Tag Archives: australian literature

Nikki McWatters: #Robinpedia

Standard

Nikki McWatters is an Australian author of both fiction and nonfiction who writes about the ebb and flow of life. From the lowest point through to rising above. Her writing is both intelligent and flexible.

One Way or Another: The Story of a Girl Who Loved Rocks Stars, originally titled The Desert of Paradise, was McWatters debut book. It was shortlisted for The Queensland Premiere’s Literary Award for Emerging Writers. It follows the exploits of 15 year old Nikki into the world of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, and begs the question, is the groupie life all it’s made out to be? With references to INXS and Duran Duran it is a powerful story of a strong willed, intelligent girl finding herself out of depth and trying to fight her way back to shore.

McWatters followed up her debut with a work of historical fiction, Hexenhaus. It was named one of Sydney Morning Herald’s six best Young Adult novels of 2016. It intertwines the stories of three women, from three different time frames and countries, all accused of witchcraft. The companion to Hexenhaus, Liberty, was released in 2018. It picks up those same threads of displacement, shame, and knowing your own worth. Saga is McWatters next work of historical fiction and is released mid 2019. It is a Nordic epic which is just so hot right now.

In 2018 McWatters released Madness, Mayhem and Motherhood into the world. It is the true story of Nikki McWatters going from a mum of young kids in an unhappy relationship, to a panicked single mum needing support to renegotiate her life, to pulling together and living at peace with herself, chaos and all the challenges that life always throws at you. It is brutally candid with passages so searingly honest that they burn. It touches on areas that few parenting books ever do, what happens when you’re so panicked and down that you actually become the arsehole. It doesn’t hold any punches in regards to how at times we as parents can be selfish, unreasonable, and cause damage all the while thinking we’re trying. Very few books are willing to go there and I thoroughly applaud Nikki for doing so and HIGHLY recommend this book, and of course her others.

And let us not forget Odd Girl Out, which is a story about Kehani a girl who craves meaning and belonging. Released in 2015. And also Sex Crimes, released in 2013. AND SO MANY MORE! Find the full list here.

When she’s not writing I hear she’s wandering about in the mysts, trying to reverse the twilight of the gods, and bring Zeus back to Olympus.

Find Nikki McWatters website here.

Find Nikki McWatters fab books here or anywhere.

Find Nikki McWatters on Twitter here.

Find Nikki McWatters on Facebook here.

Find my book on booktopia or everywhere

Read more about Robinpediahere.

Read about my experience of being a dyslexic writer here.

Read about my opinion on author brandinghere.

Advertisements

Melanie Cheng: #Robinpedia

Standard

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.

Ryan O’Neill: #Robinpedia

Standard

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.

Tracy Farr: #Robinpedia

Standard

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.

Tania Chandler: #Robinpedia

Standard

Dreams can come true.

Who is Tania Chandler? She’s a crime writer, an Australian, and an all round rad shiela (is that how you spell it?). Like all cool writers she lives in Melbourne… I live in Sydney. Graeme Simsion, famous for the world wide smash The Rosie Project, has described her lead character as “flawed and troubled as any hard-bitten dick.

Tania’s novels are known for taking the archetypes from crime fiction and shuffling them around. Her character Brigitte has all the hallmarks of the femme fatale yet is the lead character. Aidan has the typical traits of the strong and silent police officer who drinks too much yet is relegated to the love interest category. Tania’s playing around with tropes gives her novels a fresh and light feel despite them dealing with distinctly dark subject matter.

Why does this cover scare me so?

Her debut novel Please Don’t Leave Me Hear published through Scribe  has a super creepy cover. I don’t know what it is about it but it gives me a serious case of the willies (damn you Graeme Simsion, now I’m even giggling at this). It was shortlisted for best debut novel by BOTH the Ned Kelly and Davitt awards. 

Her sequel, Dead in the Water, which was brilliantly reviewed on Newtown Review of Books by a complete genius, has a sex scene between a married couple with three kids. That deserves some kind of an award in itself. Married people getting all sexy for sexing and what not is a rare occurrence. Usually married people are either sleeping or having fumbly sex but this couple gets it on like Donkey Kong. I award Tania Chandler a Vag Badge, for sexifying married life with kids.

Tania Chandler’s website is here.
Find Tania Chandler on Facebook here.

Find Tania Chandler on Twitter here.

Read Tania Chandler’s article about the dreaded second novel, anxiety, and imposter syndrome here.

If you have information you’d like to add to this entry please leave it in the comment section.

If you’d like to know more about Robinpedia go here.

Quick follow up note: Graeme Simsion has also been credited with ensuring Anita Heiss has the best calves in Australian writing.

Cass Moriarty: #Robinpedia

Standard

image

Cass Moriarty is an Australian author who resides in sunny Queensland. Her debut novel, The Promise Seed, was critically acclaimed. The Promise Seed was listed as one of Brisbane Libraries Top 40 Book Club Reads. Her second novel is due out in 2017 through UQP.

A little known fact about Cass Moriarty is her love of giving advice. Not just about writerly things. Book recommendations, writing tips, home loans, internet trolls, whatever you want to ask the author anout, she can and will give you advice on. Cass Moriarty has been described as “a top notch literary citizen” because of her love of advice and reaching out to up and coming writers.

image

I have asked her if she holds ill will for any consulting detectives with a gift for observation, she neither confirmed nor denied the fact. I also asked her if she could be described as the “Napoleon of crime,” again no confirmation or denial.

Find Cass Moriarty’s website here.
Find Cass Moriarty on Facebook here.
Find Cass Moriarty on twitter here.

If you have any further information about Cass Moriarty that you think should be added please write it in the comment section.

Find out what Robinpedia is here.

How to Take Book Week Easy Without Resorting to Cartoon Character Costumes.

Standard

Full disclosure, I am a writer, an avid reader, a former English teacher, and worked in a library whilst doing my degrees. In short, I love books. I think that Book Week is fantastic and an important time to celebrate reading and writing. We celebrate sport and movie stars all the time, so it’s great to have a time to celebrate books.

And for me, that’s what Book Week is all about, celebrating books. It’s a chance to bring the spirit of fandom to books. My children’s school asked for children to dress up as characters from Australian books, which I thought was a lovely way to demonstrate support for the Australian book industry. It also helped really focus on celebrating books and not simply rehashing disney costumes that the kids already wear on weekends or football jerseys. Kids already celebrate their love of these things all the time so it was lovely to see books truly get given the focus they deserve.

But finding costumes for Australian books is hard and I already have superhero costumes at home and my kid loves heroes and although they know of the heroes through TV they are originally from comicBOOKS, I hear some fellow parents say. Don’t I have enough stress without adding book week? And I understand that, I really do. But I’ve got good news on both fronts. There are some really easy to costume Australian books, and it’ll open up discussions with your children about Australian literature. Talking about books can be exciting not stressful. Think of it as a fun thing where you get to learn about new books rather a drain on your time and sanity. So how about I give you some examples of easy to costume Australian books to take some stress out of the idea?

image

For little kids still into picture books, Andrew Daddo is an awesome source of costuming. To be the little girl from I Do It all you need is a green dress, some red and white striped tights, and a toy monkey. You’ve possibly got something similar left over from the festive season. So the costume is easy and you get to talk about and read this fantastic book. I also love Andrew Daddo’s Cheeky Monkey. A stripey shirt and red tracksuit pants or a blue shirt and yellow tracksuit pants has you costumed and reading a great story.

image

Do your kids love the word bum? Mine do. Tim Winton’s Bugalugs Bum Thief is super easy to costume. Hawaiian shirt, board shorts, bucket hat and a rope around the waist. Heck, Tim Winton also wrote Lockie Leonard, that’s another source of beachwear for any of your mini surfers and kids love those stories.

image

Sorry, my children only like pirates. GREAT. Introduce your kids to Andy Griffiths’ Tree House series. They can go as Captain Wooden Head.

image

My kid only dresses like princesses. Fabulous. Pamela Freeman has you covered with Princess Betony.

image

Actually I meant swashbuckling hero types not pirates or Princesses. Fine, Allison Tait’s Map Maker series is for you.

image

Are there any casual costumes out there? Glad you asked. Deborah Abela’s Max Remy Super Spy books were a huge hit with my nieces. Cargo pants, orange top, and you’re ready become a spy.

image

My kid loves skateboarding. Anita Heiss has you covered with Harry’s Secret. A skateboard, and an Indigenous flag sticker for it.

image

My daughter loves pretty dresses and pigs. Check and checkmate. Here’s Jacqueline Harvey with Clementine Rose. Blue dress, red bow, red shoes, and a toy pig. You’re done.

image

I want to dress my kid as an animal. Great. Koalas, possums, and wombats are in a huge amount of picture books. You can’t swing a dingo in an Australian picture book festival without hitting an animal book.

image

This is crazy, but I just happen to have a giant unicycle lying about my place, is there anyway I could incorporate that into Book Week. Why yes, yes you can. A.B. Paterson’s Mulga Bill’s Bicycle is an oldie but a goldie.

image

I want my kid to wear my old nightie and a shower cap. Ooookay… that’s oddly specific but I can help you out there too. Try Seven Little Australians.

There are so many Australian authors out there with great books and easy costumes to make. Book week is a fabulous opportunity to google them, read them, and fall in love with them. So in 2017 I challenge you to catch the Book Week fever. Next year you can choose a book week costume that is just as quick and easy as a store bought dress up costume but has the added bonus of talking about Australian books and bringing the spirit of fandom to reading. Let’s really love books! Get excited about new books and let your kids catch your enthusiasm. Show them that there are more things to be excited about than those costumes that they already own and love.