Writers, Artists, 10 Days on the Island
Tasmania’s physical beauty and brooding history are a heady source of artistic inspiration. Charles Darwin, the Marquis de Beauvoir and Mark Twain admired and wrote about these islands. More recently, the state has attracted attention through Matthew Kneale's award-winning The English Passengers, British Poet Laureate Andrew Motion's Wainewright the Poisoner and Australian Chloe Hooper's A Child's Book of Crime.
Tasmanians too are eager to explore the depths and many moods of their remote home. Internationally celebrated novelist Christopher Koch launched his career with The Boys in the Island half a century ago. Richard Flanagan, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2002 for his novel, Gould's Book of Fish, and drew plaudits from around the world. He followed up with an Australian best-seller The Unknown Terrorist. Flanagan has earned a prominent place among a throng of Tasmanian talent including Koch, Cassandra Pybus, Amanda Lohrey, Danielle Wood and Susan Moody. In 2007, Tasmanian-by-choice Nicholas Shakespeare won the inaugural $25,000 Tasmania Book Prize for the best book with Tasmanian content in any genre with his best-selling In Tasmania.
A biennial cultural festival - 10 Days on the Island – enables Tasmanians to celebrate the work of their own artists and performers and to enjoy glittering artistic input from island communities around the globe. Founding artistic director, Robyn Archer, seized upon the notion that sets Tasmania apart - its island status - and invited other island cultures to enrich the occasion. Dancers, writers, poets and musicians join together to express the emotions evoked by island life. The next festival will be in 2011.
Capturing the State's wild beauty on camera is a passion for many talented photographers, who declare that the quality of the light found here is matched nowhere else. Wood workers, too, enjoy a local advantage through access to beautiful native timbers they use to build national and global reputations.
Painters such as 2003 Archibald Prize-winner Geoffrey Dyer, Philip Wolfhagen and Michael Weitnauer reinterpret the Tasmanian landscape, while master potter Les Blakeborough has developed a highly acclaimed translucent porcelain, aptly named Southern Ice.
The Tasmanian community contains a disproportionate number of artists and writers. Painters, sculptors, poets, musicians, dancers, actors and singers all draw inspiration from these islands on the edge of the world.