Newtown Library, Sydney
The Newtown Library is an elegant place, with towering pressed-metal ceilings and the most wonderful mezzanine level where they host their author talks. I was there for a very entertaining and engaging author talk with Allan Sparkes, ex-cop, world sailor and now author.
Allan had come to my attention a couple of years ago when mutual friend, the crime novelist (and also ex-cop) P.M. Newton put us in touch with each other. At that stage he was sailing around the world with his family and putting together a manuscript. How exciting to see it come to fruition, and to see the resulting book, The Cost of Bravery, receive so much media attention.
For readers, this looks like being very much a "man's book" - an increasingly rare thing in the world of Australian publishing. But it promises not to be unrelentingly blokey. For Allan's journey is one from the traumas of being a policeman facing violence and fear in a way that is totally alien to most of us, from being a national hero (for saving a small boy drowning in a storm water drain) to being a desperately unhappy man, sick with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression. It is Allan's hope that, through being so confrontingly honest about his own personal torment, he might offer some hope and some advice to other men who might find themselves suffering from mental health issues.
He's an excellent speaker and a very charming man, and if you get a chance to hear him speak I do recommend you go along. I bought the book on the night (professional note to Allan - always have a handsome pen on your person for author events :-) ), and look forward to starting it. I am also going to get a copy for my Dad - I think he'll like it.
35 minutes ago