Australian writer of books for younger readers, young adults, verse novels and poetry.

Murder and Other Brainwaves

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One of the unexpected pleasures of semi-isolated living in the time of a pandemic has been the wealth of online opportunities that have opened up. (I bet you were thinking I was going to say planning murder!) But not so far off, if that was what you were thinking. I watched the Scarlet Stiletto awards the other evening, from the comfort of my bedroom and it was a teasing joy to hear the small blurbs of all the award-winning and commended stories which are now available in The Twelfth Cut through Clan Destine Press. It catapulted me back to 1994, when I entered. Cate Kennedy won that year, but my story was commended – a bit of a feat for someone whose strong point was not plotting. As was noted in the judges’ report!

Watching the awards on my laptop screen made me think how much fun it would be to try again. The awards have expanded since 1994 and now include a heap of different categories which make it a smorgasbord of intriguing possibilities. In order to prepare, I’ve taken to reading Donna Leon, whose good-hearted detective Commissario Brunetti is a Venetian, making these books doubly enjoyable. Who doesn’t love small glimpses of Venice?

The other online event I’ve attended recently was the Readings Bookshop hosted conversation between Josephine Rowe and Anna MacDonald on the work of Beverley Farmer – an under-rated Australian writer. I can remember the pleasure of reading A Body of Water when it was first published by University of Queensland Press and how inspiring I found the mixture of journal entries, short stories and meditations on the writing process. It was extraordinarily liberating. I’m going to replace my now-lost original copy with the reprint as soon as I can get to my nearest Readings bookshop. Rowe’s book – indeed, the whole Writers on Writers series, looks great, too.

I hope we continue to get online access to events like these. I love living where I do – kangaroo spotted on my morning walk! – but I do miss going to bookish things. Virtual is no substitute for real life, but I’ve been grateful for these small forays back to my world via the laptop.

Which is why my other brainwave has been putting together a suite of very focused online sessions on the trickier elements of writing fiction. These will be available in the new year as interactive sessions through Tyle&Bateson. Putting these together is both diverting and timely, reminding me of what to look for while I’m doing my own editing.  It’s also a change from writing the rescue dog poem series which has been preoccupying me when I’m not revising. Ha! See how I created a segue for a photo opp? I leave you with the poem-worthy Winter…


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