Story of My Book posts

The story of my book: Down to the River

by S.J. Finn

26 years ago, a friend told me a detail about their childhood. Simply and without fuss, they described that for a number of years during the winter months they were in charge of lighting the local priest’s fire each morning before school started.

This scenario became a worm in my thoughts. Wriggling its way around my imagination, it multiplied, you could say, until it turned into a can-full, whi…

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Alice Pung on writing fiction for young adults

by Alice Pung

We’re loving Alice Pung’s new young adult novel, Laurinda! Here she tells us what she sees as the challenges and freedoms of writing fiction for young adults as opposed to adults.

No other books have moved me or shaped me as much as the books I read as a teenager, when I had time to think about the world and my place in it. Young adulthood is a time when, for the very first time, you have the …

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The Story of My Book: Vulpes

by Chris Rodgers

Vulpes first came to me while running, when my playlist rolled onto The Futureheads' cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of Love’. The idea was almost fully-formed before I made it home, which wasn’t long – I was never committed to running anyway. The fox in the song is passive, dying, but I have a tendency to think in a contradictory manner; antonyms come to mind before synonyms, and I began to imagine…

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Sam Vincent on gonzo ethnography in Blood and Guts

by Sam Vincent

Blood and Guts isn’t so much a work of investigative journalism as an exercise in gonzo ethnography. Over the summer of 2012-13 I sailed to Antarctica with the zealously vegan crew of Sea Shepherd’s flagship, the Steve Irwin – an experience that would form the (fake) meat of my book on the whaling controversy. I returned to land with ten notebooks brimming with notes, but I didn’t return with man…

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Lorelei Vashti on deliberate lies in Dress, Memory

by Lorelei Vashti

George Bernard Shaw said ‘All autobiographies are lies. I do not mean unconscious, unintentional lies: I mean deliberate lies.’ It sounds pretty harsh, but part of that quote appears as a disclaimer at the start of my book Dress, Memory because I really struggled to get my head around what is ‘truth’ and ‘lies’ while writing my memoir. I have learned that any time you attempt to craft a narrative…

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Favel Parrett on researching When the Night Comes

by Favel Parrett

In 2012, Favel Parrett won the Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship, and was able to travel on Antarctic resupply vessel, Aurora Australis, in order to research her novel When the Night Comes. Here, she tells us about the voyage and shares an excerpt from her journal of the voyage.

It was a busy trip – a major re-supply of the base, plus passenger drop-off and pick-up. The ship carried over on…

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Paddy O’Reilly on misfits and monsters in literature

by Paddy O’Reilly

Paddy O’Reilly’s new novel, The Wonders, is populated with misfits of all kinds. Here, she talks on other misfits and monsters she’s loved in books.

We learn early what it is to be a misfit.

The first week at school the misfit will be spotted, singled out, made to understand she doesn’t belong. She’ll be left standing in a distant corner of the playground, looking at her hands or scanning th…

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Rebecca Jessen on the influence of Dorothy Porter in Gap

by Rebecca Jessen

Rebecca Jessen’s award-winning verse novella, Gap , is a gripping crime thriller. Here, she talks about the influence of Australian poet Dorothy Porter on her work.

My first encounter with the work of late Australian poet Dorothy Porter was in mid 2011 in a second-hand bookshop in Newtown, Sydney. I picked up a copy of The Monkey’s Mask, intrigued by the two naked female bodies splayed across …

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Nic Low on designing the book cover for Arms Race

by Nic Low

Nic Low’s short-story collection, Arms Race , is a playful debut. Here, he shares the inspiration behind the book’s cover design, courtesy of WH Chong.

A few years ago, on a launch heading to a small island off New Zealand’s south coast, I thought I saw a giant octopus. It lay beneath the waves like a bruise. It was as wide as a downed jumbo jet. I figured something that big had to be powerful…

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The story of my book: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Chemo

by Luke Ryan

Look, I realise cancer is not the most naturally hilarious subject. You rarely find yourself slaying at a dinner party with a selection of your best tumour-based one-liners. You never saw Rodney Dangerfield mugging to camera while saying ‘Whoa, when I said I wanted a cancer, I was talking about the star sign!’ I imagine most people probably place it in the Strictly No Laughing Matter basket along…

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