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

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.

2. On friendship

Our three guests for this episode lead the vanguard of contemporary realism in young adult fiction written in and about Australia, and published internationally.

Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood write about grief, about place, about love, about coming of age and most of all they write about friendship.

And that’s what they’re talking about on Unladylike.

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About our guests

Photo of Cath Crowley

Cath Crowley

Cath Crowley grew up on a property that was a long way from town, reading the adventures of Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. After studying radio production and literature at university, she became a teacher overseas. In 2004, she published The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain, about a brilliant soccer player, and became a full-time writer.  The remaining Gracie Faltrain titles followed as well as Chasing Charlie Duskin and Graffiti Moon. It was for Graffiti Moon that Cath was awarded the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction and the Ethel Turner Award for Young People’s Literature.

Photo of Simmone Howell

Simmone Howell. Photo: Susan Gordon Brown

Simmone Howell is an award-winning short story-writer, and screenwriter. Her short film Pity24 won an AWGIE award and has screened at film festivals such as the London Australian Film Festival and Los Angeles Shorts Fest. Her realist teen novels Notes from the Teenage Underground, Everything Beautiful and Girl Defective feature prickly outsiders, rebels and pop culture icons. Notes from the Teenage Underground won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction and the Gold Inky Award.

Photo of Fiona Wood

Fiona Wood
Photo: Giulia McGauran

Fiona Wood started her writing career in scripts working on television dramas like The Secret Life of Us, Neighbours and MDA. In 2010 she debuted as a strong new voice on the young adult scene with Six Impossible Things. Her sophomoric title, Wildlife, won the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Older Readers, and was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the Queensland Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, Ethel Turner Prize. Her latest book is Cloudwish.

Cath Crowley’s Gracie Faltrain trilogy, Chasing Charlie Duskin and Graffiti Moon are published by Pan Macmillan in Australia and New Zealand, and by Knopf in the US. Her new novel, Words in Deep Blue, will be released in August.

Simmone Howell’s Notes from the Teenage Underground, Everything Beautiful and Girl Defective are published by Pan Macmillan in Australia and New Zealand, and by Bloomsbury and Simon and Schuster in the US.

Fiona Wood’s Six Impossible Things, Wildlife and Cloudwish are also published by Pan Macmillan in Australia and New Zealand, and by Little Brown in the US.