The Luminous Solution

Charlotte Wood

The Luminous Solution
Allen & Unwin
28 September 2021

The Luminous Solution

Charlotte Wood

‘A rich inner life is not just the preserve of the arts. The joys, fears and profound self-discoveries of creativity - through making or building anything that wasn’t there before, any imaginative exploration or attempt to invent - I believe to be the birthright of every person on this earth. If you live your life with curiosity and intention - or would like to - this book is for you.’ Charlotte Wood, from the Preface to The Luminous Solution.

In this essential, illuminating book, award-winning writer Charlotte Wood shares the insights she has gained over a career paying close attention to her own mind, to the world around her and to the way she and others work.

Drawing on research and decades of observant conversation and immersive reading, Charlotte shares what artists can teach the rest of us about inspiration and hard work, how to pursue truth in art and life, and to find courage during the difficult times: facing down what we fear and keeping going when things seem hopeless.


In the preface of The Luminous Solution, Charlotte Wood muses upon the bookshelf positioned directly behind her writing chair. Wood is unsentimental about keeping the vast majority of books she reads, preferring to release them into the world and a wider readership. Except these few – the books whose wisdom and advice offer up a kind of companionship and comfort, the books that resonated and now, quite literally, ‘have her back’.

I too have a shelf of books that share my office like old friends I am always reassured to see. The Luminous Solution will now join them. This powerful collection of essays reflectson a multitude of subjects: the creative process, art, writing, reading, feminism, ageing, female rage, capitalism and consumerism, the language of marketing and its effect on the book industry and the way we read. It is a fascinating insight into Wood’s own creative process, her deep curiosity and willingness to tackle things that confront and affect her. Itis, in her own words, ‘a synthesis of everything I’ve learned about my own creative impulse since I began trying to write fiction more than 30 years ago.’

The Luminous Solution is not a creative how-to guide; it is an invitation to connect to your own curiosity, to see and think differently, to explore and to unearth the unique sense of wonder we all possess, that may have been buried under the weight of grief we are collectively experiencing in this strange moment in history. It is a gift of a book that feels like a decades-long conversation with an old and trusted friend. It is an invitation to live. To ‘take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it’. What if that object was you?

Tye Cattanach is a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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