Author J.M. Donellan launched his new book as fireworks boomed overhead. Local artists gathered to celebrate the release of Killing Adonis during the Brisbane Festival’s Riverfire.

The Motor Room in West End hosted a warehouse-style event that featured a variety of creative entertainment, from live bands to slam poetry. Donellan said he was pleased so many of his artistic friends supported the launch of what is a “very different book” from his previous ones. Set in Brisbane, Killing Adonis is described as a “tragicomic” story of love, corporate greed and delusion that may or may not surface in the form of Marilyn Monroe.

Monroe has a recurring cameo role in the novel who, Donellan said, was inspired by Brisbane City’s own Marilyn look-alike Dian O’Connell. One of the live performers, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, dressed to match the theme and was joined in the line-up by local entertainers Lucy Fox and Kaitlyn Plyley. Donellan’s own band Poetry Is Dead were in attendance and played, as did hip hop and poetry artists Rivermouth.

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Hand-crafted artworks were displayed at the venue by Sandi Darling (photographer) and Anna Cooke (paper mache), who created a number of “pharmaceutical inspired” pieces to complement a theme in the book. Cooke fashioned a giant piñata replica of Killing Adonis to add to the other artwork, and the best dancer of the night was allowed to break it open.

Donellan signed some of the first copies from his “throne” seat at the venue. He flew out Sunday morning to appear at the National Young Writers Festival and Crack Theatre Festival in Newcastle. The novel is Donellan’s third published work, following A Beginners Guide to Dying in India and his children’s fantasy novel Zeb and the Great Ruckus.

Killing Adonis goes on sale in October.

Words by Justine McIntyre | Images supplied by artists