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The Airways cover reveal…

Ok, I am VERY very excited to share this with you:

The Airways book cover, posed on a starry background. The Airways in bold white capitals on a dark background with blue and pink swirls resembling air or clouds

This beautiful cover for THE AIRWAYS was designed by Tristan Main at Picador. And what a stellar piece of work it is. I cannot wait to hold it in my hands.

This means The Airways is going to print in a few weeks! Copies will be finding their way into Australian bookshops by the 1st August, but until they do, the book is already available for pre-order at the links provided (some databases will take a little more time to update than others).

Please support your independent book retailer. And don’t forget that asking your local library to stock a book is another great way to support the author.

Thanks for your attention, dear friends and readers. Watch this space for launch news, and all the rest.

Full Story podcast

At the end of last year I spoke with Gabrielle Jackson at the Guardian about my essay Trouble Breathing, following up on how the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt here and globally, and what might be learnt from all this. The episode has now been published alongside some other great interviews in the series:

screenshot of Full Story podcast page from The Guardian

2021 has begun with a confusion of lockdown regulations and an ill-timed political crisis here in Italy. After a restful break I am hard at work on a new project, while excitedly inspecting cover designs for The Airways – I hope to share a finished version soon, so watch this space!

A happy and healthy new year to all.

December publications

The Penguin Books anthology, Fire, Flood, Plague, edited by Sophie Cunningham, is out in the world today. It’s a fantastic collection of reflections on the year that has been, and I’m thrilled to be there among some of my favourite writers and thinkers. My essay, Trouble Breathing, was also published in the Guardian in October.

Fire Flood Plague book cover image

Another all-star cast is featured in the new issue of Meanjin, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this month! I uploaded myself to the cloud for this issue, which has taken ‘the next 80 years’ as its theme. I love that editor Jonathan Green filed this piece, Archive Ethics, under ‘memoir’.

Screenshot of Archive Ethics title, from Meanjin online

This makes (I think) twelve issues of Meanjin in which my fiction or essays have been published over the last eleven years – quite a long term relationship by now. Wishing the journal and the people who make it all the best for the future (real and imagined, of course).

A welcome addition to the neighbourhood of short fiction, The Saturday Paper started publishing short stories regularly in 2020 along with poetry – with the recent addition of gun culture editor Alison Croggon, I’m certain it will be a place to find great writing from new and established practitioners of the form. My second story to appear in those pages, The call, is a sort of science fiction parable; cli-fi, if you will…

Screenshot of The call title and first sentences, from The Saturday Paper online

Lockdown 2.0

I wrote something for Overland about Italy’s second wave and the slow return of some of the restrictions. As one of the first regions designated ‘zona rossa’, Piemonte has been under semi-lockdown since the 6th November. It’s a strange time in this uncanny city, caught in the net of pandemic déjà vu. I’m privileged to be haunted by small details, like the Christmas lights that shine over the empty streets. It is horrifying to see health care workers again facing the challenges they faced in the spring.

For me, it’s not so rough – working from home is my normal, and since elementary schools are still open, I still have the place to myself. I am able to go to the park every day, which is a huge help, even if there is now a field hospital being assembled in a corner of it.

There is no getting used to this.

The social isolation is the biggest challenge, especially as the year drags on and the energy flags. Things that have helped include writing, not writing, cooking complicated meals, and this address from the brilliant Maria Tumarkin.

Also: knowing that the first pages of The Airways will be back from the proofreaders any minute now!