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Category Archives: On Writing


Spark, flow, sigh: The erotics of body and mind

Recently, as we sat around having a few drinks after a book launch, a poet friend asked the question, ‘Do you find writing to be an erotic act?’. My instinctive answer was ‘yes’, but I’ve been thinking about it ever since. How did I interpret the question? And why was my answer so sure? Read more »

The Art of Influence: On writing The Flywheel

My book for young adults, The Flywheel, was published last month. It is the first book I’ve published, and it took me a fair amount of time spent alone in a quiet room to write. Read more »

A Murky Business: On being a writer

At what point does writing become a job? Because of the immeasurable and subjective nature of writing – of being a writer – the goal posts are forever shifting. Read more »

Kindness and Failure: The journey of writing Heat and Light

To see Heat and Light as the end product of four failed novels would be irrelevant and inexact. For me, as for many other writers, ‘failure’ and the kindness of others are big factors in the growth of my writing. Read more »

In defence of creative writing courses

Creative writing courses have been routinely criticised by writers, ex-teachers, former students and literary critics since they became ‘an established fact’. If the value in creative writing courses is not measured by obvious markers of success, such as full-time employment, publications or prizes won, where is it to be found? Read more »

On horses, Gillian Mears and Australian fiction

In Australia, horses are the brumbies. They are the stock horses disappearing into clouds of red dust. They are the thoroughbreds kicking dirt up on the pretty frocks and dapper suits at the Melbourne Cup, the warmbloods and Clydesdales and ponies at the various agricultural shows around the country. Read more »

Just a number: The literary world’s obsession with age

I used to be obsessed about what age I would be when I had my first novel published. I’d go on the Wikipedia pages of every famous writer I could think of to check how old they were when their first book came out. Read more »

A writing guide for the time poor

With so many taxes on my energy and attention, getting the writing done is not easy. These are some of the lessons I’ve learnt about snatching writing from the jaws of real life. Read more »

On winning literary prizes

One of the defining characteristics of life, whether it is the life of a crocus or the life of a capitalist, is competition. The flower that blooms is the winner in a series of contests; the businessperson of the year, likewise. The winner is the one that … Read more »

A messy kind of sense: Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts

Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts has been trailing me. It’s marked-up, Post-it noted, and dog-eared. I’ve scribbled notes about it. I’ve made a diagram. And still, there’s something gorgeously unresolved about this book. I think it’s to do with love—and hair. Sea Hearts (a YA book which has … Read more »