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)

20. On kissing

What makes a great ‘kissing book’? We talk to Anna Campbell and Kylie Scott, two leading writers of romance novels, about spirited heroines, suspense, banter, intellectual equality, drama, subtext, laughter, sexual tension, feminism, tropes, and happy endings.

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Our guests

Kylie Scott

Kylie Scott is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was twice voted Australian Romance Writer of the year by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association, writes across different genres, and her books have been translated into eleven different languages.

Her books include the Flesh, Stage Dive and Dive Bar series, the YA romance Trust, and novellas including Colonist’s Wife and the upcoming 1001 Dark Nights.

 

 

Photo by Robyn Hills 

Anna Campbell is an award-winning writer of Regency romance. Her books, series, and novellas have been published in twenty countries.

Anna’s first novel, Claiming the Courtesan, was the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year. Since then, her books have gone onto win many awards from the Golden Quill to the RITA Award. Her latest is The Christmas Stranger.

19. On illustrations

This week, we talk to Judy Horacek and Gabrielle Wang, two living legends, about writing and illustrating books – and their many other forms of creative work.

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Book cover Random LifeOur guests

Judy Horacek is a cartoonist, writer, artist and illustrator, perhaps equally famous – depending how old you are – for her incisive cartoons or picture books such as The Story of Growl and the beloved Where is the Green Sheep? – a collaboration with Mem Fox which was the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year. Her cartoons have appeared on almost every feminist fridge door in Australia, and also in The Age, The Weekend Australian magazine, and The Australian Book Review – as well as the Treasures gallery in the National Library.

Her latest collection, Random Life, is out now.

Book cover Beast of Hushing WoodGabrielle Wang is an author and illustrator. Her many books for younger readers include The Wishbird, Little Paradise, The Pearl of Tiger Bay, and the Our Australian Girl: Poppy and Pearlie series. The Race for the Chinese Zodiac was presented on stage with animation, storytelling and an original score played on traditional Chinese instruments performed live by the Australian Chinese Music Ensemble. She has won Aurealis Awards, been shortlisted for Premiers’ and Prime Minister’s awards, and is a regular on the Children’s Book Council notable books lists. Her latest novel  is The Beast of Hushing Wood.

18. On voices

We talk to two spoken word performers, Lian Low and Eleanor Jackson, about writing for the page and for performance, and how they support other writers – especially through Asian-Australian arts and culture magazine, Peril.

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Our guestsEleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer and radio broadcaster. She is chair of the board of Peril Magazine and its former editor in chief, and is also a board member of the Stella Prize, Australia’s largest writing prize for women.

Her poetry is published in Overland Journal, Arc Poetry Magazine, Going Down Swinging, Peril Magazine, Scum Magazine and the Cordite Poetry Review, FBI’s “All the Best“, RRR’s “Aural Text”, 3CR’s “Spoken Word”, ABC Radio National’s “Night Air” and the online poetry channel, “IndieFeed: Performance Poetry”.

Her radio play, Agent Ion, was featured as a part of Radiotonic for ABC Radio National, and her short fiction, The Transfer, appeared in Review of Australian Fiction.

In 2014-2015, she was Artist in Residence at La Boite Theatre in Brisbane.

Here’s Eleanor performing  ‘Shave and a Haircut’, one of the pieces she mentions in our conversation.

Lian Low is a writer, editor and spoken word artist.Lian Low

She is a former chair of the board, and editor-in-chief, of Peril.

Lian worked on the performance text for the sold-out Do you speak Chinese? which was part of the Dance Massive program, held at the Malthouse Theatre in 2015.  

Her work has been published in When Our Children Come Out: How to Support Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Young People, Growing Up Asian in Australia, ArtsHub, Kill Your Darlings, Chart Collective and various queer street press.

In 2013 and 2014 she was a festival artist at the Melaka Art and Performance Festival in Malaysia, one of the world’s largest site-specific art and performance festivals held on a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Watch some of Lian’s community performance work as part of Melaka here.

In 2014, she was a selected playwright for Lotus: Asian Australian Playwriting Melbourne program and for the Kultour Artists Gathering in Melbourne.

PS: Accidental interview background music was provided by a nearby choir practice, loud enough to penetrate our soundproof studio. Think of it as community engagement.

17. On forms

Between them, this episode’s guests have written award-winning opera, plays, poetry, young adult and children’s novels, essays, columns, and goodness knows how many grant applications and submissions to government.

So we asked them about writing across so many different forms and genres.

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Our guestsJane Harrison

Jane Harrison is a descendant of the Muruwari people of NSW and an award-winning playwright. In 2002, her first play, Stolen, was the co-winner of the Kate Challis Award. It has since been performed across Australia as well as the UK, Hong Kong and Japan. Rainbow’s End toured to Japan and played in 33 venues throughout Australia, and won the Drover’s Award for Tour of the Year in 2011.

Jane’s essays include ‘My Journey Through Stolen’, the award-winning ‘Healing our communities, healing ourselves’, and ‘Indig-curious; who can play Aboriginal roles?’
Her young adult novel Becoming Kirrali Lewis was published by Magabala Books in 2015. Jane was director of last year’s Blak and Bright literary festival. 

Apart from the many projects and forms she discusses in this episode, Jane is also working on a stage adaptation of her story from the anthology Writing Black, and turning a play (The Visitors) into a film.

Alison CroggonAlison Croggon is a poet, critic, opera librettist, playwright and bestselling author. Her beloved Pellinor novels have sold half a million copies around the world. Her young adult novel Black Spring was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, while The River and the Book won the Wilderness Society’s environmental writing prize.

Her poetry collections include This is the Stone, Ash, The Blue Gate and Theatre. Her opera libretti include Mayakovsky, Flood, and The Riders, which won two Green Room awards. She is one of Australia’s leading theatre critics and a columnist for Overland journal. And she has just launched her new self-published collaborative project, Fleshers.

Her New and Selected Poems has just been published.