Short story

Fried Eggs in the Morning – a short story

A short story I wrote was just longlisted for the Best Australian Yarn competition by The West Australian.

You can read it for free here (although the site will ask you to register first).

Readers then vote to decide who wins. Part of me is ashamed about this reality-TV aspect to the competition. The other part is shamelessly urging you, dear reader, the one person who truly understands me, to vote. Needless to say if you do, I shall shower you in shiraz and promise not to make a voodoo doll in your likeness. Maybe.

Book review

“Cider Country” by Paul Laverty – book review

The funniest book I read last year was a short novella called Man Overbored by Paul Laverty – and he’s just released a new comic novella called Cider Country.

As with Man OverboredCider Country is about a motley group of misfits – although instead of being on a sinking cruise ship, this time they’re working in an apple orchard for a pittance.

Book review

“Night Boat to Tangier” by Kevin Barry – book review

Basic plot: Two aging gangsters wait – and wait – and then wait some more while menacing strangers – at a Spanish port in the hope of finding a runaway daughter who they adore. While waiting, they reminisce on their many adventures and mistakes

Mini review: Night Boat to Tangier has been widely acclaimed, become a bestseller, and I’m probably one of the few who weren’t immediately impressed.

Book review

“The Debt to Pleasure” by Robert Lanchester – book review

It took me a long, long time to get into this novel, which defies easy categorisation (Is it a comedy? Is it a suspense thriller? Is it simply taking the piss?) – but when I did, I loved it.

For me the hurdle was the delusional and pompous narrator, Tarquin Winot, who seems like a cross between the TV character Frasier and Ignatius from Confederacy of Dunces – but with a serial killer edge. Although Confederacy is one of my favourite novels, and Frasier one of my favourite comedies, in this book it just seemed … well, like I’ve seen and read it all before. I was wrong, but that was my initial impression.

Book review

“Pizza Girl” by Jean Kyoung Frazier – book review

I’ve known so many self-destructive and obsessive people in my life – including, perhaps, myself when I younger – that Pizza Girl resonated with me.

Despite having a loving mother and devoted boyfriend, the narrator – a pregnant 18-year-old who works at a pizzeria – is unhappy without knowing why.

Book review

“Self Care” by Leigh Stein – book review

Two completely different novels continually came to mind while reading Self Care, a funny and incisive satirical tale about two female entrepreneurs who create Richual, a social media company for women who want to take better care of themselves (and how that company, like so many others, is anything but nurturing).

Book review

“Man Overbored” by Paul J. Laverty – book review

If you need something light to read over the holidays, you’d be hard pressed to find anything funnier than Man Overbored, a novella by Paul J. Laverty.

This comedy is so short it can practically be inhaled – but what a rush it gives.

Book review

“The Spill” by Imbi Neeme – book review

It’s safe to say I became obsessed to an almost unhealthy degree with The Spill – or more specifically, with its characters.

To some degree The Spill reminded me of The Corrections and The Slap – both largeish novels that deal with complex relationships and families, and that pull you into the different characters’ worlds.

Book review

“The Third Hotel” by Laura Van Den Berg – book review

I liked The Third Hotel. At least, I think I did. 

Everything about this book makes me pause for thought. It’s both easy and difficult to read, clear cut and yet confusing. 

Just like the intro to this review, it’s conflicting and uncertain.


And now for something unexpected … a poem

As a delusional suburban teen, I longed for the gritty urban world of T.S. Eliot’s poetry. Never mind that it depicted desperate and decadent lives filled with sordid mornings after – to me, that was aspirational (actually, it still is).

I was also hooked on the rhythm and flow of Eliot’s poetry, which was unlike anything I came across before … or since.

“Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:”

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot

It was Eliot that first made me want to become a writer and, as ridiculous as I feel saying this, the kind of writer I wanted to become was a poet. 

So from the age of 16 I began to secretly write bad poems. At first I just imitated Eliot, since I found most other poets pretentious or prissy or, more often than not, unfathomable (though Keats has his moments). And then I came across Charles Bukowski, and tried to imitate him (and trust me when I say Bukowski is a million times easier to imitate than Eliot). And then … I just stopped for several decades.

Fast forward until last year, when I wrote a poem with a whole different style than anything I’d tried before. And then (get ready for some pretentiousness) it was shortlisted by the Lord Mayor’s Creative Awards in Melbourne. And then (yes, even more pretentiousness!) it was published by The Blue Nib literary journal. 

So without further adieu, you can read my humble poem here: