Tag Archives: grief

Leah Kaminsky: #Robinpedia



Leah Kaminsky is an award winning writer and physician. I’ll just let that sink in for all those people out there saying they don’t have enough time to write. When she’s not off dazzling the world with her literary or medical brilliance she enjoys snacking on a good strawberry and reading. Leah Kaminsky subscribes to the belief that life is too short to finish reading books that you don’t enjoy so will happily stop and put it down for someone else to come along and read, and then pick up something else that tickles her fancy bone.* Different strokes for different folks. She assures me that she never puts down my recaps of The Book Club ABC, a program which she is an avid viewer of.

Leah Kaminsky has written an impressive array of non-fiction titles. Her first solo nonfiction being We’re All Going to Die which was published through Harper Collins in 2016.  She also co-authored Cracking to Code with Stephen and Sally Damiani 2015 published through Penguin.

Along with these two titles Leah Kaminsky also contributed to:

The Best Australia Science Writing published through NewSouth Publishing 2014

Writer M.D. published through Random House 2012

Differential Diagnosis published through Hachette 2011

Stitching Things Together published through Interactive Press 2010

The Pen and the Stethoscope published through Scribe 2010

Your Child’s Health published through Hardie Grant 2006

Issue #46 Creative Nonfiction 2012 https:///www.creativenonfiction.org

ABC Guide to Poisons published through Houghton Mifflin 1991


But not content with dominating in medical nonfiction Leah Kaminsky turned her talented hand to fiction and produced her debut fictional novel The Waiting Room published by Vintage Books in 2015.  It was highly praised by critics and readers alike.


And just in case you haven’t already passed out with feelings of inadequacy and shame, as I did when typing this up, here is Leah Kaminsky’s ridiculously impressive list of awards:

Griffith Review Contributers’ Circle Award for novel Ice Theory, February 2016

Awarded a RMIT University nonfiction Lab Mccraith House Writers’ Residency at The Butterfly House, December 2015

DISQUIET – SLS Finalist Fellowship, awarded April 2015 for novel Ice Theory

Inaugural Writer-in-Residence, Morbid Anatomy Museum, Brooklyn, November 2014

The Waiting Room shortlisted for William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition 2013

Readings Glenfern Fellowship for an Established Writer (for CNF manuscript ‘We’re All Going to Die’) 2013

Writer in Residence – Jewish Holocaust Research Centre

Hippocrates Poetry & Medicine Prize 2012

The Fish Council awarded the Varuna/Pan MacMillan Publisher’s Fellowship 2012

The Fish Council awarded a New Work Grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council 2012

Stitching Things Together commended in Anne Elder Award 2011

Billilla Studio/Bayside Council Writer-in-Residence Award 2010-2011

State Library of Victoria Creative Fellowship 2010 – $12,500 grant for research for creative non-fiction book The Fish Council

CAL Cultural Trust Development Fund – $3,000 to attend MFA (Fiction) Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpellier, Vermont USA 2010-11

Summer Literary Seminars Competition 2010 – merit scholarship award

Glenfern Studio Residency 2010 – awarded by Grace Marion Wilson Trust & Victorian Writers’ Centre

Highly Commended IP Picks Poetry Competition 2010

2nd place winner Angelo B. Natoli short story award 2010 (Fellowship of Australian Writers) for The Cat Feeders

Accepted to MFA program (Fiction) at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpellier, USA 2010.

CAL/Scribe Fiction Award 2009, The Waiting Room long listed

Penguin/Varuna Development Scholarship 2009, The Waiting Room nominated

Varuna Publishers Award 2009 shortlisted for The Waiting Room

Café Poet in Residence 2009-2010, Australian Poetry Centre (Café Loco, Elsternwick)

Writing@Rosebank Residential Writing Fellowship 2010 (Victorian Writers’ Centre)

Selected for Iowa Summer Writers’ Graduate Workshop 2009 – with director Lan Samantha Chang

Grace Marion Wilson Trust – Fiction Masterclass with Antoni Jach 2009

Writer in Residence Shaindy Rudoff Graduate School in Creative Writing 2008

Creation Grant – Arts Victoria 2008 for development of final draft of novel The Waiting Room

Emerging Writers’ Grant – Literature Board of Australia, 2008 for development of final draft of novel

Max Harris Poetry Awards 2008 – commended

John Shaw Neilson Poetry Award 2007 – Second Place (FAW national literary awards)

Winner Eleanor Dark Flagship Fellowship for Fiction – Varuna 2007

Victorian Ministry of the Arts: Writers’ Project Grant 1989 – for work on novel

Shortlisted for ASA Mentorship programme 2007 (top 10 fiction writers out of 500 total applicants)

Runner-up of Reading’s Fellowship –Writers’ Studio at Glenfern Writers’ Centre, Melbourne Oct 2006 – June 2007

Winner AUJS Short Story Competition 1981 Down Will Come Baby

Children’s Storybook MS There’s an Elephant in my Ear commissioned by Collins Dove 1990

Children’s Storybook MS The Boat that Grew Legs commissioned by the Children’s Television Foundation for development into animation and book for TV series ‘Round the Twist’ 1989

Mothers of War – shortlisted in The International Shin Shalom Peace Poem Competition, Israel 1992

(Aus)chwitz to (Aus)tralia in The Tin Wash Dish , ed John Tranter, 1989 (poem short listed in ABC/ABA Literary Awards Competition)


… I’m beginning to regret my decision to invent Robinpedia because writing about all these authors is beginning to make me feel so deeply lazy inadequate… I’ll just sit here and procrastinate about that for a little bit. I seriously want to die in a toilet right now… She’s even done freaking film and poetry. Take a look here for the hideously full list of achievements. She’d make even my mother proud.


Find Leah Kaminsky’s website here.

Find Leah Kamisky on twitter here.

Find Leah Kaminsky on Facebook here.




If you want to learn more about Robinpedia go here.

If you feel that this entry is as inadequate as I am in comparison to Leah Kaminsky please feel free to add information for me to add in the comment section. Which I will do so with much sighing and gnashing of teeth.

If you wish to send me Smarties and Moscato… please don’t hesitate.




*Leah Kaminsky tells me that there is no such thing as a fancy bone, I asked her which one of us had a medical degree… apparently we both knew it wasn’t me. Whatever Kaminsky, a fancy bone is a real thing and you know it!

Stop Telling People They Can’t Talk About Their Miscarriage


Recently “Every Child is a Blessing” posted two pics that went viral.


The pictures above went viral not because they were just another picture of women pre and post birth but because these pictures were dedicated to the “taboo” subject of miscarriage. Whether or not I love the execution of the image is irrelevant, people have complained it is adding salt to the wounds, because I certainly appreciate the sentiment. The stigma surrounding miscarriages needs to end.

Miscarriages are often treated as if they are shameful secrets that need to be hidden away. People would deny that they thought this way but the actions of many actually indicate that they do. Women are indoctrinated that they should never tell anyone that they are pregnant until 12 weeks in case they miscarriage. Why? Because if people don’t know that you were pregnant than it doesn’t matter? That you’ve tried and failed and can keep the shame secret? That you’ll not be sad if others don’t know? These and other reasons are utterly illogical. Once a woman is pregnant and has decided to keep that baby, their hopes and dreams for that baby grow just as fast as the fetus. It isn’t just a collection of cells to the woman, it is the hopes and dreams of a rosie cheeked baby. A warm little person to hug and hold. A human being to love and nurture. It is real and it is growing and the mother is using her own body to feed and protect that little bundle of joy. In short, they love that baby. The pictures represent those dreams externalised that will never come to be with that pregnancy. The loss of that dream isn’t any better because people didn’t know, in fact it is harder. Harder because you have to endure that grief without support and because of this stigma of not being allowed to talk about it, you can’t even ask for support.

People are often highly insensitive to woman who have had miscarriages because of that taboo. I myself was told after mine that X person had also had a miscarriage in the past but thank God she hadn’t told anyone but immediate family because then nobody knew and therefore it was better for her. The message was pretty clear that it was “better” for people not to know. That telling people after your first ultrasound was unacceptable. One must wait until the second ultrasound. It was on my second ultrasound where I was told that there was no longer a heartbeat and that it was a case of fetal demise. I needed to get a babysitter for my daughter so that I could go to the hospital because my body was not letting go naturally. I’d put on the same amount of weight as if I had had an alive fetus.

The fact that my best friend knew and could offer me sympathy and support was a blessing. The fact that others also knew was both a blessing and a curse. A curse because insensitive women told me how it would have been “better” if others didn’t know, but a blessing because so many women I knew then opened up to me that they had miscarried before. That they were there to talk because they knew how much support was needed because they were denied it. They were expected not to speak about it and just soldier on because they knew that is what was expected of them. That because the baby wasn’t full term it didn’t count.

(Just a quick side note, none of my children reached full term. My daughter reached 35 weeks and my boys 32 weeks. All happy, healthy, alive and perfectly real and worthwhile to this day.)

But those hopes and dreams do count and one does grieve when those are literally ripped from their body and one does need support. And most importantly people deserve support and there is no shame in having a miscarriage, only sadness. The woman has done nothing wrong. It is sad, and it happens. But there is no fault and there does not need to be a secret.

So I’m glad that those pictures went viral. I’m glad that people now can visualise what the women have actually lost. And now maybe people will have compassion for women when they have a miscarriage rather than trying to shut them down with their insensitive comments about how people shouldn’t mention they’re pregnant until 12 weeks, or thank goodness it was so early on so it doesn’t matter. It does matter. People knowing will allow women to get support and stop being silenced.

And for the record, the greatest miscarriage risk is at 7 weeks not 12.

So hopefully now people will start offering support rather than lectures or dismissive statements. If you don’t want to be supportive of a grieving friend that’s fine, but please admit that the problem is with you, not because they told someone in your opinion to early or because the baby wasn’t “real enough” in your opinion. It’d be appreciated if people were honest that the problem was societal bias and not the grieving no-longer-mother-to-be.

Miscarriages aren’t a shameful secret that people shouldn’t know about. They’re sad and tragic and people need the support of loved ones to get through it, NOT secrecy and shame.