”