Joining the Stella team

In a move that surprised me as much as anyone else, I've been selected as the new Executive Director of the Stella Prize. My new role was announced today, and I'll be starting in early August. In a very short time, Stella has made an important impact on the Australian literary landscape. I feel excited – and privileged – to be selected to lead a team whose work remains so relevant and necessary. Not sure yet how, or if, my new role will change what I blog about. I guess [...]

2018-07-03T12:36:00+00:00 July 3rd, 2018|Life|15 Comments

Random Thoughts About Author Talks

People are generous. My author talk at 'Clunes on Sunday' was chaired by a woman who had inherited her farm from her mother, who had inherited it from her own mother. She told me that mine was the first book she'd read in twenty years and that she'd enjoyed it very much. She also said - and I think this is the nicest compliment I've ever received about my writing - that it read like it was written by someone from the country.* People are kind. Elizabeth Macarthur's descendant, John Macarthur-Stanham, [...]

2018-06-19T22:14:35+00:00 June 19th, 2018|Life, Writing|5 Comments

Waiting

What to do in the limbo between the book being out of the box, and the book being out in the world (or at least in bookshops)? It seems like a long three weeks until the official publication date of April 2 but what does that mean anyway? April 2 is Easter Monday, so in reality the book will start appearing in shops during the week prior, and in the weeks after. But what does that mean for me? It's not like I'm going to rush out and buy a [...]

2018-04-09T21:33:01+00:00 March 12th, 2018|Life, Writing|8 Comments

My Writing Day

Her name is Winter. She's a Scottish Deerhound. Yes, she's very tall. Saves bending over to give her pats - she's already at just the right height. One day a week. That's all I have for my own writing. And when I say 'day' I don't mean a whole day, I mean a school day, between about 9:30 and 3:00pm. Also minus the school holidays. And minus time spent hanging out the washing, catching up on my day job, making cups of tea and procrastinating by playing Tetris. [...]

Vote for me – please?

Writers Victoria is a wonderful organisation which supports and connects all types of writers at all stages of their writing careers. I've been a member for more than ten years - attending courses and workshops, and enjoying the monthly magazine. Writers Victoria also offers mentorships, a manuscript assessment service, and lots of support, advice and information. So, in an effort to give something back, I've decided to stand for a place on the Committee of Management. That is, I'd like to become a Board Member of Writers Victoria. But to [...]

2018-03-25T12:14:31+00:00 March 27th, 2017|Life|4 Comments

Working at Elizabeth Farm

Working as a guide at a historic home sounds, for many people, like a dream job. But is it? Last year I was lucky enough to meet the lovely Jacky Dalton, who works at Sydney Living Museums. I subsequently asked her about how she came to be in her job and this is what she told me. HUMBLE BEGINNINGS My first connection with Elizabeth Farm was a ghost tour almost 16 years ago, and I immediately felt a connection with the property even though I had no experience, or interest, [...]

2018-03-24T01:33:07+00:00 March 14th, 2017|Colonial History, Life|7 Comments

A cold day in… Elsinore

We all know Hamlet never set foot in Kronberg Castle at Elsinore (Helsingør, Denmark) because, um newsflash - Shakespeare was not producing documentaries. But I couldn't resist the temptation to go there. And given how bloody cold it was (yes they're icicles on the downpipes) I'm not at all surprised Hamlet was wondering whether or not life was worth living. Apologies to those of you who have already seen these on Facebook. Yes, I go on work trips to interesting places.  No, my working life is neither glamorous [...]

2018-03-24T01:35:50+00:00 March 9th, 2017|Life|3 Comments

The people you meet…

Given that writing is such a solitary act, I had no idea how many people I would meet in the process of writing my book. And what wonderful, friendly and helpful people they would turn out to be. In England, when I visited Elizabeth Macarthur's birthplace (a tiny village in north Devon) I met Sheila Cholwill, her husband Colin and her good friend Rose Hitchings. For two days they showed me around, fed me, introduced me, and generally just made me feel extraordinarily welcome.  Octogenarian Mr Bowden showed me through [...]

2018-03-25T12:51:45+00:00 December 10th, 2016|Life, Writing|4 Comments

Indigenous Immersion

For the past three days my ongoing adventures in biography have immersed me in Aboriginal culture and I attended: Indigenous Cultural Awareness course Indigenous Language Intensive Guided tour of the Mt William stone axe quarry Want to know what I learned? I'm happy to tell you, but first some context. In the course of my research I've become more and more interested in the interactions between the Macarthur family and the Aboriginal people whose lands the family colonised. The various relationships are often only hinted at but seem to have [...]

2018-03-25T13:01:26+00:00 November 27th, 2016|Life|7 Comments