Month: June 2021

July Writers Corner – social media

Writers Corner is back! With the June event having been cancelled due to Covid restrictions, July will pick up where we left off with a discussion of social media for writers.

Do you have followers or are you a follower, perhaps a blogger or a vlogger, tweeter, snapper, and or a chatter?  Maybe you just enjoy a surf, virtually speaking from a digitised reality. 

Is it a matter of sitting in front of your keyboard and tapping away, word after word, sentence after sentence – taking the words straight to the world wide web? Is social media the ultimate in self-publishing – do it anytime, anywhere, put it out there? Well, maybe not.

Building content is difficult. Reaching and keeping followers (audience) is not easy. Just because you have built it, they may not come.  But you should come to Writers Corner and tell your social media story.

Come along on Tuesday 6 July at 2pm at the Bunch of Grapes in Pleasant Street, Ballarat, and join the Writers Corner discussion about social media and putting yourself out there in the digital universe.

Book review – Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Title: Klara and the Sun

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro 

Publisher: Faber and Faber, 2021

The author

Kazuo Ishiguro is a Nobel Prize-winning author who was born in Nagasaki, Japan, and has lived in Britain since the age of five.  This is his ninth major work of fiction.  He is also a screenwriter, musician, and a short-story writer. Ishiguro was knighted in 2018 for services to literature and has been honoured in France and Japan.

The book

What better way to comment on human behaviour than to see it through the eyes of a non-human, in this case Klara an AF (artificial friend). AFs are replicants or, for the old fashioned, robots, designed to act as friends for teenagers. Klara is an exceptional AF, highly observant and keen to learn about the world around her.

Klara and the Sun is set in a near-future America, fractured and riven with elitism, fascism and probably every other “ism” there could possibly be.  Identification with America, though, is not absolute, and the countryside could be English or even Australian. Privileged children are “lifted”, schooled remotely until college (university) years; AFs compensate for limited social contact.

Read an interview with Ishiguro about Klara and the Sun

at the guardian

At its core, the story revolves around the relationship between Klara and Josie, a sickly child living with her high-ranking mother and a housekeeper.  Her sister is dead and her father lives elsewhere. Josie has been “lifted” but her childhood friend and neighbour Rick has not.

Gradually Ishiguro introduces us to other important characters in Josie’s life and reveals a perverse twisting of human emotions, especially love and fear and their interplay in human relationships.

Ishiguro has written this story in a style as Japanese as bonsai or pop-culture anime – in a word, with restraint. Klara and the Sun is a masterful piece of writing, picking up on the notion of artificial intelligence and the dystopian extrapolation of current societal developments, making it a unique and, in some ways, a frightening reading experience. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Reviewed by: Francis Thompson

Ballarat Writers Inc review group

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