As a summary of my year in reading was such a good way of remembering what I’d gone through, I thought it would be useful to do the same with my writing, and to look back over my literary efforts throughout the year.
Entitlement was published in September 2012 and I continued promoting it over 2013. In February I gave talks at Kenmore City and Garden City libraries, where I found the staff and audiences to be universally lovely. My previous novel, A Curious Intimacy, had been published while I was in London doing my PhD, so this was my first time at properly engaging with Australian audiences and I adored it.
In March, along with talented local authors Angela Slatter, poet Zenobia Frost, and short fiction writers Samuel Maguire and James Butler (who MC’ed at the launch of Entitlement at Avid Reader), I gave a reading for Whispers, an event hosted by the Queensland Writers Centre and held at the café at the State Library of Queensland. The theme for the readings was ‘At Sea’ so I read from my novel-in-progress, The Sea Creatures(though at that point it was called Depths Exceeded).
In April I caught the ferry across the river to Hamilton Library to give another talk, and was again overwhelmed by the kind staff and readers who came to listen.
On the same day that my nephew was born in May, I was awarded the inaugural Ridgeline Residency, by Island magazine and Ridgeline Pottery. In June I packed my bags and woollies and travelled to Lauderdale, south of Hobart, for the residency. The time I spent at Ridgeline was beautiful and productive, not least because of my wonderful hosts, Ben and Peta. I also took part in and presented at The Longest Write, a writing workshop organised by Island that took place over the winter solstice.
In July I presented a paper on magic realism and country towns at the annual Association for the Study of Australian Literature in Wagga Wagga. Although I was still frozen from Hobart, the generosity of the hosts for the conference and my fellow participants warmed me up no end. I also gave a reading from Entitlement with Michelle de Krester, Brian Castro and Jeanine Leane. I then left the conference to fly back to Brisbane to present at the National Association of Teachers for the Deaf opening night.
At the end of July I had a book signing at Black Cat Books, a beautiful bookshop in Paddington. I was also in conversation with the absolutely lovely Ashley Hay, author of The Railwayman’s Wife, at my local bookstore, Books@Stones, in September.
In October I attended the Australian Society of Authors Congress and met a number of fabulous writers. I also coordinated a spotlight on Australian women writers of diverse heritage for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, alongside my monthly roundups of reviews of diversity, and biannual roundups of poetry and short fiction.
December saw me travelling to Melbourne to present a paper on Lisa Jacobson’s The Sunlit Zone for a symposium on species at The University of Melbourne, then back to Hobart for a reception at Government House to celebrate the efforts of Islandmagazine. The next day I was in conversation with the smart and talented Polly McGee, chair of Island, at the launch of Issue 135, which contained the essay on Georgiana Molloy that I wrote while on the residency. Another essay I wrote on Georgiana Molloy was published in the Journal for the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, and can be read here.
The year ended on a high when I was awarded a grant by Arts Queensland to help with writing my non-fiction book on Rosa Praed and her deaf daughter Maud.
No wonder I’ve been so tired! Fitting writing in around these events was tough as well. I was consumed by postdoctoral fellowship applications, and although these came to naught, they did make me realise what I wanted to research and write next. I’ve also written 50,000 words of The Sea Creatures, but am putting it aside to finish my research on Rosa Praed. I also joined a short story group, which has been very productive, because crafting stories is a difficult business and takes, I think, a lifetime to do well.
Over Christmas and New Year I had a very relaxing holiday at Parental Unit’s and in Sydney, and am about to fly back to Brisbane. This year I’m going to try really hard to stay relaxed and to remember to have days off. It’s difficult because I love writing and researching new things, and there’s so much I want to do. However, none of that is going to be possible with a body that is sick all the time, so hopefully I can learn to dawdle, and smell the roses somewhat.