presents the world of tea in a fresh voice with a distinctly zany approach to history, cultures and spelling. Here, tea is linked with topics one would NOT normally expect to find in a 'Tea Book': radioactivity, nano-technology, sex, fairy tales, music... and of course the topics you WOULD expect: politics, royalty, monkey-business, trade, health, camels and C(c)hina. If you are an avid devourer of anecdotal history with an interest in East-West relations and an appreciation for puns and relentless dry humour, this book is for you!
Following the journey of tea,
blends the buds of human cultural diversi-tea, spirituali-tea and civili-tea with the bitter leaves of inhumani-tea. From the immorali-tea of the opium wars to the salini-tea of the Boston Tea Party; from the promiscui-tea of Earl Grey to the medicinal proper-teas of tea itself,
reveals the ways in which civilisations, East and West, have rubbed up against each other over millennia through trade, exploration and exploitation. The narrative is propelled with humour and alacri-tea, made delightful with madcap illustrations and poetry.
Curiosi-tea by Camellia Cha. Absurd Publications 2009, 204pp, 58 cartoon-like illustrations and 4 maps. ISBN: 9780980674606 (pbk.)
Anne Norman: the REAL author of
The narrative of
is propelled by three fictional characters, the dominant one being Camellia Cha, the Avatar of Tea. Despite this playful veneer, this is not a work of fiction.
The person behind the narrators is first time author Anne Norman. Anne is a professional musician, perpetually on tour making her living performing shakuhachi (bamboo flute). She performs all over her native Australia, as well as giving recitals in Europe, America and Japan. During the last few years, Anne has also been in high demand as a storyteller in primary schools across Australia, incorporating her live music into multi-media, interactive narrative performances. Anne's constant travels enable her to visit major libraries and Universities and meet with people from all walks of life, facilitating research and the gaining of knowledge on the wide range of topics covered in
. She has visited many countries throughout Asia, and in 2008, spent five weeks in China visiting tea plantations and learning from everyone she met: from taxi drivers and tea pickers, to tea scholars and monks.
In the mid 1980s Anne was living in Japan, and was a member of the Kobe Philharmonic Orchestra before giving that up in order to study traditional Japanese music. Anne developed a serious dependency on sencha green tea while sitting with her shakuhachi teacher between bouts of hyperventilation from practice sessions. Without realising, Anne was learning a great deal about Japanese tea varieties and preparation. This built upon a childhood of subconscious learning about quality loose-leaf 'British' teas and the ritual of afternoon tea from her mother in Australia.
The eldest daughter of a physicist and a pharmacist, Anne chose to put aside her love of science and mathematics to feed her passion for music, studying a Bachelor of Music majoring in flute performance (Univ of Melbourne), followed by a Diploma in secondary education. After only a couple of years experience as a music teacher, Anne hitch-hiked around South-east Asia and Japan for a couple of years, learning about the cultures and languages of each place through hanging out with fellow musos. Anne then returned to Melbourne to complete a Masters in Ethnomusicology on scholarship at Monash University. This was followed by a grant from the Japanese government to further her shakuhachi performance studies at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music. Later, in Australia she was again the recipient of a scholarship to do a PhD at Monash, eventually giving it back, deciding that BEING a musician and performance artist was much more fun than hanging out with academics who only wrote about it!
Inspired by her nieces and nephew, Anne wrote them stories and silly rhymes. But she really wanted to write a book for grownups.
began as an experiment in creating a rhyming picture book for adults. Like her, many of Anne's artist friends do not have children, and she discovered that there was a craving for the silly rhymes and playful pictures which parents revel in when reading to their children. Visiting friends would ask her to read them her latest Aunty Anne story, written for a three or four year old! They too loved the whimsical sounds and rhythms of language. An idea was born, and after much research to flesh it out,
resulted. Anne has the kernel for another two books for adults in the same quirky vein as
, which she hopes to thoroughly research and finish over the next 10 years.
Anne's love of the spoken word, the rhythm and music of language and the ebb and flow of poetry permeates both the prose and verse of her writing. Since writing the book, in addition to her music performances, Anne now tours as a tea raconteur, entertaining audiences with her absurd ditties and surprising anecdotes on 'Tea'. While an avid traveller at heart, Anne covets time at home to write and sculpt, but when out and about working, she squeezes in time to walk the beaches and wildernesses of the places she visits.
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