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the landing party

It’s been nearly three months since we landed back in Australia. People still regularly ask me if I’m settled. Having never been quite settled anywhere, I have to keep answering ‘almost’. Four chickens and a halfway planted vegetable garden will have to do for now. The best things are planting and planning, going camping, breathing this pure good air and the sunshine, but since our town has been subject to extreme rains and winds, a cyclone, and the worst flooding in decades, I am also finding being ‘home’ an anxious return to responsibility for place, as we come face to face with the challenges of climate change. I am thinking a lot about what resilience means – for me and my various communities, and for this landscape.

I have signed a contract with Picador for my next novel, Dyschronia, a fact that readers of this blog may note with some fraction of the relief that I feel. That relief has quickly been replaced by excitement – I am itching for this book to be out in the world. It’s been a long time at sea, and it’s exciting to think that soon I’ll be steering my way through the edits to shore. I hope to have a publication date for you before too long.

My essay ‘Detroit, I do Mind’ which appeared in Overland #220 has been included in this year’s Best Australian Essays – a first for me, though I’ve been in the Stories a few times. The essay form has hold of me lately, perhaps because of that same unsettled feeling, or an urgency that comes with mortal time. I trust that my usual longing for fiction will slink back to me like a half-domesticated animal, a bit rougher around the ears and yowling with hunger.