Castlemaine State Festival

Later this month I’ll be participating the Castlemaine State Festival (22-31 March), a stunning bi-annual arts festival, which this year is focussing on sustainability, nature and rural living.

I’ll be teaching a nature writing workshop on Friday 29 March. You can still book in here.

On Saturday 30 March, I’ll be talking with Jessie Cole and Thomas Wilson about the changing face of nature writing. You can find more information and book in here.

And, on Sunday 31 March, I’ll be talking with comedian Hayley Butcher and Melissa Cater about the realities – funny and otherwise – of making a tree change. You can find out more or book in here.

Looking forward to exploring Castlemaine and seeing some of you there!

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Henry Lawson Festival

This June long weekend I’m heading back to my home town of Grenfell – the birthplace of writer Henry Lawson – as official guest of this year’s Henry Lawson Festival. I grew up on a property near Grenfell and attended the Henry Lawson High School, so it is quite an honour to follow in the footsteps of Patrick White, Tara Moss, Eric Rolls, Dick Smith, James Dibble, Judy Nunn and Colin Roderick. As a kid, I looked up at the writers and celebrities launching the festival from the back of a truck in the main street. This year it will be me.

The festival has a strong arts and literature focus, and has long featured the Henry Lawson short story competition. I’ll be busy visiting art and photography exhibitions, an awards night and a local concert. But there will be a chance to say hello and have a book signed near the official festival stall on Saturday afternoon. I’m looking forward to catching up with old and new friends – and being back in the landscape that shaped me (and my writing voice).

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Beautiful Sentences

“She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together”
~ J.D Salinger.

On Saturday 1 June I’ll be teaching a workshop on writing beautiful sentences at the NSW Writers Centre. It is one of my favourite workshops to teach, for the focus it allows on single sentences and phrases – the first building blocks of story.

We’ll be looking at the nitty-gritty of sentences – from construction to polishing: grammar and structure, the importance of clarity and precision, the emotional weight of an image, and conveying truth and story. Hopefully we’ll find a little beauty too.

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Mudgee Readers Festival: 10-12 Aug 2018

This August I’ll be travelling back to Wiradjuri country for the Mudgee Readers Festival. I’ve visited Mudgee a few times, for its lovely wines, including some of our first organic vineyards. But this time it is all about books! Well, maybe not quite all. I hope to try a few nice reds, as well as participating on the following panels.

Stories in the Landscape: Chaired by the fabulous  Jane Rawson, Jessie Cole, Paul Collis and I will discuss the ways our respective landscapes inform our work. Details here.

A Writer’s Work: James Colley, Kate Wild and I talk about the jobs we do when we aren’t writing, and the jobs we had before we picked up a pen. How our work informs, influences, and … occasionally hinders our writing lives. Details here 

Comfort Reading: What reading provides solace in an increasingly alienating world? Which books do we return to again and again? Chris Womersley, Andrew P Street, Laura Elizabeth Woollett and I share the stories that keep us feeling nourished. Details here.


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Newcastle Writers Festival sessions

I’ll be talking about Understory at several sessions at the Newcastle Writers Festival next month, as well as leading a masterclass at the University of Newcastle for creative writing students.

I’m particularly excited about the session on Writing the Landscape with the wonderful Holly Ringland (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart) and Lia Hills, chaired by Geordie Williamson. Landscape as at the heart of everything I do, but it is a real thrill to be on stage with Holly for her first ever festival session and to see the world embrace her, and her beautiful book, which is about to hit the shelves. And there is no one I would rather chair this session, because it turns out that Geordie and I have a childhood landscape in common.

NWF is a small, friendly festival and most of the sessions are FREE. This year’s guests include Bruce Pascoe, Jimmy Barnes, Gretel Killeen, and Eddie Ayers. Details of my sessions below:

A Life With Trees:
an interview with Keri Glastonbury
11.30am 7 April
City Hall

Writing the Landscape: the transformative power of place
with Holly Ringland & Lia Hills, chaired by Geordie Williamson
10am 8 April

Not Quite Overnight: the winding path to publication
with Melissa Lucaschenko & Wendy James, chaired by Conor McCarthy
1.30pm 8 April

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EWF Sessions

I’m proud to be one of the Ambassadors for this year’s Emerging Writers Festival (EWF) in Melbourne, which starts today. It’s a great festival if you can get along, with lots of industry tips for aspiring and emerging writers. Weekend tickets are really good value.

This year’s ambassadors were apparently selected for “telling stories others won’t.”

“Our ambassadors are women who change things. They break barriers. We’re thrilled for them to mentor the next generation of writers,” says Artistic Director Izzy Roberts-Orr.

I’m looking forward to all of the sessions, but particularly talking about Writing the Environment with Anna Krien, Tony Birch and Sally Abbott.

10am Sat 17 June
5×5 Rules of Writing

EWF Ambassadors (Anna Krien, Melina Marchetta, Rebecca Do Rozario, Michelle Law and I) share the tips and tricks we wish we’d had when we started out. More here

3pm Sat 17 June
Control Room: Inga Simpson

Ask me the big questions, the little questions, the good questions. Now’s your chance! Details here

11am Sun 18 June
Writing the Environment
With: Anna Krien, Sally Abbott, Tony Birch and me

In a world on the brink of ecological collapse, what responsibility do storytellers have to speak for the planet? What role (if any) can good nature and science-focussed writing (both fiction and non-fiction) play in pulling us back from the edge? Panelists discuss the writer’s role in educating, provoking conversation and changing attitudes through storytelling. Details here

4pm Sun 18 June
Hachette case Study: Writer, Editor and Publisher – Inga Simpson with Kate Stevens, Robert Watkins.

I’m in conversation with my editor and publisher, which is an opportunity to hear about all aspects and perspectives of the publishing process. (And possibly how difficult I am!) More info here

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Understory events

I have a number of events coming up to celebrate the release of Understory on 30 May.

It’s a chance to help launch Understory‘s passage into the world, hear a bit more about the writing of the book –  and have your copy signed and stamped with a special copper “tree woman” stamp.

5.30 pm 6 June – Kim Mahood launches Understory @ Muse Canberra

free with wine and nibbles but please register online here


6.30pm 7 June – Author Talk with Better Read Than Dead

@ Camperdown Commons, Newtown

$5 with wine and nibbles, tix here


6pm 8 June, Author Talk with Annie’s Books
Noosa Parks Environment Centre, Noosaville

$15 with wine and nibbles, pls book here


10am, 9 June – morning tea @ Books of Buderim

Free event, and a free seedling with each purchased copy of Understory!


6pm, 9 June – Kari Gislason launches Understory @ Avid Reader, West End.

Free, with wine and nibbles but pls register here

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Miles Franklin longlisting

WHERE THE TREES WERE has been longlisted for the 2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award.  WTTW is a personal book for me, and as a lifelong student of Australian literature, I’m grateful that it has been recognised in this way.


Congratulations to all of the other longlisted books and their authors. What a nice looking pile!

The shortlist will be announced 18 June.

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Re-release day

My three novels  – Mr Wigg, Nest and Where the Trees Were  – have just been re-released in a new format. A bit like a nice matching box set. And they’re reasonably priced, at $19.95. You can buy them at a special rate here.

Their re-release is a bit of an appetiser for the 1 June publication of my eco-memoir, Understory: a life with trees, which you can pre-order here.

Details soon on launches and events in Canberra, Sydney, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.


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the end of the garden

This gallery contains 2 photos.

I’m chuffed to have my short story, “The End of the Garden” in Review of Australian Fiction 19:4. The story was inspired by Sarah Blasko’s album What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have, during a week on the far south … Continue reading

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