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The room seemed so large back then. Huge. Even now, as I sit here trying to recall the details of it, what strikes me is its vastness, bathed in fluorescent white light, whiting out at the edges. It is bright, spacious, and cool, since we always had the air conditioning on for the night. Of […]
One of my earliest memories is of getting caught in the revolving doors at the State Library as a three or four-year-old. In my own account of it, I was there with my Grandpa, and tripped and fell and ended up being pushed round and round inside the doors until some kind stranger was able […]
Ever noticed how Tom Sturridge always plays the bad boy? He was Captain Francis Troy in David Nicholls’ amazing adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd, Jake in the Starz adaptation of Sweetbitter, and in the incredible biopic about Mary Shelley that came out last year, he played the original Bad Boy of Literature, Lord Byron.  One of […]
The other day, when I gave my Grandma and Grandpa their early copy of Well-Behaved Women, I found myself apologising for all the bad words I had used.  It’s not that I’ve used gratuitous swearing or offensive slurs or anything like that. It’s just that this is how my characters talk. Words like ‘fuck’ are part […]
There’s a lot of music in my stories. Contemporary music, the stuff I listen to when I’m writing now like Josh Pyke and the sweet-edged dark bands of my teenaged years like Fall Out Boy, has certainly had an effect on my writing, and if you read closely you might even find some echoes of […]
How do endings end?  If you’ve followed me this far, I thank you sincerely.  But October is almost over, and these weeks are drawing to a close.  To borrow the immortal puzzlement of the undergraduate: what to put in a conclusion?  I’m really bad with goodbyes. I never know how to end, to close, to […]
I love ghosts, and their stories. Even (oh, especially) the badly written ones. The Russell Lee ones from my boyhood. The jump-scares. The ones that don’t make sense. The ones Grandma tells so matter-of-factly. The ones which are definitely true, because it happened to somebody’s mother’s friend’s cousin. Ghosts are slippery. They pass through walls. […]
What do stories mean? What lessons can we learn from them?  As a History major at the University, I’ve wrestled with these questions for a while. What could be a more legitimate account than History-capital-H? What could be truer than something buttressed by books, supported by sources, established by experts, proofread by professors, and printed on […]
In the Beginning, there was the Word.  Really?  Not for me. I couldn’t even speak or read English until I was seven or so. I have dim childhood memories of opening storybooks, and pretending to read them to my toys. At the kindergarten, Mummy was embarrassed because I happily spoke more Hokkien (grandfather’s Chinese dialect) […]
In my time as a writer, I’ve taken part in maybe five or six NaNoWriMos. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is an event where participants around the world sprint towards writing 50,000 words in the month of November. The idea is, we all want to write a novel ‘someday’ and the best way to […]
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