I’ve been a bit quiet here as I wade deep into another draft of the new novel. It has felt good to be able to give it the time after a chaotic first half of the year (releasing a book while demolishing and rebuilding parts of your house is slightly disruptive). But most of the things that were shaken up are falling to earth again, and I’m more or less back in my routine, and able to tend to the work at hand – give or take a day here and there glued to the unexpected plot twists of Australian politics.
Unlike Canberra, most of the disruptions have been good… Dyschronia has been so wonderfully well received. Another interesting review popped up recently in Southerly. I particularly liked the writer’s list of novelists working in a similar vein, as it happens to include some of my favourite recent Australian fiction.
I’ve also been spending way too much time obsessing over old maps. A wonderful three weeks on Bruny Island had me revisiting a lot of my thinking about landscape, walking, and changing relationships with ‘nature’ in the Anthropocene. I’m putting some of this together in an essay, which I hope to share in due course, but as with the novel it’s a slow process, patient and iterative; a long walk rather than a sprint, and that suits me.
I have a few events coming up over the next month or so:
Next week I’m taking part in Adhocracy, the art/performance development lab run by Adelaide’s brilliant Vitalstatistix. I’ll be collaborating with film-maker/activist Alex Kelly on her project The Things We Did Next, the talk show of the future. There will be two artist talks and a showing but we’re one of nine extraordinary projects working over the weekend, so come down to Port Adelaide and check out the full program.
On the 15th September I’m teaching a writing workshop for Writers SA at Hutt St Library in Adelaide – there are still some places so do book if you are interested in developing your skills in the short story form. All levels are welcome, from beginners to published writers.
After that, I’m in Melbourne on the 25th September to speak at Extinction in/and Australia, a one-day symposium at the University of Melbourne that “brings together researchers and practitioners from around Australia and across a range of disciplines: biosciences, earth sciences, environmental science, urban studies, aquatic studies, Indigenous studies, the humanities and the creative arts. It aims to open up different approaches to extinction, with the hope of producing new dialogues between researchers and practitioners – bringing extinction, for better or worse, into the forefront of our consciousness.” It’s going to be a great day of discussion about the current crisis, and what the future holds. It’s free! Places are limited though, so please register via the website.
A couple of things went online since my last post: I recorded a long podcast interview with The Garrett, which was fun;
My essay ‘Seeing Landscape’ poked its head out from behind the paywall at Meanjin;
And the shortlist for the Overland/VU short story prize went live – congratulations to everyone on it! it was great to be a judge again. The winner and two runners-up will be revealed soon.