A member of the ABC Book Club on Facebook recently asked, What do you use for bookmarks? I rifled through my bookshelf and posted a photo of my motley collection: tickets, postcards, photographs, ribbons, receipts, newspaper clippings, notes, a letter, a leaf, and an assortment of proper bookmarks.
Tall And True Short Reads is an audio fiction podcast featuring original short stories from TallAndTrue.com, written and narrated by me, Robert Fairhead. I launched the series with a trailer on 5 September 2020. And I published the first episode, Five Meet On Zoom, on the podcast feed five days later.
To promote their September 2020 edition, Meanjin Quarterly announced a Pandemic Fiction challenge on Twitter. A one tweet story on the COVID pandemic, using the hashtag #Meanjin280. The prize for the best 10 tweets: a 12-month magazine subscription and publication on Meanjin's blog. I tweeted three stories.
Australia wasn't alone in underestimating the threat of COVID-19. In our defence, the country was distracted by the Black Summer bushfires, which blazed from September 2019 to March 2020. However, by mid-March, with the fires extinguished, our focus shifted to the pandemic and its possible impact.
The Australian Writers' Centre runs a monthly #FuriousFiction short story competition. I submitted my first entry to #FuriousFiction on the first weekend of our COVID-19 lockdown and ever since have taken up the monthly challenge. So I was interested to see a bonus 23-word fiction story challenge.
Henry Rollins said, "A great way to learn about your country is to leave it." I learned a lot about Australia while overseas from 1987 to 1996. Books like Alice Nannup's When The Pelican Laughed helped my education. From her memoir, I learned about the Stolen Generation. And of a connection with my Nan.
Ever since my childhood, I've loved reading books. Even in my teens (unlike my son, sadly), I read most nights, and in my career-driven twenty-somethings, I kept up the reading habit with short stories. Now middle-aged, I still love reading, though rather than one book, I have a pile of beside books!
Life began at forty for me. Obviously, I’d had a life before my fortieth. I’d travelled and lived overseas, changed careers (several times), got married (once), bought cars and property, and owned a dog. But the birth of my son in 2002 changed everything for me. And I learned the joy of being a dad.
In 2001, I had a bright idea. I'd combine my love of writing with my software skills and create a writers' website, a place where writers could showcase their work, readers could enjoy a wide range of writing, and publishers could unearth new talent. It took sixteen long years to launch Tall And True!
#FuriousFiction is a monthly writing competition run by the Australian Writers' Centre: 55 hours to write a 500-word short story based on a brief. First prize is $500 with the winner published on the Writers' Centre website. April's #FuriousFiction fell on the first weekend of the COVID-19 lockdown.
My niece turned twenty-six at the end of March this year (2020). I gave her a copy of Both Sides of the Story, an ebook collection of short stories I'd recently reworked and published. The gift was special because I wrote the stories for a writing competition a month before my niece was born in 1994.
My birthday is on March 30. This year (2020), I turned fifty-eight. When fireworks heralded the new year, I didn't expect to remember my birthday for COVID-19. I thought it would be another tick towards a more significant (sobering) milestone, sixty. Now I'm wondering, should I forget this birthday?
Former Middle East correspondent, Sophie McNeill, appeared on a recent Late Night Live to talk about her new book, We Can't Say We Didn't Know. McNeill despairs at the world's mute response to the atrocities committed in Syria and that we seem to be living in an age of impunity for those who wage war.
In June 2016, I wrote a review of Jerome and His Women by Joan O'Hagan. The book's publisher, Joan's daughter, Denise O'Hagan of Black Quill Press, liked it and we started corresponding. Recently Denise asked if I could edit the review for another publication. I had to cull it from 477 words to 300!
Walking my dog one warm afternoon in January, I heard The Book Show podcast interview with Isabel Allende. The next day I saw her latest novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, in my local library. It seemed serendipity. More so as published in 2020, it would be my first book of the new year and decade.
In December 2018, I blogged about the sixteen books which I'd read or dipped into during that year (My Year of Books). I'm a bedtime reader and often doze off with a book on my nose. Which is why I'm happy to report there were another sixteen fiction and nonfiction titles in my bedside books for 2019.