Thursday, April 2, 2020

Compulsive Reader Newsletter for April

Hello from isolation.  I hope you’re all keeping safe and well. The Compulsive Reader newsletter for April has now gone out to all subscribers.  This month’s newsletter includes the usual suite of 10 new reviews including, among others,  Windham Campbell winner Maria Tumarkin’s AxiomaticThe Grace of Distance by Matthew Thorburn, That Strapless Bra in Heaven by Sarah Sarai.  We also have interviews with Carol Mertz and at the podcast, the virtual book launch of Morgan Bell’s Idiomatic, for the people. We also our regular literary news round-up, and three book giveaways (I know you all need extra books right now).  If you’re a subscriber,  you should have it now. If not, you can View it in your browser and head over to Compulsive Reader and subscribe!  It’s free, and you’ll only get one email a month with the newsletter, which will keep you up-to-date, even in iso, on what’s happening in the literary world.  

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Newcastle Writers Festival online!

As I’m sure you will be aware, the Newcastle Writers Festival had to be cancelled this year, however the Festival is getting a second life online with 17 sessions from the original program happening virtually for anyone in the world to attend (no pants required).  Of course this is not the same as gathering together, but many of the sessions will be allowing for audience questions to be sent in, and guests include the likes of Behrouz Boochani, Clare Bowditch, David Leser, Favel Parrett and Charlotte Wood. My own session with Maria Tumarkin, Sophie Hardcastle, and Nicola Redhouse is on Sunday at 4pm (“Blurred Lines”) where, in the space of 45 mins, we will be talking about all sorts of things including the impact of past trauma on the present in their works, narrative as a way of controlling silence, the unique structures in their latest books, dispossession, the impact of the Coronavirus, and lots more!  Each of the authors also will be reading from their work.  Please come and join us, wherever you are! Sessions will be available via Facebook and YouTube all through the coming weekend and you can grab a program here:

The sessions will all be free (including those that previously had a cost to attend), but tax-deductible donations to the festival can be made at

Monday, March 2, 2020

Festival Season: Scone Literary Festival

The next festival on my calendar is the Scone Literary Festival.

I’m moderating a session on the 
14th of March 2.30pm-3.30pm in the Scone Arts & Crafts Hall titled "Misreporting and Cancer of Mistrust: Bodies and Lies of Science” with Patrice Newell, Julian Cribb and Garry Willgoose. 

This will be a powerful and timely conversation about the role of science communicators, the persistence of misinformation, how we mitigate and talk about the key existential threats that face humanity, the role of government, developing sustainable food systems, survival by respect, and much more. If you’re able, please join us! Day passes and weekend tickets are sold out, but individual tickets are still available here:

Saturday, February 29, 2020

CR Newsletter March

Photo by Renato Abati from Pexels
Happy march, fellow book lovers.  The March Compulsive Reader newsletter is now on its way to you, featuring reviews of new books like Meowku by Patricia Carragon and Flight by Robert Anthony Gibbons, Asylum Garden: after Van Gogh by Alan Catlin, Nina’s Memento Mori by Mathias Freese, and The Land of Last Chances by Joan Cohen. We also have lots of new interviews, including exciting new author Holden Sheppard, as well as two new audio interviews at Compulsive Reader talks.  There are two fantastic new giveaways too, and of course the full round-up of literary news from around the globe.  If you’re a subscriber it should be hitting your inbox very soon.  If not, you can sign up straightaway here:  It’s free and we just send out the one email a month.  If you can’t wait for it to arrive, you can view it in your browser now.  Happy reading!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Festival Season: IF Festival in Maitland

We’re nearly in that lovely time of year when literary festivals abound. Are there too many? Nah. The questions we’re discussing in these festivals and the ongoing collaboration between readers and writers is more critical than ever. I’ve got three festivals in a row where I’m involved in panels, as moderator and presenter.
The kick off is the inaugural Indie Festival (IF) in Maitland:  All of the panels are completely free!  There are also a range of excellent workshops (not free but very inexpensive), and keynotes (also free). My sessions are on Saturday the 29th of February.

 I’m starting the day with the aptly titled The Importance of Regional Writers Festivals, moderated by David Graham. Joining me on the panel will be Creative Kids Tales’ Georgie Donaghey, UQld’s Dr Kim Wilkins and UMelbourne’s Dr Beth Driscoll, both highly respected, multi-published academics who are working together on the project Genre Worlds: Australian Popular Fiction in the Twenty-First Century. This session is going to be a cracker opening to the day. The session is followed by a series of Flying Island pocket book launches led by Flying Island’s very erudite Editor-in-Chief (who is launching his own new book on the day) including Michael Crane, Susan Fealy, Clark Gormley, Geoff Page, Kerri Shying, Melinda Smith, Gillian Swain, and George Watt. What a line-up! I’ll be personally launching both Melinda and Gillian’s new books and what an honour that is. My next session is called Just Walking the Dog, which I’ll be moderating, featuring poets Gillian Swain and Brian Purcell. We’ll be exploring the development of poems from initial idea through to release into the world and judging from our initial interactions, this is going to be an incredible conversation, full of fun and insights. Finally, phew, I’ll be moderating a panel on Independent and Community Publishing with Kit Kelen, Georgie Donaghey, and Jennifer Sharpe from Daisy Lane Studios about the different pathways to getting published independently. Come and learn from the best! Once again, all of these sessions are absolutely free of charge (but first in best dressed, so get in early), and there will always be time at the end for questions and audience interaction - you are the most essential part of this! So if you’re able, please come join me on the day - that’s Saturday February 29th around 230 High Street (there are a few venues), Maitland NSW.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Compulsive Reader Newsletter for Feb is now out

Our latest issue of Compulsive Reader Newsletter is now out.  This issue contains 8 fresh reviews including Billie Elish’s latest album, and new books by Jennifer Maiden, Robert Letters, Peter Papathanasiou, Lindsey Warren, Krishna Mohana Banerjea, Roslyn McFarland, and Leanna Petronella, as well as interviews with MBR’s Jim Cox, and Joey L. Dowdy. Of course there is also the usual roundup of literary news/awards, and 2 great competitions.  If you’re a subscriber, you should be receiving it in your inbox very soon.  If you aren’t a subscriber, subscribe here:  You can also grab a copy online here: