Launching Under One Sky, first book of Licuala Writers – May 5th 2011

A Guest Blog by Jennifer Morton

Production Team of Under One Sky: image by Lydia Valeriano.

Tara Webster, June Perkins, Daryl Dickson, Sal Badcock, & Pam Galeano

It was an evening full of words: spoken words, sung words and most importantly, the written words of the Licuala Writers first anthology, Under One Sky.

The turnout was fantastic with nearly 100 Cassowary Coast locals there to support such an essential night not only for our writer’s group, but for our community as well. It was a happy mix of writers, musicians, council members, artists, children, photographers, entrepreneurs, business professionals and literature enthusiasts.

After a welcoming hello from the Licuala Writers co-ordinator and anthology publisher, Dr June Perkins, the event was kicked off with an official welcome to country from Pastor Andy Family of the Djiru Tribe. He spoke of the history of his people and their collective love for this beautiful coastal landscape.

Next was a speech by MP Andrew Cripps. Andrew spoke highly of the book and commended Kate Campbell-Lloyd for her Tropical Feasts, a story about jack fruit that he felt a connection with. He also encouraged everyone to pay particular attention to Pam Galeano’s Hull River and Helen Pedley’s Seat of Knowledge, citing the entries as his other favorites.

Andrew Cripps, giving his ‘brief speech’ by Lydia Valeriano.

June then led us into the creative program with her remembrance of inspirations and the journey that she and the writers have experienced together. She went on to say, “This anthology is a journey through the sense of place of the Cassowary Coast. When we share stories, whether we tell them, write them or paint them, keep them to ourselves or publish them, we are in the process of understanding and making identity.”

Ben Perkins engaged the audience with his rendition of the guitar classic, Classical Gas. Later in the evening he would share the spotlight with his younger brother, Sandon for a duo of Wish You Were Here.  He also played guitar whilst local artist, Sal Badcock did vocals on a beautiful cover of Tears in Heaven.  Other musical entertainment included a song written and sung by June called Canopies of Light, guitar accompanied by Sal. From Little Things Big Things Grow, which June had dubbed the anthology’s theme song, was also sung by Sal with David Perkins accompanying on the didgeridoo.

Musicians make their contributions to the night: By Lydia Valeriano

Narrations from Under One Sky started with Kirsten Pilz reading an extract from her Learning how to Cope with Paradise. Other readings included: Pam Galeano’s Hull River, Carol Moody’s Riding Cassowaries, Jacque Duffy’s Monsoon Love, and June Perkins’ Fire Light Dreams – Global Stream and Larry’s Apology.

Lydia Valeriano, instrumental in venue liason and many administrative supports on the anthology project, pictured with Tara Webster and our major sponsor sign.

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Some of these pics are by Ron Darlington, who kindly photo documented the program.   Also included are pictures by Lydia Valeriano and Pam Galeano.

During breaks in the program Sally Moroney, Tara Webster, Jennifer Morton and Pam Galeano were busy selling books, taking expressions of interest for Licuala Writers and passing out printed programs. There were 55 books sold on the night boosting the total sold so far to nearly 200. The book not only includes poetry, prose and memoirs but also illustrations by the very talented Sal Badcock.  Local photographers, Ron Darlington and Lydia Valeriano captured candid shots of the people and atmosphere. Many of the wonderful moments can be revisited on the Licuala Writers facebook page.

A backdrop slide show featuring words from the anthology with photographs was also on show during breaks from the main program.  This featured the work of many more writers from the anthology.

The evening ended with a big thank you to everyone that stepped up and made Under One Sky and the launch a success.  If nothing else, let this anthology remind us of this as Dr Perkins puts it…….

 “We are under one sky – we are one people and we can have a literary community that creates beautiful products our community can embrace”

Jennifer Downs, Councillor, commented the next day,“I was so happy to attend the opening of the launch of the Anthology – Under One Sky last night. I was awed by the talent of your group, but especially pleased to see the joy you all share in loving the written word. I could see how your shared passion that brings you all together provides a valuable network of community and support that is especially relevant as our whole Cassowary Coast recovers and rebuilds after our latest cyclonic event.  What a wealth of dedicated and talented people!! My sincere congratulations on your wonderful book and evening.

Whilst Tracey Chamlin, from Mission beach summed it up for most attendees “What a fantastic evening last night’s book launch was – wonderfully organised, great speeches, well-read book excerpts, and lovely entertainment. Well done Licuala Writers Group on a fantastic book launch and on self-publishing your first book. I look forward to reading it!”

The book is for sale at all the information centres of the Cassowary Coast, Jarra and Casket Newsagency, Tully, and Larsen’s Newsagency, Innisfail, as well as from the writing group and Mission Beach Arts Centre when it opens.

Sheridan the youngest author featured in the anthology with Kate Campbell-Lloyd, author of ‘Tropical Feasts’

Sally Moroney, Sheridan and June, prelaunch set up picture by Pam Galeano

This article was written by Jennifer Morton, Licuala Member and Local Freelancing Writer.

Jennifer Morton is a freelance writer. She enjoys being a mother, photography, travelling, yoga, and living a healthy and  full life. She loves to write about it all.  Her website is

Pictured Jennifer Morton reading her copy of Under One Sky
Image by Pam Galeano


About pearlz

Concerned for wellbeing, especially of the heart and soul through poetry, photography, community and film.
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