Jul 09 2015

The Dog

Published by under Writing


Short story ‘The Dog’ published in Strange Objects Covered With Fur (Xoum). A creative non-fiction piece (we did go, there was a dream) following three boys who travel to Greece and are shadowed by a somewhat threatening grey-black dog, ‘its coat the colour of fresh-doused fire’. ‘The Dog’ was a runner-up for the 2015 UTS Anthology Writing Prize.

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Feb 28 2015

Welcome to Write Club

Published by under Academic,Writing


So I said to my students this week, the first week of semester, Welcome to Write Club. The first rule of Write Club, I said, is …

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Apr 12 2014

‘The Outsider’, Albert Camus

Published by under Book reviews

I love this book, but I have to say, I never really understood it. Okay, so Mersault is Camus’ existential man. He recognises nothing but what his own senses tell him. He seeks nothing more than to be at ease with everyone, in a world that pleases him. Whatever displeases him, he ignores. Most importantly, he makes no judgements of other people. They do their thing—he doesn’t even speculate on their motives—and he does his.

But as a story, I just didn’t get it. Continue Reading »

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Feb 03 2014

Why is the Kindle ‘preview sample’ so stupid?

Published by under ebooks,Reading

So I’ve found a writer I’m interested in. Having read about Penelope Fitzgerald in the London Review of Books, I realised there was a big gap in my knowledge. I went straight to Amazon Kindle. Prices for the title I had in mind were reasonable, Kindle practically had a sale there and then. But I hit “send sample now”, as I like to do, just to check the writing will work for me …

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Feb 22 2013

Bondi Writers’ Group talk, “Plot vs. Character”

Published by under Uncategorized


Last Sunday I presented a talk and workshop to the Bondi Writers’ Group, in the Waverley Library theatrette. It was a great session with a lot of audience energy and participation, some of which led, serendipitously, to the production of story fragments that could definitely go further. Workshops are such artificial constructs, yet their intensity and immediacy can generate very interesting outcomes, and the opportunity for constructive feedback — in a managed framework — is almost unparalleled. Next week, I return to UTS, teaching my favourite: Theory and Creative Writing. I’m really looking forward to it.

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Dec 13 2012

The Outsider, a new translation

Published by under ebooks,Reading

A favourite of mine is Albert Camus’ The Outsider. Lucian Robinson’s Guardian review of a new translation (by Sandra Smith, Penguin Translated Texts) reminded me how much I loved it. It also reminded me just how important translation is. Two of the most … Continue Reading »

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Nov 09 2012

E-reader, but which one?

Published by under Uncategorized

I have the Kindle Keyboard 3G. I also have a Nexus 7 (the Android tablet from Google), and I’ve just had a look at the new iPad Mini. And then there’s the new Kindle, the Paperwhite. The question is, which one is best?

3G Keyboard
Nexus 7
iPad Mini

I should say that I am looking here at e-reading only. If you want to consume a wider variety of media, the tablets are best. They’re fast and have a wider variety of uses. But thinking about reading … Continue Reading »

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Oct 29 2012

In search of lost ebooks

Published by under ebooks,Reading

Titles I’ve looked for over the years in electronic format are finally appearing. One such is The Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot. There were the Selected and the Collected and the Four Quartets and of course The Wasteland, but not all in one volumeNow they are. Another is Proust’s mega-novel, In Search of Lost Time, which I started (in print) four years ago, and am still only a third of the way through now. When I decided to read it back then, I had the idea I’d pick up an e-reader … and I figured Proust would be a great opening choice.

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Sep 18 2012

Sparks, the 2012 Sydney University Anthology

Published by under Editing

The 2012 Sydney University Anthology of new writing and photography, Sparks, is edited by Master of Publishing students of the University of Sydney. The all-important final proofing is happening now, and the anthology will be launched at 7pm on the 15th of November at the Co-op bookshop in the University of Sydney. Visit the website for updates.

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Aug 19 2012

On the Road, Jack, and you can come back, some more, some more …

Published by under Reading

So doesn’t go the old song which I learned, partially, to play on the guitar, many years ago. I say partially because I only ever knew the refrain — it was the days before YouTube and I never got round to actually listening to Ray Charles and those ladies who made it famous. The funny thing is the whole thing is the same descending progression, fairly repetitive really.

Anyway, Jack Kerouac, that novel, the long stuck-together-fax-sheet-roll-of-paper one. I first read the book in 1986 when I bought it in a second-hand bookshop in Edinburgh …

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