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Jesse Blackadder and Australia’s small town cultural life

By Life, Storytelling, Workshops, Writing No Comments
Jesse Blackadder, my co-creator on the ‘Dream Riders’ series of novels for young people - and principle author of Book Two in the series: Storm) died this year. Six months ago, during lockdown, after a short and unexpected illness. As well as her grieving partner and family and friends, she has left behind an important cultural legacy: the Storyboard program. Founded by Jesse in 2016, Storyboard brings writers into schools to run writing workshops in the Northern Rivers region of NSW where we both lived. In that short amount of time it's already reached over 27 000 young people, not…
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Introducing “Frankie”

By Friendship, Storytelling, Writing No Comments
Frankie is Book 1 in the Dream Riders series - a new middle-grade series I am co-writing with Jesse Blackadder, about horses, friendship and being true to yourself. The novels follow the lives of the Dream Riders as they enter the magical world of Pocket of Dreams ,and learn to ride without saddles or bridles, using only skill and rapport to direct the horse. It’s a skill they must draw on in every aspect of their lives, as they face their own challenges. The series sits within the classic tradition of stories about young people and horses – books like My Friend…
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Where are all the clever girls?

By Life, Storytelling, Writing No Comments
Last week I finally got to see Bruce Beresford's new movie, Ladies in Black, based on the novel by Madeleine St John. Two hailstorms and a cyclone had previously stopped me, and I was beginning to think I wasn't meant to go. But the skies cleared, I went, and I absolutely loved it - especially the idea that 'there's nothing so wonderful as a clever girl,' which is said by one of the characters in the movie, and is a theme which is developed and celebrated. It also made me sad. Angourie Rice, who plays one of the clever girls in the movie - Lisa -…
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By Events, Screenwriting, Storytelling No Comments
The contrast between writing a screenplay and writing a novel couldn't be more heightened when it comes to seeing your finished work for the first time - in a crowded cinema in Byron Bay in the case of the short film I wrote - Undertow, instead of in the privacy of my study, where I usually first get to see one of my published books. The film is gripping, beautiful, and moving. US audiences think so too, with the film winning loads of prizes, including Best Drama and Best Narrative at the New York Film Festival. The film does a…
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The review a writer dreams of …

By Storytelling No Comments
From The Weekend Australian, October 29th, 2016: Some novels owe their relevance to the moment in history defined by their theme and the actors who live the narrative. Others transcend time and place because of the universality of their argument, their characters and the landscape from which the narrative is drawn. Laura Bloom’s superb new novel, The Cleanskin, sits in the latter category and is destined to become a classic of its genre. Substitute the Northern Ireland sequences of this novel with any of today’s war-ravaged battlegrounds, and the secrets that haunt the protagonists could define almost any victim and perpetrator of past…
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Of pearls, beautiful young men and fine linen: an appreciation of Cheri.

By Storytelling 2 Comments
One of my favourite novels is Cheri, by the French author, Colette. It tells the story of a beautiful young man who is cossetted and spoiled by his mistress – in the dominating sense of that word - and lover, Léa, an older woman. The book opens in Léa’s boudoir, where she is dressing, and Chéri is lounging on her messy bed, naked except for a long string of Léa’s pearls. ‘Give them to me,’ he says, commanding, then pleading, then seductive. The pearls look beautiful on her, Léa reflects as she dresses, but they look even more beautiful on Chéri.…
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