Category Archives: BNE artists

BRWF 2018

Two years ago I went to the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival and it was one of my all time favourite events. I’m very excited to be heading back down south this June to spend some time with a slew of wonderful people. I’ll be at these things if you want to chat and/or throw tomatoes. The program is really incredible, check out the full schedule here.

Thursday 7th June 6pm

Author talk at Coffs Harbor Library

Saturday 9th June 12pm

Poetry: In Just a few Words

with Johanna Featherstone, Lorna Munro and Craig Nelson

Sunday 10th  4pm

Fiction: The Novel In A Time Of Digital

with Ute Schulenburg, Marieke Hardy & Jesse Blackadder

Canberra and the Commonwealth

Hello person who is reading this.

This post exists in order to announce 2 x exciting things!

Exciting thing the first:

I’ll be performing at one of the satellite events for the Commonwealth games on Thursday the 12th of April. Tales and Ales will feature some of my favourite humans, who also happen to be incredible performers and poets. This is a free event, so tell all your broke friends to show up.

Event info:

Come along to Tales and Ales to take in some of Queensland’s finest spoken word and hip hop.

Drop  in to hear Scott Wings, Anisa Nandaula, Hope One (Hot Brown Honey), The Architects of  Sound, Borrowed Verse, Josh Donellan and more. Don’t miss the live slam and resident DJ spinning tracks between acts.

Facebook event

Festival website

Exciting thing the second:

I’ll be heading to our nation’s capital to headbutt Tony Abbott  perform and present at the Canberra Flash Fiction Fun Weekend. There will be a bunch of fantastic authors like Jackie French and Irma Gold presenting speeches and workshops. I’m especially excited about performing at the Tales After Dark event on Friday night.

Six Cold Feet Episode 1- Born under a bad sign

We are very excited to share the first full episode of our series Six Cold Feet! In episode 1 we meet our narrator, River, and some of the curious inhabitants of the town of Ullara. River tells us about Harmony’s unusual past.

If you dig it please rate us on whatever podcast platform you use. If you don’t enjoy it, just keep that to yourself, m’okay?

love etc.

Six Cold Feet launch party + other shenanigans

Why hello there! I’m very, terribly, tremendously excited to invite you all to the launch party for Six Cold Feet. If you’re in Brisbane, come and party with us in person. If you’re anywhere else in the universe, have yourself a private listening party and let us know what you think of our first episode.

I’m also performing at the Silent Rage of the Angry Mime and Yarn Storytelling over the next couple of weeks. Come to one, or two, or EVEN ALL THREE!

100 books a year 2016 part one: The Good

2016 has been an uncommonly awful year, luckily it’s in its final death throes. As we listen to its final hideous gasps and groans, perhaps it’s time to think about how we got to this terrible, stupid place. I would argue that the two underlying concepts that brought us here are lack of education and lack of empathy. You know what you can do to address that? Read more books. Tell your friends to read more books. On that note, I thought I’d write up some of the standout books I read this year; the good, the bad and the weird.

Here’s part one: THE GOOD.

150709_SBR_Coates-COVER.jpg.CROP.original-originalBETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

This was the first book I read this year, penned by MacArthur genius grant winner Ta-Nehisi Coates. It’s a thoughtful, rich and intelligent exploration of America’s long and troubled struggle with racial injustice. Told in the form of a letter to his son, Between the World and Me is beautiful, tragic and hugely important. I found so much of what he described to be unfortunately paralleled here in Australia with the racial injustice towards our indigenous people. Fun fact: Coates now writes Black Panther comics.

 

51qWVw7xoiL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

HOW TO SET A FIRE AND WHY

I saw Jesse Ball speak at Avid reader earlier this year and found him supernaturally strange and fascinating. This novel, his latest, is brilliant and insightful. The narrator’s voice and observations are vivid and revealing, alternating from hilariously sardonic to bleak and philosophical. After I read this I picked up everything else he’d written, the man is a stone cold genius.

30829683

THIS ISLAND WILL SINK

I was excited to see Lifted Brow publishing release their first novel, and this one did not disappoint. We read this for my book club and I absolutely loved it. It was strange and confusing in all the best ways. I’m thrilled to see more intelligent, complex genre fiction coming out of Australia. MORE OF THIS PLEASE.

 

28510550

VIGIL

Speaking of intelligent genre fiction…I am a sucker for books set in Brisbane, and this one was a real gem. I managed to win a free copy (even though I get a lot of books for free these days, it never stops being exciting) and loved this story set in a strange, supernatural version of Brisbane. Part detective noir, part supernatural thriller, wholly entertaining. Looking forward to the sequel.

 

51VYZ+gf58L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

JUST MERCY

I first heard Bryan Stevenson speak on one of my favourite podcasts, Criminal. I found him hypnotic. This book is not just a study of the legal system in America, but a complex exploration of the concepts of justice, morality and redemption. The line ‘each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done’ stuck with me so much I wrote a short story inspired by it (should be out next year, hopefully). Like Coates, Stevenson is also a MacArthur genius grant recipient. His TED talk is here.

vancouver

VANCOUVER

One of Brisbane’s best loved writers has recently turned his attention to novellas. The first two in the Wisdom Tree series, Gotham and Venice, were both great but this is by far my favourite. Telling the story of the unlikely friendship between a writer and a gigantic footballer turned professor, I loved the way this story felt both magical and utterly grounded in reality in the same time.

6881eed3f57f35152cae7b85252d784d

THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN

I first became interested in this book when I read it had topped the most censored books in American libraries list. This book was banned primarily because it contained drug references, swearing and references to masturbation. This content was judged to be inappropriate for its target audience; teenage boys. Of course, if you’ve ever spoken to or been a teenage boy, you’ll know that drugs, swearing and masturbation are completely foreign concepts to them. In any case, this book is incredible, Alexie is also a poet and this shows in his writing which is in turns coarse and lyrical. One of the few books I’ve read that really captures that strange, bewildering era of adolescence, and in important insight into the numerous injustices and difficulties endured by Native Americans.

 

9780765379948_custom-a047a9fe6159435f98535d0c3369b717733b8de1-s400-c85

ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY

I found Anders’ work through her work for i09, which used to be a pretty great website but these days is pretty average. Nevertheless, I read this whilst drinking cheap beer on a rooftop in Seville, and I would definitely make that a ‘serving suggestion’ for this and every other book ever written. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but the humour was great and I loved the authenticity of the relationships between the characters. It referenced and toyed with a bunch of classic sci-fi/fantasy tropes and it had fantastic dialogue. If this isn’t made into a movie then Hollywood should die in a fire. (To be fair, Hollywood really should die in a fire.)

 

The_Mind's_Eye_(Oliver_Sacks_book)

THE MIND’S EYE

It was bittersweet reading this book so soon after Sacks’ death. I heard a friend describe him as ‘my favourite mind’ and I think that sums it up perfectly. There are precious few writers who can describe complex medical concepts in a manner that is so fascinating and captivating. Also, I learned in this book that Oliver Sacks had face blindness, which I always thought was a ridiculous thing that Arrested Development invented but turns out to be real. The world is a strange and stupid place.

9781408857304

THE BRICKS THAT BUILT THE HOUSES

I loved the way this book examined everyday people in difficult circumstances in such real, palpable detail. Tempest charts each character back to their parents and their childhoods, something which I really think more authors should do, and brings us to their current, damaged states. Probably the best ‘this is the way things are right now and it’s terrible but we could fix it if we stopped being such jerks all the time’ novel I’ve read this year. I realise that’s not a genre, but it bloody well should be. Her album Everybody Down tells the same story in a more hip-hop format. It’s very good, but her most recent offering Let Them Eat Chaos is THE BEST.

I’ll be back next week* with part two: The Bad and the Weird.

PS If you want to add my books to your list, you can grab them here. Killing Adonis is on sale for just TEN BUCKS HOLY WHAT?!?

PPS People always say to me: “How do you read 100 books a year? That’s IMPOSSIBLE!” It’s really not. Here’s a few tips.

 

*or later if I have a lot of laundry/editing. 

 

 

Inaugural happy Xmas/holidays/ Hanukkah/ thankgod2016isnearlydead sale!!!!

Dearest humanfolk,

Like most rational people, I have a firm policy of telling Xmas to SHUT UP until December. Now that it actually is December, let’s talk about shiny happy things!

DSC_0107

I’m having my inaugural happy Xmas/Hanukkah/thankgod2016isnearlydead sale! My last novel, Killing Adonis, is now available for just TEN cashmoneydollarbucks! That’s even less than a bar of Jesus Soap.

Killing Adonis is about to have its North American release, and it recently picked up a Kirkus Star (one of my top five favourite stars, right behind Sirius A and Sirius B). In exchange for 10 measly dollars (please do not send dollars infected with measles) I will throw a copy at you, signed and inscribed however you like.

DSC_0087

You can also grab any of my other books. If you don’t love them, I will refund your purchase!* What could be better than a book for Xmas? Well, a robot dinosaur I guess. Or a time machine. Maybe some sort of mystical gauntlet. But apart from that basically nothing.

HAPPY XMAS OR WHATEVER HOLIDAY THING YOU DO OR DON’T BELIEVE IN!

*All refunds attract a processing charge of $50 per book.

TEDxSouthBank talk: Why We Need Art

Very excited to finally share my talk from TEDxSouthBank! Big thanks to Anna Cooke, Rozina Suliman, Imaginary Theatre and QAGOMA for letting me use their images and discuss their wonderful creations. I had a lot of fun doing this, the first couple of minutes are me performing a spoken word piece about the experience of attending TEDx, the rest is a brief talk about the importance of art, particularly for children. Hope you enjoy it, feel free to share it around!

Boycott everything for no reason!

Working in the arts, you have to expect the odd negative review and the conventional wisdom is to just ignore them. However, I honestly never expected that anyone would ever care enough about my work to call for a boycott, and I DEFINITELY did not think that anyone would ever be demented enough to call for a boycott and write a 1300+ word essay based purely on the TITLE! Oh, what a world of wonders we live in! Here’s my review of Gerald Keaney’s utterly sincere and yet unintentionally hilarious boycott call to arms.

Wonderland-2015-New-Farm-Park-Queensland-Australia

1 ““Poetry is dead!” It’s an edgy and intriguing title for a poetry event on 9th December 2015, part of the Brisbane Powerhouse’s end of year Wonderland Festival.

Your essay begins with getting the date wrong. GREAT START!

2 While the pair’s subject matter is up to them…

Implies that the subject matter of an independently produced performance would, for some insane reason, be up to someone else (you, presumably?) This is deranged enough to be hilarious. Please continue!

keaney

Gerald Keaney, ladies and gentlemen…

3 If everyone is a poet, there are no more poets. 

In our incredibly brief online interaction I saw you use this line three times, so you’re obviously very proud of it. Poetry is currently a niche art form, so this is hardly a concern. Furthermore, one of the reasons why it is so sparsely practised is because people are put off by the kind of elitist gatekeeping you’re espousing here. Imagine if you told every ten year old who picked up a guitar: “You’d BETTER have a comprehensive understanding of 19th century flamenco music!”

4 Donellan also claimed his “poetry is dead” byline referred to old fashioned poetry. “In with the new, out with the old!” he declares…

You’ve taken a (wildly exaggerated and inaccurate) paraphrasing and presented it as a quote. I seem to recall Jonah Lehrer doing something similar. Things didn’t work out too well for him, did they?

2014-06-19 16.07.43

5 Nevertheless Donellan’s endeavour could have easily been saved. He could have been a little more enthusiastic about discussion afterwards… Along with poetry, he obviously thinks public discussion has died, and it is time for the public to sit back like good passive little consumers of art.

I said I was happy to talk after the show – repeatedly – but that we could not host a Q & A afterwards because we had to pack down the stage for the show which began 15 minutes after ours finished. You really don’t seem to have a very firm grasp of either time or basic social protocol. You aren’t an only child who was raised by some sort of humourless disgraced Slavic royalty in a barn with only your rancorous patriarch and pet woodlouse for company by any chance?

6 Even without seeing their show I can only conclude that it is a mistake for Donellan and Wilmett to use the title “Poetry is dead.”

Easily my favourite part. Basically the equivalent of picking up a copy of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and saying: “I fucking HATE rye, I’m not reading this shit!”

the-catcher-in-the-rye-cover-6c8dab7d64192277315d6bf528d6f7b2

If you don’t like rye, stay away from this book! It’s just hundreds of pages about rye. I assume. I haven’t read it.

7 They are left displaying only a faux cleverness, and the way the pair has used the slogan Poetry is dead gives entirely the wrong message about poetry itself. For that reason my advice is boycott.

First of all, are you familiar with the concept of irony? Seeing as the only thing you seem to be interested in is your own opinions, would you prefer that we called our act Gerald Keaney and the Gerald Keaneys? Because unfortunately that name is already taken by some deranged narcissist. In any case, even if you think it’s a terrible title, calling for a boycott is definitely overkill. What next, call for a ban on poetry readings in a library ? Oh wait, I see you already did that.

8 YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE SHOW. I realise I mentioned this already, but I felt it was such an important point that it was worth repeating.

In conclusion: if this is a mislabeled piece of fiction written from the perspective of a character who is a petty, ageing punk who indulges in writing petulant rants and dressing them up as rambling, incoherent academic critique then congratulations, you’ve nailed it!

However, if this is actually a sincere essay, it gets a solid F+. The ‘+’ is awarded on the off-chance that you really are an only child who was raised in a barn with only your rancorous patriarch and pet woodlouse for company. Perhaps next time you could try typing with both hands?

PS

sold out