Good news, today, with the release of the 2016 Aurealis Awards finalists. Magrit has been shortlisted in the Best Children’s Fiction category: a new category for me, and my 7th nomination since 2004. With six previous nominations and one win, it’s time to see if my bridesmaid dress still fits……
It’s always nice to be nominated, and it’s always great to see the names of friends like James Foley, Kaaron Warren, Juliet Marillier, Deborah Biancotti, Claire McKenna, Kirstyn McDermott and Alan Baxter make the list. But it’s always a special joy to see names new and unfamiliar listed: the field of speculative fiction constantly renews, and it’s a challenge for those of us with older heads and harder veins to adapt to the new ways of thinking and expression that fresher, lighter word-dancers bring.
So congratulations to all the nominees, and here’s to a damn good knees-up on the night.
And on the subject of damn good knees-up (See what I did there? I am available to segue at children’s parties), you can now reserve a place to watch me eat at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writer’s Centre Christmas in July literary dinner! I’ll be performing for my supper, with readings, book signings, possible kitten juggling and even a special guest appearance by a tap-dancing Satan on roller blades*
There are plenty of other dining options throughout the year, so come along for some good food, great company, and the chance to hear some fine literary treats. Or come to mine, it’s all good.
(*May not actually happen. Sats is a busy guy, and to be honest, we don’t talk much these days. It’s complicated, but he met this girl, she doesn’t like any of his old housemates… you know how it goes…)
After a little hiatus thanks to shutuptou’renotmyMum, we’re back with another Precious Things post. This time out, it’s friend, mentor, Australian SF veteran and furniture, and all-round frood of the froods, Doctor Stephen Dedman!
Stephen is the author of (watch this space for regular updates) novels, 120+ short stories and a non-fiction book on the historic relationship between American SF and the US military. His history is littered with service to writerdom, and he is currently available as a manuscript mentor through the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre. He plans to update his website any day now.
My first experience of Stephen was meeting him at a long-distant Perth Writers Festival, when it was still held at the Fremantle Arts Centre and had just about enough budget to pay to open the gates. (We knew it before it went electric…) After a long, and at times, exhausting panel on an uncovered stage in the centre of the courtyard, in the mid-day February sun (It should be noted: Stephen’s wardrobe come in any colour you like, as long as you like black), he still took the time to accept being buttonholed by a naive git looming out of the crowd as he departed, asking him for advice, patronage, and general feelings of bonhomie. The fact that he took the time to chat, give me his contact details, and provide one of the single most useful piece of writing advice I’ve ever received, tells you a lot about the man.
Later, he invited me to join him at my first science fiction convention, and shared my first ever panel. He purchased some of my earliest stories. He was best man at my wedding to Luscious. It’s been a friendship of going on 15 years and counting.
Stephen is one of the coolest people I know. So there.
Continue reading “PRECIOUS THINGS: STEPHEN DEDMAN”
Welcome, my friends, to the mind of Western Australian fantasy author Bevan McGuiness. Bevan is a veteran of novels (including his Eleven Kingdoms and Triumvirate series’), short stories, reviews, and textbook works on science, a subject he sufferes through daily in the name of education the teens of this world.
Keep your arms and legs within the carriage, and please, ignore the man behind the curtain..
Continue reading “PRECIOUS THINGS: BEVAN MCGUINESS”
Another upcoming appearance for your diaries: March 2nd, I’ll be appearing on stage with a fantastic lineup of childrens’ authors as part of the Children’s Book Council of Australia– WA’s A Night With Our Stars event. Alongside the likes of James Foldy, Kylie Howarth, Norman Jorgensen, Teena Raffa-Mulligan and Meg Caddy, I’ll be talking about Magrit, writing, and all things froody and writerly. Here’s a poster, even, saying exactly that:
I’ve been amused to note that promotion for the event has referred to me as a “new talent” (although at least they say ‘talent’). It’s a risk you take when you hop genres: not every reader will come with you, and not everybody in the new field will know your track history. Still, after 16 years, it raises a smile, particularly as I’ve just been interviewed by a fellow speculative fiction author for a paper she’s writing on the subject of writing time.
So, for those of you who may be meeting me for the first time due to Magrit, or came in late, or just have some sort of vague slightly-less-than-indifferent interest in how I came to this place, here’ the potted history I provided to my academic friend: Continue reading “HOW TO BE A NEW TALENT: EXTENDED MIX”
The Incredibly Strange Film Book by Jonathan Ross
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Up until now, I’ve only been aware of Jonathan Ross from his work on TV, where he comes across as an overwhelmingly obsequious, arse-kissing lickspittle. So it was a surprise to read that some of his early work was in presenting a show about the sort of obscure cult films that I love to watch. This book is the accompanying text to that show, and while it might present new information to anyone approaching cult movies for the first time, it does little to dispel my previous impression of Ross. The text rarely searches for depth, instead presenting simple narratives that read like the result of the most cursory skimming of other works on the subject; the humour, such as it is, is glib and only pointed towards the easiest of targets (a chapter pretending to outline the stunted career of ‘forgotten’ actor Jack Nicholson is particularly wearisome); and while some of the objects of Ross’ adulation seem designed to establish some sort of alternative film cred, they are presented in exactly the smarmy, grovelling tones that make his talk shows, for example, such an odious chore.
View all my reviews
Oh, I’ve had so many things I wanted to talk about this last week : I want to say a few things about the passing of legendary actor John Hurt; to talk about starting my new work– a piece of military SF short fiction, and how losing one story fragment has led me to another opportunity; and to talk about the new fitness routine that has led to me losing 3 and a half kilos since the start of the year.
BUT I’ve been a-bed since lunchtime last Wednesday with a chest infection that just won’t quit, so it’s all going to have to wait.
In the meantime, though, I can at least get a new Precious Things post up. This time, it’s the lovely Deb Fitzpatrick. Deb’s an author of YA and Children’s books who I first met a couple of years ago at the opening of the Perth Writers Festival, and it just brings a smile to my face each time we bump into each other: she’s a joyous personality, and that’s reflected in the positive, enriching books she writes.Her latest is At My Door, a title for younger readers. The Break (2014) is for adult readers. Her two novels for young adults – 90 Packets of Instant Noodles (2010) and Have You Seen Ally Queen? (2011) – were named Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA). The Amazing Spencer Gray (2013), a novel for younger readers, will be published in the US in early 2017. In mid-2017 a follow-up book, The Spectacular Spencer Gray, will be published.
Precious Things: Deb Fitzpatrick
While I don’t think of it as a precious literary treasure, I would say that That Book for me is The Bodysurfers by Robert Drewe.
It was the book in which I first saw my own places drawn on the page, lyrically, beautifully – places made valid as literary settings. Rob Drewe grew up in Perth and had already achieved great things in The Savage Crows when I read this book of short stories.
To see the beaches I grew up on written about in this way really opened up some possibilities for me…
An ammonite named Anthony
swam in the prehistoric sea,
protected by a horny shell,
that seemed to do the job quite well.
The first writing goal of 2017 has been achieved: Anthony the Ammonite has been completed and submitted to my publisher for consideration.
Next task: stop daydreaming about it, and write a submission for SNAFU: Judgement Day. Because nothing says consistency of career arc like switching from heart-warming rhymes about cute creatures finding their purpose in life to post-apocalyptic military horror……