I came, I saw, I festivalled

So, I’m just back from a festival in Byron Bay. No, not Splendour in the Grass, though as a former regular attendee of Splendour, I’m sorry I missed that one – even with the three feet of diatomaceous ooze that apparently covered the site as a result of rain, mud, spilt beer and dunnies.

I’m talking instead of the fantastic Byron Bay Writers’ Festival. This was my first literary festival as one of the participating “artists”, for want of a much more appropriate word. It was a nice coincidence that it was in my home town. I took part in three panels, all of them enjoyable and all with big and appreciative crowds. (Thanks, folks.) Continue reading

In the press

When I was five, my photo appeared in The Northern Star, Lismore’s daily newspaper. (For those who don’t know Lismore, congratulations! No, I honestly don’t mean that. Lismore is a country town in northern NSW, near Byron Bay; it’s where I went to school.) The photo showed me and my sister Katie clinging to a rope swing on a hot afternoon out at the Lismore Lake. It was on the front page, too, so it must have been a slow news day. (Often the case in Lismore.)

Happily, after a hiatus of many years, I’ve just appeared in the Star again (“Hooked on Books”, 19 April). One of the paper’s journos interviewed me about appearing at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival in August. Continue reading

Feeling festive

Had a good week last week, book-wise. On Friday, I found out that I’m on the bill for this year’s Byron Bay Writers Festival, 3-5 August. Not sure what sessions I’ll be doing yet, but very happy to be up on stage for the first time – especially as Byron is my old stomping ground and where my parents currently live.

Then I scored a return flight, Singapore-Gold Coast, for the festival weekend for just $170 on new budget airline, Scoot. Admittedly it’s cheap for a reason: no check-in luggage, no food, no entertainment, and they put you in an iron maiden for the duration of the flight (or something like that). But still. Continue reading


No, not the North Korean rocket. I mean my book. Actually, the two launches – in Brisbane and Byron – were over a month ago now. But I’ve only just got around to sourcing some images. Oddly enough for someone with a ridiculous 12,000 photos in his Flickr account, I didn’t even take the lens cap off my camera. Perhaps my mind was on other things – like whether or not anyone would show up. (I had visions of this scenario.) So, thanks to Tony, Stu and Sib for the photos. (Click to scroll.) Continue reading

The reviews are in …

For a first-time author, reviews can be daunting. But I’m not particularly fussed. I’ve always expected Sicily, It’s Not Quite Tuscany to be disliked by certain groups – those who hold the Sicilian city of Catania dear to their hearts, for instance, and anyone who abhors the consumption of horse meat for pleasure. And, thanks to the book, I probably haven’t made too many friends in Toowoomba in Queensland, or in the Sydney suburb of Rooty Hill. (Or, indeed, in Germany.) Continue reading

For fog’s sake

Just got back to Singapore after two weeks at home for book launches and whatnot. More on all that later; in the meantime, here are some snapshots from an early morning drive in the Byron Bay hinterland.