Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

May 24, 2010

Cats, Peking Duck and Sydney Writers


Cats and Peking Duck

I had a fabulous weekend in Sydney, courtesy of my daughter Erin who took me to dinner and to the musical ‘Cats’ at the Lyric Theatre.

Cats is a slick, fun, energetic performance where Rum Tum Tugger nearly stole the show, though Mestoffelees just managed to eclipse him with his magical illusions and acrobatics. The set, costumes, dancing, singing and acting were all spot-on. There were fun moments when the cats prowled through the stalls and interacted with the audience. A real treat.

We had yummy Peking Duck at the Emperor’s Garden restaurant.

On the topic of delicious meals– food writer, critic and editor Jacqui Fisher’s blog has really fab recipes, the latest from the Congo.

Jacqui is deputy chief subeditor and online editor for the Woolworth’s Australian Good Taste.

It was quite a buzz to open the pages of  Antiques & Art in New South Wales May – September 2010 issue and see the Sydney launch of Fear Factor Terror Incognito

featured in the ‘Out and About’ pages (p7). The write-up includes photos of the excellent launch at the Hughenden Hotel in Woollahra.

Sydney Writers’ Festival

Of course, we went to Pier 4/5 for some of the Sydney Writers’ Festival events.

Intermittent showers didn’t deter the crowds on the pier and most, if not all, sessions were booked out.

I spotted Anita Heiss and Linda Jaivin among other well known authors on the pier; and caught up with good friend Wendy Ashton.

The sun shone for a while and it was a pleasant few hours catching up with people over a cup of coffee. I was keen to hear the Short Story session among others.

Have you been to the SWF, what did you see and hear? What events did you enjoy the most?

If you’ve missed some of the sessions at the festival or weren’t able to get to Sydney,  you can catch up with podcasts of many of the sessions on the link above.

It was a beaut weekend in Sydney and I had the best fun spending time with my daughter.

Erin’s cute long-hair Mexican Chihuahua is entered in a competition-vote for Taco

Roanna on Radio

Roanna Gonsalves has been commissioned to write and present a program about Indian students after ABC Radio National read Roanna’s Curry Muncher story.

Listen to or download the ABC audio version of Doosra: The life and times of an Indian student in Australia and companion piece O Other Where Art Thou .

Roanna (Gonsalves) and Rosie (Scott) at the Launch of Fear Factor Terror Incognito at The Hughenden.



Listen to a podcast of Valerie Khoo with Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Swan Thieves.




New Books

Short and Scary

Short and Scary – A whole lot of creepy stories and other chilling stuff. The book suits 11-14 year olds.

Edited by Karen Tayler, published Black Dog Books

All profits are donated to youth mentoring programmes.

Contributors include Jackie Hosking, Shaun Tan, James Roy, Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton, James Moloney, Susanne Gervay and many others.

Black Dog Books invited Australia’s best loved authors and illustrators and new authors and illustrators to join together to create an exciting, funny, scary and innovative books of short stories and creative works. Dip in and be scared and delighted.

The Kids and Young Adult Literature Festival

3 July, 9.30 – 5pm

‘Youth Literature Reaching the World’

with keynote speaker Gabrielle Lord. Her huge international best selling 12-book series Conspiracy 365 is taking the ‘fugitive’ style young adult conspiracy into South America, USA, Europe.

The Festival will include:

• Publishers, script film writers, playwrights, major authors and illustrators who will speak about innovative Australian works;

• A pitch-your-work section with opportunities to network with people in the industry;

• Celebrated authors from fantasy writer Kate Forsyth to the ABC TV team of Nadia Wheatley’s My Place;

• Book launches;

• Publishers from the major houses including HarperCollins and Random House, as well as new small publishers.

Bookings are essential. It will be held at the NSW Writers Centre, on the Rozelle grounds of Callan Park.

Email: or visit:

Some current writing competitions and awards you might like to check out

Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing Contest

The Winner Earns $500 to Share their Living Abroad Experiences.

Visit the website to find out more.

Australia’s Richest Radio Play Writing Competition 2010

Closes: 30 June

The launch of Australia’s Richest Radio Play Writing Competition in Miles, Queensland in September 2009, challenges writers around Australia to write a 30-minute radio play about contemporary issues that effect and impact upon our lives.

Prize money of $6000 will be awarded to the top four scripts.

Winners will be announced in September 2010. Visit the website to find out more.

Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing

Closes 21 September

Travelers’ Tales runs an annual award to honour great travel writing.

Head to to learn more about the Solas Awards and the $1000 Grand Prize for ‘Best Travel Story of the Year’.

Awards are offered in many categories, covering the full scope of travel writing, from adventure to funny, spiritual, women’s, food related, memoir, destination, and more. All entries will be considered for Travelers’ Tales books.

Stories submitted after the deadline will be entered in the following year’s contest. So it’s never too late.

Writing Tip

Polish some stories that you’ve been working on or have languishing in the bottom drawer. Join a critique or writing group to help you revise and edit your work. Enter your story, poem or play in a competition or submit to publications. Use the colder months of the year to finish, revise, polish and edit your work. Make sending your work to a competition or publication your goal for this winter.

December 5, 2009

Writing and Publishing News

No change to parallel importation legislation

The government has decided against accepting the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to remove parallel importation restrictions which means there will be no changes. This is a victory for the ASA and its members who waged a vigorous campaign against changes to the legislation. It was a long and hard fought campaign involving a great many people and many letters and petitions. You can read more about this and find further links on Jeremy Fisher’s blog

It’s a great delight to announce that the Pan Macmillan Picador India edition of “Fear Factor Terror Incognito” has been released and is on the bookshelves in India right now. I have received copies and seen it. The book is a beautifully produced smart looking edition. I am very proud to be associated with this anthology.

Fear Factor Terror Incognito

I have had very kind and encouraging comments from some of the authors who contributed to this volume of stories and have just received their author copies from Delhi. Congratulations to all of you and thank you all for your patience. I very much appreciate all your positive comments about the anthology and the ‘fine production qualities this book displays’.

The Pan Macmillan Picador Australia edition will be released in March 2010, with a Sydney launch and other events in Sydney, featuring co-editor Meenakshi Bharat and Sujata Sankranti who are visiting from Delhi, India.

Well done to Dr Andrew Y M Kwong, whose story ‘Snake Business’ is included in “Fear Factor Terror Incognito”. Andrew has received some very good advice and comments from Varuna about his book length manuscript. It is a gripping and strong narrative. Andrew is now working on his final draft and I’m sure it is only a matter of time before his memoir will be published. Andrew was a refugee from Communist China and has been a well respected doctor and Australian citizen for many years now. His narrative is a moving tribute to the endurance and triumph of the human mind and spirit over unimaginably horrific conditions and experiences. It is told with the ease and confidence of a true storyteller. One to watch out for.

Congratulations to Roanna Gonsalves. ABC Radio National read Roanna’s ‘Curry Muncher’ story and has commissioned her to write and present a program about Indian students. Roanna is working on her first novel with the support of Varuna Writers Centre and an Australia Council New Work Grant for Emerging Writers. Her novel was long-listed for the Vogel Award Her short story Curry Muncher, inspired by the recent attacks on Indian students in Australia, was published in Eureka Street in June 2009. You can read more of Roanna’s work and her story ‘Curry Muncher’

More congratulations to Christopher Cheng for his 2009 Lady Cutler award, this is an annual award presented for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature. Christopher is a children’s Author and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Co-Regional Advisor–Australia & New Zealand, he was also Federal Literacy Ambassador for Literacy and Numeracy Week for four years from 2004 – 2008.

Susanne Gervay gave the citation speech at the Lady Cutler Award 2009 ceremony.

More at: and with photos on Susanne’s blog

More information about the Lady Cutler Award,

Christopher Cheng has also released a new book: “60 Classic Australian Poems”, Written by Christopher Cheng and illustrated by Gregory Rogers, which has been published by Random House Australia, see link at

Elizabeth Webby launched the latest anthology from The Company of Writers at the NSW Writers’ Centre on December 4. “Secret Cows” is now available from the Company of Writers and selected bookshops.

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