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Tuesday 19 October 7:00 pm Melbourne time

Glen Eira pic.jpg

The Glen Eira Rotary Club (Glen Eira is a suburb of Melbourne, Australia) has shown over the years a commendable interest in improving Japan-Australia relations, as the picture above demonstrates. 

  I hope I will do nothing to disturb this happy situation on 19 October when they have asked me to talk about my book An Awkward Truth, which tells the story of the Japanese bombing raid on the northern Australian city of Darwin on 19 February 1942. Not that there's any awkward truth from the Japanese side. Their forces performed with courage and commendable military efficiency. The awkward truth in this case is the fact that the Australian civilian leadership failed miserably.

  Basil Ornelias of Glen Eira Rotary tells me that these talks are both free and open to the public. If you would like to join the Zoom session please click on this link:

  There is usually an opportunity to ask questions at the end of these talks, and I'm happy to respond to questions arising from any of my four books. I'm also happy to answer questions about why an Australian writer would choose to live in France, or about life in France generally.

9 September 2021, 6:30 pm Melbourne time

I wish I could promise you a venue as glamorous as Kew Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia, pictured above. If it hadn't been for a certain pandemic, lockdowns and so on that's where we might have all met up on the evening of 9 September 2021, when I am due to give a talk to the North Balwyn Rotary Club. That's where the club usually meets. However you'll have to make do with the comforts of home on 9 September, I'm afraid, and the joys of a talk via Zoom. I'll be talking about my book A Good Place To Hide.

  Maurie Walters, the amiable and admirable president of NBRC, tells me that the talk is free and open to all. All you need is an 'invitation' to the Zoom meeting, which you can obtain by e-mail by writing to For the minute your chances of success with this will be much improved if you live in Australia, New Zealand or France. The NBRC Zoom system doesn't seem to like people from elsewhere, and it was pretty suspicious of me at first because I live in France.

  By the way, if you go to the North Balwyn Rotary Club web site at you may find that, rather then your humble scribe, the listed speaker on 9 September 2021 is Mr Hassa Mann, who planned to talk about Australian Rules football. Don't be alarmed! Mr Mann prefers the joys of a live audience, not to mention the joys of the Kew Golf Club, and who can blame him? I've agreed to replace him.

Burwood Library.jpg

I'm afraid, gentle reader, that neither of us will make it to the inside of Sydney's admirable Burwood Library,  pictured above. However on 5 May I will be giving a Zoom talk, sponsored by the Library, on the subject of Ten Rogues. I'll be in France, you will be wherever you choose to be, and neither of us will be in Burwood Library. The talk will start at 6:30 pm Australian Eastern Time on 5 May, which will be 10:30 am my French time, 9:30 am UK time, and so on.  It is open to everybody, but you will need to register with the library before you can join the Zoom meeting. You can find the library at, then click on the link to 'Library Events' to register. Admission is free.

Thursday 8 April, 6:30 pm AEST


I can't possibly compete, for sheer glamour, with the blurry young lady above. She's a belly dancer, and she was helping to raise money for the victims of bushfires in the Australian state of Victoria. Who was she helping? None other than the Caulfield Rotary Club of Melbourne, Australia. Which brings me to the fact that I'll be giving a Zoom talk to the same club on 8 April at 6:30 pm, wearing rather more clothes than my comely predecessor. If I've done the arithmetic right then that will be at about 9:30 am French time, so I should be showered and shaved and vaguely presentable for the big day. If you'd like to join in you should contact Sophie Potasz of Caulfield Rotary at It's open to all, not just to members of Caulfield Rotary.


4 November 7:30 am Australian Eastern Time

The mouth-watering picture above is from the Australia Day (26 January) annual market organised by the Rotary Club of Bendigo, a town a bit over 130 km inland from Melbourne in the state of Victoria, Australia. These are people after my own heart. Notice that the most prominent sign on the front of their marquee says simply DRINKS, while a small sign to its left brings even further good news: 'Drinks $2' (about US$1.40  or £1.09 sterling or 1.21 € at today's exchange rates.)

  You can join me on 4 November when I'll be talking to these excellent people about Ten Rogues. This event will be held at a much less anti-social hour than for the entry below. The talk is timed for 7:30 am on 4 November, Australian Eastern (Summer) Time. The clocks change to winter time in France on 24 October, so for me the event will be at 9:30 pm on 3 November French time. My apologies to those Kiwis who have to get up early to hear me prattle on, but as you've just got Jacinda back (and good luck to you for doing that so convincingly) then you can't expect to have everything go your way.

  Why this weird hour, you might well ask? The answer is that the Rotary Club of Bendigo Sandhurst is a 'breakfast' rotary club, which means it holds its meetings over breakfast rather than over lunch or dinner.

  All are welcome to join the meeting, though I expect only members of the RCoBS can ask questions. The Zoom address is You can find out more about the club at Last but not least, the town of Bendigo had a bizarre and largely ignored part to play in Australia's convict history. But to find out more, you'll have to tune in on 4 November.


30 August 2020, 2:00 pm US Eastern Daylight Time

Here’s an event for frustrated international travellers. It might also appeal to Australian and New Zealand insomniacs. I will be taLking about my book A Good Place To Hide this coming  Sunday night/Monday morning (depending on where you live) 30-31 August 2020. The talk will be live on Zoom and will be moderated by my American friend Paul Kutner. The picture at the top of this entry shows Paul (far left), then me, then Hanne and Max Liebmann, two survivors rescued by the French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. The picture was taken at the Queensborough Community College, New York, where Paul, Hanne, Max and I chatted about the Le Chambon rescue operation, the central event of A Good Place To Hide. The upcoming talk is being organised by the Holocaust Center of Florida, USA, and is scheduled for 2:00 pm US Eastern Daylight Time on Sunday afternoon. That makes it 4:00 am Monday morning if you live in an Eastern state of Australia, 3:30 am if you live in South Australia, 2:00 am if you live in Western Australia and a more civilised 6:00 am on Monday morning if you live in New Zealand. On the other hand, it will be a convenient 7:00 pm in the UK, and a bedtime lullaby if you live anywhere in Europe.

  If you want to hear me or ask questions then admission to the Zoom meeting is free but you will have to register first by clicking on For the record, I will be talking from my home in France (where the talk is scheduled for 8:00 pm Sunday night French time) and Paul will be talking from his home in Maryland, USA, which is on the same time as Florida, so it will be 2:00 pm his time. Welcome to the new technological wonderland created by Covid-19!

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