28 January, 2011

Year already running away from me

Charging into the deadlines here like a bull into a brick wall. *does not whinge about deadlines she brought on herself* *really, does not* *NO, Margo*

I hope you are all well.

The James Franco was a good read. I see a lot on Twitter about how pretty he is and where you can find pictures of his bottom, but you know, his brainbox isn't all that bad either. He has a strong stomach and a nice tight...style. :D

Tove Jansson's Travelling Light is also a fine read, as I knew it would be. I'm spinning this one out so it lasts longer. It's my Christmas present to myself—the only book I got, although there are vouchers still, oh yes.

I'm back at work 3 days a week (except when nice things like Australia Day reduce it to two)—have been since 4 Jan. Gee Sydney's peaceful in January, both public-transport-wise and campus-wise.

Yellowcake is happening, is a real printed book. Allen & Unwin sent me a copy to fondle last week, and today have followed it up with a thumping great boxful of them. So pretty, so yellow! Official publication date, 1 March. In Australia, that is. Looks as if the US and UK will have to wait a while for it to come out there, certainly until after the selkies novel.

Speaking of which (selkies), nothing horribly dramatic has happened since I sent off the revisions on 8 January. Nobody's said 'Itsperfectdontchangeaword', which of course is what you always want to hear, but nobody's said 'OMGtearuptheschedule', either, so things look okay that way.

In other news, our younger son started work as a bike courier in town this week. So, you know, pray for him and everything. And for us in our parently angst.

14 January, 2011

The Faber Academy—and a giveaway!

Writers from Sydney and surrounds, take a look at this wonderful thing: the Faber Academy’s ‘Writing a Novel’ course. If you’re a novelist, either developing or fully fledged, who needs a kick in the pants—well, several kicks in the pants by the sound of it—and some extensive hand-holding over a whole SIX MONTHS of Tuesday nights and Saturdays, you couldn’t do much better.

Thirty people will get to take this course: Kathryn Heyman (look at the fire in those eyes—will she ever get you churning out the chapters!) will teach fifteen people and the broodingly handsome The Resurrectionist author James Bradley will teach the other fifteen. Those are two top teachers, people.

As well as your tutor, you’ll get to hear from Malcolm Knox, Sue Woolfe, Bernard Cohen, Kate Grenville, one of the excellent A&U editors, Charlotte Woolfe and David Malouf. *wonders how she can sneak in to some of those guest nights*

The course will to be tailored to the class group’s needs, and there’s a pile of individual work going on in that provisional-ish course outline. I love the sound of ‘Individual Novel Surgeries’. There’s also a publishers and agents reading night—what might happen there, do you suppose?

Here’s Allen & Unwin’s press release about the Faber Academy venture, from back in November. Here’s Allen & Unwin’s page about the Academy, containing links to the extensive course outline (because it’s an extensive course!) and the instructions on how to apply.

Faber (for whom A&U are the distributor in Australia) started these courses in London in 2008, and now they’re all over the place. Some august names associated with them: Jeanette Winterson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Hanif Kureishi.

This sounds like a really solid course. A&U are hoping, they say, that you’ll emerge with a completed novel draft at the end of it. If you’re at the right point in your writing (and your finances), think about it.

I was going to blog about the Faber Academy anyway, but A&U have offered to support this post with a giveaway: a copy of James Franco’s short story collection Palo Alto. As you see, this book is not out until February, so you have the chance to be a whole week (see closing date) ahead of all other readers in Australia (although the contest is open to anyone, anywhere). ‘Claustrophobic and ominous’, ‘vices of all kinds, self-destructive, often heartless nihilism’, ‘stark, vivid, and disturbing’—can you resist?

If this sounds like your kind of read, tell me the stupidest thing you did in your misspent youth. You have one week to delve back into those embarrassing memories and come up with an impressive mistake you made, near-death experience you inflicted on yourself, or wild thing you did that makes you cover your eyes and shake your head today. (This contest is open to people still enjoying their misspent youths, too. I don’t mind how fresh the embarrassment is.) Type it below, and make us cringe!