For Adults

How do you decide what book you should write?

It is said that everyone has a book in them, and I tend to agree with that sentiment in the sense that everyone has an interesting life story to tell. Given a quiet room, a laptop and a few thousand hours of solitude, I think pretty much everyone could produce something compelling, or at least interesting. Then, there are other…

Re-visioning Australia: ‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper

Every fortnight, my daughter’s school assembly begins with an acknowledgment of country and ends with the singing of the national anthem. It’s easy to sing Advance Australia Fair and not think about the words. Then you read a book like The Dry, and you start thinking. The first verse of Advance Australia Fair is almost all about agriculture. There’s our ‘golden…

Meet Jennifer Down, author of ‘Our Magic Hour’

There are so many different types of authors in this world – but the ones that really excite me are those who seem to operate on a different plane to the rest of us. The ones who notice things that we (or I) seem to miss – and then convey these things using extraordinary, inventive language. The ones who reveal…

Meet E.C. Thorpe – Winner of the Stringybark Short Story Award 2015

Imagine you’re at the start of your creative writing life. You have a short story. You have no idea if it’s any good. But you send it off anyway to a national, well-respected short story competition – the first one you’ve ever entered. You wait and wait. Then the results come in and you nearly fall over. You won? You…

Capturing Grief: ‘Our Magic Hour,’ by Jennifer Down

It happens to all of us. At some point in life, we all become familiar with grief in a way we’d always hoped to avoid. For me, that happened last year. The death of my father in law was shocking and not shocking. Not shocking because he was 91 years old. Shocking because the cancer took him so swiftly. Now,…

Reading for Entertainment: ‘The Beekeeper’s Secret,’ by Josephine Moon, ‘The Lover’s Guide to Rome,’ by Mark Lamprell and ‘Rose’s Vintage’, by Kayte Nunn

There’s this natty little function on the Sydney Writer’s Festival website that allows you to search for events by genre. There’s fiction, of course (more than 60 events, mostly literary fiction) but also more ‘niche’ genres, such as crime (16 events), sport (6 events), even spirituality and religion (6 events). But have a guess at how many events fall under…

Reading About Writing: ‘Monkeys with Typewriters’, by Scarlett Thomas

At nearly 50,000 words into my current WIP, I hit a dead zone. Until that point, everything had been sailing along fairly smoothly. I would sit at the computer, the ideas would come, the word count would creep steadily upwards. Happy days! Until I hit some rough weather and started taking in water from all sides. To continue the sailing…

The Ego of Writing: ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’, by Elizabeth Strout

There are times (many) when I think of the ego involved in writing. What makes my voice, my thoughts, my ideas, worth recording, let alone publishing? What gives me the right to think I can and should write? Who cares what I have to say? Then a writer comes along who makes you realise that writing need not be about…

On Sex: ‘The Dangerous Bride,’ by Lee Kofman and Kirsty Eagar’s ‘Summer Skin’

Two very different books. Two very different genres. Two very different writers. Two very different target audiences. But at the heart of both – sex. More specifically, sex within the context of a relationship, but also outside of that context. In The Dangerous Bride, we meet Lee Kofman in a Melbourne fetish club on the night before her wedding, kissing…

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