COME AND TALK TO ME at the SYDNEY WRITERS’ FESTIVAL, May 25 2017: i only have a new book out every few years, so please come and say hello. it’s at The Wharf in Hickson Road, Sydney.

Homemade Shorts: Australian Stories

Thu, 25 May 2017 1:30pm-2:30pm Panel

Philharmonia Studio

Sue Woolfe
Isabelle Li
Laura Elizabeth Woollett Julie Koh

Facilitator: Margo Lanagan

Some of Australia’s most exciting short story writers talk to Margo Lanagan about what it takes to tackle the beast that is short fiction. You’ll hear from bold new talent Julie Koh on her debut {Portable Curiosities}, Isabelle Li on her exquisite, finely-tuned collection {A Chinese Affair}, award-winning author Sue Woolfe on her new collection {Do You Love Me or What?}, and Laura Elizabeth Woollett on her, at times, horrifying yet beautiful exploration of love in {The Love of a Bad Man}.

  • Come and write with me: Come away to our writing retreat in Greece. With Kiriaki Orfanos, I’ve already taken two retreats on the little island of Kythera, and in 2017, we’re doing an advanced workshop by popular demand, for people who’ve already worked with me, this time in the beautiful mainland town of Nafplio.  See what previous retreaters got from coming away with us:  :
  • A new book: I’ve just finished a collection of short stories, written after I became legally blind for 6 months. Devastated by blindness and particularly by not being able to read, I came across the New Yorker short story podcasts.   I fell in love with short stories and after my third eye operation, when my vision was restored to about half strength, enough to see what I was doing, I wrote Do You Love Me or What? to be published March 2017 by Simon and Schuster. The stories however are not about blindness! They’re about the many moments when one comes of age. For me, that keeps happening-am I the only person like this?
  • But does my teaching of creativity work?: Many people insist creativity can’t be taught.  In 2017, we are embarking on research to test whether the creativity of my students is really enhanced : Doctors Rhoshel Lenroot, Patricia Morgan, Ashley Blazley, Anita Milcevic , playwright Stephen Sewell and I will put it to the test, with the co-operation and funding of the National Institute of Dramatic Art, and the input and co-operation of NIDA students. 
  • How this all started: I met Dr Lenroot at a dinner three years ago and told her I thought that my creative writing students seemed to greatly enhance their creativity. Could they be forming new neural pathways? Did my teaching enhance their creativity? Was there a way to measure this, and prove it? This year, we’ll put it to the test.
  • A new Australian Opera: Dr Andrew Ross, Head of Music at NIDA, has offered to workshop with his students 30 minutes of a new opera I’ve written with the composer Wendy Suiter, who ten long years ago asked me to write a libretto based on my 2004 novel The Secret Cure. It’s been a very steep learning curve for me.“The Secret Cure: the Opera”, is set in a science laboratory and features Wendy Suiter’s interest in found digital sound. My libretto was given financial assistance by the Literature Fund of the Australia Council.