This month, The Breeding Season is in the hands of prospective publishers! I hope they love love love it. I so want this book to meet the world.
"I don’t want to put distance between myself and my work, or between my work and the public. I want to show that the questions these animals face are universal." My latest essay, out in Nature now.
On Thursday the 19th (6:30pm) I'll be reading in a salon of emerging writers alongside the wonderful Gail Jones at Avid Reader in West End. This time, an excerpt from my unpublished novel, The Breeding Season.
If you like readings, come along to Wild Readings at the Mu'ooz Eritrean restaurant in West End on Tuesday the 17th at 6:30pm -- it's great food and open mic night and I think (my 10yo daughter) Nelle and I will both read something. Mine? A new story about bones and flying. Hers is a retelling of a famous folk story. I love this kid of mine.
I went to a reading Friday night of Krissy Kneen's new play, The Body in a Body. I've never been to see a play at the draft stage, where actors read from the script in part, but didn't enact the parts. It was phenomenal, full of body and science and so beautifully written. Like poetry, with characters!
One of the first short stories I wrote, in my first fiction class back in 2013, will soon be published at The Writer! "Eclipse" has changed a lot since that first version, but I'm happy it found a home (and a 2nd place prize) eventually. Moral of the story? If you can't let it go, there's probably a good reason. KEEP REVISING. In my case, I had to find the right voice/perspective, and everything fell into place!
I've finished first edits on The Breeding Season and it's off to my literary agent. What am I going to do now? Finish some quoll manuscripts I guess ...
I did my first reading from the novel this week, amidst Picasso's Vollard Suite at the Queensland Art Gallery as part of Krissy Kneen's talk on Picasso and sex. (Though when she talks about it, it's SEX.) It was interesting because the section I originally chose for its drama sounded flat when I read it aloud, so in the end I switched it out for one with a lot of particular sounds (clinks and crackles, etc) and quiet moments, and that worked better.
Don't all scientists aim for Nature? After 25 years, I'll finally have a piece in it -- and it's in my new, cross-over life. Surely that says something! The paper speaks to the use of creative writing in science and will run in the Careers section sometime in the next few months.
IT'S DONE! I finished a draft of The Breeding Season and am now planning revisions with my ASA Mentor, Krissy Kneen. I love that she is reading my words. I can't wait for the world to.
Thanks to a slow postal delivery to Australia and an envelope that was used as a notepad by my daughter, I just discovered that AGNI nominated my essay "Breakup Tips" for The Pushcart Prize ! If you haven't read the piece, it's online here.
Time to finish this NOVEL.
Holidays down the coast, in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and back up again. I'm posting pictures on my Instagram feed here.
All through 2018, I'll be mentored by Brisbane writer Krissy Kneen as part of the ASA Emerging Writer’s Mentorship Program (supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund). Krissy is going to help me make my novel The Breeding Season into the best book it can be! I can't wait, she's AMAZING. (Read this story NOW).
It's been a busy trip to the US, and I'm happy to be on my way home!
Breeding Season is now available to read online at Overland.
I did a workshop on Science and Fiction at SLSA with one of my favourite writers, Matt Bell. If you haven't read his work, check out this incredible novella. PHENOMENAL.
Tomorrow afternoon, November 9th, I'll be presenting a talk on science and creative writing at the annual conference for the SLSA - Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts in Tempe, AZ, and then, on the morning of November 10th, I'm reading "Pluripotent." I'm excited to be at a conference full of so many cross-over ideas and people!
I'm excited to share that the editors at Creative Nonfiction have nominated my essay "Pluripotent" for a Pushcart Prize! I wrote that story of my PhD and cancer and motherhood in so many different ways over so many years, until a class with Lidia Yuknavitch broke everything open. And the answer was stem cells, of course. One answer, anyway.
Here we come Iowa, Colorado, Arizona!
Next Tuesday night, October 18th, I'll be reading an excerpt from "Pluripotent" at the monthly Wild Readings session at Mu'ooz in West End. Anyone's invited! Details are on the WR Facebook page.
I just got my hard copy of the latest Creative Nonfiction. It's one of my absolute favourite literary magazines -- always beautifully curated and thought provoking -- and I'm so happy my words are part of it! Editor Hattie Fletcher was encouraging and insightful, and the whole process was a lot more fun than editing academic manuscripts ...
The MONA was the most wonderful and intense museum experience I've ever had -- especially since I was seeing it both in my own perspective and that of my novel's characters. My brain was literally leaking out my ears! Luckily, I had a glass or three of local pinot noir to catch it in :)
And "Breeding Season" has won the 2017 Overland VU Short Story Prize! This story first emerged as part of a workshop with Lidia Yuknavitch (she's AMAZING, take her classes) and has since become the basis for my first novel. So this win is exciting because I'm already expanding these characters and ideas and because I think it's science-y in all the best ways. It'll be published in next month's Overland.
"Breeding Season" has just been shortlisted for the 2017 Overland VU Prize -- I'm so happy to be in such great company! Fingers crossed for the win! (Announced later in the month)
My nonfiction/memoir piece "Pluripotent" has just been published in the Creative Nonfiction issue on Adaptation. I'm REALLY excited about this essay because I think it highlights an alternative way that science might be shared with a non-scientific audience -- within the context of history, physiology, and personal experience. I'm keen to know is how effective this kind of science communication is, and how the facts stick in the readers' minds when presented in a new form and frame.
Robbie, Nelle, and I were in Victoria at the annual conference of the Australiasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASSAB) - our first real whole-family conference. In the end, all three of us presented our work! I now firmly believe that 3 minutes is really all most people need to give a concise, punchy research talk. But I also came to see (again) how my family and my career are intertwined, for better or worse. Because ... life. Why are we always trying to separate them? Maybe work/home 'balance' isn't a see-saw with one on either end, but a basket full of stuff you have to carry up the stairs.
After two months in Phoenix, we're home! I love winter in the subtropics.
The highlight of the month was a long-weekend revision workshop with Lidia Yuknavitch, followed by a few days of solo writing in Portland where I revised and submitted a short story called Breeding Season. What I love about Lidia's approach is her encouraging, thought-provoking mode of critique. I've not experienced anything like it, in science or in writing, and it comes from close reading and praise and thoughtful questioning. A pulling up of the heartlines of the piece so that - visible - they can be strengthened. It is possible to feel good about yourself and rip open your work at the same time.