This is What Raising a Feminist Looks Like: Ellie Marney

A new episode of the podcast is available now via iTunes and all your regular podcast services!

In this episode I speak with award-winning Young Adult author Ellie Marney about her experiences raising four boys in regional Victoria. 

We chat about the isolating experience of motherhood in the western context, the evolution of parenting at different stages of your children’s lives and how teenage boys experiences are being changed by the spread of feminist concepts and much more.

I was so thrilled to be able to talk to Ellie, I’m a huge fan of her books, particularly her Every series, a must for any crime-loving YA reader. Head on over to her website to learn more about her work and keep up to date on her upcoming releases. Ellie somehow manages to write prolifically despite juggling many other balls, as she talks about in this podcast episode, and there is always a new gem just around the corner.

Darebin Mayor’s Writing Awards

It was a pleasure to be asked to return as a judge again this year for the Darebin Mayor’s Writing Prize.

The theme this year was ‘lucky’ and I was struck by how many of the entries had themes of climate change, near misses, appreciating our natural environment and mental health. It’s interesting that many of us are preoccupied with our relationship to the environment, and are instinctively aware that the health of our planet and our own are inextricably linked.

The winner was a unanimous decision with my co-judges, Sian Prior and Susan Johnston. We all felt that Andy Murdoch’s short story thrummed with tension and had that rare ability to tell a much bigger story than the thousand words on the page.

I learn so much from judging writing competitions, not least of which is how deceptively simple a well-written short story can appear. Short story writing is a difficult form to do well because there just isn’t the space to get it wrong. Each sentence must serve its purpose, driving the story but excelling in quality of prose.

I also find myself sparking with ideas after having seen so many interpretations of a one-word theme. It excites me to see how many different ways the same or similar ideas can be explored and reminds me nobody sees the world quite the same way as we do ourselves.

The winners were awarded last week at the Northcote Town Hall and it’s always lovely to see the smiles on the winners faces as their hard work and excellence are acknowledged.

You can read the winning entry and the highly commended pieces in n-Scribe 14.

Hoarders: the TV show to cure your Marie Kondo-inspired guilt

I published this article on SBS this week about trying to understand a disorder at the opposite end of the minimalist spectrum.

Both Marie Kondo and Hoarders ask: how much of the stuff surrounding us do we really need? In an age of consumer culture, fast fashion and single-use plastics, this is a valuable question. We have an attachment to physical items that our planet cannot sustain, whether we obsessively collect them in every inch of our homes for fear of throwing out something potentially useful, or rid ourselves of every item that does not bring us pure joy.

I sometimes find myself squirming as I realise how often I say things the subjects of Hoarders say, such as “I just don’t want this to go to waste, it would be useful to someone” and I was keen to explore how we are often pushed and pulled between minimalism and acquisition of material goods. It was fun to explore some of this as it relates to our fascination with these two shows. Head on over to read the full article.

Kidspot: we need to do more to prevent our kids becoming bullies

I’ve written about the importance of primary school aged children being able to understand and respect personal boundaries.

Being a good person, and a good friend is about more than just not being a bully. If we only focus on teaching young people how not to take part in bullying behaviour, we fail to impart on them how important it is to be a positive member of a community. When children understand everyone has a right to have their personal boundaries respected they are equipped to develop healthy and supportive relationships with their peers.

You can read the full article here.

Finishing up at CYL

It’s bittersweet to be exiting the Centre for Youth Literature a little over a year since I first joined the team. I came on board for a short-term three month contract and as is often the way with contracts, it was extended.

In my time at CYL I’ve worked on the Inky Awards, the relaunch of Inside a Dog, Story Camp, two YA Showcases and more. I have worked with some of the most wonderful people, notably excellent in their professional abilities and also passionate and dedicated to YA literature. I’ve made friends, been blown away at what teenagers will do if you give them the space and opportunity to lead their own projects and read more amazing YA books than I can count.

Having said all of that, I will be relieved to return to freelance work. It’s a difficult balance working in such a demanding role while having a disability. It’s left me feeling very worn out and thinking wistfully of all the other projects I’d love to be working on or writing I would love to be doing.

I’ve made myself and my family a promise: I won’t even look at a new job (as in, permanent employment or one-off producing contracts) for six months. I need that time to rebalance, focus on my own work and my existing projects, and assess where I want to focus my energy for the next while. Hopefully writing it in this post will keep me accountable!

I look forward to a new ordinary in 2019, one where I might have my own creative work to share again. I’ll keep you updated.

This is What Raising a Feminist Looks Like: Erin Farley

A new episode of the podcast is available now via iTunes and all your regular podcast services!

In this episode I talk to Erin Farley about raising her son, four-year-old Jose. Erin has over fifteen years experience working in communications and campaigns with not-for-profits, unions, government and in politics.  

We chat about single parenting, the motherhood penalty on careers, public discourse on mental health, deafness and the gendered nature of English language acquisition and much more.

This is What Raising a Feminist Looks Like is available on iTunes

You can now subscribe to This is What Raising a Feminist Looks like in iTunes or on your preferred podcasting app!

The first episode is a short introduction to what the podcast is all about, and a bit of background on how it came to be.

It’s nerve wracking to have it out there in the world, but I’m very much looking forward to sharing the first interview this month.

Announcing: This is What Raising a Feminist Looks Like podcast

Turns out, because I can’t help myself, I’ve got a project I’m launching next month. It’s a podcast (and accompanying Tiny Letter) which will be the interviews I’m undertaking in preparation for the long-laboured book I’ve been working on about raising feminist sons.

The podcast is called This is What Raising a Feminist Looks Like and the first episode will be live in early October. In the lead up I’m launching the Tiny Letter I’ll be sending our fortnightly to share links to the work of my guests, other articles of interest and events that might be of interest to the podcast audience.

The best way to stay up to date with the podcast is to subscribe to the Tiny Letter and ‘like’ the Facebook page. For those not familiar with the Tiny Letter format it’s essentially a very short and sweet email that comes to your inbox.

2018 Reading Roundup

In an unexpected turn of events, Goodreads tells me I’ve managed to meet my 2018 reading goal already. I wanted to read a book and a half per week which has been my goal for the past couple of years (I have fallen short up until now).

This year I’ve had significantly more time housebound which has probably contributed to me reading more. Certainly when I look back over the titles I’ve read there are a much higher proportion of cosy crime audiobooks which are my go-to solution when my ME/CFS is bad and I’m stuck in bed.

Of the books I’ve read my highlights were Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee, Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough, White Tears by Hari Kunzru, Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Fleshers by Alison Croggon. Eggshell Skull and Catching Teller Crow particularly moved me. Notable mentions go to After the Lights Go Out by Lili Wilkinson and White Night by Ellie Marney.

It will be interesting to see how many I manage to read by the end of the year given there is still so much time remaining. I don’t imagine I’ll reach two books per week (104 in total) but time will tell.

CYL: Inky Awards Shortlist Announcement

Working at the Centre for Youth Literature there is always a project on the go or an annoucement of some kind happening. This one is especially dear to me because I’ve seen how much hard work nine teenagers have put into making it possible. The judges whittled a truly excellent shortlist of ten Australian and ten international YA books down to a final five in each category. They read 20 books, made notes, debated for literally hours and finally came up with this shortlist.

My job is mostly facilitating them getting their books, reading them by our deadline and sitting on a Skype call where I get to watch them partake in what I affectionately call Book Wars, where they argue with each other over the merits of the longlisted titles and negotiate their selections. It’s probably the best job in the world. I mean, I’ve never been employed as a chocolate taster so I can’t confirm it entirely, but I think getting a window into passionate bookish teens discussing the best YA literature of the past year is pretty great.

Now that the shortlist is public it’s time for teens all over Australia to have their say by voting. The winner of the Gold and Silver Inky Awards will be announced in Melbourne on October 2 at State Library Victoria.