A Miles Surprise?

At first glance this year’s winner doesn’t have the grand sweep of themes of Michelle de Kretser’s Questions of Travel, the 2013 winner, or Anna Funder’s All That I Am, the winner for 2012. But is ‘grandness’ a requisite for literary fiction? Steven Carroll won the Miles in 2008 for The Time We Have Taken, which shows the ordinary as extraordinary, a timeless literary trope. Read More >

Mostly True Stories

The best narrative non-fiction employs many literary devices, just think of Chloe Hooper’s wonderful The Tall Man and, Garner again, Joe Cinque’s Consolation. And for many readers non-fiction is really where it’s at for delivering a story with special resonance. Read More >

Take Your Time Then Take Your Shot

There were also very welcome meetings with agents and publishers, chatting not only about their lists and what we readers have to look forward to, but also about unprepared aspiring authors. Read More >

A New Publishing Model?

I’m running workshops this week as part of the Sydney Writers Festival. (Rewriting Is) Writing is to help aspiring writers who are finding subsequent drafts of their work—predominantly fiction—difficult, frustrating, maddening. Writers often become overwhelmed, even paralysed, when fully aware of how much they need to control and manage. Read More >

Craft and Art

So many elements go towards good writing, which is why it’s a craft that requires fine reworking. One of the most important, almost imperceptible, qualities readers sense and look for is to feel that they’re in good hands. We must feel that the author is in control of her material and knows what she’s doing. Read More >

Cooking the Books

Good manuscripts take time. More than ever, aspiring writers need their manuscript to be in fine shape before sending it to a literary agent or publisher, or deciding to self-publish. Often it takes several drafts to know your characters, discover your central theme is different from what you had first thought, realise that the setting is forty years too late (or too early), or that the narrative should be third person not first. Read More >

You're Playing a Long Game, So Get it Write

A quick search for How to Write a Book on yielded more than 26,500 results. This astonishing number exists presumably because wannabe writers cut to the chase and save all that bothersome time reading by only reading about how to write. Read More >