A Beautiful Collection . . . and my work is included

Delighted to receive a copy of the Grieve Anthology (published by the Hunter Writers Centre) which is filled with stunning Stories and Poems about Grief and Loss.

Grieve Cover

I can highly recommend this beautiful collection which is now available for purchase. You can ask at your favourite bookstore or order online through the Grieve Project site

I was chuffed to learn, via the online announcement that my poem ‘Hashtag’ had won the Blue Knot Foundation Award. My poem is not about death but about a different type of grief and one which I think many of us can relate to. # I hope you will check it out, along with the many poignant pieces that make up the collection. I am proud to be in such company.

How is this for a title?
‘I Have the Weight of a Life that is Substantive and Real on my Shoulders’. That is one of the winning short story titles by Sook Samsara.

The three major award winners are:
Justine Hyde with ‘Blood and Bone’
Lisa Jacobson with ‘Not Horses, or Mothers’
Alyssa Sterry with ‘Time’
All incredibly worthy of their winning places. One of them in particular has nestled deeply within me and I doubt it will ever budge.

Anyone who has suffered a form of grief (and surely that is all of us?) will find much to relate to between the pages of this anthology.


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For the Love of Poetry

I’m poking my head out from behind my screen to say – to anyone who is interested – I’m still here. Still writing. Still completely sane for a certain number of hours most days, completely off the rails the rest of the time.

I am probably half way through the first draft of my ocean-themed, sea-sprayed, water-logged novel (which means I’m only running about twelve months behind schedule) but, in the process of dredging things from the ocean floor and peering into the blurred blue/green horizon, I’ve rediscovered my love of poetry.

So anywhere from midnight, through to the witching hours, I invariably find myself hunched over the keyboard, bathed  in a strange mix of lighting – the beige from the salt lamp and a sort of extra-terrestrial green from Wi-Fi gadgets – tapping out phrases and words that sing with impetuous desire.

Just one more switch with which I flail myself


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Ending 2017 on a High

In a year of some incredible highs (and to be honest, a couple of difficult lows), it is a delight to end on a note of surrealistic loftiness.

Followers of this blog will know of my admiration for Lisa Hill of ANZ LitLovers. She holds the literary spotlight for Australian and New Zealand authors and spreads news and thoughtful criticism to the world.

So to have my book of short fictions Flame Tip featured amongst some real standouts in Lisa’s favourite 2017 reads was astounding. As I read on and discovered I had made her shortlist, well, I must confess words failed me.

But wait . . . there’s more.

2017 ANZLitLovers Australian and New Zealand Best Books of the Year

 Oh my!




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Time Out

There are times in a writer’s life when a certain amount of withdrawal seems necessary.
Time for serious writing.
Time to smell the geraniums and eat sensibly and swim and get some fresh air.
Time for serious writing.
Time to stop worrying about uploading this and tweeting that and commenting here and liking there.
Time for serious writing.
And I am writing. Seriously and well [I think].
And hopefully I will have things to share with those who are interested in the not too distant future. I am always contactable. Still always happy to read and edit and help out if you need me. I’m easy to find. Here with my fingers on the keyboard, working earnestly, honestly and happily on what I think are my best creations yet.
Of course, that’s what all writers say.
All the time.


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Young Tasmanian Writers’ Prize

I was delighted and honoured to judge the Senior Section of the 2017 Young Tasmanian Writers’ Prize and I can tell you that there is some exceptional writing talent in Tasmanian secondary schools. The winning entry by Ben Smith Noble will be published in the December issue of  Tasmania 40°South. I do hope you get yourself a copy as I think you will be astounded by the work of this gifted young writer. I expect Ben Smith Noble is a name we will hear often in the future.

Here’s the announcement:
Forty South Publishing and the Tasmanian Association for the Teaching of English (TATE) are pleased to announce the winners of the Young Tasmanian Writers’ Prize 2017 as judged by Karenlee Thompson (Senior Section), Anne Blythe-Cooper (Junior Section) and Penny Lane (Peter Sharp Memorial Award – Junior Section). 

Senior Section: Years 10-12
Winner ($300, publication in Tasmania 40°South, December 2017 issue)
Ben Smith Noble, Taroona High School – Napoleon, or, the musings of Mr Pink

Runners Up ($30 gift voucher courtesy of Fullers Bookshop)
Sigourney Costa, Elizabeth College – The visitors
Emily Fereiro, Elizabeth College – As strangers prepared

Freya Cox, The Friends School – A colour of loss
Melina Fullbrook, Kings Meadow High School – Words

Junior Section: Years 7-9
Winner ($300 plus publication in Tasmania 40°South, December 2017 issue)
Connie Genaris, Ogilvie High School – Apple Juice

Peter Sharp Memorial Award 2017 ($100 plus publication in Tasmania 40°South, March 2018 issue)
Kirra Watkins, St Aloysius Catholic College – Turbulent Seas

Runners Up ($30 gift voucher courtesy of Fullers Bookshop)
Katie Johnson, Taroona High School – The edge of the world
Ishtar Lintner, Exeter High School – Taking flight
Mabel Sward, Ogilvie High School – Candy store

Isaac Burns, St Aloysius Catholic College – Hunted
Zara Casimaty, St Michael’s Collegiate School – Taking flight
Samantha Collins, St Michael’s Collegiate School – The wolf pack
Mia Cooper, Ogilvie High School – Flames are alive
Sarah Jaeger, St Michael’s Collegiate School – Mirror of deception
Kara Landsberg, Exeter High School – Blurry face
Miriam Langford, St Aloysius Catholic College – Last laugh
Lucy Nicol, Mt Carmel College – Katherine’s snafu
Kate Poynter, Taroona High School – Laughter
Annwen Roberts, Taroona High School – Destroying the wall
Guy Robertson, Taroona High School – Through the sparrow’s eye
Noah Sward, St Aloysius Catholic College – Things change
Kirra Watkins, St Aloysius Catholic College – Music of the dead

Congratulations to all the finalists. Also to be congratulated are Tasmania 40°South and Fullers Bookshop for their work in fostering young writing talent. 





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Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival

So glad I made it to the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival.

Lucinda Sharp (Director of Forty Degrees South), yours truly, Fiona Stocker (‘Apple Island Wife’) at Hadley’s Orient Hotel.

It was a busy time for me but I crammed in what I could. Here are some highlights:

I attended the shortlist announcement of the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prizes where I met and chatted to a number of authors, journalists, readers and supporters. It was held on stage at the beautiful Theatre Royal. Congratulations James Boyce, Gregory Day, Pete Hay and Rebe Taylor as well as all the shortlisted authors in other categories.

 The following night it was off to the introduction and welcome drinks at major sponsor Hadley’s Orient Hotel where I was very happy to see my Flame Tip on sale (thank you Fullers Bookshop). Did I move some books around on their lovely display to get me in the same shot as Ryan O’Neill? Hell yes!


Powerful poetry by Jim Everett (puralia meenamatta).Brazenly introduced myself to the charismatic writer Arnold Zable. Then it was off to hear Ryan O’Neill chatting about ‘Their Brilliant Careers’ which I am now laughing my way through. I also met one of the Tasmanian Writers’ Prize judges Fiona Stocker and we talked about her current journey to the publication of ‘Apple Island Wife’ .

 My other super highlight was the launch of the Forty South Anthology and meeting fellow finalists in the 2017 Tasmanian Writers’ Prize. I got to read from my story ‘Alice . . . Incomplete’.


Having now read all the short stories, I can say I am thrilled to be in the company of so many wonderful writers.  The effervescent Lucinda Sharp of Forty Degrees South introduced James Dryburgh who launched the book and ran a fabulous panel discussion with writers and judges on ‘writing to theme’.  I really enjoyed the interaction and was fascinated by our vastly different approaches to writing short stories. I had the opportunity of chatting to James after the event about his book ‘The Blafour Correspondent’ which was launched in Tasmania by Bob Brown last month.

 Tasmanian Writers Centre director Chris Gallagher and all the staff are to be commended for putting together such a diverse and entertaining festival.  Once again, Tasmania, I salute you!



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Victoria – it’s a wrap

New Leaves

Melbourne is such a wonderful city: hip eateries, cool book shops, and charming people who know how to live in the moment. I had such a fabulous time there promoting my book and it took me a while to settle myself back into a semblance of normalcy. Anyway, here – finally – is my wrap-up of the tour.

I hit the ground running and tweeted my way around some gorgeous bookstores on day one (If you missed the Twitter posts, there’s a few shots at the end of this post) , before heading up to Macedon, where I joined author Eliza Henry-Jones and we crisscrossed through divine little towns around the area, from Lancefield to Woodend. Unfortunately, I am missing a number of photos because of phone issues. The shops – and their dedicated owners – amazed me. Book Bonding in Gisborne, Red Door Books in Lancefield, Aesop’s Attic in Kyneton and the Paradise Bookshop in Daylesford are all notable for their quirky selections and friendly staff but my highlights were New Leaves in Woodend (who hosted our main event) and Maldon’s The Book Wolf.

 New Leaves:
Woody was an excellent host, welcoming us with champagne and chatting about the location, the local football finals, his book buyers, and – of course – all things bookish. There’s a lot packed into this beautiful little store and the people who came along to our event made Eliza and I feel at home as we chatted about our respective books (Eliza’s ‘Ache’ (Harper Collins) and my ‘Flame Tip’ (Hybrid Publishers)) which both feature bushfire. Champagne was sipped, laughter ensued. I fell in love with the resident cat, Jupiter. Woody told us about the Manbooker Man Book Club (MBMBC) that he runs there in Woodend (google it!). I think there’s around fifty members with anywhere from half a dozen to a dozen or so men turning up to each meeting where the blokes discuss the month’s chosen book. A very impressive book shop in a beautiful town, worth a drive out from the city.


The Book Wolf:
Another book shop that will not disappoint is The Book Wolf, nestled into the wide main street of Maldon, a beautiful town with tempting shops and great fudge. Mike is the dapper owner of The Book Wolf and he was so warm and welcoming. We had a cuppa and sat in the salon-like surrounds chatting about – you guessed it – books. Mike has some really cool plans for the store (he purchased it not too many months ago) and, as you can see by the pics, it is the perfect venue for bookish soirees, poetry readings, book club events, etc. So pop in and see Mike if you are visiting Maldon and, of course, purchase a copy of Flame Tip if you don’t already have one.

Once back in Melbourne, I was racing around stores just out of the city. Again, there are too many to mention but I particularly liked Avenue Bookstore and My Bookshop by Corrie Perkin.  I have to play favourites though so my first place gong is a tie between Benn’s Books in Bentleigh and Top Titles in Brighton (both pictured here).

And – finally – I got to meet my publishers – Anna Blay and Louis de Vries from Hybrid Publishers. We have had so many interactions and in-depth email ‘conversations’ throughout the full publishing process that I felt I knew them well anyway but there is something special about face-to-face interaction. It was made all the more special by the company of Lisa Hill (ANZ LitLovers) and Ros Collins (writer/memoirist and wife of the late [fabulous author] Alan Collins), who hosted a marvellous afternoon tea.

Some of the  stores I visited:

Thanks Victoria!


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