My garden, 2019
My garden, 2019
Well, I was going to toss onto the floor all the entries in my Love Your Bookshop Day draw and see which one my Siamese cat jumped on first, but she let me know that it was too cold for such shenanigans and refused to leave her blanket.
And so to plan B. Into one of my vintage hats they went, and my husband drew one out.
Congratulations to Jyoti McKie, who has won a copy of one of the books I’ve featured on the blog this year, a copy of Kathleen O’Connor of Paris and a few little Paris treats. Jyoti has chosen Step Up, Mrs Dugdale by Lynne Leonhardt. They’ll be on their way to you soon, Jyoti.
A big thank-you to everyone who entered. It was heartening to see so much love and appreciation for our bookshops!
Saturday 10 August is Love Your Bookshop Day in Australia. I love bookshops every day of the year, but I thoroughly endorse the idea of shining the spotlight on them across the nation, and reminding ourselves of everything they bring to our lives.
Here are just a few of the things we love about our bookshops:
- They employ people who love books rather than people who write algorithms.
- They’re happy to talk books, and know what they’re talking about.
- They use their knowledge to make recommendations for your book club, or for Great-Aunt Joan’s birthday, or just for the way you happen to be feeling.
- They introduce you to new writers they think you’ll like.
- They provide an awesome way to spend an hour or two.
- They give you advance notice of when the next title in your child’s favourite series is due.
- They often host author talks or signings so you can meet local and visiting writers.
- They champion local writers and support small presses.
- They take an active role in their local communities.
- They might add value to your purchases—for example, offering signed copies or free gift wrapping at Christmas.
- And before long, they might even be calling you by your name when you walk through the door—not because you’re data but because they actually remember who you are.
Know any robotic global monoliths who can come even close? No, me neither.
To celebrate national Love Your Bookshop Day, I’m giving blog and newsletter subscribers the chance of winning two books:
a copy of one of the wonderful books I’ve featured on the blog this year—choose from:
Mother of Pearl by Angela Savage
Refuge by Richard Rossiter
Devil’s Ballast by Meg Caddy
Bodies of Men by Nigel Featherstone
Step Up, Mrs Dugdale by Lynne Leonhardt
The Children’s House by Alice Nelson
Driving Into the Sun by Marcella Polain
a copy of Kathleen O’Connor of Paris, with a few little Paris goodies thrown in.
To be in the draw, just tell me what you love about your favourite bookshop.*
* Enter by Friday 9 August. I’ll be drawing the winner on
Love Your Bookshop Day, 10 August, and announcing it that day.
* First make sure you’re a subscriber to looking up/looking down or my newsletter. Open to subscribers in Australia only.
A big thank-you to everyone who has contributed to, or read,
looking up/looking down in 2018.
May the New Year bring you
and good company!
As 2018 draws to a close, I am feeling… well, a few things, really.
First of all, a bit exhausted. It’s been a busy year in which, among other things, I’ve seen a manuscript through to publication (such a neat, glib statement that belies the enormity of the process!), given many talks, conducted a gallery walk (a first for me), taken part in panels, readings and conversations, given four launch speeches, visited book clubs, recorded podcasts, interviewed writers, been interviewed myself, presented workshops, judged a young writers’ competition, mentored a writer, and been nominated for a national award.
I’m grateful to everyone who, in ways large and small, has been part of the wonderful tapestry of 2018—too many to name here, but I know, and see, and appreciate, every one of those threads. Thank you!
On the whole, 2018 has been good to me. But I’m aware that hasn’t been the case for everyone. If you’re one of those people, I hope the coming year is gentler. And whatever it is that has helped you through this one—courage, stubbornness, friends, books, chocolate—may there continue to be an abundance of that.
I am looking forward to meeting 2019. There are exciting book-related events coming up. And a journey to the top of the world. A novel to finish. A reunion with friends. A road trip around a wild coast. And a couple of momentous family events. Who knows what else?
For now, I’m signing off for 2018. Thank you for reading looking up/looking down, for your comments, for your kind messages throughout the year, and…
Taken not on Bastille Day but on a snowy January day in one of the coldest Paris winters of recent times.
…because it’s Friday, and why not?
Have a lovely weekend 🙂
Happy New Year to readers and writers everywhere 🙂
Here’s to kindness and the spinning of webs…
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…