Category Archives: Uncategorized

Helen Thurloe: #Robinpedia

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Helen Thurloe is a writer in the purest sense of the word, she’ll write anything. She has been known to write poems, essays, text messages, shopping list, and a novel. She’s even made legit postcards! Her text messages and shopping lists have thus far been cruelly ignored by awards and scholarships but her other stuff seems to be going alright…

… And by alright I mean her poetry has won prizes including- ACU Literature Prize, Banjo Patterson Writing Award, The Age of Reinvention, Ethel Webb Bundell Literary Award and has been shortlisted and commended in many others. Her debut novel Promising Azra through Allen & Unwin has been similarly well received with manuscript development prizes such as Varuna Writers’ House Fellowship, NSW Writers’ Centre Fellowship, Children’s Book Council Frustrated Writers Mentorship, Charlotte Warring Barton Award and the completed, published novel was shortlisted for prestigious awards such as the New South Wales Premiere Literary Awards. Vanessa Bond does much of the media on that award and is a babe. We all love Vanessa. Send lots of love to the State Library of New South Wales because they deserve it.

On seeing this cover my twins drew all over themselves with a SHARPIE, do not show to under 3s.

Diverting from Robinpedia for a moment: As a former English teacher, I taught for a little over a decade before leaving to pursue writing, I would personally highly recommend Promising Azra to any English teacher. It would work particularly well for year 10 because it is a very easy read. The novel is set in an Australian high school with the main characters being from a south Asian background. The book focuses on Azra, who is smart, doing incredibly well in school and thinking about going to university when it is revealed that her parents have arranged a marriage to someone she has never met in Pakistan. As Azra struggles her friend Layla is looking forward to her arranged marriage as a chance to get out of school early. The book is highly nuanced with examination of how we are of our families but also our own people and how that conflict plays out. The stakes are incredibly high, Azra’s future, but also realistic.

 

Back to Robinpedia

Helen Thurloe has set aside a dynamic workspace for herself in her home. It has a computer, an exercise bike, and a laundry basket. As an owner of an ergonomic furniture business she also ensures that she works in a manner that is healthy for her body with equipment that is easily adjusted for sitting and standing.

This is how I picture her working

Find Helen Thurloe’s Website here.

Love Helen Thurloe on twitter here.

Follow Helen Thurloe on Facebook here.

If there is any information that you feel would enhance this entry please feel free to leave it in the comment section. 

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 at Booktopia or here.

Evi O: #Robinpedia

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Evi O is a Sydney based designer and one half of the team at OetomoNew. She started her artistic journey drawing stickfigures in primary school, then progressed to completing a design degree at university and now designs award winnning books. Evi O is devoted to designing beautiful books and formerly worked for Lantern Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
As a child Evi O found herself obsessed with a pop-up book of Snow White. Not so much for the story (seriously what a snoozer, living in the forest with 7 dudes whilst you’re escaping from your evil stepmother, happens all the time, amirightoramiright) but for all the design features and how they all interacted. She studied the book so that she too could make book art.

Her love of beautiful books was nearly disrupted when she got into a Business degree at university. Fortunately she swapped to a design degree and ended up studying Visual Communications at UTS. Her mother was a tad devo as she felt business was a more secure field than the arts.

In her career Evi O has taken on many high profile books such as the gorgeous book for T2, Matt Moran’s Dinner at Matt’s (Special Edition), and the multi-award winning Things I Love.
Evi O says thatif you want to get into the book design industry you need to be pushy, bang on the door and jam your foot in there once it’s open and to get to know people. The Australian Book Design association is a great way to get to know people.

Find Evi O’s website here.

Find Evi O on Twitter here.

Find OetomoNew here.

If there is any information that you believe would enhance this entry please feel free to leave it in the comment section. 

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.

YA Discourse: Witch vs Vulture

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Some great insights into diversity and representation in literature.

“There is, I feel, a tension on the left about bigots who cross the floor and recant: we want it to happen, but we don’t want to give people cookies for finally meeting the most basic standards of human decency, because – we argue – they should just be doing that anyway. But the difficult, prickly truth is this: if accepting the humanity of people you’ve been raised to hate, fear and devalue was really as simple as flicking a mental switch, the world would be a damn sight better than it is. Personal change is a messy, imperfect process. From an emotional remove, it’s easy to laugh at that guy who thinks he’s a hero for loving his wife’s curves, but for a lot of people, that’s exactly what their first forays into better personhood look like. I’m starting to feel like we need to apply that xkcd strip about not making fun of people not knowing basic things to the pro-diversity movement: yes, it’s often frustrating to have repeat runthroughs of Diversity 101, but without the basics, how is anyone going to progress?”

Read the whole thing at its source https://fozmeadows.wordpress.com

shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows

For days now, social media has been abuzz over Kat Rosenfield’s recent Vulture essay, The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter, which focuses almost exclusively on reactions to Laurie Forest’s debut novel, The Black Witch. Overwhelmingly, the responses I’ve seen are binary: either Rosenfield is a terrible, malicious person who doesn’t know what she’s talking about, or she’s the only person brave enough to speak truth to power. Not having read The Black Witch, a book I can’t recall hearing about before this week, it was news to me that its reception was news at all. Now that I’m all caught up, however, I feel rather like the doomed bowl of petunias falling through space in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: oh no, not again.

The recent history of online SFF, fandom and genre discourse rejoices in an abundance of brilliant trashfires, but even in…

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Let Me Tell You How To Live

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I like giving people advice. It’s ironic, because I am in no way, shape or form qualified to give guidance to anyone, and can barely run my own life. Which leaves me with a dilemma, I want to tell people what to do but have nobody to tell what to do. Well, dear readers, I have come up with a nifty solution, if the advice wanting won’t come to Robin, then Robin will go to the advice wanting. I have just given my following list on twitter a quick trawl for questions and shall give my unwanted and unwarranted advice. Please feel free to give me money and accolades for this unwanted service.

Rachel, may I call you Rachel? This is a tricky one, and I’m glad you came to me for advice because I would not want you to make the wrong decision here. On the surface it seems like you’ve got a lot of great options. You can either drink champagne as your friends sleep OR imbibe 1/3 of a bottle of champagne. It is a tricky one. My gut feeling is that you should probably drink, alone, in the dark,  whilst your friends sleep… maybe drunk dial a couple of exes, send a family member an email with all the times they let you down as a child, BUT leave a gulp full so that you can later pour that onto one of your friend’s crotchal area and then literally cry with laughter because people will think they wet their pants. That being said  imbibing also looks like a good option, so it’s really a line call. Good luck, and do let me know how it all panned out.

Great question Kirsty, thanks for coming here to ask specifically me about this. In short, no it is not a coincidence. But why keep it in short if I can go longer? Whilst you were away your seat became haunted. I know that’s scary, but that’s the reality you’re living with now, so deal with it. The ghost is willing to share with you but not for long stretches of time. As such they are shooting pain into your sacroiliac joint any time you sit in its chair for longer than twenty minutes. I’d suggest that you make sure you stand up every twenty minutes to ensure the ghost knows you aren’t trying to steal its chair. I would also recommend seeing a physio for the damage it has already inflicted upon you. Furthermore, exercise your pelvic floor. But whatever you do, do not take a smudge stick to your chair. It will only enrage the ghost and your life will LITERALLY turn into the movie Poltergeist. Hope that helps, please let me know how things work out for you.

Tania, firstly, thank you for coming to me with this question. It’s a deeply personal issue and takes a lot of courage to go public with this. I commend you for your bravery.  Secondly, I think of cats playing tiny, cat-sized pianos. I don’t think of cats inside pianos or cat organs being used to string regular pianos. Yup, definitely cats playing pianos. I think there’s something in that for all of us. Thanks so much for your question, and please let me know if my words helped.

If you would like advice, or have a friend you’d like me to advise, please don’t hesitate to tweet your question to me at @RobinElizabee.

Buy my shit here.

Confession of a Spec Fic Writer: Sometimes We’re Not Clever, We’re Just Plain A-Holes.

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In October of 2012 I started this blog as a budding Spec Fic writer. I wrote Doctor Who Horoscopes, I shared Fantasy excerpts and short stories that I had written. However, in March 2014 I went into a psychiatric hospital with postnatal depression. My blog focus shifted but strangely enough I still often identify myself as a Spec Fic writer. For the next couple of years I have Spec Fic slated to come out. A Historical Fantasy this year and a Paranormal Crime next year. As such I am having more Spec Fic focused conversations with fellow writers. We all think we’re pretty clever. We all like playing with reality. We all enjoy coming up with clever tricks…. But sometimes we fail. Sometimes we unintentionally write things that are harmful and bigoted. 

A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of a concept that an ex came up with when we were in our early 20s, about 15 years ago. It was a vampire film (yeah, I used to do short film, I’ve even got an award, I’m quite the Jack) and he was so excited about it because it combined his two great loves, medical science and vampires. He had a medical science degree. He had honours. He was doing his PhD. In short, he knew his stuff. And as he told me his plans I said, “Wow, that’s really fucking interesting.” 

His premise was that vampires were a result of a blood mutation and that people with hemophilia were actually descendants from the original vampires. He had way more science behind it than that but that’s about the extent that this aging, arts-degree brain can remember. We hi5ed to good thinking and how solid the science was. We listened to Placebo’s Haemoglobin. We were sooooo cool. But then some thoughts started cropping up…

…. Hang on, are we saying that very real people who exist today are not entirely human? Are we saying that a group of real people are part parasite ready to suck the blood of others? Have we made out that they’re different and savage because of a medical condition? Have we seriously othered them? Oh shit, we had. But aren’t vampires cool? Doesn’t everyone want to be one? No. People who have been systematically excluded already probably don’t want to be further dehumanised. 

You know what we ended up doing? We set the idea aside. We decided not to run with it because there were too many issues. Sure the science was interesting, the play of ideas was interesting, but actually putting that dehumanisation of a group of people out into the world was not interesting. It wouldn’t be fun or cool. It would be actively othering and already misunderstood group. 

What did we do? We came up with other ideas that didn’t dehumanise a group of marginalised people. Just because and idea seems interesting on the surface doesn’t mean it’s actually a good concept to film or write about. We’re creative people. We can think of more things. We can do better. We can come up with equally exciting concepts with out dehumanising marginalised people. I believe in us. We’re thinkers. 

This was 16 years ago and I’m still having similar conversations. Let’s do better. I know we can do it. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll all fuck up at times, I definitely do, but at least put it on our radar.

The Great Con: women actually do ask for help.

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I keep reading newspaper reports about how women keep depression and anxiety a secret and don’t seek help. I then speak to women who mouth the same thing that they didn’t ask for professional help BUT then they outline all the ways they did in fact ask for help, all the while saying they didn’t. The same goes for physical conditions. Women tell me how they told partners and doctors how they were tired, how they were gaining weight, how they didn’t have energy, how their memory was faltering and yet still finish off with saying they never spoke to anybody about their depression.

Now why would women detail to me a whole bunch of symptoms that are linked to depression that they have told their doctors about and then say that they didn’t tell anyone about it? Clearly they have told their doctor symptoms by their own admission so why do they then claim they didn’t speak about it? Because the great con is that women have been conditioned to think if they don’t get medical help it is because they didn’t ask properly. They’ve been convinced that they haven’t asked for help because they didn’t provide the doctor with a diagnosis and ask for help with that specific thing. Women are expected to do the the doctor’s job of diagnosis in order to get help. This is an ongoing issue in the medical profession as outlined in the study, The Girl Who Cried PainA Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain, women are routinely dismissed. They’re asking just fine, they shouldn’t have to diagnose themselves, that’s actually the doctor’s job, but there is an inherent bias against them.


It’s time to stop meekly standing by as we lose more and more women to suicide and watch more and more women lose mobility because of lack of treatment and continue to say, “Oh, it’s our fault, we mustn’t have asked correctly.” Men are given treatment and further testing when they give their symptoms, women are sent away. Women are forced to come back time and time again trying to get help. It’s the real reason why women see doctors more often than men do. They have to because they are forced to go back because they keep getting dismissed and the problem continues.


Women, you shouldn’t have to do the doctor’s job in order to get help. You shouldn’t have to be medically trained and able to diagnose pancreatitis, or stroke, or anxiety, or pelvic dislocation, that’s the doctor’s job. If you’ve mentioned your symptoms you have in fact asked for help. Let’s not be part of this system that undermines women. Let’s back ourselves and say we are worthy of treatment and we are perfectly capable of communicating symptoms. We actually do deserve treatment and this bias needs to stop. We’re not the problem, the unconscionable bias against us is.


Here are some further articles I think many of you will relate to. Happy reading.


She Thought She’d Pulled a Hip Muscle, But Six Doctors Couldn’t Diagnose Her Pain.

Diagnosis: Sexism 

When Gender Stereotypes Become a Serious Hazzard to Women’s Health

Endometriosis  and the Dangers of Period Pain Dismissal

I Screamed and Screamed and Screamed but Nobody Would Listen to Me.




Buy my shit here


Rage against the machine… everywhere and anywhere?



P.S. If I had a penny for every female who told me that they were told by medical professionals that women just got tired, grumpy, fat,  weak, and lose memory at x age, x ranging from 16-60, but persisted and after countless dismissals finally got a diagnosis and got treatment, I’d have a lot of pennies…. Sadly, I’d have way more pennies than I earn from writing. You don’t have to accept that women just fall apart. We don’t. No more so than men.

If you or someone you know has postnatal depression you can find good resources on the following sites:

  1. Gidget Foundation http://gidgetfoundation.com.au/
  2. PANDA http://www.panda.org.au/
  3. PIRI http://www.piri.org.au/
  4. Black Dog Institute http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
  5. Lifeline https://www.lifeline.org.au/ 

NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 

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We need to talk literary news. NSW Premier’s Literary Awards news. And by talk, I mean let me tell you the winners 

Royall Tyler won the Translation Prize

Jan Owen won the Early Career Translation Prize

Maxine Beneba Clarke won the Multicultural Award for The Hate Race. (Maxine wrote an acceptance speech which her editor, Robert Watkins, read on her behalf. He cried, the audience cried. A beautiful message of doing better and being kinder.)

Leah Purcell won the Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting AND the Book of the Year

Both Shelley Birse and Abe Forsyth won thr Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting 

Leanne Hall won the Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature

James Roy and Noel Zihabamwe won the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature 

Peter Boyle won the Kenneth Slessir Prize for Poetry

Thornton McCamish won the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction

Michelle Cahill won the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing

Heather Rose won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction…. she was set upon by a band of rampaging feminist fans, picture below

My friends Lisa Fleetwood, Helen Petrovic and I throwing ourselves at Heather Rose. She was AMMMAAAAZZZZIIIINNNGG.

Read a more detailed summary, by Helen Petrovic, here.