I am tremendously honoured to have a story published in the 80th anniversary issue of Southerly Journal. My strange, darkly comic story ‘Progeny’ appears alongside the work of marvellous writers like Tug Dumbly, Stuart Barnes, Grace Yee, and Mandy Sayer.
Congratulations to the Southerly team on successfully reaching octogenarian status!
Ladies and gentlememes, if you frequent this little corner of the internet on a regular basis then you may have heard that as part of the Brisbane Writers Festival I had a short story, Lenore Meets a Mack Truck, printed on a few cushions scattered around the festival thanks to the good folks at Tiny Owl Workshop. There were a total of five printed, one of these was sold to a charming gentleman who told me he was going to also buy one of Sam George-Allen‘s and make his children fight with them, which sounds hilarious and delightful.
I’m going to keep two of them myself, but I thought it might be fun to give the remaining two homes in strange and unknown places. As a special preXmas offer, anyone who purchases either Zeb and The Great Ruckus or A Beginner’s Guide to Dying in Indiadirect through this website in the next week goes into the draw. One book = one chance. You buy both books, you double your chances. You buy 50 copies, you’ve pretty much got it in the bag (hint).
One has a shiny blue backing and the other is chocolate brown with tassels. Because everything is better with chocolate and tassels.
My only caveat is that, because these cushions are super large, you’re either going to need to pick them up from my house in Paddington (QLD) or, if you live within a half hour drive of the Brisbane CBD I’ll deliver one to your doorstep. Remember, there are only 5 of these IN THE WORLD, or to put it in modern terms, there are only five times as many of these story cushions as there are women in Tony Abbott’s cabinet. HURRY HURRY HURRY CLICK CLICK CLICK!
Here is a handsome man holding one of the super fun story cushions. Perhaps by winning one of these cushions you will either become or acquire a handsome man of your own! It certainly wouldn’t be the most ridiculous thing a promotion has ever promised you, I’m sure.
PS This is super secret, but in addition to being a standalone microfiction piece, this story is also the opening page of a novel entitled Lenore’s Last Funeral. I’ve only just started writing the first few chapters, so it’ll probably be released sometime in the next few years. It will most likely be the weirdest thing I’ve ever written. You can think of these cushions as an ultra-exclusive sneak preview.
I’m going to be doing a twitter interview thing from 9am AEST today. Hit me up with questions about writing, poetry, art, quantum physics, home decorating tips, that weird rash on your elbow etc. https://twitter.com/jmdonellan
Hello there humans and approximate facsimiles, I am excited to tell you that this week I am in the middle of a blog tour. A blog tour is basically like a hedonistic punk rock tour except without all the hotel room trashing. Or chain smoking. Or public performance. Or actual touring. But what it does mean is that I get to talk to people all over the world via the comfort of my couch and pyjamas. The tour includes a couple of interviews with different blogs and a few different pieces I’ve written on different aspects of writing, plus a tiny confession about when I pretended to be a woman. I’ll be cataloguing them all here, feel free to respond either in comments below or on the various websites hosting the tour.
How are you? I’m well. I mean, I am now. I did enjoy a brief little jaunt in the emergency room because a team of furious invisible werewolves were trying to tear open my brain whilst huffing over me with hot, rank breath (I believe the medical term is ‘Influenza A’) but then I took a lot of potent medicine (yay science!) and lived to go to my book launch. This is fortunate, because being dead at my own book launch would have put quite a dampener on things. Although, come to think of it, it would have made for gangbuster sales…
Nevertheless, it was a grand evening. There were some astoundingly good performances from some of my Write Club students. If you’ve never heard an adorable nine year old girl get up in front of a hundred people and tell a story that starts “This is the story of how I died,” then you haven’t lived. Or died, for that matter.
Kathleen Jennings, the illustrious illustrator, was there to sign some books too and even did up this great little sketch of the kids.
And then there was the after party. It was one hell of a ruckus, featuring a bunch of great bands and some of Brisbane’s best poets. However, I’m not allowed to discuss details because of…um…legal reasons?
Black Cat books has only a handful of copies left if you want to run in and snap one up, otherwise it’s available direct from Odyssey Books and all the other usual places. If you were one of the gorgeous people that picked up a copy on the night I would love love love for you to put up a review on goodreads,amazon or just yell at people on the bus about how great it is. I will thank you with all of my heart and most of my liver.
PS I recently did a post for my friend, the wonderful poet and author Jessica Bell about placing art in boxes. You can read it here.
Hello there citizens of internetland, I trust you are well. I have a heap of announcements that are so exciting that they really should be all IN CAPS but we all know that can be quite annoying so I’ll try and RESTRAIN MYSELF (whoops…) Zeb will see its full, really really real release (try saying that five times fast) in just a few days. Or a few dozen hours. Or a few thousand minutes. You get the idea. Great big squishy thanks to everyone who has already pre-ordered. You are the best.
For those currently residing in Australia, you can grab it direct from the publisher HERE. This gets me slightly more money than buying it through other retailers, for those lovely people among you who actually care about your money going to the artist so that they can afford extravagant luxuries like rent, socks and copious quantities of two-minute noodles.
Residents of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Andorra, Angola, Madagascar, the UK, the USA or anywhere else in the milky way, you can get it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. (Amusing sidenote: I once had a friend tell me her slightly eccentric mother had said of Amazon: “It’s so amazing that they can run the world’s largest bookstore from the middle of the jungle!”) UPDATE: Kindle version now available HERE.
Zeb is also available for ITUNES for just $4.99. Seriously, that’s (very very slightly) less than $5. Yes, that’s right, while you’re shopping for Justin Bieber singles or Colonel Claypool’s Bucketful of Bernie Brains albums or old episodes of Xena: The Warrior Princess you can also grab a copy of my book for your ipad.
A list of things that cost less than $5
For those of you who are broke because you spent all your pocket money on yu-gi-oh cards (let’s be honest, we’ve all been there) you should head HERE and see if you can win a copy for FREE (which happens to be my favourite price).
ZEB AND THE GREAT RUCKUS LAUNCH PARTY (& AFTER PARTY!)
BLACK CAT BOOKS
(179 Latrobe tce, Paddington)
September 21st, 5pm
Last but not the opposite of most, don’t forget the launch is next week at Black Cat books followed by a crazy, riotous after party at my house around the corner. Facebook event HERE. This will not be your ordinary launch, no siree Bob. There will be music, performances from some of the best poets in Brisbane, readings, some Qs and some As and all kinds of messy, crazy fun. Finally, here is a great video from one of my favourite people on why books are amazing. Thanks for reading. I hope your day is filled with guitar solos, fireworks and high fives.
My Dearest Queensland, I have just returned from a weekend swimming in your resplendant blue waters at Stradbroke island, followed by two nights in the majestic sunshine coast hinterland, only to return to Brisbane and discover that Campbell 'I hate the arts so much you'd think they strangled my puppy' Newman has scrapped the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards. Bewilderingly, he has deigned to do this during The OFFICIAL YEAR OF READING. Did no one send him a memo? Perhaps they did, and he didn't read it. After all, he has publicly stated that he's 'not into studies and plans.' Not sure how he managed to get an engineering degree, if that's the case…
The money he's 'saving' is a paltry $224 000, an amount that is miniscule in terms of a state budget, but means a great deal to the arts. We are talking about BOOKS here! In the words of George R. R. Martin (via Tyrion Lannister): "The mind need books like a sword needs a whetstone." Newman, it would appear, is all too happy to have some very blunt swords at play.
"If I had to choose between Joffrey and Newman… Hrm. Is there a third option? Stabbing my eyes out with a fork perhaps?"
The loss of the Premier's Literary Award is a devastating blow to the QLD literary community, and if there's one thing I've learnt from a misspent youth reading too many fantasy novels, revenge is a cycle which always ends in joyous victory of good over evil with no sideline ramifications whatsoever. That's why I am, today, right now, announcing the Inaugural Premier's Obituary Award. Whoever can create the most amusing protest (of any kind) against this atrocity, or Mr. Newman in general, will receive:
+ ZEB AND THE GREAT RUCKUS (Um…it doesn't have a cover design yet…)
How are you? I know that you are rather busy unreasonably oppressing refugess in direct violation of the UN charter that you signed, but I wondered if you might address something for me.
The thing is; I love libraries. At a library I can instantly attain one of the things that I love most in the world: books. Not only this, but I can sit and read them in air conditioning with a view of the river and really weird fluroscent lighting, all for zero dollars. This is convenient as it just so happens that free is my favourite price. Not to play the poor starving artist card, but as it happens I am a poor starving artist. It says so right here, where I wrote it in purple texta:
This is a picture of a piece of card with the
words 'I am a starving artist' written in purple
This ironically means that I can’t afford to buy lots of books. Thus libraries are wonderful. The only problem however, is that whilst reading a book I am temporarily prevented from writing books of my own. If I were to attempt to do such a thing my books would basically just be regurgitations of whatever books I was reading in a specific time period. This kind of thing is called plagiarism and is generally frowned upon, unless your name is James Cameron in which case people like to give you academy awards and several billion dollars for being very extremely good at plagiarism.
I would like the goverment to set up other services where I can get things that I enjoy for free. Here is a list for your convenience:
Nature (this used to be free, but is not mostly owned by rich jerks who build giant fences.)
Food (but not the dead animal flesh kind).
Art (the good kind, not the I-went-to-art-school-because-I-wanted-an-excuse-to-wear this-yellow-lycra-jumpsuit kind.)
If you could get right on that it would be very much appreciated. In turn I will continue to pay my tax dollars which I earn through selling my books to people who are allergic to libraries. By current estimates by tax contirubtion is 0.00000000000000000000000000000000314% of the national GDP and in light of this fact I would think that you would take this suggestion very seriously.
Thankyou and I hope you have a lovely day incarcerating people who are escaping from war-torn countries.
Yours Since Clearly,
This is an artpiece made of art by an artist that says' Todo Esta Muy Caro' which is spanish for 'everything is very expensive.' If the artist had been working in Australia, he may have instead written 'todo esta muy, muy fucking caro.' Except that we probably wouldn't have let him in account of that fact that he spoke foreign talky sounds. And even worse, is an artist.
be forgiven for thinking that 2009’s Sounds of Spring was a government
conspiracy to lure all the violent bogans in Brisbane into one concentrated
area for scientific observation. Whilst shirtless, ass-grabbing, beer
can-hurling jerks are an unfortunate certainty at just about any festival,
today it seems like they constitute the vast majority of the crowd, by way of
of many elefant traks artists on the S.O.S. bill. Astronomy Class deliver a
solid, high energy set. Bass lines from here ‘til new year underpin fluid flows
and rapid rhymes. This is a group that obviously loves what they do and they
crowd responds enthusiastically. Although, just quietly, most of the people in
the tent appear so blitzed that you could just place one of those toy monkeys
with a cymbal and a motorised disco ball in front of them and tell them it was
the chemical brothers and they’d be happy.
elefant traks act, this is a duo that not only takes the cake, but remixes it
into a delicious funk and hash laced truffle. This is top level instrumental
hip-hop. Fuzzed up, dubbed out, spliced up beats and scratches all cut up with
the samples that matches. It’s not every day you see a group that can
seamlessly blend dubstep, dancehall, salsa and aussie hip-hop all within the
time it takes to prepare a pack of maggi noodles. Hermitude pull out some crowd
pleasing scratch technique and keytar solos that leave an already ecstatic
crowd nearly catatonic with glee.
of the underground rock scene (I was going to say indie, but that word has been
inconveniently re-appropriated) the Fauves are a solidly entertaining act.
Bouncy basslines form the backdrop to some very catchy melodies and hilariously
self-effacing banter; both in lyrics and between songs. If you want to quit
your job, start dating a girl who works in a comic book/record store and start
a band then this is the perfect soundtrack for your misadventures.
a band that is well suited a festival crowd, British India tear straight into a
riotous set that has punters singing along at the top of their soon to be
dust-encumbered lungs. The radio singles are the obvious highlights; ‘run the
red light’ in particular is well received. The band don’t waste a lot of time
with banter, but make use of the ol’ live version breakdown/build up and give
the crowd more they want in spades. A mid set power cut only serves to enamour
punters even more when the amps click back on. The band rip through a selection
of old and new material, before departing to thunderous applause.
WA based 5 piece draw their material tonight almost entirely from the excellent
‘Cruel Guards’ record. Making their way through the uplifting JJJ favourite ‘Don’t
fight it,’ the majestic ‘Get us home’ and the sombre but enchanting title track
of their recent album. ‘Ruins’ would have been a set highlight for me, if not
for the couple who instead on furiously macking in front of me. Just a note to
you two lovebirds: singing along to a song where the lead vocal hook is: “I
don’t know what we’ll become / I just know that I’m not the one / Yeah I know
that I’m not the one.” with absolutely no trace of irony whilst staring
sickeningly into each other’s eyes may have been hilarious if it wasn’t so
Perth pop-rockers (what the hell do you call people from Perth? Help me
wikipedia help me!) Little Birdy take the stage next, opening with catchier
than syphilis-on-a-convict-ship single ‘come on, come on.’ A black and white
clad Katy Steele leads the band through a wide selection of material old and
new including ‘Relapse,’ ‘Beautiful to me’ and other helium voice drenched pop
melodies. The songs form a strangely sweet sonic backdrop to the arrival of a
dust storm that makes the sky resemble the set of Apocalypse now.
Butterfly effect deliver everything you’d expect and then some, their set is a
sonic wall loud guitars paired with Clint’s distinctive melodic roar backed by
a solid rhythm section. No strangers to the festival stage, the Brissie quartet
have the crowd in the palms of their sweaty hands. Regardless, all I can think
whenever I see this band’s name is how pissed off they must have been when that
2004 Ashton Kutcher movie came out.
at this point I was forced to depart due to the least rock and roll end to an
evening possible: severe and heinous reaction to tiny dust particles that
caused my brain to feel as though it had been invaded by two morris dancing
elephants. I’ll make up for it by getting into a fight with a bouncer Lady
Sovereign style next weekend, I promise.