Thanks, Ian St James Awards

Ian St James Awards

In their heyday, the Ian St James Awards offered the biggest fiction prize in the UK and Ireland for unpublished writers. I submitted several short stories to the awards from 1992 to 1995. None were finalists, let alone winners, but the critiques provided by the judges inspired me to keep writing! Continue ReadingThanks, Ian St James Awards

An Editor’s Magic Touch

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It’s little wonder many writers thank their editors in forewords, dedications and acknowledgements. As I’ve found writing book reviews for Writing NSW, editors have a magic touch when it comes to reviewing a writer’s work and suggestings edits. Whether there “aren’t many edits” or there are “structural” problems with the writing! Continue ReadingAn Editor’s Magic Touch

Writing Can Be Lonely

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Writing can be lonely, especially if you’re living on your own in a cramped flat, in another country, far away from family and friends. So when I lived in England in the early-1990s, I volunteered to work one afternoon a week at the local Oxfam shop, to get away from my writing desk, to get out of my flat, and to meet and mingle with people. Continue ReadingWriting Can Be Lonely

Writing First Sentences

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To help overcome writer’s block and make a start on writing the first sentences of A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway is said to have reminded himself: “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Continue ReadingWriting First Sentences

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton – Omen or Inspiration?

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In May of 1992, the local literary news in Australia was all about Tim Winton and his novel, Cloudstreet. I thought it an omen. Winton was thirty-one-years old and I was thirty. He’d grown up in Western Australia and so had I. He’d just won his second Miles Franklin Award and I was about to have a second crack at being a writer!  Continue ReadingCloudstreet by Tim Winton – Omen or Inspiration?

32 Years of Diaries

In a loft cupboard at home is a cardboard box containing all the daily diaries and travel journals I’ve kept since I set off backpacking from Australia in 1987. The travel journals are typically student exercise books, with each day’s sights and highlights recorded over two or more pages. By their nature, daily diaries of work and everyday life are less exciting than travel journals and it took me many years to settle on a format which gave me room to jot down the day’s main events without feeling like it was a chore to do so. Continue Reading32 Years of Diaries