MonthFebruary 2020

2020 Australian Plants as Bonsai Exhibition

Crosbie Morrison Building, Australian National Botanic Gardens
9:30am – 4:30pm on Saturday 29 February 2020
9:30am – 4:00pm Sunday 1 March 2020

Coinciding with the ANBG’s 50th Anniversary in 2020, the exhibition will be a display of over 50 bonsai, suiseki and related items created by Canberra and visiting interstate artists.

Barbie spoke to Jennifer Motlee about the 2020 Australian Plants as Bonsai exhibition
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Folk Dance Canberra – Romanian Folk Dance

Workshops with with Marius & Maria Ursu from Timisoara, Romania
Folk Dance Canberra Hall, 114 Maitland Street, Hackett ACT:
Saturday 14 March, 9.30am-1pm
Sunday 15 March, 9.30am-1pm
Monday 16 March, Monday:  7.30pm-9.30pm (advanced level)

Marius, master choreographer of the acclaimed folk dance ensemble “Doina Timisului”, will be teaching a variety of dances from folk regions of Romania. Marius and Maria have a wealth of experience, having participated in over 100 seminars, workshops and festivals in more than 35 countries.

  •  Cost: $15 per session $18 non-members (discounts if paying in advance)
  •  Contact:  
  • Also on Wednesday 18 March, 7.30-10.30pm at CIFDA Yarralumla Uniting Church Hall, Denman Street, Yarralumla. Cost: $10.
  • Contact:

More information at:

Shamini Flint – Inspector Singh investigates: The Singapore School of Villainy

The third of the Inspector Singh investigates stories
Piatkus 2010

In each of Inspector Singh’s adventures, Shamini Flint takes us on a cultural exploration. These are crime stories which delve into the specifics of cultural mores, history and human behavior. Super reads every one of them. Thus it is I crave your indulgence in writing about all seven of them, though the first was published back in 2009 – A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder.

In this book Inspector Singh is, unusually, home in Singapore, and is called out to investigate the brutal murder of a senior partner in an international law firm. There is a vast array of possible suspects, so many of the people associated with the firm being up to no good one way or another. In true Christiean form, money really is the root of all evil.

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Bushfire benefit concert at National Folk Festival

2020 National Folk Festival
9-13 April, with Hope for Folk concert on 11 April
Exhibition Park in Canberra

A venue at this year’s National Folk Festival will be dedicated to the folk communities affected by the 2019-20 South Coast bushfires.

The 2020 Festival was officially launched at Gorman House in Canberra on 18 February by Gordon Ramsay MLA, ACT Minster for the Arts, with performances by piper Athol Chalmers and Festival Youth Ambassador, Lucy Sugerman.

Festival Managing Director Helen Roben announced that the Fitzroy venue would be renamed the Hope for Folk stage. It would include a concert on the Saturday afternoon by artists who had been due to play at the now postponed Cobargo Folk Festival.

There will also be merchandise from the Cobargo, Nariel Creek and Numeralla folk communities on sale at the venue. Volunteers will collecting donations, and all proceeds from a bar at the venue would be donated to the three folk communities.

Festival Managing Director Helen Roben talks about Hope for Folk
Listen to the official launch of the 2020 Festival

Music to the ears as a window to the soul

Michael Agzarian
Global Melody Project
Wagga Wagga Art Gallery
, Morrow Street Wagga Wagga NSW
Until 22 March 2020

In 2016, photographer Michael Agzarian’s had his curiosity sparked when he saw headphone-wearing pedestrians waiting at traffic lights. What were they listening to, he wondered.

And so the Global Melody Project was born – a kind of 21st century twist on Name That Tune, said to be the first program on Australian television when it began in 1956.

Michael Agzarian talks about the Global Melody Project
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Catherine Saxelby – Nutrition for Life

Hardie Grant Melbourne Australia
Revised edition published 2020

What a very sensible book on nutrition and diet this is! No wonder it has been in constant demand since its first iteration in 1986. Nutrition for Life provides the reader with a simply explained, factual run-down on major aspects of eating, and offers information that will allow the reader to make informed decisions about what he/she eats.

As with many books on nutrition, a key message is: Eat more vegetables. However, it goes much further. Catherine Saxelby examines food faddery, myths and misinformation whilst also giving sus simple to follow ways of preparing for good eating.

Barbie speaks with Catherine Saxelby about Nutrition for Life
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Ursula Dubosarsky: Read for your life

Author Ursula Dubosarsky has been named Australian Children’s Laureate for 2020-21

Dubosarsky is the author of over 60 books for children and young adults. She has won many national prizes, including the NSW, Victorian, South Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award, and has been nominated for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children’s literature.

Her books have been published widely across the world and translated into 14 languages. The theme for her two-year term as Australian Children’s Laureate is Read For Your Life.  

Barbie speaks with Ursula Dubosarsky
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Sujata Massey – A Murder at Malabar Hill

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2019

Every time I meet an author new to me, I am struck by how many thousands of writers I do not know of whose work awaits as a new delight. So much to read and how can we ever do it all?

Sujata Massey Sujata writes mystery and suspense fiction set in pre-independence India, as well as a modern mystery series set in Japan. She is the author of 14 novels and numerous short stories published in 18 countries, and yet this is the first of hers I have read! I will certainly read more – in fact, I am now bursting to read the second of the Perveen Mistry series, The Satapur Moonstone.

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Shamini Flint – Inspector Singh investigates: A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul

Piatkus 2009

This Balinese tale is the second of the Inspector Singh Investigates series and I highly recommend it.

Perhaps it is because of Australia’s losses in the Bali bombings of 2002 that this book moved me so much. Having read all seven of these excellent crime stories, I find this one especially stays with me.

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Shamini Flint – Inspector Singh investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder

The first of the Inspector Singh investigates stories
Piatkus 2009

People who live in Canberra will appreciate just how much of the Christmas holiday period we have all spent cooped up indoors, due to air quality which over the months of December and January frequently registered as the worst of any capital city in the world – smoke from our region’s bushfires blew our way with the shore breeze every afternoon. Then we had fires on our doorstep in the Orroral Valley.

The major up-side of this – thank goodness everything has an up-side – was the many hours this afforded us to read (and watch tennis on TV) with a free conscience (if we need an excuse).

Continue Reading“Shamini Flint – Inspector Singh investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder”

Gunning Arts Festival – The Picture House Art Prize 2020

Exhibition of finalists – opening from 5pm to 7pm on Saturday 18 April until 10 May 2020
The Picture House Gallery Gunning NSW

As part of the Gunning Arts Festival in April 2020 entries are open until 31 March for The Picture House Art Prize 2020, hosted by The Picture House Gallery in Gunning and sponsored by Derivan Art Supplies.

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Livia Day – Drowned Vanilla

Deadlines Australia 2014

Drowned Vanilla is the second of a triplet of culinary crime novels dubbed the Café La Femme series.

Livia’s first crime novel, A Trifle Dead, was released by Twelfth Planet Press in May 2013. This was followed by a novella The Blackmail. Blend. The third was Keep Calm and Kill the Chef, pub. Deadlines, 2019.

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Canberra Women’s Writers Festival

28 to 30 March 2020
Crown Hotel Canberra

The festival program is yet to be finalised but tickets are on sale for the festival weekend and the Saturday night dinner. We are promised:

  • Pitching sessions,
  • Great debates,
  • Panels,
  • Q&A sessions,
  • Dinner with a mystery host and special guest
  • Chat sessions
  • Professional development talks.

Writers include:

  • Sara Dowse
  • Carly Finlay
  • Ginger Gorman
  • Gillian Polack
  • Susan Steggall
  • Katie Taylor
  • Karen Viggers
  • Biff Ward
  • Kaaron Warren

Information and ticketing at