Newcastle here I come

I have been selected unanimously as the inaugural Regional Emerging Writer in Residence for the Newcastle Writers Festival 2016. Commencing Tuesday 22 March, I will spend two weeks living and working in Newcastle’s renowned contemporary arts space, The Lock-Up, working on my debut novel, an outback gothic adventure with the working title This landscape of failure.…

Now reading: Text OzLit Classics

For Christmas I read Geordie Williamson’s The burning library and a sea-side sinkhole opened up in my reading list. A sinkhole of neglect for many of Australia’s now-unknown literary gems. Yes, I had read Patrick White’s marvellous novels Voss, Tree of Man and The vivisector; Randolph Stow’s great Tourmaline; as well as works by Thomas Keneally,…

Now reading: The outsider, by Albert Camus

Albert Camus, The outsider (1942 / 1982 English translation) This short novel had a profound affect on me when I first read it as a teenager (more than 30 years ago). And still does after multiple re-readings. It begins with perfect indifference. Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don’t know.  To Meursault, it doesn’t matter when. She…

Now reading: Pnin, by Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin (1957) Nabokov began creating the eponymous character of this novella (or collection of loosely-linked stories), the Russian exile Timofey Pavlovich Pnin, assistant professor at the fictional Waindell College, as an antidote to the claustrophobic Humbert Humbert of Lolita. Despite Pnin’s bumbling, miscommunication and heartbreak, he is an endearing character, one for whom…

Now reading: Being Martha’s friend, by Meg Mooney

Meg Mooney, Being Martha’s friend (Picaro Press, 2015) Land and people. Place and space. Searching and belonging. These themes resonate strongly throughout this collection (her third) of poetry that could come from nowhere else but out of the red sand of Central Australia. The poetics are subtle, the narrative spare but honest. Each poem cooks like…

Now reading: Genesis, by Sebastiao Salgado

Sebastiao Salgado, Genesis Not a novel or non-fiction. This is one man’s love letter to the planet in about one thousand stunningly surreal and unique black-and-white images. If you haven’t seen Salgado’s work, then have a look at this weighty hardback. And go and see the insightful documentary about his life in photography – The Salt of…

… Once it was said they died for us …

The call of a bugle in the early morning. … The day of the dead began. … We stopped by the war memorial. Slowly the others gathered, from the shanties and from the camp, called by that ancient and haunting bugle-cry, whose sound to me is like the memory of a grief so old that…