Book Launch

The Blue Roses of Orroroo

To be launched by Ken Vincent
at 6.30 pm, Wednesday 9th November

Tea Tree Gully Library
517 Montague Road, Modbury

Click for "The Blue Roses of Orroroo"

Margaret's interest in writing was fostered by one of the OLSH nuns, Sister Nicholas who in later more enlightened times reverted to her own name of Sister Patricia. Sister Patricia, Margaret learned in later years, carried Margaret's English essays about with her and used them as teaching material for subsequent OLSH students, who fortunately would have known Margaret by her maiden name of Margaret Burge. Yes, there is a connection with the famous wine making name of Grant Burge, but he is a cousin much removed. Aunty Alice, who compiled the family history and ran many family reunions had a couple of short stories published and she encouraged Margaret to write and to join the South Australian Writers' Centre Inc. The journal of the SAWC contains a page with writing competitions, and Margaret entered and won a number of these.Margaret's early writing efforts were published in the Advertiser's short story competitions – in fact a small fan club arose with people phoning to ask when Margaret's entry would be published. She won a couple of vouchers from David Jones which were used to buy a toaster and a kettle, still in use. Those stories were “The Holiday of a Lifetime” and “The Colours of Life”. The Colours of Life” was subsequently republished in “Echo” the journal of the Elderly Citizens' Homes of SA Inc, at the request of Margaret's Auntie Audrey.  She entered the inaugural Salisbury Public Library Service Adult Creative Writing Competition in 1997 and won first prize. She followed this up by winning the same competition in 1998.

In 2002 she entered the first Slippery When Wet competition with her story “Lemmings”, a ghost story about a couple who are doomed to eternally travel with their caravan across the Nullarbor Plain. It was inspired by a trip Margaret and husband Frank undertook (without a caravan) across that area and appears in volume 1 of that publication. The story has subsequently been ­­re-issued in this new anthology, published as a five volume set.
Also in 2002 Margaret entered a competition which was part of the Women in Australia 's Working History Project based at the Australian Workers' Heritage Centre in Barcaldine , Queensland , as part of the Year of the Outback. This story is based on the true story of her great-grandmother, Emma , who lived at Lake Sunday , York Peninsula , South Australia.In 2005 Margaret's story Sangue di Terra appeared in the anthology Time Fractures after entry in a competition sponsored by the Wirra Wirra Vineyards. The judges included Nobel Prize winner and twice Booker Prize winner J.M. Coetzee. Margaret has won many short story competitions but the one thing she treasures is a letter and certificate from the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sydney congratulating her on her contribution to Greek culture for her story Helen of Crete written in 1998 for an entry in the competition celebrating the Centenary of the foundation of the Greek Orthodox Community of Sydney and New South Wales

In 2007, The Salisbury Writing Festival committee asked Margaret to judge their Short Story Competition. Also in June, 2007, Margaret entered a Three Day Novel Writing Race over a long weekend (Queen's Birthday). Writing commenced at 8pm on the Friday night, through Saturday, Sunday and Monday with the completed novel emailed to Salisbury by 8 pm on the Monday. The rules allowed the author to plot the story out before commencing writing, but the protagonist, Rose, a character in the novel The Blue Roses of Orroroo - a humorous account of a sexually-challenged family and the stolen generation set in 1928 - took over and more or less wrote the thing herself! The whole plot went out of the window. The author admitted defeat and allowed this to happen. She wrote 20,000 words and won the Three Day Novel Writing Race.

Part of the prize was mentorship with Anne Bartlett, an esteemed Adelaide writer and a senior lecturer in the English Department at the University of Adelaide . Margaret feels that her own writing improved markedly under Anne's tuition. The Blue Roses of Orroroo is nearing completion.

Short synopses of stories by Margaret:-