Showing all posts tagged: writing

Melbourne Writers Festival slims down to four days for 2022

28 March 2022

The Melbourne Writers Festival runs this year from Thursday 8 to Sunday 11 September 2022. This represents a change in format for the festival which has in the past run for at least ten days. The 2021 event for instance ran from Friday 3 September to Wednesday 15 September 2021.

This year’s event will see “a concentrated program that would feature about 250 Australian and international writers in 120 events“, says artistic director Michaela McGuire.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

,

Sydney Writers Festival program 2022

26 March 2022

The program for the 2022 Sydney Writers’ Festival was unveiled on Thursday, and refreshingly for the lockdown-fatigued is choke full of face-to-face, in person events. Spread across venues including Sydney Town Hall, City Recital Hall, and Carriageworks, the festival opens on Monday 16 May, and concludes on Sunday 22 May 2022.

In addition, numerous other “neighbourhood” events, will be held in other areas, both in and out of Sydney, hosted at places including the State Library of NSW, WestWords Parramatta, Ashfield Town Hall, Chatswood Library on The Concourse, Penrith City Library, and Wollongong Art Gallery. Top up your Opal card, you could be covering a bit of ground.

The opening night address takes place at Sydney Town Hall on the evening of Tuesday 17 May, and features Ali Cobby Eckermann, Jackie Huggins, and Nardi Simpson.

Nearly four hundred Australian and international authors and writers, along with actors, sports people, academics, and many others, are scheduled to participate in proceedings, including Emily Bitto, winner of the 2015 Stella Prize, Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Mick Elliott, former Australian footballer Adam Goodes, Muireann Irish, Bri Lee, Charlotte McConaghy, J.P. Pomare, Teela Reid, Yumi Stynes, and Murong Xuecun, also known as Hao Qun.

The theme of this year’s festival, explains artistic director Michael Williams is change my mind. How perfectly apt, because what is writing, if not transformative?

Change my mind with a stanza or a couplet, a jarring dissonance, a beautiful echo or a rhyme. Change it with a flight of fancy, an intricate, imagined world, a compelling character I’ll never meet but never forget. Turn it upside down with searing rhetoric, impeccable research, the knock-out argument that has me questioning everything I know and all that I believe.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

,

The Tolkien Estate, a repository of J. R. R. Tolkien’s work

23 March 2022

The Tolkien Estate looks to be the ultimate resource of the work and life of British author, poet, and academic J. R. R. Tolkien, writer of The Lord of the Rings, and other works. It’s incredible to think — given the depth and scope of his writing output — that Tolkien worked mainly as a teacher at Oxford University, instead of a full time author.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, ,

Virtual Literary Speed Dating 2022

21 March 2022

The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) is hosting several virtual literary speed dating events this year for its members. Prospective authors will be given three minutes to pitch their completed manuscript to local literary agents and publishers, at online events in May, and then again a few months later.

Canberra based Australian author Shelley Burr is a literary speed dating success story, having found a publisher for her debut novel Wake, at an event in December 2020. Here’s speed dating that’s worth participating in.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

,

2022 Australian Book Design Awards longlist

18 March 2022

Especially for those who enjoy judging books by their covers, the 2022 Australian Book Design Awards longlist has been announced. There are over one hundred and sixty titles vying for recognition across twenty categories, plus the Deb Brash Emerging Designer of the Year award.

Fiction titles are essentially separated into four groups, children’s, young adult, commercial, and literary. The Other Side of Beautiful, by South Australian author Kim Lock, The Younger Wife, by Melbourne novelist Sally Hepworth, are among candidates in the commercial fiction category, while In Moonland, by Miles Allinson, is one of the nominations in the literary fiction segment.

Over four-hundred-and-ninety titles were considered in this year’s award, before the longlist was unveiled. The shortlist will be made public in early April, with the winners in each category being named on Friday 3 June 2022, in Melbourne.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, ,

Michael Williams steps down as Sydney Writers’ Festival artistic director

18 March 2022

After two years as artistic director of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Michael Williams has decided to step down. Williams who is Melbourne based, and has a young family residing there, always saw his tenure in the role as temporary, something occasioned by COVID, and the challenges the pandemic posed to events such as the festival.

“I was brought on, to quote The Godfather, as a wartime consigliere, to see the festival through the COVID period, and it was only ever a kind of interim posting. It was going to be the one year. Then, quite apart from anything else, last year’s was so much fun, it was such a wonderful job and wonderful organisation that I couldn’t resist doing a matched pair.”

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

,

Twitter novels, written in 140 character tweets

17 March 2022

Here’s a blast from the past, from back in the days when tweets were limited to 140 characters: “novels” restricted to said limit, written by best-selling authors including Jilly Cooper, Ian Rankin, Jeffrey Archer, and Anne Enright, in October 2012.

If there were an award for the best Twitter fiction “novel”, and I were the judge, I’d name British novelist Helen Fielding, she who gave the world Bridget Jones’s Diary in 1999, the winner:

OK. Should not have logged on to your email but suggest if going on marriedaffair.com don’t use our children’s names as password.

This may, or may not be, Fielding’s Twitter page.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, ,

The 2022 Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize

16 March 2022

Entries are open in the 2022 Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. Works of fiction, written in English, consisting of two thousand to five thousand words, are eligible, with a prize money pool totalling A$12,000 on offer. Entries close on Monday 2 May 2022. While an Australian based prize, submissions will be accepted from anyone regardless of their location.

Established in 2010, the prize was renamed the following year in honour of late British born Australian writer Elizabeth Jolley. Although she had been writing for decades, Jolley’s first book was not published until she was fifty-three. She also taught writing at what is now Curtin University, in Perth, Western Australia, and renowned Australian author Tim Winton was among her students.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, ,

2022 International Booker Prize longlist

11 March 2022

Thirteen titles have been named on the 2022 International Booker Prize longlist. Awarded in its present format since 2016, the International Booker celebrates works translated into English, with the £50,000 prize split equally between the author and translator.

Among the titles translated from eleven languages into English, is Tomb of Sand, by New Delhi based Indian author Geetanjali Shree, and translated by American writer and painter Daisy Rockwell. Shree’s work is the first book written in Hindi to be included on the International Booker Prize longlist.

Just about all of these titles are new to me — the books I read, when time permits, tend to be contemporary Australian, but not always — so it’s good to see something new and not so familiar, that I can add to my to-be-read list.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, ,

Again, Rachel, Marian Keyes

28 February 2022
Again, Rachel, Marian Keyes, book cover

Readers of Irish author Marian KeyesWalsh Family Series of novels first made the acquaintance of Rachel Walsh in 1997, in Rachel’s Holiday. Rachel was twenty-seven, and not in a good place. She’d just broken up with her boyfriend, Luke, and had been placed in rehabilitation by her family on account of her substance abuse.

Fast forward to 2021, and Rachel’s world is a better place. In fact, she has come full circle. She now works as a councillor at the facility she was admitted to twenty-five years earlier. Further, she’s in a happy relationship, and is getting along nicely with her mother and siblings. All up, everything seems to be going exceedingly well for Rachel. But her reverie is shattered by an out of the blue call from an old flame, in Again, Rachel (published by Penguin Books Australia, February 2022).

Just when she thought she had everything sorted out, and was settled, Rachel finds her life turned on its head. What is she to do? Follow her heart, and her ex, and venture back into a time and place she thought she’d left behind? Or remain in the predictable now? How fragile, it seems, is the life we believed to be firmly established…

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, , ,

The rules of writing for writers by writers

23 February 2022

Ten rules for writing, put together by The Guardian, part one and part two, with insights from writers including Joyce Carol Oates, Michael Moorcock, Zadie Smith, Michael Morpurgo, Sarah Waters, and Will Self.

There’s a lot of good stuff here, such as this idea from Hilary Mantel:

Write a book you’d like to read. If you wouldn’t read it, why would anybody else? Don’t write for a perceived audience or market. It may well have vanished by the time your book’s ready.

Particularly relevant for someone like me who writes at a glacial pace. And then this nugget from British poet Andrew Motion:

Decide when in the day (or night) it best suits you to write, and organise your life accordingly.

Thank you. I’ll go for later in the day. This coming from someone not of the school of thought you must wake at 4AM to achieve anything.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

The definition of being a single parent

23 February 2022

Dani Vee, Sydney based host of literary podcast Words and Nerds, writes about being a single parent at Ramona Magazine. If you only read one paragraph of the article, make sure it’s this one:

The next time you hear anyone talking about single mothers, start by replacing words like lonely, stressed, frazzled, broke and struggling with ‘you mean that independent-solution-focused-resilient-kick ass woman with the electric lawnmower?’

Also lookout for her debut picture book My EXTRAordinary Mum, featuring illustrations by Alexandra Colombo.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

,

Impossible by Sarah Lotz

21 February 2022
Impossible by Sarah Lotz, book cover

What would you do if an email intended for another person, made its way to your inbox? Would you delete it forthwith? Or would you, without blinking at it, inform the sender by return, of their error? Or might you feel that’d be tantamount to admitting you’d read the message? Might you think you were therefore exposing yourself to possible retribution, by making yourself known to the sender?

Or might you be like Bee, a London dress maker, who having received, and read, an incorrectly addressed email, decides to send a considered reply to the sender, because she found the contents intriguing? And would you believe for a second that such a response could be the beginning of a friendship, or perhaps something more?

This is exactly what happens in Impossible (published by HarperCollins Publishers, March 2022), by Sarah Lotz, the eighth novel by the British novelist and screenwriter. Nick, who is struggling personally and professionally, is surprised when Bee, a stranger, replies to his misdirected rant, but is delighted as their correspondence becomes regular and more intimate.

After all, who doesn’t like a meeting a new friend? But when Bee and Nick realise there is more to their exchanges than cordial banter, they decide to take the next step. Nick jumps on a train from Leeds, while Bee makes her way to London’s Euston station to meet him. But is it that simple? Can something come of what they have? Could it? Or is there too much they don’t know about each other to make that possible?

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, , ,

The This, Adam Roberts

16 February 2022
The This, Adam Roberts, book cover

This sounds convenient. Instead of hauling a smartphone around all the time, you could instead have a social media platform injected into the roof of your mouth. The implant would mesh with your brain, eventually taking the place of your phone. Blink twice to take a photo maybe, communicate brain to brain with friends who also have the app implant.

Welcome to The This, the futurist social media app, and novel of the same name, written by British science fiction author Adam Roberts, published by Hachette Australia. The app is popular with many, but there are those who do not like it. They do not want to be part of the so-called hive mind. They’ve seen Twitter, they’ve seen enough. But the storyline has all the hallmarks of a hive mind, a sprawling, surreal, neural network spanning space and time.

Adan is a journalist, sent to profile the CEO of The This. But after Adan’s mother unexpectedly leaves the country, he is forced to join the army as he is left without a home or any money. Adan is battling a robot invasion, in a reality far removed from the one he once knew. In later centuries a diminished humanity is fighting off another hive mind, one intent of the final destruction of humanity. And all because we wanted to try out a new social media app…

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, , ,

Francis Spufford, a writer once not a writer

16 February 2022

If you were a writer like British author Francis Spufford is, but didn’t want to call yourself a writer, as was once the case for Spufford, what title would you settle for instead?

It took me a long time to decide I wanted to be a writer. And then I felt that to call myself a writer, let alone a novelist, would be a kind of boast. I accepted it gradually, once I could see the objects I’d made.

If it were me, and we were talking about say works of fiction, I’d probably describe myself as a storyteller.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

,

The Very Last List of Vivian Walker, Megan Albany

12 February 2022
The Very Last List of Vivian Walker, Megan Albany, book cover

I couldn’t imagine how I’d feel if I were told I only had a certain amount of time left to live. It’s not the sort of situation most of us are used to dealing with. Our time, energy, and thought-output goes into dealing with all those other everyday predicaments. Paying the mortgage, getting the kids into the best school. Meeting the latest deadline. No pun intended.

But this is what happens to Vivian, the titular character of The Very Last List of Vivian Walker (published by Hachette Australia, 9 February 2022), the debut novel of Kalkadoon woman Megan Albany, an Australian author based in the Northern Rivers of NSW.

With her mortality hanging by a thread, Vivian does what any self-possessed control freak whose life is regimented by lists would; she decides to face her demise by organising herself. She prepares to-do lists not only for herself, but husband Clint, and son Ethan. These lists, she hopes, will soften the blow of her terminal diagnosis, and prepare the family for a future without her.

Vivian’s final days are punctuated with a certain dark humour, and one hopes not too many of us will ever find ourselves taking a leaf from the book of Vivian Walker.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, , ,

Ice Crash: Antarctica, Lynda Engler

11 February 2022
Ice Crash: Antarctica, by Lynda Engler, book cover

American science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson is among writers who are hopeful fiction featuring climate change, and the consequences of global warming, will play a part in changing the perceptions of people who still don’t take the worldwide environmental crisis seriously.

For instance his latest novel, The Ministry for the Future, paints a bleak picture of a planet in deep trouble, but also presents a pathway through the turmoil, towards a positive future. Ice Crash: Antarctica (published by Amazon, February 15, 2022), by North Carolina based American author Lynda Engler, is another work of fiction taking on the topic of climate change, coupled with a series of devastating natural disasters.

Here, an earthquake in Antarctica pushes the Thwaites glacier, also known as the doomsday glacier into the ocean, bringing about a sudden and catastrophic rise in sea levels. Kathryn, a seismologist working in Antarctica, who has been alarmed by the unusual seismic activity, becomes trapped at McMurdo Station, by a succession of earthquakes.

Her husband and son meanwhile, who are in Boston, and her daughter who is in Florida, need to evacuate as sharply rising sea waters, and a series of tsunamis, bring devastation to the continental United States, and other nations around the globe.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, , ,

The Truth about Faking It, Cassie Hamer

10 February 2022
The Truth about Faking It, by Cassie Hamer, book cover

The first rule of lying is not be caught out. But to lie frequently, or compulsively, means you either need to have a good memory, or hope that no one ever uncovers the truth. And webs of deceit are at the heart of The Truth about Faking It (published by HarperCollins Publishers, May 2022), the third novel by Sydney based Australian author Cassie Hamer.

Lies run through Ellen’s family. Her daughter Natasha, a composed television news reader, and grand-daughter Georgie, the producer of a reality TV show, are accomplished at concealing the truth, and their feelings. Ellen isn’t half bad either. Despite being married to David, she has been seeing the well-off Kenneth, on the side. But when the accident prone David dies in a boating accident in Thailand, having travelled there with his elusive and seldom heard of brother, Ellen, Natasha, and Georgie, smell a rat.

Something is not quite right about the whole affair, and the three women decide to delve further into the circumstances surrounding David’s demise. But in doing so, in exposing the truth of what happened to David, they risk lifting the lid on their own sordid lies and deceptions. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive…

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

, , ,

A day in the life of a librarian

9 February 2022

A day in the life of a librarian, or at least how library users might see a librarian’s day, by Chicago based American author John Howard Matthews. Quite possibly not one hundred percent accurate…

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

,

The impact of COVID lockdowns on new authors

7 February 2022

Newly published authors are among those whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID lockdowns of the last two years, writes Mark Rubbo, managing director of independent Australian book retailer Readings. Bookshop exposure is integral in building an author’s profile, and is something many new authors have missed out on recently, with people staying at home because of restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic.

For most first-time authors, exposure in bookshops is very important in establishing a market for a book, be it a chance encounter, a recommendation or a purchase triggered by some form of publicity. If the book is any good, then word of mouth builds a more sustainable demand. Many of the books released in the past two years risk becoming Covid orphans.

THINGS TO DO

Share to TwitterShare to Facebook ★ ☕ Buy me a coffee

RELATED CONTENT

,