Book Review – Simon Petrie

The voice which Corbett has selected—first-person narration by Sylvie, who so frequently refers to ‘her’ lieutenant in the second person that the tale is in effect a paean to a deeply troubling, deeply-felt relationship—adds significantly to the narrative’s innate tension….The book’s depiction of occupation is deep and multifaceted: the fierce arguments between Port’s subjugated citizens over the options of resistance, submission, or collaboration … the senseless yet carefully-calibrated atrocities inflicted seemingly at random, … the ‘war banter’ between Maur and his fellow officers, full of opaque metaphors, occupational in-jokes, and shorthand references to past sorties; the day-to-day focus of those who can’t know, when they arise in the morning, if they will still be more-or-less safe that evening. There’s a strong sense of invasion as marketing, of harassment as advertising: Garrison’s boy soldiers humiliate, assault, kill those who cannot fight back, in part because they can, in part because it’s what’s expected of them. Anything less would indicate a failure, on their part, to meet military KPIs. This focus obviously makes for strange bedfellows with the book’s other primary concern of love and abandonment; and yet it’s this juxtaposition, more than anything else, which makes the story work.’

Start to Write: Claire Corbett & Faber Academy at Allen & Unwin Saturday Nov 11

You’ve got great ideas or a burning desire to write.

What do you do next?

Start to Write is a one-day writing course to kickstart your writing life.

On the terrace of Australia’s largest independent publisher, you’ll get the hands-on teaching you need to start writing, from acclaimed tutor and novelist Claire Corbett. You’ll be writing there and then, getting instant responses, experimenting with structure and techniques, plus tips on what to do next to start your writing life.

Journalling for Creativity and Productivity – One day course 14 October

Very much looking forward to teaching this one day course at the NSW Writers Centre – will be so much fun.

When: Saturday 14 October, 10am-4pm
Cost: Full Price: $180; Member: $125; Conc Member: $110
Level: All levels and types of writer will benefit, including academic writers and journalists

In this energising, fun and interactive course, you’ll learn how to create a daily journal for capturing ideas, enhancing productivity, and prioritising tasks. The aim is to reduce stress while increasing focus, organisation and playfulness. The course blends approaches from a number of sources on productivity and incorporates insights from brain research to harness what we know about motivation and concentration. The resulting approach is endlessly customisable. You can spend as little as five minutes a day on it. It is, in essence, a practical approach to mindfulness, with a focus on calm, creativity and clarifying priorities.

The day will include exercises, supporting information, tips, techniques, and pointers on where and how to find more information after the course has finished. The journal you end up with will give you an overview of your life, a forward-looking tool to generate ideas and complete projects, but also a review tool for learning lessons, and a record of your journey, as colourful and detailed as you want it to be.

Expected Learning Outcomes
How to begin: how to set up a daily journal to capture ideas, enrich creativity and prioritise tasks
How to continue: an understanding of how to use a range of journal techniques to achieve large goals such as writing a novel or finishing a degree
How to take it further: understanding how and why an analogue journal complements digital tools and how to progress beyond the exercises and techniques offered during the course to continue learning and customising your journal.
Participant Requirements
You will need to bring a blank journal, preferably about A5 size, no dates or days. The pages can be blank or lined but dotted is generally best (this will be explained on the day). You will also need to bring a pen or three (preferably at least black, blue and red) and a ruler. Coloured highlighter markers are very useful.

The journal can be as basic or as fancy as you wish: many consider the Leuchtturm 1917 Bullet Journal to be the ultimate journal, or the Moleskine. These journals are beautiful, useful, and the perfect size but they are not cheap so do feel free to bring along whatever journal is best for you. This is a tool you will use every day for it to be effective, so if possible choose one that delights you without inhibiting your creativity.

How to get to the NSW Writers’ Centre at Callan Park.

Armed and Dangerous – The Australian

My review of three books on Special Operations in The Australian and the implications for further militarisation of our police forces.

‘I am a sucker for boot-camp training stories in all their heartbreak, bastardry and triumph. The first half of Stanley Kubrick’s movie Full Metal Jacket is almost perfect, only improved by the knowledge that R. Lee Ermey as the senior drill instructor was a real US Marine Corps drill sergeant. The answer to the oft-asked question, were Marine Corps drill instructors really like that? Hell yeah!

That feeling of reality is also what makes these insider stories of men with guns fascinating….’

17 August 6:30pm The Wheeler Centre: Melbourne International Film Festival Dystopia on Film panel

I’m really looking forward to this – will be a great evening.

MIFF Talks – Dystopia on Film
MIFF Talks
Genre: Sci-Fi Share
Co-presented with Overland magazine

Drawing on MIFF’s Sci-Fi retrospective and looking at how cinema harnesses contemporary anxieties to show us where we might be headed, some of the best minds around dissect the darker corners of the future in this panel discussion about Dystopia on Film.

Panellists include Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Ben C Lucas, Claire Corbett and Jennifer Mills; moderated by Adolfo Aranjuez.

‘A war-torn 50 Shades of Grey’ – Sydney Morning Herald

I ‘descend’ into titillation. Descend, I tell you! So revealing, isn’t it, the type of language used about women writing about sex. I mentioned this in my review of the TV series of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, where a morally serious and complex portrayal of domestic violence was dismissed by male critics as straying into ’50 Shades of Grey’ territory. This seems to be becoming part of the critical arsenal, the lazy way to trivialise women writing about the ambiguous and complex nexus of sex and power. Shades of grey indeed!