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Writing for tomorrow

Due to popular demand my address to the Living Landscapes festival, ‘Writing for Tomorrow,’ is now free to read online at Vitalstatistix. Thanks again to Writers SA and City of Port Adelaide Enfield for the invitation to speak, and to all who were involved with this wonderful event at Yerta Bulti. Thanks also to Vitals for sharing the text on their website.

Aurealis Awards (and more)

Happy news today: The Airways has been shortlisted for the Aurealis awards! This is my second book to be shortlisted for an Aurealis and my first in the category of horror. Being between all the things – genre included – means you sometimes slip through the cracks, so it is really wonderful to see this book resonating with horror readers. A huge thank you to the judges and volunteers, and congratulations to all the finalists.

March madness is over for another year. I had a wonderful Writers Week and the podcasts for all my events are now available via the website. Scroll through the list or search by my name.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by one of my favourite literary citizens, Sophie Cunningham, and was delighted to interview two other brilliant writers: Joelle Taylor and Yves Rees. Here are a few photos from those events:

Highly recommend both their books, All about Yves and C+nto and Othered Poems. Really looking forward to Sophie’s new one, This Devastating Fever, too.

This Saturday I’m giving an address at another festival – Living Landscapes, a new event run by Port Adelaide/Enfield council. Saturday’s talks will be held at Hart’s Mill in Port Adelaide. Come along for an excellent day of discussion about writing and nature and stay for what promises to be a fun evening with music from Naomi Keyte and bar by the local brewers.

And speaking of festivals, if you’re in Naarm (Melbourne) look out for Spectra: Multipicity on the 20-23 April – a very cool combination of art, science, and science fiction. I loved returning to Assembly for the Future as an artist/moderator in the first online portion of this event (you can check out our Dispatches via that link) and am looking forward to heading east and coming along to some live events.

True to the many-roles-many-genres form of my working life, I’ve published a few other pieces of writing since my last post. A longform essay in the Sydney Review of Books, ‘The Trouble with (non)Violence’, looks at a couple of recent books on non-violent direct action, amid the demands of the climate crisis; I have a piece in Overland about a Basic Income for the Arts, which I’ve been researching as part of my residency at Vitalstatistix; and also some new short fiction in Meanjin called ‘The Funeral,’ set in an imagined future which is a little bit bleak, a little bit hopeful, and very queer.

Between all this I’ve also been busy working with my union on the Freelance Charter – I’ve written a bit more about that here, but essentially it’s a way to empower freelancers, especially writers, to negotiate collectively for better pay and conditions, and I’m very excited about it. If you’re a writer you can endorse the charter at freelancers.org.au. We’re now starting to implement it, with negotiations open at several media outlets. Tell your friends, and join your union!


So 2022 has had time to settle in and is starting to take a pretty exciting shape. A few announcements:

The first is that I’m joining the team at VITALSTATISTIX as Artist in Residence for 2022. I’ll be writing, thinking and doing some advocacy/activism on the issues of art/writing and precarious labour, participating in the Bodies of Work multi-year initiative, and contributing to the amazing work Vitalstatistix does through programming, documentation, and imagination. This is a symbiotic collaboration and an experiment in itself; the residency is a salaried position, made possible by recent Arts Recovery funding from the SA government. Direct employment of artists is very rare, so it’s great to be able to test the model and see what works. (For more on why this matters, I recommend this excellent piece by Lauren Carroll Harris). Keep an eye out for more – I’ll be updating regularly here and at the Vitals website throughout the year.

As a member of the National Freelance Committee at my union, MEAA, I am very happy that this afternoon we will be launching and voting to endorse the Freelance Charter. This is a big step in organising freelancers and campaigning for our rights at work! A group of us have been working on this behind the scenes for a few years, so it’s very exciting to see change happening. Freelancers are now better represented at MEAA than ever, including being recently elected to all levels of leadership. It’s a huge shift and the Freelance Charter will be a game changer for those of us in precarious work in media and the arts.

If you’re any kind of freelancer I hope to see you at the meeting – voting to officially endorse the charter is restricted to MEAA members but the meeting is open to all freelancers. If you can’t make it, you can still get involved and of course, join.

Meanwhile, festival season is about to wash over us here on Kaurna yerta. I am looking forward to being a part of Adelaide Writers Week, along with a fantastic lineup. My main session, discussing The Airways with Sophie Cunningham, will be on Saturday 5th March at 9:30am (just after the beloved Skywhales grace the air nearby). I am also chairing sessions with Joelle Taylor and Yves Rees – incredible humans and writers that you won’t want to miss. Come along!

AND if you’re writing a book yourself, and craving some structure/feedback/support/community, do sign up for First Draft, a Writers SA course that I will be facilitating over eight fortnightly sessions, starting on March 9th. Due to Covid concerns we have moved this course online, which means that you can access it from anywhere in Australia or indeed the world – places are limited though, so sign up via the Writers SA website before you miss out. It’s a great opportunity to learn, share skills and build a community of writers around you.

In the spaces between, work on a new book of my own is taking place and taking shape – very much strengthened and nourished by all of the above…

Bookshelf & greenhouse

I’m talking about The Airways and my favourite subject, reading, today on The Bookshelf on Radio National. This interview was recorded while I was stranded last year – thank you to Kate Evans at RN for speaking with me, and for your enthusiasm about the book.

I enjoy talking about my own writing, but I love talking about books I’ve loved reading even more. So I’m excited to take part in an event to celebrate John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens next week, to coincide with the flowering of the Titan Arum – it seems to be fully booked but you can still join the waiting list on the eventbrite page or come along and mill around at a covid-safe distance (it’s in the open air). BYO facemask and eye bandages!