Lately I’ve been…

… too busy to blog. Sorry.

A crazy month or so. It started with the Melbourne Writers’ Festival in late August which was great but pretty intense. Or maybe it started the week before that – Book Week! That was when I went back to my childhood public library in Nunawading, and talked to a lovely group of women of all ages about reading and writing. And then after the Festival, I spent a couple of exhilarating days as Writer in Residence at Kilvington Grammar School.

Since then I’ve been making final revisions to the manuscript of  Tragédie, the novel I’ve been working on as part of my PhD. It’s to be published by Fourth Estate in the middle of next year under the new title Goddess. It’s in the kind hands of my editors now.

I’ve also been teaching Writing Fiction this semester at La Trobe University which is stacks of fun – but a lot of work.

And as you may have noticed, The Sultan’s Eyes has come out recently too.

So I can’t report on all the fabulous books I’ve read lately because I haven’t had a moment spare for reading.

But it’s a great deal better than being bored.

 

Coming up

Winter in Melbourne. We should be huddled inside out of the cold, our hands cupped around mugs of hot chocolate.

But no. It’s festival time. (Although, let’s face it, it’s always festival time in Melbourne.) So instead we are shrugging on heavy coats, wrapping scarves theatrically around our necks, and heading out into the city.

Coming up in August is the Melbourne Writers Festival, our annual book fest.

The full program isn’t released for a while yet, but the teasers so far have been more than enough to entice me: New York storytelling troupe The Moth, London Review of Books, a local version of the Edinburgh World Writers Conference, and a whisper or two about a keynote by Marina Warner. I am so there.

But I’m also appearing in the Schools Program this year, and what a program it is. Deborah Ellis, Margo Lanagan, Cath Crowley, Shaun Tan, Scott Westerfeld – the list of local and international fabulousness just goes on and on. Teachers and school librarians – if you haven’t booked your school groups in yet, best get onto it soon.

It’ll all be terribly exciting, and in the middle of it I’ll be:

  • Talking about books that matter with Alison Croggan and Morris Gleitzman on 26 August (my plan is to let them say deep and wonderful things and just nod wisely)
  • Debating powerful female characters with the powerful Justine Larbelestier on 28 August
  • Getting geeky about research with Kate Forsyth on 29 August.

Again this year, the Festival is running Write Across Victoria, a terrific competition for young writers. Just choose one of our story starters, and make it your own. There are stacks of prizes to be won, and Cath Crowley and I will be at the Write Across Victoria awards event on 29 August, talking about how we got started as writers. Story competition entries close on 5 July, so get writing!

The Writer’s Toolkit

I’ve posted quite a lot about different tools that writers can use to make the most of the web and their own time.

And now there’s a course: The Writer’s Toolkit, at Writers Victoria from 5 June.

In it we’ll cover:

  • Productivity tools to help you manage time
  • Finding and managing information and resources
  • Note taking and research
  • Drafting and plotting tools
  • Networking and promotions online.

The course runs for four weeks, one night a week. More details and bookings here, but be quick! Booking deadline looms.

Coming up

I’m reading work in progress at Bespoken this week: Thursday 25 October at 7.30 at Hares and Hyenas bookshop in Johnston St, Fitzroy.

I’ll read a couple of chapters from Tragédie. Tom Cho and Daniel G Taylor are also reading from their work. Should be a great night.

More info and bookings  here.

After that I’m laying low for a few weeks so I can move house and recover from all this month’s major deadlines and get ready for next month’s deadlines.

I’ve finished writing the sequel to Act of Faith – it’s called The Sultan’s Eyes and it’s with the publisher. I’ve even seen a few rough designs for covers, so things are rocketing along.

Rather quickly.

Coming up

Next week, I’m celebrating Adult Literacy Week with the good folk at Park Orchards Learning Centre.

The topic?  The Journey of the Book – From Inspiration To Publication. A writer (that’d be me), editor and publisher discuss the stages of creating a book.

It’s at 7pm on Thursday, August 30. Cost: $25. Bookings: 9876 4381. More information in this article in the local paper (with a marvellous typo in the final line).

 

On 15 September, I’m at Fitzroy Library introducing people to Twitter. We’ll talk about how it works, what on earth it’s for, and how to use it for good not evil.

That’s on Saturday 15 September from 1 – 3.30pm at Fitzroy Library. Bookings are essential, apparently (certainly the last workshops I did there booked out quickly). Call 1300 695 427 or email yarralibraries@yarracity.vic.gov.au. More information on the library website.

 

Coming up in July

After two residencies and many weeks away, I’m back in Melbourne and settling in for winter. I’m working on the redraft of Tragédie and waking up at 6am remembering things I still need to fix in The Sultan’s Eyes.

A couple of appearances:

On Saturday July 7, I’m part of a panel called ‘What’s fit to print? Issues in youth literature’. It’s part of the Bayside Literary Festival: Art of Words, and it’s a revival of a panel discussion with Hazel Edwards, Adele Walsh and Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli at the Midsumma Festival. We had so much fun we’re doing it all over again, this time with the addition of George Ivanoff. Moderated by Crusader Hillis.

2 pm in Brighton: details here.

Then on Wednesday 18 July I’m at Boroondara Library. The session is designed especially for boys 10 and over – I reckon we might be talking a bit about pirates. (The lovely Rebecca Lim presented a session especially for girls this week. Lucky things.)

7pm, Hawthorn Library: details here.

Social media for writers and readers

Here are some of the platforms and examples used in my workshops on social media for writers and readers.

Twitter:

Twitter hashtags:
  • #ewf12
  • #aww2012
  • #1book140

Facebook pages and groups:

Pinterest:

GoodReads:

YouTube:

Blogging platforms:

  • WordPress (easy to use, can add functions)
  • Blogger (simple, Google product)
  • Tumblr (simplest of all, great for images)

Readers’ resources:

Management tools:

Here are the slides from the sessions:

Coming up

I’m heading off today to present a couple of workshops, as part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival, on social media for writers and readers. Looking forward to it, too, because it combines the two distinct parts of my life: my day job, which is all about online learning and training people in the web; and my writing self.

Late next week I return to Brisbane for the second part of my May Gibbs Children’s Literature Foundation fellowship, to start work on the redraft of The Sultan’s Eyes and also to run workshops as a writer in residence at the State Library of Queensland. Most of the workshops are for schools, but there are a couple of public sessions for younger readers/writers on Words that changed the world – subversive books and the forces that tried to stop them.

I can talk about that stuff for hours. And no doubt will.

Coming up

This weekend I’m speaking at ‘Words at the Warrandyte Cafe’ on why and what I write, what I read, and particularly the world of Act of Faith.

It’s 4pm to 6pm Sunday 6 May at 61 Yarra Street, Warrandyte. It’s one of a series organised  by the lovely people at the Warrandyte Neighbourhood House, and bookings are through them on 9844 1839 or email info@warrandyteneighbourhoodhouse.org.au.