Here's a good book

Spoke to debut novelist Mark Mulholland this week about his book A Mad and Wonderful Thing. It's about a funny, talented, charming boy who falls in love with a girl while his secret role as an NRA sniper kicks up another gear. It's gripping, and it turns out it is a story with real, chilling connections to Mulholland's life. The interview is here.



Hours of conversation

Months have passed in a blur of interesting conversations, including those hour-long chats I always enjoy when I drop by the Conversation Hour at 774 ABC radio. This year I've met some fascinating people, including some I have long admired. 

Among them the following:

Amy Tan and Ben Pfeiffer. Interview here.

Most amusing, hurtfully talented and extremely cheeky best-selling author Amy Tan. One of those people who lives life to the full and has thorough, thoughtful and considered insight into not only her experiences but her own work. What's more, she is in a HILARIOUS JOKE BAND with Stephen King, Matt Groening and one of my all-time personal heroes, Dave Barry. Amy plays "second tambourine" and is "lead rhythm dominatrix". Of course she is. We are chatting with Ben Pfeiffer. Speaking of hurtfully talented.

This conversation about ethics with Peter Singer and David Nyuole Vincent was a humbling and rewarding one that gave me hope. Funny how hope can come from topics like these.

This conversation about the Melbourne International Film Festival, war, music, and having the winter blues. This was on the Conversation Hour with Glenn Bartholomew, who was struggling heroically with a raspy voice.

An hour is a luxurious amount of time to talk to anybody. I haven't chatted to most of my friends for that long in years. It's a real privilege when the person you're sipping your cup of tea with is as quality as the human beings here.

PS I realise I should brush my hair before I go to these interviews. It never seems as important at the time.


Asylum Seekers

This week, we interviewed Daniel Webb from the Human Rights Law Centre on Breakfasters. He speaks clearly and reasonably about asylum seeker policy and, specifically, what happened in the last couple of weeks both on Manus Island and to the asylum seekers whose private details were posted online by the government.

The interview is here.

More about Daniel Webb and the Human Rights Law Centre here.


Happy February!

I've written a piece in the latest Meanjin, available at all good bookshops. It's about my grandfather, who hand-drew a personalised newspaper when he went on an overseas trip with my grandmother.

He was a pretty okay guy, I guess. It's just been posted online here.

I'm also back on air with these idiots every weekday from 6am until 9. Bliss.



The word has been spoken

A few years ago, I finally met Alicia Sometimes .

Having an interest in the arts and being a human being with eyes and arms and legs, I of course knew who she was and acted super cool sitting alongside her as a guest co-host of her 3RRR radio show, Aural Text.

I needn't have bothered. There's nothing like the three second silence on air while Timesie shouts OH! WE'RE ON! and shoves her headphones on backwards, turns to you calmly and back announces a track with wild hair, a huge grin on her face, and flawless professionalism (her spoken word collection is amazing). You might not know about Aural Text, but chances are if you work as a poet, writer, independent bookshop owner, or anybody doing anything vaguely interesting or alternative in the world of writing in Melbourne, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Alicia announced today that she'll be finishing up Aural Text this year. It's a unique show that literally nobody else could carry off and it will be missed by lots of people who rely on it to get the word out, or have their mind bent by some weird track where someone talks about how to play golf under water for seven minutes. Timesie, you're hilarious and ridiculous and also a writer who now has time to write and for that among all the other things, I salute you. Thanks for everything.