The past couple of months has been both hectic and diverting. I had a couple of weeks in the UK, attending the Herstory Reimagined conference and researching a couple of projects.
Then I had an actual holiday – a couple of weeks off in my second home, New Zealand. What a relief. I hadn’t had a break for such a long time. There was lots of ocean staring and eating fish and chips on the beach (it’s summer here, in case you’re wondering), swimming and even fishing. I also bought a little dinghy, which is the cutest thing ever.
And I, like everyone, was stunned by the impact of the bushfires, so pitched in to help support the amazing #AuthorsForFireys fundraiser, which raised over half a million dollars for firefighters and recovery.
Then it was back to business, finishing Vigil, book three of The Firewatcher Chronicles.
I feel a bit odd, bringing the series to a close. Book 2, Phoenix, comes out in February (so, like, soon!) and Vigil is slated for July. Can’t wait to get the books into young readers’ hands.
Stay tuned for more on Phoenix as we get closer to release day.
In the meantime, here are my next appearances in Melbourne and Auckland. If you’re around, I’d love to see you there.
4 February: Josephine’s Garden
In conversation with the lovely Stephanie Parkyn to celebrate the release of her new book, Josephine’s Garden. It’s a historical novel, set in France, with Napoleon and gardening and even an emu. What’s not to like?
Details: The evening is at Earthbound Café, 5/266 Bolton St, Eltham, and hosted by my friends at the Eltham Bookshop. 6.30pm until 8.00pm, Tickets $40.00 which includes a copy of the book and refreshments. Prepaid bookings are essential – phone 9439 8700.
(That’s Eltham in Victoria, not Eltham in Taranaki.)
14 & 15 February – Same Same but Different Festival
I’m delighted to be participating in this year’s Same Same But Different festival in Auckland – the brainchild of the dear, departed Peter Wells. This year’s theme is Writing Queer Worlds.
I’ll be one of the speakers in the Opening Night Gala on Friday 14 February, so come spend Valentine’s Day with us. Starts at 7.30pm.
Then the next morning (10.30am), I’m on a panel about writing queer-themed books for kids and young adults.
The other guests in these events, and throughout the programme, are absolutely brilliant, so we’re in for a treat.
Here’s the programme and all the details.
21 February – Sisters in Crime: The past is never dead
I’m hosting a panel of crime writers whose books are set in the past: Sulari Gentill, Kirsten Alexander and Kirsty Manning.
Looking forward to discussing research, plotting, mysteries, crimes of many kinds, character, and writing practice with this stellar line-up.
Sisters in Crime nights are always good value and this will be a cracker, if I do say so myself. (I’m also a Sisters in Crime convenor this year.)
It’s at the The Rising Sun Hotel , South Melbourne, 8pm – 10pm, and we usually get there a bit early for dinner upstairs from 6.30pm. Tickets are $10 – $22, and you can book online here.
10 March – Suffragettes and philanthropists
So pleased to be part of this panel at the gorgeous State Library of Victoria alongside Celeste Liddle, Dr Carolyn Rasmussen and Carolyn Fraser hosted by Santilla Chingaipe.
Here’s what we’ll discuss: At the turn of the 20th century, Australia was an international exemplar of progressive welfare reform. Philanthropists like Janet Lady Clarke built a strong foundation for social welfare; suffragettes like Fanny Finch, Vida Goldstein and Doris Blackburn ardently fought for equality for women.
But the 1902 Commonwealth Franchise Act only granted white Australian women full and universal suffrage. As Clare Wright says in You daughters of freedom, ‘This racial qualifier takes a good deal of the gloss off patriotic gloating.’
My Creative Fellowship at the Library in 2017 was focused on my project Sisterhood, on that generation of suffragettes around Vida Goldstein (and my great-grandmother, Edith) and then later in the 1980s. I’m still working on that, and will be for some time. So I am keen to hear these amazing women’s perspectives on the issues.
Starts at 6pm in the brand spanking new Conversation Quarter in the Quad – all revamped and ready to go.
Free but book here.
21 March – Learn how to write historical fiction with me
People often ask about my classes, and there’s one coming up. I’m teaching one of my full-day workshops on writing historical fiction for the good folk at Writers Victoria. We’ll cover:
- Expectations of readers and writers of historical fiction
- Practical approaches to voices and dialogue
- Research tips, sources and tools
- How to integrate research and imagination
- Writing about real people from the past.
Writers Victoria, all day from 10am. Details and bookings here.
That ought to keep me out of mischief for a bit. (I know what you’re thinking – I always say that, and it never does.)
Suffragette and anti-conscription campaigner Vida Goldstein (Photo: State Library of Victoria)