25 September 2023

Bold, brash and barmy: trio of memoirists set to appear at Wollongong City Library

| Siobhan O'Brien
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Wollongong City Library

A trio of memoirists are set to appear at the Wollongong City Library on Friday 6 October. Photo: Supplied.

Humility – even a speck – can make it hard to unapologetically spruik your wares. Creatives are afflicted more than most.

Curious, given that arty-farty types are prepared to bare their souls on stage, in a book or on a wall, while conversely doing so can terrify them. What a bunch of weirdos.

But here’s the rub: the compulsion to create, for an artist at least, far outweighs any form of reluctance to produce art.

Authors like Toby Roberts, Wil Patterson and Naomi Hart know all about this. They’ve each written memoirs about the unusual lives they’ve led.

These individuals are unified by a mutual artistic platform, a robust sense of humour, and the admission that life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.

Sharing a single publisher united them too.

The trio, who fall under the auspices of Bad Apple Press, are set to head to Wollongong City Library on Friday 6 October to talk about their torrid tales as part of a national tour.

Wil Anderson

First-time author Wil Patterson is set to examine his past, which includes making a bad mistake that landed him in prison, in an upcoming talk at the Wollongong City Library. Photo: Supplied.

“We certainly share a common thread, that we’ve had unusual lives and felt a compulsion to share it in a humorous, light-hearted kind of way,” Toby Roberts said. “But doing so isn’t always easy.”

Each of us has struggled with a sense of shame or embarrassment around certain aspects of our past, however, the compulsion to share it far outweighed that feeling.”

“The wonderful thing is that once we shared our stories the judgment wasn’t as bad as what we’d feared. Instead, there was a real sense of support.”

Toby’s book, Two Mums and a Dad, explores his teenage years growing up with a lesbian mum on the north shore of Sydney in the 1980s. The coming-of-age memoir is full of angst and awkward moments but it contains a deeper reminder of the human need to pursue more authentic lives.

According to television and radio presenter Caroline Baum, “It’s a hilarious story about surviving a sexually liberated mother in a hippie human zoo. Beyond the comedy, this is also a tender telling and a valuable record of a time when same-sex parenting was shocking.”

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Wil Patterson’s book Mr Ordinary Goes to Jail examines his past, including a three-year stint in prison for making a bad mistake.

His book recounts the pressure of day-to-day life as a father and husband encumbered with debt, the characters he met while behind bars, and the often hilarious and terrifying situations he encountered.

The dénouement is also satisfying. It focuses on how the author rebuilt his life and explores the themes of grace, temptation and friendship.

Naomi Hart

First-time author Naomi Hart was diagnosed with alopecia in 2020 following her child’s autism diagnosis. She explores this and so much more in her book Life at the Bottom of the Blender. Photo: Supplied.

Naomi Hart’s story is equally as spellbinding. Her memoir Life at the Bottom of the Blender examines her colourful life spent accidentally working for the New York mafia, working in musical theatre and grappling with her child’s autism diagnosis.

This is her first book, though her short stories have aired on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters and Earshot. She is currently working on her second book and a collection of essays.

Memoirists Naomi Hart, Toby Roberts and Wil Patterson (left to right) will talk about their colourful lives at an upcoming event at Wollongong City Library: Photo: Supplied.

“We are looking forward to sharing our stories at the Wollongong City Library. We’re hoping to gather an audience who want to hear unusual life stories, have a belly laugh and discuss the mechanics of writing a book,” Toby said.

Bad Apples on Tour is on at Wollongong Library at 6 pm on Friday 6 October. Tickets can be booked online.

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