2017 has been, for me, a year of overlapping intensive research and the task of drawing the threads of that research together. All of that has left me little time for anything else, but here’s a wrap-up of what happened in and around that work.
During the year, I had the opportunity to speak to the Curtin Writers Club (that’s Curtin University, not my own private gang!), Edith Cowan University students studying The Sinkings as part of third-year unit ‘Diverse Voices in Literature’, the Karrakatta Club, the Bassendean Wider Vision group, Lakelands Library (part of the Write Along the Highway festival), and several book clubs who chose to read The Sinkings or Elemental.
I also conducted a workshop on editing for the lovely Out of the Asylum Writers group, and took part in UWA Publishing’s very successful WA Writers Professional Development Day (part of the WinterArts program).
Thanks to all for inviting me.
Research took me far and wide, to London and New Zealand and, closer to home, to Albany and Mt Barker in Western Australia’s South West, and I worked like a demon during a four-week residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland.
Although I’ve read constantly for research throughout the year, time for other reading contracted to almost nothing. But in the last few weeks I’ve read, and loved, Hannah Kent’s The Good People (historical fiction at its finest), and Sarah Krasnostein’s absorbing and lyrical biography of Sandra Pankhurst, The Trauma Cleaner.
This year I also discovered an Irish writer who has gone straight onto my favourites list: Nuala O’Connor. I read two of her novels, You and Miss Emily, and her 2017 short story collection Joyride to Jupiter, and am looking forward to a new novel forthcoming in 2018.
Guests on looking up/looking down during the year were Nicole Sinclair (Bloodlines), Tracy Farr (The Hope Fault) and Julia Lawrinson (Before You Forget), each speaking about their wonderful new novels. All of them would be great book club choices.
I was invited to contribute guest blogs for two writer friends: Maureen Eppen’s ‘Shelf Awareness’ series (on the parlous state of my to-be-read pile and what you’ll find on my many bookshelves) and Lee Battersby’s ‘Precious Things’ series (in which I talk about a ring my father found at a ghost town). Thanks for having me, Maureen and Lee.
I will be featuring, in the first few months of 2018, new novels by Michelle Johnston, Louise Allan, Laurie Steed and Susan Midalia, with others to come throughout the year. And of course the Perth Writers Festival, newly styled as Perth Festival Writers Week, is coming up in February.
And I am looking forward to introducing my new book, the culmination of all the research I keep mentioning, later in the year. More on that later.
In the meantime, thanks so much for reading and warmest wishes…