The Book Launch of What Are Dykes Doing: Collected Non-Fiction,

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The Book Launch of What Are Dykes Doing: Collected Non-Fiction, Jean Taylor, Dyke Books Inc, 1 December 2019
‘Best-laid schemes… gang aft a-gley’ (Burns) and never more so in Melbourne when events are planned outside on the verandah with rain predicted. And yet there’s was something about 21 lesbians and feminists all managing to fit into one small inside room to celebrate the launch of my latest book, What Are Dykes Doing?, that created an atmosphere of friendly, companionable intimacy and fun as we nibbled on biscuits, cheese, grapes and dips, made cups of tea in the kitchen and chatted and got to know each other.
When it was time, I acknowledged the Wurundjeri people, Ardy Tibby did a splendid job of actually launching the book with many kind words to say both about the writer as well as the book itself and how it touches on many of the lesbian and feminist issues and events from 1973 to 2006, and I finished off with thank yous and read a little of the How Hard Could It Be introduction. Afterwards, plates of pavlova were handed round and there was a queue for the chocolate ripple cake. Ardy sold books and I signed them, there were many more conversations and getting to know yous and it was after 5pm by the time the last guest left.
I want to thank everyone who contributed to the success of the launch by being there and buying books that afternoon despite the inclement weather and to thank those who emailed apologies and best wishes. The only thing left to say is: ‘All’s well that ends well.’ (Shakespeare) 

Jean Taylor

Wurundjeri country, Naarm

What Are Dykes Doing: Collected Non-Fiction

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WhatDykes 55x85 cover

This is to let you know that the book Jean Taylor has been working on all year, What Are Dyke’s Doing? Collected Non-Fiction, has just been published by Dyke Books Inc and is now available for sale.

The book is a collection of all of Jean's non-fiction essays, articles, letters and reports over a period of over thirty years and gives some idea of the issues and campaigns radical lesbian feminists were involved in between the 1970s to the present day as we fought with our radical feminist and socialist feminist sisters in the Women’s Liberation Movement to overthrow the patriarchy and challenge capitalism.

Most of these short pieces were included in the well-known Victorian feminist and lesbian periodicals of the day: Melbourne Women’s Liberation Newsletter, 1972 - 1984, Lesbian Newsletter, 1976 - 1983, Lesbian News, 1983 - 1990, Lesbian Network, 1984 - 2006, Victorian Women’s Liberation Newsletter, 1986 - 1994, Labrys, 1990 - 1992, Lesbiana, 1992 - 2004, and Dykonoclast, 2005 - 2006. And also includes bits and pieces from Rabelais, Lilac, Women’s Circus Newsletter, Mother Earth, SAFE, Lesbians On the Loose, Melbourne Star Observer, Brother Sister, BNews, Melbourne Community Voice and Coalition of Activist Lesbians Newsletter. 

Just to give you a brief example of the kinds of articles that are included in the book the following is a brief extract from 1985: 

Lesbian Network 5 Spring Equinox September 1985 

Networking Along the Lesbian Way 

Just a few comments about this Lesbian Network that is being developed around Australia. Having just been travelling up the east coast, primarily to distribute books but also to write, have a holiday and make contact with other dykes along the way, I want to say how very impressed I’ve been by the generous hospitality and friendliness I’ve encountered. Without exception every lesbian I’ve met, every lesbian household I’ve stayed in has shown a warmth and closeness that has been remarkable and much appreciated. 

It was something, after a hard day of travelling, arriving in a strange town at sunset, to ring up and be greeted by a friendly voice, ‘come on out, you’re just in time for dinner, of course you can stay here,’ or variations along this same general theme. There have been gaps along the way of course, we haven’t quite managed to get lesbian contacts every couple of hundred miles or so, in which case I just found a quiet spot to camp in the van for the night. And looked forward to the next major town, where I could find familiar conversation and laughter.

The book also puts paid to the erroneous idea that lesbian feminist culture is no longer presenting a viable political and social alternative to the patriarchal status quo. For decades, we have fought hard for the rights of womyn and girls in a misogynistic and sexist society and stood in solidarity with the Indigenous communities for Land Rights and Sovereignty, and continue to do so.

2nd launch of Lesbians Ignite!

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The book launch of Lesbians Ignite! was another opportunity to celebrate our lesbian community achievements. Annie Pratten did the acknowledgement of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, before she sang From Little Things Big Thing Grow, (Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly), and a couple of other songs in her inimitable style, accompanying herself on her new guitar. Annie

Jean & Patricia

The playwright, Patricia Cornelius, launched the book with an inspiring speech, (and if you haven’t seen her latest play Shit!, do so), which gave due recognition to all the political work and socialising we did back in the 1990s. Rachel Morgan and the long lineup of DYKE DIVAS harmonised their way through their songs ending with the Shameless Hussies theme song, (lyrics Helen Potter), for an audience participation sing-a-long.

 Ardy did another great job of emceeing the event as well as reading from Sarah Yeoman's Melbourne, A Cornucopia of Lesbian Delights and selling a few books and had also food-shopped beforehand.

Most of the three cheese platters, chocolate ripple cake, two pavlovas and a vegan gluten free cake were eaten. And we all had a good time catching up with each other in between times. Thank you to everyone who attended and bought books, to Patricia, Annie and the Dyke Divas who entertained us, to all those who helped set up and cleaned up afterwards and to Pat Mitchell who took all the photos for the Dyke Books website slide show.

Jean Taylor

Wurundjeri Country

Launch slideshow

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On 30th April, 2016 Jean Taylor's newest book "Lesbians Ignite!" was launched. Here are just some of the images from that wonderfully successful launch.

You can also read all about it in this article.




2nd Launch

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On 19th November, 2016 Jean Taylor's newest book "Lesbians Ignite!" was launched for the second time. Here are just some of the images from that wonderfully successful launch. 

You can read more about this event in this article