Westward ho!

I’m heading off to the west of Ireland soon, for another round of research for Grace, my novel about the Irish pirate Grace O’Malley (Gráinne Ní Mháille) and her meeting with Queen Elizabeth 1.

Woodcut of Grace and ELizabeth meeting

Two queens meet: Anthologia Hibernica, vol. 11, 1793

It’ll be winter in Ireland then (the change of season is November 1 – early winter!) but that will be an adventure in itself. Grace ruled the waves around Clew Bay and the coast of County Mayo – now part of the wonderful Wild Atlantic Way. Last time I was there, it was uncharacteristically sunny and calm. I look forward to a little wildness.

Stay tuned for lots of photos of me standing damply beside castle walls.

Map of Mayo
And in other marvellous news, I’ve been awarded a Fellowship to spend some blissful writing time, working on Grace, at Varuna, the National Writers’ House, next year.

Feeling very grateful.

All over the joint

Here are a few things from me you’ll find elsewhere on the web right now:

It’s just a flesh wound: what were sword fights really like?

Image of medieval sword bout

Some historical background for fantasy fans, on the Harper Voyager blog, with gratuitous Arya Stark references. Because. Arya.

Warrior women in history

I could have mentioned Arya in this, too. if I’d thought of it. But instead it’s a post on Kate Forsyth’s blog about just a few of the real life warrior women who preceded Julie d’Aubigny in history.

Interview  – me and Kate Forsyth

Again, on Kate’s blog, she quizzes me on fencing, on Goddess, on reading – and on life.

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.