26. On characters

We talk to two long time friends, Sarah Dollard and Lili Wilkinson, on how they approach writing character for the screen and on the page. We hear them discuss how they met, their approach to writing characters (even if they’re not human), and what makes for a great hero or villain.

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Our guests

Sarah

Sarah Dollard began her screenwriting career on Neighbours. Her career since then has seen her work on iconic series such as The Saddle Club Merlin, Primeval, Being Human,.and Doctor Who, She created and wrote her own rom-com series Cara Fi (in Welsh with English subtitles). She has worked on TV adaptations of Frances Hardinge’s YA novel “Cuckoo Song” and Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches.

lili

Lili Wilkinson is the author of ten books, including Scatterheart, Pink and The Boundless Sublime. She established insideadog.com.au, the Inky Awards and the Inkys Creative Reading Prize in her years working at the Centre for Youth Literature, State Library of Victoria. Lili has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne, and now spends most of her time reading and writing books for teenagers. Her latest novel is After the Lights Go Out.

Our thanks to Michael for kindly allowing Unladylike to borrow his wonderful studio for the recording of this episode.

25. On sisters

We talk to two best-selling authors, Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell, both prolific writers of women’s stories, who happen to be sisters.  What’s it like, growing up in a family of writers? Which literary or fictional sisters influenced them? What stories shaped them?

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Our guests

Kate ForsythKate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven. Her books include Bitter Greens, a retelling of the story of Rapunzel; The Wild Girl, based on the life of Dortchen Wild and the forbidden romance behind the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales; and The Beast’s Garden, set in the Resistance in Nazi Germany. She has sold more than a million copies around the world. Recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite Fifteen Novelists, Kate is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers. Her latest book is Beauty in Thorns, on the lives of the women of the Pre-Raphaelite circle.

Belinda MurrellBelinda Murrell has worked as a travel journalist, technical writer, editor and public relations consultant. Her books for children include the Sun Sword fantasy trilogy, timeslip novels The Locket Of Dreams, The Ruby Talisman, The Ivory Rose and The Sequin Star, and historical novels The Forgotten Pearl, The River Charm and The Lost Sapphire. Her Lulu Bell series for younger readers, about friends, family, animals, and growing up in a vet hospital has sold over 200,000 copies. Pippa’s Island is Belinda’s latest series.

Our thanks to Bendigo Writers Festival for enabling us to talk to Kate and Belinda while we were all participating in the wonderful 2018 festival.

(PS We recorded in an echoing room, right above the Green Room, so sorry about the echoey sound and the odd background noise. Risks of the field.)

24. On world building

We talk to two writers who have made their mark with stories full of adventure, high stakes and nuanced word building: Amie Kaufman and C.S. Pacat. We asked them to dig into their inspiration, process, research, and how they surprise their readers.

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Our guests

CSPCS Pacat’s Captive Prince series began its life as an original-fiction web serial, which attracted viral attention before being acquired by Penguin USA. It went on to become a USA Today bestseller, and beloved across the world. More recently, she created the comic book series Fence, with illustrator Johanna the Mad, published a series of short stories set in the Captive Prince universe, and has appeared on the ABC’s Book Club.

Amie KAmie Kaufman is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy for young (and not so young) adults. Her multi-award winning work has been published in 30 countries, and include the Illuminae series, co-written with Jay Kristoff, and the Starbound Trilogy and Unearthed Duology, co-written with Meagan Spooner. Her latest series is Elementals. Amie’s work is in development for film and TV, and she has won multiple Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, and a Gold Inky Award.

Visit our Great Reading page to directly link to their recommendations.

23. On collaboration

We talk to two women who make up a productive creative partnership: Mira Robertson, screenwriter, script editor, and now novelist; and Ana Kokkinos, film and television director and screenwriter. They have collaborated with each other, with other screenwriters, adapted novels and plays, and worked on their own projects. So we asked them about writing in collaboration, and in solitude.

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Our guests

Mira Robertson’s first novel, The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean, was published this year.

Mira Robertson

Mira Robertson.
Photo: Bonnie Elliott

Mira is an award-winning screenwriter who has also published short fiction. Her screen credits include Only the Brave (AFI Award for Best Script ) and Head On (AWGIE award for Best Adapted Script) – both co-written with Ana Kokkinos – and the documentary Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean. She has also worked as a script editor or consultant on many films including The Book of Revelation (again with Ana),  X,  and the documentaries Words from the City and Wilderness

Ana Kokkinos is an acclaimed film director and screenwriter. Her first feature, Only The Brave, Ana Kokkinosappeared at festivals around the world and one the Grand Prix at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Since then she has won numerous awards for her films including Head On (based on the novel Loaded by Christos Tsiolkas), The Book of Revelation, and Blessed, which won the Jury Prize for best script at the San Sebastián Film Festival. She has also directed episodes of some of Australia’s favourite television programs such as The Slap, The Secret Life Of Us, and the Time of Our Lives.

Poster for Blessed

Book cover, Emily Dean

22. On murder

What makes for a cracking crime story? We talk to three writers of crime fiction and fact – Kerry Greenwood, Vikki Petraitis, and Lindy Cameron – about murder,  survival, plotting (or not), research, and of course the Hon. Phryne Fisher.

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Our guests

Lindy Cameron is a crime writer and publisher.Lindy Cameron

Blood Guilt introduced us to her  fictional private investigator Kit O’Malley. Its sequels were Bleeding Hearts, which won the Readers’ Vote in the both Ned Kelly Awards and the Davitt Awards, and Thicker Than Water, which also won the Davitt Readers’ Vote.

She has written, co-written or edited true crime books including Meaner Than Fiction and the Outside the Law series, Killer in the Family , Murder in the Family, and Women Who Kill. Lindy also writes adventure stories of all kinds, including spy thrillers.

Her publishing company, Clan Destine Press, focuses on genre fiction, especially crime. She has been a National Co-Convenor of Sisters in Crime Australia for two decades.

 

Kerry GreenwoodKerry Greenwood is one of Australia’s most beloved authors. She has published more than 60 books, including the 20-book Phryne Fisher crime series which became the ABC TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

Kerry worked as a lawyer for many years, and her first Phryne book, Cocaine Blues, was published in 1989. Miss Fisher has since returned in a whole series of mysteries including Flying Too High, Murder on the Ballarat Train, Death Before Wicket, Away With The Fairies,  and The Castlemaine Murders.

Her other significant mystery series features baker/sleuth Corinna Chapman, who first appeared in Earthly DelightsHeavenly Pleasures, Devil’s Food, Trick or Treat, Forbidden Fruit, and Cooking the Books followed.

Kerry has also written plays, short stories, historical fiction including the Delphic Women trilogy, and fantasy and crime novels for young adults and children. Her nonfiction includes a book of essays on female murderers called The Thing She Loves: Why Women Kill, and two volumes of On Murder.

Kerry has a Ned Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award and the Sisters in Crime Davitt Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

Vikki PetraitisVikki Petraitis is a queen of true crime writing. Over the years, she has interviewed thousands of police officers, detectives – even accompanying them on active duty – forensic experts, and victims of crime.

Her books include Crime Scene Investigations, Cops, Rockspider, Salvation, Forensics, and, perhaps most famously, The Frankston Murders: The True Story of Serial Killer Paul Denyer.

She has won or been shortlisted for the Scarlet Stiletto, Ned Kelly, and Davitt Awards and won the John Hill Award from the Australian Police Journal.

Her latest book is Once a Copper, the story of Brian ‘The Skull’ Murphy.

 

Phryne Fisher

The Hon. Miss Phryne Fisher (played by Essie Davis, ABC TV)

 

21. On academia

We’re back.

Welcome to season 3 of Unladylike.

Here in Australia, it’s the start of the academic year. So in this episode, Kelly chats with a roundtable of women from different disciplines who all write and read academic articles, papers, books and essays – and teach other people how to write for academia. What makes good academic writing? And how do we master the form?

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Our guests

We gathered one evening, after a long day at the international symposium on Gender and Love at Aarhus University’s stunning Sandbjerg Manor House in Denmark.

The voices you can hear are:

Wernmei Yong Ade, Assistant Professor and Deputy Head in the English Programme, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Deirdre C. Byrne, Professor and Head of the Institute for Gender Studies, University of South Africa.

Serena Petrella, Associate Professor in Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies as well as Chair in Sociology, Brandon University, Manitoba, Canada.

Marianne Schleicher, Associate Professor in Jewish Studies, Department for the Study of Religion, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Chantelle Gray van Heerden, Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Gender Studies, University of South Africa.

(l-r) Serena, Marianne, Deirdre, Chantelle and Mei: classic academic gathering in a conference venue bedroom (with wine)

It’s a wrap – for now

Thanks for listening to Unladylike podcast.

With episode 20, we’ve come to the end of season 2. We’re taking a break over our summer holiday season (apologies to everyone in the northern hemisphere). But we’ll be back early next year.

First up in 2018: an international, interdisciplinary roundtable on academic writing, especially for all of us starting or resuming our studies or research.

So stay tuned.

And thanks again for all your support.

 

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