Peter Corlett's statue of Weary Dunlop. Photo by Kim McKenzie

Image: Weary Dunlop in Kings Domain, Melbourne. Photo by Kim McKenzie When I think of the Remembrance Day poppy the image that springs to mind is Peter Corlett’s statue of Weary Dunlop in Kings Domain in Melbourne. The poppy association with war began with John McCrae’s poem In Flanders fields. He wrote the poem in Belgium in 1915 where, as a medical officer with the Canadian Army, he saw red field poppies (papaver rhoeas) growing in the otherwise devastated landscape of the battlefield in Ypres. McCrae’s poem inspired YMCA leaders…Continue Reading “Poppies”

Students at Pinrang workshop

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited Indonesia, but this is my first time in Sulawesi. It’s the jigsaw-piece-shaped island that always seemed somehow remote, even though it’s only a two-hour flight from Jakarta. My visit here this time is the result of kebetulan. When I put in a grant application to the Australia-Indonesia Institute I gamely stated that I would visit a school in Makassar to do a writing workshop with the students. I had a vague plan to get the BRIDGE team…Continue Reading “Sulawesi Selatan”

Kancil at Museum Gajah

I finally got to see the Wonoboyo Hoard at the National Museum of Indonesia today. It’s an incredible collection but  photos are not allowed, unfortunately, so you’ll have to come and see it for yourself. On my way into the museum I picked up a Flat Traveler all the way from the 14th century (the out of focus, ghostly look is intentional). Kancil has agreed to come to Sulawesi with me and share her thoughts about the 21st century along the way. BTW – the elephant…Continue Reading “Jakarta: Museum Gajah”

Melbourne Writers Festival Schools Program

Last week I got to see the Melbourne Writers Festival from the inside. I was invited to speak on a panel with Dragonkeeper Carole Wilkinson as part of the MWF15 Schools program. Our brief was to discuss how Asia inspired our writing. That’s us in the photo on the right, being inspired by the chocolates in the green room before the event. Preparing for the Melbourne Writers Festival event was a good opportunity to reflect on what did inspire me to write Tiger Stone. Coincidentally,…Continue Reading “Melbourne Writers Festival”

Iceland coastline near Stykkisholmur

Stykkisholmur is a small fishing village in western Iceland. Ngurah Rai International Airport is in Indonesia, on the island of Bali. What’s the connection? Volcanic ash. Right now, Ngurah Rai International Airport is a little quieter than usual; an ash cloud from Mount Raung, a volcano in East Java, has airlines so worried that they have cancelled flights out of the Denpasar airport. Stykkisholmur is home to the Eldfjallasafn Volcano Museum, where, along with amazing volcano-inspired art and a geological display, you can view an informative…Continue Reading “Ash clouds and aeroplanes”

Sisters in Crime Australia Logo

Yes it has been a long time. Let’s not talk about it. The news is that Tiger Stone has been long-listed for a Sisters in Crime Davitt award. I found out a couple of weeks ago and at first I thought it was a hoax but once I’d read the whole email it looked legit (no spelling mistakes, no sob story about money tied up in a distant dead relative’s bank account). It was all pretty exciting, especially because the press release mentioned Trixie Belden,…Continue Reading “Sisters in crime”

Dry Soil by Petr Kratochvil

Just in case you were wondering, this blog has not been abandoned. I’ve been busy building a kitchen. I have permission to say that from the person who has really built the kitchen. My role has been to hold pieces of plywood in place and complain about the heat (while the real builder wields a circular saw and makes cheerful noises about how satisfying it’s going to be to have built our own kitchen). I have also recently learned how to tile a laundry and glue Laminex…Continue Reading “The post drought”

Readers at Castlemaine Launch. Photo by Peter Mansell

I’ve had three book launches in the past three months. There are probably some really productive authors out there who could launch three different books in three months, but not me. I launched the same book three times. Is that excessive? In my defence, the launches were in three different places – Castlemaine, Ubud and Melbourne. The Castlemaine launch was the original first time new book new author never done this before launch. It was at the Castlemaine library on a chilly Saturday afternoon in August. To…Continue Reading “Launch”

  I grew up with Radio Australia. When I was little, my family tuned in to hear the news from ‘home’ on the radio in our lounge room in Lae, Papua New Guinea. Back in Australia, as a teenager I did work experience in the Indonesian section of Radio Australia at its headquarters in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood. That’s me at the desk in the photo. I can’t remember the name of the gentleman with me but I remember him being very patient and speaking Indonesian really slowly for…Continue Reading “Radio Australia”

It has been almost three weeks since Tiger Stone was launched at Castlemaine Library and questions have been asked in certain circles about the absence of a post launch post. My excuse(es)? Life got busy, my eyes hurt, the VLine commute is killing me and the dog ate my homework. Hmmm. Last week I visited a high school – primarily to convince anyone who would listen that 14th century Java is really really fascinating, but also to help the Year 12s prepare for their upcoming Indonesian oral exam. Unlike me,…Continue Reading “The dog ate my homework”