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Fri, 17 Nov


Better Read Than Dead

The Carnal Fugues Launch with Catherine McNamara

Join us with Catherine McNamara to celebrate the release of The Carnal Fugues. Catherine will be joined by Ed Wright.

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The Carnal Fugues Launch with Catherine McNamara
The Carnal Fugues Launch with Catherine McNamara

Time & Location

17 Nov 2023, 6:30 pm – 7:50 pm

Better Read Than Dead, 265 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia


About The Event

Fine stories, rank with exotic air, bursting like old fruit. - Bruce Pascoe

Strange, often unsettling, McNamara’s stories depict multiple countries, characters and cultures in wry and challenging ways. If they share anything, it’s the knowledge that each of us can be undone in a heartbeat. - Susan Johnson

The Carnal Fugues is a wayward, wanton selection of stories grounded in displacement, desire, and the wish coursing through us to accede to the state of love. There is torment and illness, crude reality and distant fragrant places, peopled by characters that reside close to our bones, our psyches, our flesh. Are we an unthinking species, condemned to misunderstand one another? Or do our near misses amount to valid templates for modern existence? 

There is diseased love, frugal love, contorted love, where the inroads of the past – and convention – colour and confine us; there is the love of life in the face of death, and the persistence of our carnal compulsions.

A Japanese soprano has lost her voice and seeks repose on a sailing boat in Corsica. A South African advertising executive learns the ropes at his Accra office. In London, a Roman man happens upon a woman from the past, bringing back a passionate interlude he has hidden from himself. Destructive lovers interview a renowned musician in dusty Bamako. Retirees from Paris visit a laden property in the south of France, and an untamed Greek island brings a widow back to the ebb of life.

Lovers meet, fade, delude. We are weak and defiant beings, ever-learning, ever-lustful.

Catherine McNamara grew up in Sydney, ran away to Paris to write and ended up in West Africa co-running a bar, working in Mogadishu and Milan along the way. Love Stories for Hectic People (flash fiction) won Best Short Story Collection in the Saboteur Awards 2021 (UK). The Cartography of Others (short stories) was finalist in the People’s Book Prize (UK), and won the Eyelands Fiction Award (Greece). Pelt and Other Stories was semi-finalist in the Hudson Prize (USA) and longlisted for the Frank O’Connor Award (Ireland). The Carnal Fugues (selected stories) is out in October in Australia with Puncher & Wattmann. Catherine hikes, grows cherries and hosts writer retreats at her farmhouse in Italy.

Ed Wright is a poet and writer who lives with his wife and two children in Newcastle, Australia. His previous publications include five non-fiction titles, among them Ghost Colonies and The Left-handed History of the World, a chap book of poetry, The Empty Room, and two blues CDs (The Floating World and White Bread). He has written for a number of newspapers in Australia and overseas. Ed is a sometime teacher of Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle and has a PhD in American Literature from the University of Sydney. His favourite historical figure is Diogenes the Cynic, and he is very fond of Bertrand Russell’s essay, “In Praise of Idleness.” When not looking after toddlers, he likes staring into space and waiting for words.


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