Monday, September 29, 2008

Elly Varrenti

Elly Varrenti has had a variety of careers across the arts world for the past twenty-five years. Originally training as an actress and singer in the early 1980’s she went on to perform extensively with most of Melbourne’s major and independent theatre companies and for television and radio.

Elly is a trained teacher (English, drama and creative writing) and has worked within a variety of educational environments from the primary sector through to the tertiary. She is currently the Coordinator of Professional Writing and Editing at Melbourne’s Box Hill Institute where she specializes in short story and memoir writing.

In the mid 1990’s Elly moved into arts broadcasting and theatre reviewing and has continued to work as a freelance broadcaster for both local ABC 774 and Radio National. These days she is well known for her regular monologues and columns for ABC Radio’s Life Matters program where she engages in both an entertaining and candid manner in a number of issues including, co-parenting, family, relationships, women’s issues education and the arts.

As a freelance writer Elly has written for The Age newspaper, the street press, parenting magazines and is currently theatre reviewer for The Melbourne Times.

In 2007 Elly was signed with Penguin after contributing a short story to an anthology about her first love. Most recently Penguin published her first non-fiction book, a memoir titled, This Is Not My Beautiful Life.

Elly has been conducting creative writing, acting and performance workshops for a number of years and is an accomplished public speaker.

She is currently writing her first one woman show called, Naked Not Nude, due for production in early 2009.

Elly Varrenti will be talking about her book 'This is not my beautiful life at

Ivanhoe Library

Tuesday 16th September

6.30pm - 8.00pm

Elly's answers to the Yarra Plenty Regional Library 5 quick questions

1.Can you tell us why you became an author/illustrator?

There wasn’t a moment when I suddenly decided to become an author. I have always written – firstly for stage, then for radio and newspapers and now as a memoirist. It was a pretty organic and naturally evolving process.

2. What is your all time favorite book? How would you describe it to other readers?

I don’t have an all time favorite, sorry, but one of my favorites, still, is Carol Shield’s Larry’s Party. It’s a small and domestic story about a man turning 40 that becomes, finally, a much bigger story about life and death and love and it’s very funny as well as very poignant.

3.Where or from whom have you been inspired or given ideas?

I get inspiration from ordinary life – from everything around me, everything I see and hear.I don’t miss much and it’s all got the potential to become a story of one kind or another.

4. What is something fun from your childhood that you can remember about yourself?

I used to dress up and mimic the 70’s singer Shirley Bassey. Only middle-aged men and gay men liked her back then, not 13 year old girls.

5. What advice would you give to new writers/illustrators?

Just do it. Notice everything. Remain humble and don’t give up your day job


Frances said...

I love hearing Elly on Radio National and tried to buy her book in Castlemaine (Vic)today but having only heard her name I did not know how to spell it, and only remembering "Beautiful Life" out of the title the book could not be found so I googled just now and found this article which has 2 is it Varrenti or Varenti??

Yarra Plenty Reads said...

Hi Frances
sorry about delay in responding - very wrong of me to get the spelling wrong it is actually Elly Varrenti.

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