My words in New York

I have some exciting news, my friends.

Deep in the heart of another Victorian lockdown (can’t remember which one, all a blur) I was contacted online by Margin Alexander who is an international composer, currently based in New York. He had come across one of my old poems via Instagram and it had inspired him to write a song, and he was wondering if he could use it for a concert in Manhattan. Now, I have to be honest, I was in the midst of homeschooling a 9 & 7 year old, caring for a 4 year old who couldn’t go to kinder, trying to do a PhD, finish my poetry manuscript, plan my post PhD career, run my holiday business through covid, renovate an early Victorian home and just generally survive, so I thought this must, surely, be a scam.

But it wasn’t, and I’m thrilled to announce that my poem has been turned into a beautiful piece of music which will debut this week in New York. My words will be read by an actor, and I’ll get the chance to watch online. Tickets are available here


Writers Festival in July


I’m pleased to announce that while I have resigned from my duties at Ballarat Writers this year, I’ve agreed to help out with publicity for the fantastic upcoming Death in July Festival.

Ballarat Writers have a strong reputation for informative and industry specific writers festivals. This year is a break from the CYA and is focused on Australian Women’s Crime Writing. The event is partnered with Sisters in Crime and M.A.D.EContinue reading →

I’m talking at the Melbourne Writers Festival

I am very pleased to announce that I will be a panellist and an interviewer at the 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival.

I spent some time helping the team from MWF as part of my role at Ballarat Writers and now I can announce that I’ll be involved in 2 events.

My first event is on Saturday as part of the M.A.D.E. by Writers Panel. I will be discussing how my life as a writer interacts with the ideas of freedom, power and democracy. I’ll be sharing the panel with some great writers and must confess to having what singer/songwriter Paul Kelly calls ‘the pretendies’.

On Sunday I’ll be hosting, In Conversation with M.J. Hyland. I’ve written about her work before and a few years ago participated in a workshop that she was running.  I’m looking forward to this event as it closes out the weekend of events and I’m hoping will have some great audience participation.

So let me know if you’ve got any advice, or any questions you’d like me to ask.

If you’re in Ballarat please come along to some of the events. It’s a great chance to encourage Melbourne arts groups to run regional events.

There are heaps of workshops and panel discussions so please book in.

Place as Character – Toni Jordan Nine Days

art-353-Nine-Days-300x0-184x280 I’ve seen Toni Jordan speak at quite a few events, and I was fortunate enough to hear her again towards the end of last year at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute. It was just after the launch of her latest novel, Nine Days.

I knew about the general premise of the book before I bought it – that Jordan was inspired by a photograph from the Argus records. (The image is on the cover of the book) But what I didn’t know was that the nine days of the title, refers to the plot structure. The novel tells of nine days, spread across seventy years, which transform the lives of each member of the Westaway family.  Each chapter is narrated by a different member of the family as they face their transformative day. However the plot is not structured chronologically. This device is a wonderful tool for driving the plot. Readers are left to fill in some blanks when the novel jumps from 1939 to the weeks immediately after the September 11 collapse of the world trade centre in 2001. We wonder who the new narrator is and how is she related to Kip, the character we’ve just grown to love in chapter one. This continues through the book, and it’s Jordan’s skill as a storyteller that ensures that readers don’t feel dislocated, instead urging them on with a new character who is just as fascinating as the one before. Continue reading →

Tim Pegler

Over the last few months I have been helping Ballarat Writers to prepare for the Ballarat Writers and Illustrators Festival for 2011. As part of this I have prepared by reading  the novels of young adult author, Tim Pegler. Continue reading →


A few weeks ago I attended a Ballarat Writers workshop run by Alison Arnold from Text Publishing and Cath Crowley, young adult author. The day previous Cath Crowley had won the Prime Ministers Literary Award for Young Adult writing, for her novel Graffiti Moon. The class was instantly excited when Alison told us about Cath’s success, and I have to give her credit for turning up so bright eyed the day after the announcement (if that was me I would have had a champagne headache to say the least.) Continue reading →

Geraldine Brooks in Melbourne

Last week I went to see Geraldine Brooks in an event organised by Readers Feast bookstore. I am a big fan of Geraldine Brooks and it was fantastic to see a full house. It was located in the Collins street Baptist church which meant I was able to see the front clearly (at my height this is exciting). I was intrigued by the general demographic – in a full church I could only see 9 men around me, and I was left feeling very young by the end of it. The full house did endear me to the fact that people not only buy historical fiction, but they come out on a freezing Melbourne night to hear about it.

Geraldine herself was eloquent and kept her confidence with the range of microphone issues that occurred throughout the night. I enjoyed hearing about how the characters speak to her, once she finds the initial historical fact that catches her interest. She called it “collecting the string” of the story, imagining the story from the fact.

The one thing I can’t stop thinking about is the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. Geraldine used the example that she wanted to use the work foetus but was sure that that word would not have been used in 1600. So she used the thesaurus to identify the correct word for the correct period. Originally published in printed form, the thesaurus has now been incorporated into the Oxford English Dictionary Online. According to Wikipedia work began on the collection in 1965 and was completed in 2009. It sounds like such a fantastic resource for writers of historical fiction.

Writing Events

I’m feeling invigorated at the moment by a range of different writing activities going on around me.

Last Thursday Tim Pegler and Leanne Hall were guests at the Ballarat Writers reading night. Both spoke fantastically about getting their work published for the first time, the act of writing and spent some time reading from their novels. I’m going to track down Leanne’s novel This is Shyness –  it sounds mysterious, a certainty to lose yourself in it. I was able to purchase Tim’s books and spent last night reading Game as Ned in it’s entirety. I can’t wait to get onto Five Parts Dead, his most recent novel. (I also found out that Tim grew up in the same small town that I did, which has motivated me – if he can write a novel so can I) Both Tim and Leanne are guests at the Ballarat Writers Festival in September. Continue reading →

Year of the Novel with Sallie Muirden

In 2010 I completed the Year of the Novel course at the Victorian Writers Centre. I have been meaning to write about it for some time, but I seem to have struggled to come up with the correct approach. I’m not going to critique the course but here are a few personal thoughts. Continue reading →