10 February 2024

Riverina readers to welcome international bestselling Australian author

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Angus Cawdell-Smith

Museum of the Riverina education and public programs officer Angus Cawdell-Smith is looking forward to hosting Australian author Tony Park (inset). Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen/ TonyPark.net.

Wagga Wagga is set to welcome an acclaimed Australian author to its literary scene as part of the lead-up to the Riverina Readers Festival.

International bestselling author of 32 books, Tony Park, is known for both his fiction, such as Vendentta, and non-fiction, such as Courage Under Fire, which is a collaborative work with Victoria Cross awardee Daniel Keighran.

An Evening with Tony Park will be held at the Museum of the Riverina (MoR) on 21 February when the author will be interviewed by local reviewer and blogger Mel Fattore from Mel Reviews Her Books, as part of the lead-up to the Riverina Readers Festival in July.

With her experience as a bookseller, Mel recognised that Tony’s books were popular in our community and region and the idea to host him in Wagga came “on a whim”.

“Through a friend of a friend, we discovered Tony was travelling to Australia for a slim amount of time, which he only does every few years, with him living most of his life in Africa,” Mel said. “We jumped on the opportunity to host him.

“Tony is funny, incredibly down to earth and a fantastic storyteller and is one of Australia’s golden authors. He writes about war history and safari life in Africa, with a slither of mystery and intrigue. Tony also writes non-fiction alongside Victoria Cross winners.

“These biographical retellings are hard-hitting, truthful and a beautiful representation of our Australian servicemen and women.

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Mel said she’d had the privilege of interviewing Tony previously and was looking forward to hosting and asking questions again.

“I feel very lucky and am so excited and grateful for the opportunity,” Mel said.

“Hosting Tony and providing this type of book event to our community is showing just a slice of what’s to come at our one-day festival in July.”

The local reviewer said attendees could expect to hear about Tony’s adventures of living and writing in Africa, his time serving in the military and what it was like to be a full-time author surrounded by elephants, giraffes and zebras on a regular basis.

MoR education and public programs officer Angus Cawdell-Smith said hosting the author talk was a great opportunity for the museum.

“It is wonderful for us to be able to host an event like this,” said Angus.

“This is exactly what we wanted to do with our new spaces, which was to have new and exciting things for the community.

“Tony Park is one of a kind and nobody writes like him. I cannot wait to hear his stories on the night.”

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Attendees will also have the unique opportunity to freely wander and explore the new Museum of the Riverina – Botanic Gardens site.

Two Brown Cats Bookshop will be the supporting bookseller on the evening. The event is supported by The Curious Rabbit and Mia Casa Griffith.

An Evening with Tony Park at the Museum of the Riverina will be held from 5:45 pm, Wednesday 21 February, at the Museum of the Riverina – Botanic Gardens site.

Event tickets are limited to 50 and are available from the Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre Box office or online.

The 2024 Riverina Readers Festival will be held at the CSU Playhouse on Saturday 13 July. Avid readers in attendance can expect to see and listen to genre-based one-on-one interviews and panel discussions and discuss the joy of reading.

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