Author: Poems by Amy Tsilemanis with images by the late Susie Surtees
Publisher: Amy Tsilemanis
Book Design: Tiffany Titshall
At the time Ballarat’s Word Banquet was running, Amy was a PhD student at Federation University working across the Collaborative Research Centre in Australian History (CRCAH) and the Arts Academy. This research was based on her practice as curator at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute (2016-2019).
In 2019 she was nominated for the Ballarat Heritage Awards‘ inaugural Mayoral Award for emerging heritage and design practitioners
Amy has always loved storytelling and creating unique, beautiful and thought-provoking things. She loves making ideas happen through innovative projects and events.
Amy is based in Ballarat and is involved with curation and research on various local projects around arts, culture and heritage.
Word Banquet was a monthly literary discussion group run by the late Susie Surtees with assistance from Amy Tsilemanis at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute in 2018: “a participatory experience with other lovers of the words and ideas that move, inspire, and change us”.
They say good things come in small packages. This book is more than a simple book of prose, it is a commemorative item, desirable and collectable. Beautifully presented, from the hard cover with the symbolic image of ginkgo leaves to the luxurious, thick pages, it is a tactile delight. Beloved: a Word Banquet is an apt title for a book in memory of friendship and kindred spirits.
I must admit to a slight bias, having attended three Word Banquet sessions and thoroughly enjoying each of them. They opened the door to a richer world. This book perfectly captures the mood and sentiment of those relaxed, civilised conversational events.
Beloved: a Word Banquet is to be launched online on 1 August, 2020; see the Facebook event for details
The images in the book are a mixture of symbolism, memory, and natural beauty. The cover image of ginkgo leaves with their soft rain-laden colours and association with peace and duality is a testament to how Susie viewed the world.
The images and writing are informed by deep philosophical understanding, years of reading, learning and research. Amy’s poem for May I found particularly resonant for its observations of the social impact of advancing technological communications.
To me this book speaks of a richer life, where ambition is not about possession and power but for learning and love. Communication, through words and images, transcending place and time, but always with respect and consideration for others.
I am glad to have this book – a beautiful memory.
Reviewed by: Frank Thompson, July 2020
Ballarat Writers Inc. Book review group