Narla

Narla's mum, Mittsy.

Speck‘s mix of my Watching my blind cat (which he names Narla) is a

perfect example of a sympathetic treatment of a text. Speck doesn’t

try to grandstand with spectacular solos or flashy effects – rather,

he interprets and supports the meaning of the narrative. There’s even

an almost-human cry in there very reminiscent of Narla’s Siamese rowl...

Ironically, without trying to be flamboyant, this is a stand-out

production with minute attention to detail. I also appreciate that he

lets the music finish so there is just the lone voice at the end to

deliver the final dilemma. Thanks for taking the time to do such a

beautiful job, Speck!

Australian Poetry gives me The Finger.


A couple of years ago I very stupidly almost severed a couple of my fingers when I rolled my ride-on tractor mower. Being a writer, I wrote about it. The poem was called The Finger, later renamed as Why I missed Mike Ladd’s 50th birthday party, which Australian Poetry has just published in its first members’ anthology, Metabolism.

Metabolism is a pretty good representation of contemporary Australian poetry, I reckon, with work by Tim Thorne, Sue Clennell, Ian Gibbins, Ian C Smith, Angela Smith, Gillian Telford, D J Dowsett, Susan Fielding, Emilie Collyer, Susan Bradley Smith, Patricia Sykes, Rachael Mead, Graham Nunn, Anne Kellas, Ron Pretty, Dimitra Harvey, Brenda Saunders, Neville Andersen, Eve Gray, P S Cottier, Kate Waterhouse, Les Wicks, Graham Kershaw, Margaret Bradstock, Anne M Carson, Connie Barber, Shari Kocher Campbell, David Falcon, teri louise Kelly, Liz Robinson, Warwick Wynne, Sarah Rice, Georgina Wyatt, Joan Kerr, Andy Kissane, Judith Rodriguez, Tricia Dearborn, Jill Gloyne, Ron Heard, Paul Hetherington, Sue Ogle, John Stokes, Jeanette Swan, Maureen O’Shaughnessy, Simon Hanson, Benjamin Dodds, Barbara Orlowska-Westwood, Pam Schindler, Fran Graham and Jennifer Mackenzie. I know I always say this – and it probably sounds like lip-service – but I truly am honoured to be in such company. Thanks to the many hours of work by editors David Adès, Vanessa Jones, ‘Danny’ Charles Lovecraft, Tim Metcalf, John Pfitzner, Heather Taylor Johnson, Susie Utting, Lyn Vellins and Libby Hart.

Once again, thanks for publishing my work.

Adelaide Literature Awards

Funny thing, awards. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t care whether I won the Unpublished Manuscript Award or not. I would have loved to have. Winning awards is good for the reputation and gives a writer breathing space – if it’s a generous payment – to get on and write. Of course I told everyone that I didn’t really expect to win but there was that little optimist in the back of my head saying what if? And I’m not being glib when I say that I was honoured to have been shortlisted and found myself in such esteemed company.

 

We were in the onsen town of Gero in the snow-covered Alps of Honshu for the weekend. The traditional ryokan-style hotel had wi-fi in the lobby but it wasn’t easy to get info on the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature on a Saturday night. (Now had it been a footy or test match, no probs, but Literature doesn’t rate highly in Australian popular culture.) There was nothing on Adelaide Now or ABC online. The editors had put the papers to bed. Even ArtsSA and the Adelaide Festival websites weren’t updated. It took facebook and comments from fellow-contenders Rachael Mead and Belinda Broughton to find out that none of us had won. Incidentally, the winner of “our” section (let’s be honest, we live in a very small pond and we’re all self-obsessed!) was Margaret Merrilees whom I’m ashamed to say that I knew nothing about, but I’m looking at past work on her blog and she’s a very talented writer – although I’m sure she doesn’t need my imprimatur. We both belong to the South Australian Writers Centre, but as far as I know we’ve never met.

Anyway, in case like me you weren’t up-to-speed with the race results, here they are:

 

Children’s literature award: 
Rosanne Hawke, Taj and the Great Camel Trek (University of Queensland Press)

Young adult fiction award:
 Vikki Wakefield, All I Ever Wanted (Text Publishing)

Fiction award: 
Kim Scott, That Deadman Dance (Picador Australia)

John Bray poetry award: 
Les Murray, Taller When Prone (Black Inc.)

Non-Fiction award: 
Mark McKenna, An Eye for Eternity, (The Miegunyah Press)

Unpublished manuscript award: 
Margaret Merrilees, The First Week

Jill Blewett playwright’s award: 
Nicki Bloom, A Cathedral

Barbara Hanrahan fellowship: 
Nicki Bloom, The Sun and the Other Stars

The Carlew Fellowship: 
Janeen Brian

The Premier’s Award: 
Kim Scott, That Deadman Dance (Picador Australia)

Congratulations to all the award winners. I hope that your careers are enhanced by the prizes and that the money buys you valuable writing time.

correction.

Interesting that my first attempt at erotic fiction should appear in a collection titled Between the Sheets. There isn’t a sheet in sight in my short story and I deliberately made it non-porn and non-romantic. It’s a sad tale about a future time when sex is almost obsolete, relegated to an impersonal mechanical or chemical process – hardly erotic!

I wanted to produce a story that was stirring, thought-provoking but not sleazy.

The result was Correction which didn’t neatly fit into the genres of science fiction, speculative fiction or erotica, so I’m very pleased that David Vernon of Stringybark Stories has selected it for inclusion in his downloadable ‘editor’s selection.’

 

These e-collections are normally available for US$1.99, but since you’re a loyal reader of this blog, you can get a further 33% off (by entering the coupon code QR99L). This brings it down to US$1.33 – a ridiculous AUS$1.23 for eighteen stories!

 

Please note that this offer expires on March 29.

 

If e-sales are good there’ll be a print-run later.

 

Key in your coupon HERE.

And thankyou David Vernon for supporting my work.