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Did you hear the one about the writer who submitted a funny story to a publishing house, and the work was swiftly and enthusiastically published? No, me neither. Where is the humour in Australian literary fiction? I’ve just started Rubik by Elizabeth Tan, and last night I read a scene where children, dressed up as […]
I enjoy reading both fiction and narrative non-fiction, but I tend to write fiction almost exclusively. I’ve been asking myself why that is. I’m sitting at my desk and I’m meant to be writing, but instead I’m procrastinating, burning time, staring distractedly at my screen. Right now, as I type, this is the background of […]
We like to pretend that there are no rigid class distinctions in Australia. It’s part of our national identity: non-Indigenous Australians are the descendants of swagmen and convicts, migrants and squatters. We think of ourselves as battlers, even if our particular battle is to pay the mortgage on our third investment property. And unless there’s…
I have a wonderful signature. I really do. It speaks on the page of boldness and adventure. It is the signature of someone forthright and true, sure in themselves. The sort of person those of lesser spine look toward in a crisis. There are sweeping loops and a rather stylish underline punctuated by a thorough […]
Is there such a thing as a writer who knows what they are doing? If there is, I would love to learn their secret. Writing for me is just an extension of life. Bumbling about like a sailor on the high seas, flung from one side to the other by rough weather, marvelling at the […]
  Is anyone else bothered by the way things are no longer put down on paper? Will historians, a hundred years from now, be reduced to scrolling through neatly stored and categorised emails spell checked and eminently readable, instead of sifting through unruly piles of letters, documents, and diaries? Have we forever lost the excitement […]
We were a nomadic sort of family. Dad worked in a mysterious government department necessitating moving home, town, state, country on a more or less regular basis. Anyone who has grown up in that way knows how it feels. The new kid. Always the new kid. Unfamiliar streets to navigate, working out quickly who your […]
 It was at university that I first encountered the term empathy.  I had been practising it—as much as any adolescent practises empathy— I just hadn’t known what it was called before then. My lecturers described empathy as the act of imagining what it was like to be in another person’s situation. They said it was […]
When I was seven, my family moved from Sydney to Hong Kong. I remember my first day at school. I remember the teacher asked a girl called Randee to look after me. I remember that Randee had brown eyes and black hair and that she was half Filipino and half English. I don’t remember that […]
In 2010 The Guardian published an article called Ten Rules For Writing Fiction. It was a compilation of famous authors’ top ten tips. Richard Ford’s advice stood out to me. His first rule was: Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer’s a good idea. This advice sounded like inherently sensible advice […]
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