What I read in 2020 – Part 1, the non-fiction episode

2020 has been, for me, a year of comfort reading. Lots of books were tossed aside by page 6 or 7, if they couldn't hold my interest. And for a while there, during the deepest part of the COVID-19 lockdown, it seemed like very little could hold my interest. Miles Franklin prize-winners: tossed. New York Times best-sellers: tossed. Quirky little books highly recommended by friends: tossed. In the end, it was commercial mass-market fiction that saw me through and I'll share my thoughts about my fiction reads in another post, [...]

2020-12-01T14:47:54+11:00December 1st, 2020|Book Review, Writing|17 Comments

HARDCOPY Professional Development Program – the preparation

The flights and accommodation are booked.  Several work meetings and dinner with a colleague are all lined up.  The suitcase is out of the shed and waiting to be filled with too many shoes.  I always pack too many shoes but how can I possibly know in advance which ones I'll need...? The HARDCOPY program organisers have asked each participant to bring 5 copies of the first 5 pages of our manuscript.  Hmmmm. The first 5 pages of my manuscript have been in existence for so long that they have [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:37+11:00May 27th, 2015|Writing|9 Comments

2014 – My Year in Books

It's that time of year when the blogosphere, literary journals and newspapers are full of lists of best books of 2014.  So, for what it's worth, here's a list of (almost) everything I've read this year for pleasure.  The comments are simply whatever small note I made (or didn't make) in my reading journal. I rarely bother to finish (or list) a book I don't enjoy.  I've reviewed some of those listed below but I only blog about books that are at least vaguely relevant to the topic of biography [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:41+11:00December 23rd, 2014|Life|0 Comments

Books about Biography

Sometimes it seems like I spend more time reading about writing than actually writing. More time listening to people talk about books (at festivals, on podcasts, in book reviews) than actually reading. I could beat myself up about this - and sometimes I do - but more often I just accept that I reading and writing are important to me.  I enjoy the theory as well as the practice.  As an inevitable result of my interest in words, many of the books on my shelves (Liatorp, Ikea - much admired [...]

2018-03-21T14:56:15+11:00September 11th, 2014|Writing|0 Comments

This House of Grief by Helen Garner

On the evening of Father's Day 2005 Robert Farquharson drove his car into a deep dam.  Farquharson emerged physically unscathed.  His three sons (aged 10, 7 and 2) all drowned.  This House of Grief is Helen Garner's attempt to explain that event, through the prism of Farquharson's subsequent murder trial. Garner's prose is as clear and sharp as a mountain stream.  And like a fast flowing creek, the more you look into the depths of her work, the more you see. I once had the privilege of spending a day [...]

2018-03-21T14:56:15+11:00September 9th, 2014|Book Review|0 Comments

Melbourne Writers’ Festival – Tickets Now on Sale

In past years I've had some wonderful experiences at the Melbourne Writers' Festival.  Germaine Greer giving a keynote address.  A writing masterclass with Simon Winchester.  Another year, another masterclass, this one with English biographer Victoria Glendinning CBE. But this year family responsibiilties mean I'm not able to go, not even to Helen Garner's opening night address.  And that's OK*. I've spent enough time at writer's festivals to realise that, enjoyable as they are, I'm now probably better off spending my precious spare time writing.  Surely if I can go to [...]

2018-03-21T14:56:18+11:00July 23rd, 2014|Writing|0 Comments
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