Category Archives: Robinpedia

Melanie Cheng: #Robinpedia

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Melanie Cheng is an Australian writer, born in Adelaide, moved to Hong Kong and now lives in Melbourne. She is also a GP, winner of the 2018 Fiction VPLA, and lover of the Emerging Writers Festival.

Now stop it. Stop that sniggering! I do good, honest profiles here. It says VPLA! That’s Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, not Visible Panty Line Australia. I’m pretty sure the acronym VPL went out in the 80s so just stop it. Furthermore, if any Australian writer was to win the VPL, it’d be me with my love of cottontail. Now back to the profile!

Melanie Cheng’s debut book, Australia Day published through Text, charmed critiques and award judges alike. It was winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, longlisted for an Indie Book Award, longlisted for an ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year Award, longlisted for the Matt Richell New Writer of the Year Award, longlisted for a Dobbie Literary Award, shortlisted for a Readings Prize, and winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. It’s safe to say that she has completely nailed the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and it is easy to see why. Her stories are deftly crafted with a hard hitting depth. They speak to that notion of displacement and belonging that everyone faces and therefore can relate to. She writes a vast array of characters that are unified with each other through this yearning for connection and thus likewise bonded with us the reader. But don’t just take my word for it, Australia Day had words of praise provided by the likes of Emily Maguire, Christos Tsiolkas and Alice Pung.

To continue name dropping, Melanie is friends with Jane Harper and emails her for advice. Yes the Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Forces of Nature which have now been picked up by Reese Witherspoon’s production company. Interestingly, Jane won the Unpublished VPLA the year prior to Melanie. It’s certainly an award good at predicting phenomenal success from talented new writers. Other previous winners include Graeme Simsion and Maxine Beneba Clarke. If you have an unpublished manuscript and are an emerging Victorian writer, might I suggest you enter? Entries open in September.

Melanie has been commissioned to write another book by Text and I will keep you updated on its release. She loves her local library, shout out to Bargoonga Nganjin in Fitzroy North, and is no doubt bunkered down there writing up a storm. She has said that much of her inspiration comes from her work, not just from her patients but from the people she has to deal with whilst advocating for her patients. If you put Melanie on hold for 7,000 hours whilst she was trying to help a patient, well, you have been noted, put through the fiction blender, and reimagined on the page.

Find Melanie Cheng’s website here.

Find Melanie Cheng’s blog here.

Find Melanie Cheng on Twitter here.

Find Australia Day here.

Read more about Robinpediahere.

Read about my experience of being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my opinion on author brandinghere.

Buy my shit here.

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Kate Murdoch: #Robinpedia

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Kate Murdoch is an Australian writer and award winning artist based in Melbourne. Yes, Melbourne. One of the official Cities of Literature. When she isn’t being an artistic genius, which to be fair takes up most of her time, she enjoys reading books such as Lillian’s Story by Kate Grenville and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman.

Her debut novel Stone Circle was released in December 2017 through Fireship Press. It is set during the Italian Renaissance and delves into the mystical world of seers. Kirkus Review stated that it sparkles!

Kate has had her short fiction widely published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Euonia Reviews, Sick Lit Magazine, Ink in Thirds, and Spelk Fiction. Her second novel, The Orange Grove, will be released into the wild in 2019 by Regal House Publishing. It is set in 18th Century France and explores moral ambiguity and the catastrophic ripple effect that can occur from small actions.

Facts you need to know about Kate Murdoch:

She has a love hate relationship with Scrivener

Her views on carob are firm but fair

She isn’t afraid to pose the big questions about Australian culture

And lastly, but probably most importantly, she effing loves Fridays

Find Kate Murdoch’s author website here.

Find Kate Murdoch’s artist website here.

Find Kate Murdoch’s blog here

Tweet with Kate here.

Face off with Kate here.

Pin with Kate here.

Find Kate Murdoch’s profile by Anita Rodgers here.

Find Kate Murdoch’s interview on Ink in Thirds here.

Find Kate Murdoch in the attic here.

Find Kate Murdoch’s book here or anywhere.

Find Melbourne City of Literature here, here or here.

Read more about Robinpedia here.

Read about my experience of being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my opinion on author branding here.

Buy my shit here.

Ryan O’Neill: #Robinpedia

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Ryan O’Neill (that’s Dr Ryan O’Neill PhD to you!) was born in Glasgow, so was my mother, and moved around to various places before settling in Newcastle, Australia. SO DID MY MOTHER. His fiction has appeared in The Best Australian Stories, The Sleepers Almanac, Meanjin, New Australian Stories, Wet Ink, Etchings and Westerly. My mother’s fiction has appeared in her local church’s newsletter. I feel like they’re going to have soooooo much in common. Looks like we’re practically family so I guess I better do a shamelessly biased Robinpedia entry despite never having actually met Ryan O’Neill.

It was a crisp April in 2012 when Ryan O’Neill unleashed his spectacular debut, The Weight of a Human Heart, into the world. Ma’at waved her ostrich feather in appreciation and the critics clapped their hands. It was a collection of stories told in an eclectic manner. It was promptly shortlisted for a Queensland Literary Award, a New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, AND a Scottish Mortgage Trust Award. Safe to say, his publisher, Black Inc. Books, was pretty happy with this.

And so it was in a chilly August in 2017 that Ryan and Black Inc. did present his follow up, Their Brilliant Careers. No, not My Brilliant Career, that’s very different and by the iconic Miles Franklin. This is a novel that uses the form of 16 humorous biographies about fictional Australian authors. It also did alright, I guess. Winner of a Prime Minister’s Literary Award as well as shortlisted for a Miles Franklin Award and New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award. Fine, it did great.

In, what will no doubt be a superlative, July of this year Ryan will be putting out his latest offering, The Drover’s Wives. Ryan takes Henry Lawson’s classic tale, The Drover’s Wife, shreds it, then puts it back together in a humorous reimagining several times over. 99 times to be precise. My teacher friends should be salivating over the release of this one. If I was still teaching I would definitely be using this, and that is despite the fact that I am a diehard Barbara Baynton fan and not totally down with Henry Lawson’s racist tirades. But that’s just me. Seriously, teachers, get more Barbara into your programming, I beg you, and get some Ryan into you as well. Anyhoo, The Drover’s Wives will no doubt be up for another bunch of awards, mark my words! Mark them!!! Have you got a pen or highlighter in your hand? You should.

Ryan O’Neill is also known as a mover and a shaker in the Australian literary scene. He is one of the founding members, and primary tweeter of, Kanganoulipo. Kanganoulipo is an experimental writing collective with members such as Robinpedia alumni Jane Rawson and Julie Koh. They’re bringing avant garde back.

When Dr Ryan O’Neill isn’t planning the revolution he lectures people. At my old uni to be specific. University of Newcastle. Small world!

Find Ryan O’Neill on twitter here.

Find Ryan O’Neill’s profile on Black Inc. Books here.

Find out more about Kanganoulipo here in this definitely factual account.

Find Ryan O’Neill’s books here or anywhere really.

Just quietly, fascination with the Lawson clan must run in our nonreal family because I’ve written a book that has Louisa Lawson in it. He’s reimagining Henry, I’m reimagining Louisa. Such a close knit notfamily.

New information just in, Ryan O’Neill also loves Barbara Baynton and in particular Squeaker’s Mate which is one of the most haunting pieces you will EVER read. Here’s a link of him discussing it.

Read more about Robinpediahere.

Read about my experience of being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my opinion on author branding here.

Buy my shit here.

Daniel Pilkington: #Robinpedia

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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

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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

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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.

P.S.

S.M. Carrière: #Robinpedia

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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.