It has been an amazing two months of Love to Read Local Radio, and today’s episode is no different. We’ve brought together Madelaine Dickie (Red Can Origami), Helen Milroy (Backyard Birds) and Brenton E. McKenna (Ubby’s Underdogs Series) to discuss why they love to tell stories.
Helen says she’s always loved storytelling and would write in transit during her day job as a children’s psychiatrist. She was always fascinated by stories growing up, and she attributes this to her Indigenous background, where storytelling was always important. ‘Storytelling is a unique way to understanding your place in the world and understanding the world.’ In her work with children, she noticed that many were struggling with the negative associations placed on them and wanted to change that by showcasing the emotional gifts of children as something positive.
Brenton recounts how he struggled with reading as a kid and how falling in love with comic books changed the way he saw reading. The Ubby’s Underdogs books are graphic novels inspired by the ghost stories he grew up with, and the life of his grandmother and her thirteen siblings. He says that a female superhero is rare, let alone an Indigenous one, and he had to fight for Ubby’s voice to be heard.
This episode is produced by Fremantle Press for Love to Read Local. To listen to more episodes, subscribe to the Fremantle Press Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
About Love to Read Local by Writing WA
Love to Read Local is a statewide, online celebration of Western Australian stories, books and writers. While we remain at a social distance in the physical world, let’s get socially closer in the digital world. Visit the Love to Read Local website to connect with other readers, tell us which local books you love to read and perhaps inspire others to read those books too!
About this week’s guests, Madelaine Dickie, Helen Milroy and Brenton E. McKenna
Madelaine Dickie has been writing since she was seven. Her first novel, Troppo, was published by Fremantle Press in 2016. It won the City of Fremantle Hungerford Award and was shortlisted for the Dobbie Literary Award and the Barbara Jefferis Award. Red Can Origami is her second novel. It was written on Balangarra country, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, and at Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo, Japan. Madelaine loves to travel. A surf obsession has led Madelaine from Spain's Mundaka to Namibia's Skeleton Coast, to little-known waves in the Dominican Republic. She is studying Spanish and speaks Indonesian. Madelaine currently lives in Exmouth, WA.
Madelaine online: madelainedickie.com
Madelaine on socials: @madelainetroppo on Instagram
Books by Madelaine Dickie
Red Can Origami (Fremantle Press)
Troppo (Fremantle Press)
Dr Helen Milroy is a descendant of the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia, but was born and educated in Perth. Australia’s first Indigenous doctor, Helen studied medicine at the University of Western Australia and is currently Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UWA, Honorary Research Fellow at Telethon Kids Institute and a Commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission. Helen was recently appointed as the AFL’s first indigenous commissioner.
Books by Helen Milroy
Backyard Birds (Fremantle Press)
Wombat, Mudlark and Other Stories (Fremantle Press)
Willy-willy Wagtail (Magabala Books)
Brenton E. McKenna is a young Yawuru artist and writer who fell in love with comic books at a young age. He studied visual arts for two years at Goulburn TAFE and in 2009 was one of 20 successful applicants to be awarded a highly sought-after mentorship with the Australian Society of Authors. Brenton has attended several art workshops/residencies and in doing so has generated much national interest in recent years.
Brenton on socials: Brenton E Mckenna's Graphic novels, graphic recordings & cartoons on Facebook, @toonientoons on Instagram and @brentonemckenna on Twitter
Books by Brenton E. McKenna
Ubby's Underdogs: Return of the Dragons (Magabala Books)
Ubby's Underdogs: Heroes Beginnings (Magabala Books)
Ubby’s Underdogs: The Legend of the Phoenix Dragon (Magabala Books)
Love to Read Local recommendations and books discussed
Waarda series for young readers (Fremantle Press)
Brobot by James Foley (Fremantle Press)
The Last Viking by Norman Jorgensen (Fremantle Press)
Brenton’s mentor is Wolfgang Bylsma from Gestalt Publishing
The Eldritch Kid: Whisky and Hate by Christian Read and Michael Maier (Gestalt Publishing)
Changing Ways series by Justin Randall (Gestalt Publishing)
The Deep by Tom Taylor, illustrated by James Brouwer (Simon & Schuster)
Monster Party by Alison Lester, Jane Godwin and the children of Rawa Community School (Magabala Books)
We Won the Victory: Aborigines and Outsiders on the North-West Coast of the Kimberley by I.M. Crawford (Fremantle Press)
Raparapa: Stories from the Fitzroy River Drovers edited by John Watson and Paul Marshall (Magabala Books)
Music: ‘Letter to a Daughter of St George’, from the Meat Lunch EP: Songs from Floaters. Written by Alan Fyfe. Performed by Trevor Bentley (guitar and vocals – @trevormb) and Chris Parkinson (harmonica). Produced by Blake Carnaby of Nuglife studios with impresario work by Benjamin P. Newton.
Producer: Claire Miller
Mastered and edited by: Aidan d’Adhemar
Sponsor: This show was made possible with a grant from the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund