Tag Archives: australian author

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a Dobbie Literary Award, shortlisted for a Readings Prize, and winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.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 Interestingly, Jane won the Unpublished VPLA the year prior to Melanie.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 If you have an unpublished manuscript and are an emerging Victorian writer, might I suggest you enter?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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Robert Lukins: #Robinpedia

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Robert Lukins is an Australian journalist, writer, drinker of instant coffee and nemesis of Sarah Schmidt. To be honest I’m not sure which one of these is his crowning glory (why am I now thinking of childbirth?) so I’m just going to tackle them in the order stated.

The name Robert means famed or bright and shining. Adding to this Lukins is a variant of love. It is perhaps this auspicious name, famously loved, that has given Lukins the edge when it comes to forging his career. And to be perfectly honest he needed this extra bit of luck to counteract the fact that he used to style his hair in a greasy approximation of The Rachel (yes from Friends). As an art researcher and journalist his work has been published in The Big Issue, Rolling Stone, Crikey, Broadsheet, Writers Bloc and Overland in spite of his questionable hair choices.

Quick break to take a few deep breaths. I’m starting to have a mild panic attack. I kinda, sorta talked this entry up.

Now I’m feeling a lot of pressure to do a good job and we all know that I’m not up to it. I’m no David Grann. Oh God, what have I done! Definitions of names? Hair styles? Nobody cares, Robin, nobody cares!!!!

Onto Robert’s authorial endeavours. Robert, or Rabbie as nobody calls him, became inspired to write by The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 1/2 by Sue Townsend.

This was the cover when I read it.

I can testify that this was a cracking good novel as I read it and its sequels several times in primary school. Robert identified closely with the titular character, unappreciated author Adrian Mole. This steady devotion to Mole has culminated in Lukins’ debut novel, The Everlasting Sunday, being published through UQP this year. It has been endorsed by Lucy Treloar, author of Salt Creek. The novel is a book about growing up and growing wild. Yes you can expect a review from me to pop up next month.

Onto the instant coffee issue. Robert swears by International Roast and drinks NOTHING else.

As I said, he loves it and it is his exclusive drink of choice. In fact he swears by it. He uses it as a salve for aching wrists, a facial scrub to freshen his skin, and as a topping on toast. He loves International Roast so much so that other writers must bring him cans of it as tribute in order to be allowed to bask in his divine radiance.

Award winning philosopher and author Damon Young looking totally thrilled to be buying IR for Robert Lukins.

However, you can’t please everyone and Robert Lukins has gathered some enemies along the way for his Adrian Molesque, International Roast swilling tendencies. Most notably would be crime obsessed, road-kill aficionado, Robinpedia alumni, author Sarah Schmidt who has declared Robert Lukins her literary nemesis for 2018. I must admit that I thought this babe in the woods would be a dead duck for sure when stuck in the sights of the Shmidtinator. Even her book trailer is effing terrifying.

However, I have to say that Robert Lukins has shown some spirit and really impressed me on the nemesis front. Far from running away, hiding in a closest and sobbing uncontrollably, he has taken the front foot.

This is just impressive on so many levels, mostly because like Xena he embroiders. Such a bold strategy to engage in voodoo right off the bat. Bravo. Make sure you keep your eyes on both Robert and Sarah’s Insta and Twitter profiles to see how this all unfolds. I don’t want to talk it up but this is going to be more epic than Gore Vidal versus Norman Mailer.

In his spare time he enjoys signing books in a hot room, sitting all alone in a hot room, and pretending to be MacGyver. He built a humane moustrap out of pencils and stickytape, true story.

Photo stolen from his website. Photographer is Eve Wilson.

Find Robert Lukin’s website here.

Find him on twitter here.

Find him on FB here.

Find him on Insta here.

Find his book here or anywhere.

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

Learn about how I feel about being a dyslexic writer here.

Aleesah Darlison: #Robinpedia

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adrobinpedia

Aleesah Darlison is a former marketing executive, the creator of Greenleaf Press, and a Queensland writer of over 30 books. Somehow she also finds time to go to the toilet, shower, and smile. Obviously she is either the product of some nefarious scientific experimenting into how far authors can be pushed, or a robot. Either way she’s an amazing asset to the Australian book industry and we’re lucky to have her. Oh, and she also once had a pet eel…. Don’t worry Aleesah, I grew up in country NSW too, I get it.

In her capacity as an author, Aleesah has written several popular children’s book series including, Unicorn Riders and Totally Twins, as well as several stand alone books and picture books. She is published not only in Australia but also the US, UK, Hong Kong, New Zealand, France and South Korea.

Greenleaf Press is Aleesah’s newest venture. It provides critical support to authors and illustrators, offering services in editing (my buddy Georgina Ballentine works there, pick her pick her), manuscript assessment, mentoring and so much more. With the rise of self publishing it has become increasingly important for authors to be able to find quality support for their ventures, Greenleaf Press does provides this.

One of the major events that Aleesah and Greenleaf Press has planned for writers is the Sunshine Writers’ Retreat which runs in November. It’s where writers get to go relax, have food provided for them, interact with all things writerly, and just kick back and create. Aleesah being an advocate of children’s literature isn’t stopping at providing events just for us old farts, she’s also has KinderFest, a roving literary festival; and Sunny Kids Camp, a full day camp that allows children to learn from experienced children’s authors.

Aleesah is a fan of the 80’s. She has an extensive collection of leg-warmers and fluro muscle tanks. But mostly, she is a fan of Top Gun. I cannot confirm or deny the fact that she prefers to be called Maverick than Aleesah. But I think if you search your heart you’ll know the truth.

FYI, You’ve Got the Love by Florence and the Machine, Daft Punk’s Lucky and several other cool songs were playing at Salt Meat Cheese as I was typing this entry up. I guess another fun fact about Aleesah, AKA Maverick, is that she inspires absolutely incredible song choices. Those of you who like to write whilst listening to music, or in cafes might I suggest that you pop a pic of ‘Maverick’ up so that she can bring you the luck of hit songs. Hopefully hit songs means hit novels. It’s too dangerous not to try!

I recommend this one I turned up on google image search-

ad-with-books-and-unicorn

Find Aleesah’s website here: http://www.aleesahdarlison.com/

Find Aleesah on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/AleesahDarlisonFanPage

Find Aleesah on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/aleesah

Find Greenleaf Press here: http://www.greenleafpress.net/

If you have information that you feel would enhance this entry please leave it in the comment section…. Unless it is simply to point out that I am in fact dyslexic, because I already know that. It’s actually in the about section.

 

Learn more about Robinpedia here: https://riedstrap.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/robinpedia-robinpedia/