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Encore . . . once more with feeling

Encore is the title of a book dear to my heart (and my art) . . . offering a reprise of obituaries selected from my contributions to The West Australian newspaper between 2000 and 2015. This publication, launched in June 2016, was a joint project with a friend and fellow author, David Hough.

This publication took on even more significance with the David’s death in September 2019. I owe him much.

We each chose 25 of our obituaries for our “Encore”. Families of the total of 50 people featured in the book were among the invitees to the launch at Perth Town Hall. Such family members have naturally been the most enthusiastic purchasers. One lady, Felicity Perry, bought 35 copies, largely to give to people – friends and family – who helped during her late husband Russel’s illness in 2015.

I am particularly proud of Encore, which was designed by my artist wife Jo, as a repository of West Australian history. The obituaries are vignettes of fine lives, yes, but in the wider sense they are also samples of local heritage. Readers learn about the Great Depression of the early 1930s, for example, by following the lives of people who lived through that fraught period.