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From the eye of the storm to the heart of the emerging writer (via Brooklyn)

I am back home from Eye of the Storm in Alice Springs, and feeling recharged from a spell in the desert full of engaging conversations, joyful reunions, fascinating panels, and a little bit of resting beside Ellery Creek. I was honoured to be a guest in my old stomping ground and I want to thank the NT Writers Centre and Kelly-lee Hickey for inviting me along. Here’s a round-up of the festival on ABC local and there are some photos from the event at ABC Open Central Australia’s flickr (Thanks Dave Nixon!).

If I was still in the desert, I’d be going to the launch of Josh Santospirito’s excellent graphic adaptation of Craig San Roque’s essay, ‘The Long Weekend in Alice Springs’. Josh was my flatmate when I first moved to town and we were both shiftworkers – he in psychiatric nursing, me at the women’s refuge. Many is the early morning we would sit with a recovery beer trying to talk each other down from a troubled night shift. I’m proud to have endorsed his book! at last!

Next I’m gearing up for my panels at the Emerging Writers Festival, which takes place May 23-June 3. I’ll be Ambassador for Fiction, so you get to come up and ask me questions about the nation of Fiction and its customs (I’ll bring some visa applications). My panels include “Cutting it Short” on the resurgence of short fiction, and this one where despite my distrust of writing advice I will try and dispense some.

I’ve been involved in the EWF since they invited me in 2007, back before I’d published much of anything, and have fond memories (zipping Nathan Curnow into a rabbit suit in 2009; interviewing Paddy O’Reilly about her reading habits in 2010) – so it’s wonderful to be returning for the fourth time to celebrate this awesome festival’s tenth birthday. It’s a solid lineup, too. Book your tickets to the Conference here or buy a golden ticket and inflate yourself with inspiration like Violet Beauregarde!

If you can’t wait for a taste of my infinitely questionable wisdom, the excellent short story website The Short Form, which is based in Brooklyn NY and publishes interviews, advice and recommendations from short story writers, was kind enough to interview me this week. I was stoked to be able to recommend five Australian short story writers recently published in literary journals here and share some of the good work being published around the traps. I dispensed some questionable advice. I also got to be illustrated, which has improved my appearance no end. Now working on becoming more grayscale…

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