Archive for the ‘thirsty work’ Category

2013 in Review: Writing, Editing, Judging, Publishing and Targets for 2014

December 30, 2013 Leave a comment

2013 was a breakthrough year for me in a number of ways relating to my nebulous writing career. This year I wrote 100,000 words of prose fiction for the first time in a decade. In April and May I was an Emerging Writer-in-Residence at the KSP Writers’ Centre. I completed one novel, Yellowcake Summer, which was published by IP in September, and started working on another, Thirsty Work. This year I wrote just one short story, “A Void”, which was shortlisted for the Carmel Bird Award and was recently published in The Great Unknown, edited by Angela Meyer. I had a further three stories published in 2013, all of which were written in 2012, and I made my editorial debut alongside Andrez Bergen with The Tobacco-Stained Sky.


Like I said, I hit 100,000 words of prose written for the year, which I’m very happy about. The bulk of these words consist of the second half of Yellowcake Summer and the first half of Thirsty Work. 40,000 words of Thirsty Work were written in three weeks while I was at KSP, so I have the residency to thank for reaching this total. This is in additional to working full time as an English teacher, although I am lucky enough to have twelve weeks off from that per year.


Earlier this year I was invited by Andrez Bergen to co-edit The Tobacco-Stained Sky with him. Andrez had already selected a story of mine, “The Dying Rain”, for the anthology, but the book was in need of a prose editor and I was happy to step up to the plate. This was a demanding but enormously satisfying experience for me, and I’m very proud of the anthology. Thanks again to Andrez and to Kristopher Young of Another Sky Press for affording me this opportunity. I’ve always (rather perversely) enjoyed line-by-line editing, and as part of my KSP residency I also enjoyed mentoring WA writer Franci Leibenberg and editing a novel-in-progress of hers.


I was lucky enough this year to be invited by Martin Livings of the Australian Horror Writers’ Association to be one of three judges for this year’s AHWA Short and Flash Fiction awards. Working alongside Joanne Anderton and Ashlee Scheuerman, I had the rewarding task of reading dozens of stories in these categories and selecting the winners. The Flash Fiction winner jumped out at us, but the judges couldn’t split stories by Alan Baxter and Zena Shapter in the Short Fiction category. All three stories have since been published in Midnight Echo.


2013 was a watershed year for me in publishing, with one novel and no fewer than four short stories seeing print. I’m especially pleased of that second figure, as it represents all four stories I wrote in 2012 and 2013. Sequel to 2011’s Yellowcake Springs, Yellowcake Summer won Best Fiction in this year’s IP Rolling Picks competition and was published by IP in September. A science fiction story, “The Last First”, was published in Alien Sky from Another Sky Press, edited by Justin Nicholes. The other three stories are set in the universe of Andrez Bergen’s Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat. “Blue Swirls” was the first to see (digital) print in the first issue of Tincture Journal, edited by Daniel Young. “The Dying Rain” got a gig in The Tobacco-Stained Sky, as explained above, and recently “A Void” found a home in The Great Unknown.

Targets for 2014

It’s seldom a good idea to state one’s future targets so publicly, but here goes. In 2014 I aim to completely finish Thirsty Work by May 31st in time to submit it to the Australian/Vogel Award, and if that doesn’t work out I’ll start doing the rounds regarding potential publishers and literary agents thereafter. I’d also love another opportunity to pursue a Writer-in-Residence position in Perth or elsewhere. I want to try my hand at writing some literary stories for submission to Australian journals like Meanjin and Overland, but even if I get somewhere with that, those stories won’t see print until 2015. So 2014 certainly won’t match 2013 in terms of novels and stories published. I’d love to hit the 100k mark in writing next year, but that will probably be dependent on obtaining another residency. This will also necessitate me starting work on a new novel, perhaps another crime novel. So far I have a title for that and nothing more: Opprobrium.

Videos from my Literary Dinner at KSP on 7th May

Check out the media section on my official website for some newly-uploaded videos of readings from my recent Literary Dinner at KSP on May 7th. Here you’ll find me reading from Yellowcake Summer, “The Dying Rain” and Dan: A Cautionary Tale.



My time as Emerging Writer-in-Residence at the KSP Writers’ Centre

May 2, 2013 2 comments


My time as Emerging Writer-in-Residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre has been an extremely busy and enormously productive one. I did a short, five day stint over Easter and then a longer, three week block from April 15th to May 5th 2013. My major goal for this period was to produce 40,000 words on a new novel, Dan: A Cautionary Tale. I actually didn’t start writing the novel at all over Easter, so I left myself just 21 days to write this amount, setting myself an ambitious target of 2000 words per day. I’m happy to report that as of today, May 2nd, I’ve written 36,000 words and foresee no problems in reaching my target on or before May 5th. I’ve also had the opportunity to read from Dan at several of the regular KSP groups, including the Tuesday morning group, Writefree women’s group. Thursday Night Group and Speculative Fiction group. I found these writers very welcoming and enthusiastic about Dan, and I got plenty of confidence from that.

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I needed it, too, as one of my other tasks was to read from the novel on RTR FM’s ‘Artbeat’ program. This was only my second time appearing on the radio (the other was last year on York FM) and I was very nervous. I had earlier read a chapter from Dan at the Thursday Night Group that had seemed to go down especially well, so I chose this short, 1000 word chapter to read on the radio. The chapter features our protagonist Will attempting to get his forklift ticket so that he can drive the forklift legally at the bottleshop where he works. I managed to read the excerpt live without any major mishaps, and in the end I was glad to have done so. You can listen to this reading here:

Tobacco-Stained Sky_COVER

In my first stint over Easter, before I got started on Dan, I was busy working on a project called The Tobacco-Stained Sky: An Anthology of Post-Apocalyptic Noir. In 2012 I had been invited by author Andrez Bergen to write a story for this themed collection, set in post-apocalyptic Melbourne, and for this I had written a story “The Dying Rain”. As it transpired, however, the anthology was short a prose editor, and so when I was offered the opportunity to take on this role I jumped at the chance. Thus I had 60,000 words of prose to tweak, as well as an introduction to write, which consumed my attention during this Easter period. The anthology will be out from US publisher Another Sky Press later this year.

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Wedged between my Writer-in-Residence stints was KSP’s ‘2013 Writers and Performance Festival of the Asian-Australian Voice’, which I’ve written about more extensively here: This was an amazing weekend and a great opportunity to meet and mingle with a whole host of talented writers including Benjamin Law, Oliver Phommavanh, Lily Chan, Nadine Brown, Jackson and plenty of others. The festival ended on Sunday April 14th, meaning that I was literally moving into KSP the day those talented writers were moving out.

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Writers-in-Residence at KSP are treated very nicely: they are afforded accommodation in one of three newly-built retreats: Aldridge, Clarke and Phillips. I stayed in the Aldridge chalet and I found this to be a very cosy writing space indeed. For cooking, not that I did a tremendous amount of it, I had the use of the main kitchen up at Katharine’s house. During my stay, I also had the opportunity to attend several book launches in Perth and Fremantle, including those for Lee Battersby’s novel The Marching Dead and Bruce Russell’s Reunion. This Sunday I’m also off to Rockingham to meet author Kaaron Warren, who will be in Perth hosting a number of events, including one organised by the very same Lee Battersby, himself previously a Writer-in-Residence at KSP.

guy looking sneaky

One of my major tasks as Writer-in-Residence was to prepare and run a three hour workshop. My workshop, “Sail into Publishing: Charting a Course for Your Writing Career”, was held on Saturday 27th April and by accounts it went well. I went a little overboard on the slides (83 in all, even though a lot of them were pictures) and thus I had to rush through my presentation toward the end. I covered an awful lot about what I’ve learned about publishing in this presentation; if you’d like to download it, you need only to paste this link into your web browser and the presentation will start downloading:

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Earlier today, I had the opportunity to assist Dr Melissa O’Shea in running the third day of this year’s Write-a-Rama, a workshop for 10-15 year-old students. I first participated in this program last year, so I knew pretty much what to expect. My task today was to assist students in learning how to properly edit their own work, although I did manage to work some theory on writing into my talk as well. I was very impressed with the calibre of writing on display and I thank Melissa for giving me the opportunity to work with these students again.

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Lastly, on Monday I gave an interview to students from Eastern Hills SHS who had come to KSP to make a documentary film for a school assignment. I spoke to them about my time at KSP and also provided a little history about Katharine Susannah Prichard and Hugo Throssell. Here I was assisted by KSP stalwart Chris Oakeley, who helpfully produced some speaking notes for me. I’d also like to acknowledge the amazing work done by KSP’s Co-ordinator Shannon Coyle and its Chairperson Renee Hammond. While I’m at it, thanks must also go to Treasurer Robert Perks and Management Committee members Danika Potter, Karen Treanor and Mardi May. Each of these people has assisted me in some way over these past weeks and months, and I thank them for their tireless efforts in working for the benefit of KSP.

KSP Easter 2013 050

I’m nearly done now: I have just 4000 more words to write on Dan, as well as a Literary Dinner to read at this coming Tuesday. This will be one of KSP’s series of literary dinners for the year, at which the Writer-in-Residence reads for three lots of ten minutes. I’ll be reading excerpts from my soon-to-be-published third novel Yellowcake Summer, “The Dying Rain” and Dan. My final task as a Writer-in-Residence will be to mentor a promising KSP writer, and for this I have chosen to assist Tuesday morning group regular Franci Leibenberg. Franci and I have been competing of late to see who can hit 40,000 words on their novel the quickest, and my plan is to assist Franci in structuring her work-in-progress over the coming weeks and months.

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I think that’s it. For exercise I’ve been walking up Old York Road, quite a steep climb, and on occasion I’ve made it to the nearby John Forrest National Park. But frankly, a lot of the time I’ve been too busy to stray far. It’s not often in life that one gets the opportunity to do what one truly wants to do for an extended period of time, but that’s exactly how it’s been for me here at KSP. It’s been an amazing time.

KSP Easter 2013 054


April 26, 2013 Leave a comment

FROM THE BLOGguy's ksp author pic

Friday 26th April / posted by Rhian Todhunter


Literary prize-winner Guy Salvidge is a busy man.

With two stories being published this year, a sequel underway, and plans to start a crime novel in the near future – writer in residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre, Guy Salvidge joins me to treat us to a live reading and look at his busy schedule.