Lots of things happening up here (down here?) in BrizVegas. First up: I have a wonderful new job. I get to write again (journalism) and I get to work with the lovely Matthew Condon, the new editor of Qweekend, the Saturday colour magazine of Brisbane’s only daily newspaper, The Courier-Mail.
You will know that Matt is a writer of fiction (lastly of the acclaimed The Trout Opera). Matt has had a very similar background and career as me (Queensland, journalism, fiction) and, curiously, I published him for the first time at the same time as I was being published for the first time myself. (I was editor, with Mary Roberts, of a collection of Queensland short stories called Latitudes: New Writing From The North UQP 1986).
Here’s a link to the magazine which I think is a terrific publication (I would say that wouldn’t I?).
In other news, I’ve been invited by the National Library to give the third Ray Mathew Lecture in August, at the library. Honoring the expatriate Australian poet who lived in New York for most of his life, previous speakers were Geraldine Brooks and Kate Jennings, both of whom now live in the US. I’m the first who actually lives in Australia, although I have been invited because I lived away from Australia in London for ten years until last year. The title of my lecture is The Prodigal Daughter, and I am using as my jumping off point Patrick White’s The Prodigal Son — now God forbid that anyone should think I am putting myself in the same category as the glorious White, but what I am hoping to do is explore how, and if, anything has changed for Australia’s artists since White wrote his essay in the 50s.
The other thing is that ABC Radio National\'s First Person has chosen my 2000 memoir A Better Woman as its book reading. It’ll be 10 parts, read by me, which I – gulp – think will be very exposing. There’s a difference between the words on the page, and hearing them spoken I reckon, and particularly these words. Did anyone hear Brenda Walker reading Reading by Moonlight? Wonderful. My book is now out of print, and the program will go to air later this year.
Oh, and I forgot also that I will be the new Fiction Editor, or Fiction Advisor or Fiction Something for Meanjin This doesn’t mean I will be choosing the fiction, which will remain the editor’s prerogative, but that I will be writing essays from time to time on Australian fiction — my title to be worked out.
Lastly, The Stella Prize or the Mango, or whatever you like to call it. I’ve posted about it above. Donations gratefully accepted.
One of the many reasons I wanted to come back to Oz was to participate once again in its cultural life — I am just so thrilled by these opportunities, and very, very happy to able to participate in them. I feel as if I have truly come home.