Essays, journalism, reviews

Selected essays, articles, guest blog posts, interviews, and reviews

A series of snapshots on sustainability in Australian publishing and bookselling, for Books+Publishing (subscription required), April 2022:

Part 1 provided an overall intro and looked at what publishers are doing.

Part 2 looked at where most of the emissions come from, greener book production and printing practices, whether there are alternatives to the paper we currently use, and whether ebooks and audiobooks are greener.

Part 3 looked at what booksellers are doing, delved into issues of stock control and the sticky SoR question, and mentioned promotion and data.

‘The End is the Beginning: watching Picard with my father’, about the influence of Star Trek in my formative years, and watching the nostalgic sequel-series Picard with my dad as he was dying, in The Companion, December 2021.

‘Publishing Models for Changed Conditions’, an exploration of whether different and emerging publishing models thrive in these uneasy times, in ArtsHub, September 2021.

‘An Uneasy Anticipation: Tension in MJ Hyland’s Novels’, an analytical essay that breaks down Hyland’s skill at making you turn the pages in her compelling novels, in Reading Like an Australian Writer, edited by Belinda Castles, NewSouth Books, May 2021.

‘Temporary Visitors’, about the spotted harrier (or ‘smoke hawk’) that visited my parents’ property after the 2019 spring bushfires, and watching this beautiful bird with my dad as he was dying, is published in Animals Make Us Human, edited by Leah Kaminsky and Meg Keneally, Penguin Life Books, November 2020. (All profits go to the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.)

‘I took up smoking one cigarette per week’, a very personal piece about bodily autonomy, ways of coping, letting go versus holding on, and finding a balanced way to exist. Published to Medium, August 2018.

‘How to become a writer’, an insight into my journey (so far), on Annabel Smith’s blog, July 2018, and ‘Re-drafting in Isolation’, on Lee Kofman’s blog, where I share my experience of working on A Superior Spectre on the Scottish isles of Islay and Jura.

‘Running Away’, a personal-literary essay about an anxiety-related fantasy, for Island #153, June 2018 (not online, buy/subscribe here)

My interview with Carmen Maria Machado, about Her Body and Other Parties, recorded at The Wheeler Centre, May 2018 (video and audio). ‘Anxiety is a state of being tuned… like a hypersensitive nervous system, and that manifests in all sorts of terrible ways… but it also makes you very aware of what’s happening around you, which is a quality that writers and other artists benefit from.’

‘What I’m Reading’ for Meanjin, February 2017

‘All the love’: Stumbling upon non-monogamy, for Antic, June 2016

‘Burning and pressing’: Anxious abundance and literary bisexuals, for Killings, May 2016

My Killings literary columns, July to December 2015:

‘Spark, flow, sigh: the erotica of body and mind’, on whether writing is an erotic act, for Killings, March 2015.

‘Whisky nights’, on my love of single malt whisky, for The Writers Bloc‘s writers’ other jobs series, February 2015.

‘Lisa Simpson as the voice of double-coded critiques of contemporary society’: an academic essay published in the book The Simpsons Did It! Postmodernity in Yellow (eds Martin Tschiggerl and Thomas Walach-Brinek), December 2014, available on Amazon.

Graeme Simsion’s Rosie Effect puts the fun back into dysfunctional‘: review of Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Effect in The Australian, September 2014. See also this interview with Graeme Simsion in The Big Issue from 2013 (upon the release of The Rosie Project),

‘Author of his own demise’: review of Ian Shadwell’s debut novel Slush Pile in The Australian, August 2014.

‘Doctor’s ill will a bitter tonic’: review of Dutch author Herman Koch’s Summer House with Swimming Pool in The Australian, June 2014.

‘Flash fictions: key words and after-images’: guest post for Booktopia, April 2014., ‘First impressions’, an article on debut authors in Australia for trade magazine Books+Publishing, Issue 2, 2014.

‘The story of my book The Great Unknown, on the Readings blog, December 2013.

‘Fear, failure and fraudulence: on writing and inadequacy’, for the Wheeler Centre blog, June 2013.

Review of The Ballad of Moondyne Joe by Niall Lucy and John Kinsella and The Hanging of Minnie Thwaites by Judith Rodriguez for Cordite, June 2013.

‘Writer’s cell block’: review of Janet Frame’s posthumously published novel In the Memorial Room in The Australian, May 2013. See also this short responsive review of Frame’s Owls Do Cry in Readings Monthly, May 2014.

‘New to me, New York City’, personal piece about going to New York for the first time, on the Killings blog, December 2012.

‘Bustin’ makes me feel good’, an essay on Ghostbusters, in the Geek Mook, August 2012. Buy here.

‘No way back from war and terror’: review of Simon Cleary’s Closer to Stone in the Sydney Morning Herald, May 2012.

‘The isle of man: Sweet Old World by Deborah Robertson’, interview feature for The Big Issue, March 2012.

‘Up in the air: Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany’, interview feature for The Big Issue, February 2012.

‘Melancholy tales of loss and gain’: review of Amanda Curtin’s Inherited for the Sydney Morning Herald, January 2012.

‘More than just an act of faith’: review of Daniel Stein, Interpreter by Ludmilla Ulitskaya in The Australian, November 2011.

‘Aboard the human ark’: review of Charlotte Wood’s Animal People for The Age (also published in SMH), October 2011.

‘Kafka’s puss not up to scratch’: review of The Meowmorphosis by Franz Kafka and Coleridge Cook for The Australian, June 2011.

Review of The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps by Eric Hazan, translated by David Fernbach, in Bookslut, June 2011.

‘Bringing the letter back’, article on letter-writing in NewsWrite, February 2011.

‘In the company of fear’, personal essay on anxiety with some broad cultural sweeps, in antiTHESIS Vol. 20, 201.

‘Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus—feminine identity through pleasure: a mini-analysis’, in A Cafe in Space: The Anais Nin Literary Journal, Vol. 7, 2010.

‘The Toolbox’, on creative writing guides, published in The Reader (Emerging Writers’ Festival), 2009.

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