Very happy to have been invited to take part in this wonderful, nutritious literary event in Melbourne on 26th February, 2.30pm at The Thornbury Theatre.
To answer various kind readers’ questions about the possibility of another book – finally – I’m back in the attic, and this is why:
When the Wentworth Courier rang to ask if I’d like to write a column (one that for years has been called Urban Goddess) – I said You betcha! And so it’s out this week, my first column, on dog poo. I thought I’d start at the bottom…
If you’d like a peek, go to Columns from an Urban Goddess.
Here’s what Pan Macmillan has to say about ‘Just Between Us’, coming out in June, 2013:
Empathetic, supportive and respectful…
Or competitive, manipulative and downright bitchy?
Or somewhere in between?
In Just Between Us Nikki Gemmell looks at the hardwiring that keeps us bonded in tightly knit packs, but makes us feel oh-so-claustrophic in mothers groups and at the school gate. Melina Marchetta reveals the peculiar shame of being overlooked for the high-status netball positions of Centre and Goal Attack. Liz Byrski conducts a forensic examination of her own friendship history, and finds some uncomfortable patterns. And Merridy Eastman pens a letter from Helena to Hermia from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which shines the light on one of literature’s most famously dysfunctional female friendships.
Maya Linden, Christie Nieman, Maggie Scott, Natalie Kon-Yu and Miriam Sved are Melbourne writers and academics. When they met in a writers group in Melbourne, they discovered they shared a dark secret: all had been dumped by a female friend at some point, and they all still carried the pain. Once they realised there was no book that examined these issues from a contemporary perspective, they decided to make their own.
What I say about it:
When I was about eight years old I got to play one of the fairies (Cobweb or Mustardseed, I can never remember) in a magical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. About twenty years later I was cast as Helena in the Shakespeare in the Park productions both in Sydney and Melbourne. Over four summers I became extremely familiar with this play (and with pyrotechnics, enormous spiders and territorial possums) and to this day can recite great chunks of it in my sleep! So when Pan Macmillan asked if I’d like to contribute a story, fiction or non fiction, to their book about fraught female friendships, I immediately wanted to write about young women wrestling with big stuff like loyalty, sexuality, rivalry, morality… And while driving past Kambala they came to me, like two teenage girls sitting up the back of a bus, Helena and Hermia from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one day holding hands, the next barely speaking to each other after a bizarre night spent with their boyfriends in an Athenian forest.
I can’t wait to get my hands on this book and read all the other stories too, written by some of my favourite writers!
On February 28th I’m thrilled to be guest speaker for Dymocks Literary Luncheon at the elegant Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney. So grab a friend or friends and come enjoy a delicious meal while I tell you how it all began… from Playschool presenter to brothel receptionist, being flown to London for a book launch only to be introduced on live telly as a sex worker (how to lose two kilos without moving) to being romanced by a tall chap in Lederhosen and ending up (at forty-two) relocating to Bavaria, three months pregnant without knowing a word of German!
For all details, CLICK ON THIS.
Hope to see some of you there.
Have been asked by a publisher to contribute to an anthology about friendship. Am so scared of upsetting people I know – (family!) have decided to make up something instead.
Will put details of book on site later, if my contribution makes it to the final cut that is… Back to the typewriter… Cheerio!
When the Royal Hobart Hospital Research Foundation rang to ask if I’d like to be guest speaker at their June 6th luncheon, I said yes, even before they promised to feed me. Not only would it be a pleasure to do something for this wonderful organisation that funds critically important medical research, but this way I get to see the Ancient Ruins (my parents) too. In fact, the Ruins will be there so I might put them to work and even get them to sign a few books… Can’t wait to catch up with the usual suspects, roam around Battery Point, Salamanca Place and the city, check out MONA with my friend Nic, and breathe some fresh Tassie air.
Here’s the flyer if you’re interested. Hope to see some of you there. x
“Wow, Pooh, was that you?”
“No Piglet. Christopher Hitchens. But it’s good, isn’t it?”
So I’ve proven a shocking blogger, absobloggy shocking, and not wanting to shirk responsibility, I blame Facebook. I’d sworn never to sign up with Facebook because I knew I would become addicted and it would rob me of precious time spent writing another book, reading someone else’s, or just hanging out with my husband and our seven year old son building the latest Atlantis Lego Turbo Submarine together. But my publisher, publicist and agent all agreed: You just can’t be an author these days and expect to sell books without a Facebook page, a Blog and a Twitter account. So I gave the first two a try. If I was as funny and entertaining as Stephen Fry or Marieke Hardy every twenty minutes, I might have given tweeting a red hot go. But I’m not.
So, after three months on Facebook (including setting up a personal FB page in order to launch the professional Author’s Page) I’m only just coming up for air now. The Author’s Page isn’t the problem. (Quite the opposite – I love hearing from my readers and wish I could have them all over for lunch!) It’s the other one that traps me for hours and hours on end. I’ve lost weekends inside this enormous nonstop party on the ‘interweb’ as my mother once called it. If I’m not careful I can spend hours browsing through my Friends’ photo albums, reading their funny comments, adding my own, ‘liking’ their favourite YouTube footage of bewildered animals, or children who’ve consumed too much sugar… or both. And sadder still is that I seem to have taken Tom with me. Before FB (when I thought Zuckerberg was somewhere in Austria) Tom and I would actually speak to each other after dinner. Now we sit at our computers in separate rooms and post messages on each other’s walls even asking for cups of tea. It’s just not right.
Less time consuming but more confusing is the ‘friending’ business. When my good friend Annie kindly helped me get started, she sent some kind of mayday call out to her FB friends suggesting, if they knew me, that they befriend me, and in just one day my dance card went from sparse to bursting. I’d never witnessed such a tsunami of emails in my life. I thought my iPhone was going to ixplode! ‘Yes’, I kept answering. Confirm Angie! Confirm Nicki! Confirm Alan! Confirm Torville! (Torville? Who the hell’s Torville?) Confirm Di. Confirm Steven. What larks, Pip! And oh look it’s Pip! Confirm Pip.
The next day I was sitting on the Rafters‘ bed, as we sometimes do on the Rafters set, when one of my lovely colleagues (now a FB friend) congratulated me on my amazing popularity – having acquired over a hundred friends in one weekend! Somewhat sheepishly, I admitted that some of my FB friends I didn’t actually know…very well…or even… at all… (and asked if she’d ever heard of a Torville). We were discussing where one should draw the line when it came to accepting friend requests on Facebook.
‘Someone once said to me,’ she said, ‘that you should only be Facebook friends with a person you’d have coffee with.’
And was that what she did?
My friend nodded with the sagacity of someone who could sleep at night, who knew for sure that someone called Torville wasn’t now flicking through photos of her family frolicking half naked on a beach in Fiji last July. I liked the coffee test. It meant you didn’t have to keep changing your Privacy Settings. And then I began asking other people how they dealt with Friend Requests on FB? Some befriended only their actual friends, some included acquaintances as well, and others just went friend-crazy. As I watched more requests come in from people who’d ignored me at school, from actors I’d once auditioned with, from kind theatre ushers who’d possibly helped my mum to her seat and children of ex-employers, I began to panic. I was contemplating whether or not to send them a very polite thank you explaining my coffee rule, when I got poked.
“What do I do?” I asked Annie over the phone, hiding where my laptop couldn’t see me.
“Poke him back.”
“But I don’t even know him!”
“Well, look him up and see if he’s poke-back worthy.”
I did, and had not one clue who my Poker was, so decided not to.
Anyway people, this is why I’ve been such a lousy blogger. But now that I’ve got my social networking finally under some sort of control (and Tom knows that if I’m on Facebook for more than one hour he’s to come into my study and throw a bucket of cold water over me) I think the Blog’s going to get much more attention. Unless I have absolutely nothing interesting to say, in which case I’ll suggest we all read someone else’s!
… like Karen Powers’ for example!
Karen is the kind of contagiously inspired teacher librarian we need more of in our schools, and I know, cause my mum was a committed teacher librarian too. On her Big Bookcase website, Karen promotes reading for the love of reading, and her 10 Reading Rules to help turn your child into a reader is compulsory reading for every parent. (I especially appreciated Number 6, as I needed a gentle slap there…). She also regularly reviews and recommends books, and yes, I’d be recommending Karen’s Blog/Website even if she hadn’t said nice things about How Now Brown Frau. On this page.
Ok. Blogging off now. Thank you for your kind patience, and please come back for more soon. Or else stay and tell me about your Facebook experience, or how you get your children to read, and enjoy reading.
Ok, so the first of these Sydney bookish events is at the Mosman Library this Wednesday, 2nd November. Please come along for a laugh as we discuss various misadventures I’ve had in brothels, on British book tours, and in Bavaria… with Bavarians. And I’ll be signing books if anyone wants one.
And the second is a Meet the Author evening next week, 10th November, at Vaucluse Public School. This one will be four for the price of one, as I share the stage with wonderful authors Nikki Gemmell, Karina Machado, and Kerri Sackville.
Please click on either of these events for details, and if you’re coming to the one at Vaucluse Public School, Berkelouw Books are providing copies for us to sign. I’ll be getting my signed copy of Nikki’s latest for sure.