Political Profiles with Ms Robin: Senator Penny Wong


Penny Wong in a blue suit with arms crossed standing in front of green foliage. Quote: I used to be more of a nerd than I am. Not a computer nerd, just sort of nerdy. I like the notion that the Senate is actually where you legislate, where you look at stuff.

Captain, oh my Captain. How I wish thee were a minister and not a senator so that thee could become Prime Minister of Australia. Senator Wong is quite simply the best person in Australian politics. She can manage to give the vibe of an eye roll without being so petty as to resort to an eye roll. She is one of Australia’s most popular politicians and it’s because of two simple things, which should be common in politics but are unfortunately rare, she’s firm but also fair.

In 2016 Senator Brandis tried to language police Senator Wong, trying to shame her for using standard expressions instead of formal English at all time, she responded with this ripper, ‘Would you just like to be pompous for the whole day, or only this question?’ And I swear a bit of excited wee snuck out when I heard that. In 2018 when Michaelia Cash, our Minister for Women FFS, decided to randomly slur all the younger women in Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s office rather than answer a question posed to her. Senator Wong wasn’t even in the hearing, heard about the outrageous slurs against women being made be our Minister for Women, rocked up to the hearing, demanded an apology, refused to accept Michaelia Cash dodging the issue, and indeed got an apology. I know who our real Minister for Women is, Senator Bloody Wong. Furthermore, in 2011 when David Bushby meowed at her during Senate she gave him such an unimpressed look that I thought he might just whither and die. Later he claimed he wasn’t being a sexist fool, yeah right mate you meow at men all the time, but Senator Wong was having none of his shit. She responded, which was important for all women, because it is past time for us to ignore these constant, sexist microaggressions and time for them to stop. #timesup. Senator Wong said, “It is just extraordinary. The blokes are allowed to yell but if a woman stands her ground, you want to make that kind of comment. It’s not schoolyard politics, mate.”

When she first assumed office in 2002 Senator Wong was one of only a handful of women in higher political positions and certainly the only gay Asian female candidate. In fact she was the first Asian born member of an Australian cabinet, the second openly gay member and the first openly gay female member. Things have changed in terms of diversity thanks to Senator Wong’s impressive lead but we still have a long way to go. In 2013 Senator Wong was appointed as Leader of the Government in the Senate and was the first woman to hold that position. Late in the same year when Labor lost government she was appointed as the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, she is the first woman to hold this position also.

Senator Wong was appointed Minister for Climate Change in 2007. She made significant advances in funding renewable energy, in particular solar and wind power. She also helped to develope the government’s emissions trading scheme under the Rudd government which was to significantly reduce our greenhouse emissions. In 2010 she was appointed as the Finance Minister and helped develop Australia’s budgets during the Global Financial Crisis. Australia has been praised as standing relatively secure during this time. During this time Wong most notably implemented a policy to ensure women are considered for senior positions in both the government and corporations. She truly is our Minister for Women and I cannot think of a better politician to discuss on International Women’s Day. On top of this Wong was instrumental in changing Labor’s policy in regards to Same Sex Marriage. Labor had initially opposed SSM but through work by Penny Wong and other members of Labor the policy was changed and they began to actively campaign for a change in Australian marriage laws. From January 9th 2018 on SSM has been legalised in Australia.

In 1997 Pauline Hanson released Pauline Hanson: The Truth in which she claimed that by 2050 Australia would be run by an Asian, lesbian Cyborg… named Poona Li Hung. She actually named it! Let’s not unpack all of that right now because this is Senator Wong’s entry not Pauline Hanson’s. But Australia is more than happy to drop the cyborg bit and bring the date forward for Penny Wong. Please become our supreme ruler, we love you.

Senator Wong sitting in front of a grey background with her hands folded in front of her. Soft but cheeky smile. Wearing blue suit with purple and white vertical stripe top. Quote: You can choose not to be interested in politics, but you can’t choose to be unaffected by it.

Read about my views on being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my thoughts on author branding here.

Read my profiles of the Australian Book Industry here.


Daniel Pilkington: #Robinpedia


Black and white photo of Daniel Pilkington. He has stubble and short but floppy hairy. His shirt is fine checks. Quote: In publishing we all want each other to do well because we’re all passionate about the industry. Photo was originally in colour without text and on the NSW Writers Centre’s website.

Daniel Pilkington is the Head of Sales for Hachette Australia, but before we get to his career journey let’s cut straight to the important bit, judging him based on his appearance. Because if Hollywood profiles of the likes of Liane Moriarty and J. K. Rowling have taught me anything, it’s that judging books based on their cover is imperative. Daniel’s Twitter profile states that he would be considered good-looking in the 1950s. He has periwinkle eyes and good hair, beautiful even. It’s got that floppy Hugh Grant quality but in a dusty blonde. But is it the best hair in publishing? Alas not quite. Alison Green still holds the title. Do better Hachette.

Born to teacher parents Daniel Pilkington decided to break with family tradition, leaving school at the age of 17 to work at Kmart. Daniel had big dreams and they didn’t involve sitting behind a university desk, no, they were of freedom and wind blowing through his magnificent hair. He yearned for the only thing that would make this happen, a Kombi.

Picture of the character Fillmore from the movie Cars. Green Kombi van with sleepy face and the word PEACE and some flowers spray painted down his side.

A Kombi was to be Daniel’s ticket to traveling Australia and so he procured a job at Katoomba Kmart in order to earn some of that sweet Kombi cash. He was initially placed on the door to greet and farewell customers but soon found that being at a constantly opening door in the Blue Mountains during winter is fecking cold and so eager for a warmer position Daniel buckled down and was soon promoted to manager.

Surely on a manager’s salary Daniel could now achieve his dreams of buying Kombi? But by that stage Daniel had discovered that he loved watering the plants at Kmart, unpacking the books and chatting to customers, so he stayed. He stayed and continued to be promoted until he was managing the great Kmart of Chatswood Chase and Warriewood. Under Daniel’s love and care Warriewood became the highest selling Kmart for books. Publishers liked this very much. In 2007 he was declared Young Retailer of the Year. Surely now he could get his Kombie?

Long story short, he didn’t. Or maybe he did but he didn’t ride off into the sunset in it flipping off everyone as he went. No, he stayed. He stayed until one fateful evening Hachette invited him to an author talk and dinner. The dinner was free, young Daniel eagerly licked his lips and leapt the chance. At that dinner Daniel impressed the then Head of Sales at Hachette so much with his passion for selling books that he slipped him his card and told him that should his Kombi van not be rockin he could come knockin for a job. Six months later Daniel came knocking and was offered a staggering pay cut. He accepted.

Daniel initially became a Sydney Account Manager, then worked his way up to National Account Manager, Head of National Accounts and eventually Head of Sales. He loves this because he gets to see all of the books. Fictional, non-fiction, children’s, all of them. This also means print books, ebooks and audiobooks. It might seem like an unconventional route, but aren’t all the best journeys a little bit winding and different?

Daniel has run the whole gamut from Kmart greeter to Head of Sales at Hachette but did he ever buy that Kombi? I don’t know but I’d really like to find out. Let me know about his Kombi in the comments section below. Also add any other tidbits that you think would help flesh out this entry. 😚

Characters from the movie Tangled saying ‘Go, live your dream.’ Rapunzel on the left wearing purple dress, big guy in the middle meant to look criminal, Flynn Rider on the right has brown hair and is meant to look handsome.

Find Daniel Pilkington being 1950s handsome on Twitter here.

Hot new tip off: Daniel Pilkington loves the Foo Fighters.

No word on where things stand regarding the Kombi but I’m uncovering new leads.

Submit to Hachette here.

Browse Hachette’s titles here.

If you enjoyed this entry I just know you’ll love my Robinpedia profiles on:

Natasha Lester

Sarah Schmidt

Allison Tait

L.A. Larkin (I love her and occassionally have cocktails with her so you better love her too!!!)

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

Learn more about me here.

Read about my views on being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my thoughts on author branding here.

Tracy Sorensen: #Robinpedia


Author picture (Tracy Sorenson wearing glasses and smiling against a background of green shrubbery) found on her Charles Sturt University profile page.

Born of Brisbane, raised in Carnarvon, adopted by Sydney, settled in Bathurst Tracy Sorensen is an Australian writer, reviewer, video maker and PhD student. In her spare time she enjoys knitting and impersonating birds.

The Lucky Galah book cover. Vibrant pink feathers contrasted with grey feathers. Title in white.

Her debut fictional novel, The Lucky Galah through Picador, came out February 27th 2018. It is set in 1969 in a costal town in Western Australia set to play a huge part in the moon landing. Most texts that explore the moon landing in relation to Australia focus on the observatory in Parkes New South Wales. ‘The dish’ in Parks NSW has been described as the most successful scientific instrument ever built in Australia. Tracy takes a new approach focusing on the state she was raised in, Western Australia. But choosing a different state and town as the setting is far from the most unique aspect of this novel. The narrator is, it’s a flamin galah, mate.

No, I don’t mean an Alf Stewart style flamin galah, I mean a literal galah. The avian kind. This novel is Australian to it’s core. If you lick it, the ink probably tastes like vegemite (not a recommendation to lick books).

Tracy Sorensen also reviews through Netwon Review of books (clearly the most discerning place because I also review through them), writes for the Western Advocate, is a senior tutor and marker at Charles Sturt University, an academic with publications such as Bathurst’s 200 Plants and Animal Project in Fusion Journal and The Pouch of Douglas in the Medical Journal of Australia (an article I personally found very informative given the doctors constantly wanting to scan my pouch yet not telling me anything about what it is), and is currently doing her PhD in craftivism.

What’s craftivism? Glad you asked. Craftivism is a form of activism that centres around craft, particularly those linked with domesticity such as knitting and cross stitch. It’s a term that was coined in 2003 by Betsy Greer. Tracy Sorensen herself has knitted an entire set of her internal organs in support of ovarian cancer. In 2014 Tracy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, crafting was one of her personal strategies for dealing with and communicating about her diagnosis. Her PhD focuses on how those skills can and have been transferred to climate change and how that can change communication.

Tracy Sorensen is also the president of the Bathurst Community Climate Action Network AND the River Yarners. The River Yarners are a craftivist group currently defending the Macquarie River. They are currently knitting a long wooly representation of the Macquarie River complete with animal embellishments. If you’re a keen knitter and a lover of the environment I’m sure they’d appreciate you knitting some platypus, echidnas, or of course some galahs for them.

When she’s not saving the world Tracy enjoys patting her dog and playing Artwiculate.

Image taken from Tracy’s agent Jacinta Di Mase’s page. Quote, ‘Editors are, like so many things I love, endangered. The Internet gives us unmediated access to audiences. Whatever brain explosion you’re having, you’re only a click away from putting it out there, complete with badly-placed commas (and worse, much worse).’ found on Tracy’s blog.

Find Tracy Sorensen’s website here.

Find Tracy’s blog here.

Find her on Twitter here.

Buy her book here or anywhere.

Read this beautiful piece by Tracy on farewelling a friend to cancer and her complicated relationship with teal here.

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

Learn more about me here.

Read about my views on being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my thoughts on author branding here.


Tracy Farr: #Robinpedia


Tracy Farr is an author and former scientist who is shared by Australia and New Zealand. You know, like we share (steal) all good things with NZ – pavlova, Keith Urban, and the Bee Gees.

Her debut novel The Lifes and Love of Lena Gaunt was published through Fremantle Press in 2014. It was shortlisted for both the Barbara Jefferis Award and an Western Australian Premier’s Book Award. The Lifes and Love of Lena Gaunt was also longlisted for the MILES FRANKLIN LITERARY AWARDS. That’s kind of a big deal! Her second novel, The Hope Fault, was published last year and I give it two thumbs up. Not quite a Miles longlisting but it’s up there.

Tracy Farr has received several awards and accolades throughout her career including those mentioned above and those below:

Emerging Writer in Resident at Susannah Pritchard Writers Centre (2008)

Visiting Writer at Michael King Writers Centre (2009)

Sunday Star Times Short Story Award (2014)

R.A.K. Mason Writer’s Fellow (2014)

Veruna Second Book Residential Fellowship (2015)

Mildura Writers Festival Residency (2015)

Ambassador Katherine Susannah Pritchard Writers Centre (2016)

Creative New Zealand Arts Grant (2017, 2015, 2014)

On top of all that, Tracy Farr is rumoured to be member of the highly secret, possibly mythological, League of Extraordinary Red Headed Gentlewomen. This is a league that is so powerful, so resplendent, so magnificent, so secret that it may not even exist. That’s how good it is. Too good for reality. The League consists of red haired creatives that kick arse and are multi talented. Rumoured members include, but are not limited to, Tracy Farr (obvi), Allison Tait, Emma Viskic, Lisa Fleetwood and me. Yeah, it’s so underground that even being a member I don’t know ANYTHING about it.

When she’s not writing or hanging out in the super secret LERHGW (just rolls off the tongue) underground lair Tracy enjoys seaweed. Yes, you read that correctly, Tracy is a seaweed fancier. I don’t know if that means in the water or in the mouth, but probably both. In the water it provides a home and food to our fish friends. In our bodies it provides a lot of benefits too…. I can’t remember them off the top of my head but I read that Dr Michael Mosley Clever Guts book and it said seaweed was rad. I can’t find it right now so you’ll just have to trust me that seaweed is deserving of your fancy. So go out and embrace some seaweed today.

Find Tracy Farr’s website here.

Find her blog here.

Find her on twitter here.

Find her on FB here.

Find her books here or anywhere.

Read more about Tracy Farr in this article on WordMothers

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

Learn more about me here.

Read about my views on being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my thoughts on author branding here.



Entries Open for NSW Premier’s History Awards


Okay Australian writers and creators of historical non-fiction, get your game faces on. It’s your time to shine for nominations are now open for the NSW Premier’s History Award. With a total of $75k in prize money it is one of Australia’s most hotly contested awards. It is open to historical works first published, screened, broadcast, or made publicly available between April 1 2017 and 31 March 2018.

The categories are:

Australian History Prize ($15k) for a major work of non-fiction in either print or ebook form on Australian history which address a specific area of national significance. Past winners include From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories by Mark McKenna and Australia’s Boldest Experiment: War and Reconstruction in the 1940s by Stuart Macintyre.

General History Prize ($15k) for a major work of non-fiction published in print or ebook on international history on an area of national or international significance. Past winners include Japanese War Criminals by Sandra Wilson, Robert Cribb, Beatrice Trefault and Dean Aszkielowicz and Intolerant Bodies: A Short History of Autoimmunity by Warwick Anderson and Ian R McKay.

NSW Community and Regional History Prize ($15k) for a major work, either print or ebook, that makes a significant understanding to community or institutional regional history. Past winners include Stories from the Sandstone by Peter Hobbins, Ursula K Frederick and Anne Clarke, and Coast: A History of the New South Wales Edge by Ian Hoskins.

Young People’s History Prize ($15k) for a published book or ebook, publicly screened or broadcast film, television, or radio program, DVD or website – fiction or non-fiction aimed at increasing the understanding of history in children or young adults. Past winners include Maralinga’s Long Shadow: Yvonne’s Story by Christopher Mattingley, and One Thousand Hills by James Roy and Nöel Zihabamwe

Digital History Prize ($15k) for an Australian historian’s interpretation of a historical subject using nonprint media. Past winners include The Amboyna Conspiracy by Adam Clulow and Brilliant Creatures by Dan Goldberg and Margie Bryant.

Find the nomination form and guidelines here. Entries close 5pm Friday 5th of April, so get on it.


S.M. Carrière: #Robinpedia


Author image found on Goddreads.

S.M. Carrière is a speculative fiction author shared by Australia and Canada. Actually, Ecuador has a claim on her as well…. Author of the world? Her mother is Australian, her dad is Canadian, she was born in Ecuador and then lived in Gabbon and the Philippines before moving to Australia at the age of 6. THEN she moved to Canada in her late teens to engage in some light crime. Okay, she moved to Canada to study Criminology but quickly switched to Celtic Studies. As my mother is from Glasgow, I say – good call.

With a love of epics and stories of heroes and villains coursing through her blood published The Dying God and Other Stories in 2011. She has published a book a year ever since (we’ve even used the same editor, the super duper Cait Gordon, on occassion) and has become a regular fixture at Can-Con. Her other titles include Daughters of Britain, Dear Father, Ethan Cadfael: the Battle Prince, Human, The Seraphimè Saga and the Your Very Own Adventures.

When she’s not writing you can find her being YouTube famous on the Silver Stag Entertainment channel. It’s a place for all things speculative fiction. Contributers include author S.M. Carrière (obvi), writer and gamer Eric Desmarais, book nerd and crafter Jen Desmarais, costumer and theatre geek Jasmine Murray-Berquist, tech nerd and giggler Pierre-Yves Lanthier, modeller and traveller Bill Eggleton, martial artist and king of sarcasm Jonathan Palmer, and POSSIBLE VAMPIRE SUSAN N. Enjoy.

On top of the writing and the YouTubing she’s also an artist. Drawings, paintings, digital art, whatever. You can even buy her merch courtesy of Redbubble.

Also, she’s a nice person. S.M. is part of the Have a Heart Campaign which helps struggling people realise their dreams. Helping one person can have a ripple effect to help all those connected to them.

Oh yeah, and she also does kickboxing, northern mantis, san shou and equestrian archery…. She’s Xena. Deal with it.

Photo of Cait Gordon, S.M. Carrière, and myself…. Oh okay, I’ve never actually met her, it’s Gabrielle, Xena and Callisto staring off in a most magnificent fashion.

Find S.M. Carrière’s website here.

Find her on twitter here.

Find her on FB here.

Find her Insta here.

Find her on YouTube here.

Find her books here and everywhere.

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

Learn more about me here.

Read about my views on being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my thoughts on author branding here.


Marissa Price: #Robinpedia


‘A second book is different to the first one. People give you leniency in primary school, because you’re young and inexperienced.’

Marissa Price is an Australian reader, writer, and criminal mastermind. I know that last one seems like clickbait but she does have a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice. She writes YA crossover.

Into the Abyss: Vault of Veronica is Marissa’s debut novel and takes Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet then puts it through a grinder. Best of all, it has Australian characters with Harriet Hunter, a woman from Tasmania, as the central character. She is sucked through a portal from modern Tasmania into Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juilet. The follow up to this novel is Into the Abyss: Scourge of Scotland. This time Marissa tackles Macbeth. The abyss is full of Shakespeare – so many of my past year nine students would agree with this sentiment. These books examime how seemimgly simple decisions can set off a cataclysm of results leading to more complex and fraught choices.

When she’s not being sucked into literary vortexes Marissa Price heads up The Literature Factory. The Literature Factory provides both tutoring for children and publishing assistance for adults. The tutoring devision designs individual support programs for children to help bolster their weaknesses, and play to their strengths and interests. Their are six specialised tutors with different skill sets. The publishing division helps connect authors with editors, artists, printers etc.

Find Marissa Price’s website here.

Find Marissa Price on FB here.

Find Marissa Price on Goodreads here.

Find Marissa Price on Twitter here.

Find Marissa Price on Insta here.

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

Learn about my views on author branding here.