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Category Archives: On Writing


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 »

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 »