Meet Jewelene Barrile

Airey's 1I was lucky enough to spend last weekend down the coast with award winning writer, Jewelene Barrile. Her beach shack is at Airey’s Inlet, an area of great natural beauty. Jewelene and I first met at Varuna – The Writer’s House during a residency overseen by the legendary Peter Bishop. I fell in love with her writing way back then, and the love affair continues. We are now cross-over members of two writing groups, the talented Little Lonsdale Group and also the Darklings, a group formed at that original Varuna residency.



JeweleneJewelene is a bookseller and bibliophile. Her fiction is distinguished by its passionate love for books themselves, for the truths they hold, and for their beauty as objets d’art. Her writing is highly original, featuring rich, sensual imagery that transforms our mundane world into one of exquisite and often heartbreaking beauty. Little wonder she has won the prestigious Josephine Ulrick Prize for Literature, as well as the Marion Eldridge award. Here, for example, Jewelene writes of a father reading his child a bed time story.

‘He settled in his chair, smoothing the book open with his palm. His long fingers traced the edges of the covers as the text drew him in. From the floor where I sat to watch him read, I saw stray columns of books rise like a forest all around us and grow, and grow. When he sighed, I imagined leaves dropping from the pages of his book and falling on his lap. If he frowned, I saw tangles of roots and deep, dark shadows. I heard the rustle of paper as he turned the page.’

(The geometry lesson

From Griffith REVIEW Edition 30: The Annual Fiction Edition © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

The link is here if you want to read the whole story. )

Jewelene and I spent our time reading, writing and talking about the editing process. I’ve just finished the edits for Currawong Creek, and Jewelene is in the throes of a structural edit for her award winning manuscript, The Cartography Lesson. The subject of editing is, of course, close to both our hearts. There’s nothing quite like talking writing with other writers. No yawns, no glazed eyes, no amused smiles. Instead, a genuine connection over a shared passion. Thanks for the weekend Jewelene. We must do it again soon …

Author Bio:

Jewelene Barrile is the buyer for Coventry bookstore in Melbourne. She was awarded fellowships from Varuna and Olvar Wood writers′ centres in 2010, and in 2009 received the Marian Eldridge award. Her short story The Geometry Lesson won the 2010 Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize, and was published in Griffith Review 30, additionally short listing for 2010 New Australian Stories and the 2011 The Best Australian Stories. Her completed manuscript, The Cartography Lesson, was shortlisted for the inaugural Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award 2011, and has since won a 2011 HarperCollins Varuna Award for Manuscript Development. Close is her second manuscript in-progress.

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