Frank Moorhouse to open Wenz exhibition in Forbes, 2006


For immediate distribution, all local media

7 August 2006

Award winning author, Frank Moorhouse, will open Double Bush Binding, an international travelling exhibition of hand-crafted books featuring two short stories by French-Australian writer Paul Wenz, in Forbes, on Saturday 12 August, 2006.

The exhibition will be held at the Mezzanine Gallery in the historic Forbes Arcade building, 23 Rankin Street, Forbes, 5 pm.

Frank Moorhouse will pay tribute to Forbes writer Paul Wenz’s ability to evoke the rural landscape and the lives of ordinary bush folk in his short stories and novels, such as Diary of a New Chum first published in 1908. Wenz was not a prolific writer, nor was he especially acclaimed in his lifetime but, as Moorhouse observes, even writers who never hit the big time are critically important in “the making of a culture”. Wenz contributed to the process of ‘culture-making’ on two continents and has left an on-going legacy in both his adopted town of Forbes, where he is buried, and in Reims, the French city in which he was born. The exhibition, Double Bush Binding, acknowledges this shared Wenz heritage. The exhibition will travel to Rheims after its Forbes season accompanied by a letter from the Mayor of Forbes.

Frank Moorhouse last visited Forbes on a pushbike in 1950 and worked for a week at the local abattoir. Since then he has produced fourteen books in the ‘meat market’ of Australian literature and has won some of Australia’s most prestigious literary awards, including the Miles Franklin. His most recent book, Martini Memoirs (Random House), has been described as “a shoulder to cry on”, although he himself sees it more as “a project of connoisseurship, folklore, and personal dilemma — a celebration of the elegant, the arcane and the mysterious.” Moorhouse is probably best known, however, for his gargantuan twin novels, Grand Days and Dark Palace, which track the rise and fall of the League of Nations, as seen through the eyes of one of his most cosmopolitan characters, Edith Campbell Berry.

The exhibition Double Bush Binding is produced by Sabine Pierard for Bookbinding Exhibitions Australia, with a Visions of Australia Development Grant. The two featured Wenz stories have been printed on hand-made paper from Euraba Paper Company at Boggabilla and illustrated by Daniel Pata, Rew Hanks and Michael Kempson. This special limited edition has been bound by designer-bookbinders from France, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Japan, Scandinavia, Estonia, Canada and the USA who have interpreted Paul Wenz’s stories and the Australian bush in often surprising ways. The final products are unique and beautifully crafted collectors’ items.

Double Bush Binding will run from 12 to 31 August in Forbes. It will be accompanied by an exhibition of prints by the illustrators at the gallery and by display of Wenz memorabilia at the Forbes Historical Society Museum. It will be followed on Sunday 13th with a ‘French Breakfast’ and book reading by Frank Moorhouse, Sabine Pierard and local writer Merrill Findlay at the Country Bakehouse, in Templar Street, Forbes, from 9.30 am. Community writers and keen readers of all ages will be especially welcome to celebrate Forbes’ French heritage.

Frank Moorhouse, Sabine Pierard and some of the bookbinders will be available for interviews.

Merrill Findlay
The Paul & Hettie Wenz Project
Forbes, NSW

More on Merrill’s project work >>

Page history: press release posted on 7 August 2006, reposted on this new site 24 January 2011. Permalink

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