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Category Archives: On Writing

Between You & Me: The New Yorker’s Mary Norris on publishing, editing and insecurity

Mary Norris begins her chatty grammar guide and memoir, Between You & Me, by chronicling the odd jobs she held before she began working at the New Yorker in 1978. She delivered milk – awkwardly calling ‘Milkwoman!’ when she left bottles at each stop – and crashed the dairy truck. Read more »

Writing about the New Yorker: A genre unto itself

In the introduction to her 1999 book Gone: The Last Days of The New Yorker, the famed American journalist and essayist Renata Adler opens with: ‘As I write this, The New Yorker is dead.’ Read more »

On Being An Expert: Eliza Henry-Jones on writing fiction

When I look back at the myriad of novel manuscripts I wrote as a teenager – both finished and incomplete (and all terrible) – I am struck by how much I have used fiction to understand. Read more »

Breathing In, Singing Out: Three notions of voice in writing

While some writers take many years to find their voice, due to constraints of time, money or responsibilities, for other writers the same constraints may actually help them find their voice: writing becomes a necessity, a way of rendering their cage in order to understand it better. Read more »

Cold Feet and Hot Little Hands: Abigail Ulman on writing – and not writing – her first book

Post-book deal, every time I sat down to try to write something, I felt paralysed by some kind of literary stage fright. I had shown my work to other people before – for writing workshops, and submissions to literary journals and competitions – but I had never before written a story while thinking This story is going to be published in a book. Or, more accurately, This story idea is nowhere near good enough to be published in a book. Read more »

On Journals: Private writing in the age of the overshare

In the age of the overshare, the idea of keeping a physical notebook is largely considered by the wider culture as an antiquated option. Read more »

A Bride Stripped Bare: A writer gets naked on the path from novel to memoir

You can find my book in the nonfiction section of the bookstore. I can’t deny it. It’s even me on the cover. And it is me, talking on radio and writing in women’s magazines about open marriages, non-monogamy, and how religion can fuck up your sexuality. People are calling me ‘brave’, but I’m not sure it’s a compliment. I feel so naked. How did this happen? Read more »

‘You’re the least important person in the room’: Memoir and Bad Behaviour

Being fourteen is difficult enough; being trapped in an isolated cabin with other girls all experiencing similar feelings of loneliness, fear, and uncertainty makes for a volatile situation. Who wants to remember being a fourteen-year-old – especially one who carried around so much shame and fear? Read more »

What Australian Literary Conversation?

I am concerned about the absence of a performative aspect of criticism in the public domain, which doesn’t necessarily assume specialised knowledge or recognised allegiances, but is prepared to discuss what criticism is. Read more »

Cate Kennedy on motherhood and creativity

In this extract from Rachel Power’s new book, Motherhood & Creativity: The Divided Heart, she speaks with author Cate Kennedy about her love for her daughter and her writing. Read more »