Wed 10 July, Adelaide Convention Centre

As a prelude to the national AATE/ALEA conference, an all-day symposium is to be held to mark the 40th anniversary of the publication of my book The Making of Literature: Texts, Contexts and Classroom Practices, which (for better or worse) has continued to have an influence on teacher education and on the English classroom in schools.

I feel honoured at this celebratory recognition of one of my early books, and at being invited to take part as a guest speaker.

I’ll also be giving a featured presentation the following day at the main conference, on the subject of poetry.



Tues 4 June, Karrakatta Club, Anzac House, Perth

I’m glad to have been invited to give a presentation about poetry, with a particular focus on my book Breaking the Surface, to the Karrakatta Club’s Literary Lyceum. I’ve been a guest speaker there on several previous occasions and have always enjoyed the experience. The Karrakatta Club is Australia’s longest established club for women.

Friday 12 April, Lane Bookshop, Claremont

The venerable Lane Bookshop hosted a lively evening of Neon Poetry Readings in association with Claremont’s Luminous Street Festival. I was pleased to be one of the invited readers, in the bright company of several other poets – including Lucy Dougan, Annamaria Weldon, Dennis Haskell and Josephine Clarke.

Thurs 14 March, Bracks Library 

I was delighted to be one of three writers who read our work at a “Poetry in the Courtyard” event efficiently organised by the City of Melville’s Lorraine Horsley. My fellow presenters were a highly esteemed duo, Caitlin Maling and Miriam Wei Wei Lo.

Thurs 7 March, Fraser’s, Kings Park

Leadership WA, for which I was the inaugural CEO, held a 20th Anniversary dinner, and I’m honoured to have been invited as a special guest to this celebration. It was great to see what has been accomplished through this community-focused organisation over two decades. For information about Leadership WA, click here.

Sat/Sun 24-25 Feb, State Library of WA

The Literature & Ideas section of the 2024 Perth Festival included not only some noteworthy visitors from elsewhere such as American novelist Jane Smiley, but also (in association with Writing WA) a lively local program featuring a diverse assortment of writers from within Western Australia.


Tuesday 28 Nov, Gascoyne House, Graylands Hospital

It was nice to be invited back to the Gascoyne Book Club so soon after my last guest presentation to this interesting group of professionals in the psychiatric services field.

This time my talk was about an earlier novel of mine, The End of Longing. I focused on the concept of “character”, particularly on how fiction can probe the complexity of an imaginary person’s habits of mind, attitudes, morals and motives, so that readers are in a position comparable to that of some psychiatrists, lawyers and members of parole boards.

Wednesday 1st Nov, Grove Library 

The Grove Library’s Community Centre, where I’d previously given talks about some of novels, was a congenial setting for the launch of my new book of poems, Breaking the Surface (Ginninderra Press).

The format, with Prof Dennis Haskell leading a relaxed conversation with me about the book, was (according to feedback) very successful. My thanks to Dennis for his stimulating remarks and questions, to Lance Hopkinson for organising the Library’s hospitable arrangements, to Linda Martin for her practical help with sales, and to all who participated.

Tuesday 25 July, Gascoyne House, Graylands Hospital

It was a pleasure to give an illustrated talk to the well-attended Gascoyne Book Club about my novel The Madwoman’s Coat.

Friday 23 June, State Library of WA

There was a large and appreciative crowd for the annual announcement and celebration of the WA Premier’s Book Awards. As head judge for the selection of shortlists and prizewinners in four categories (Book of the Year, Emerging Writers, Children’s Book of the Year, and Writer’s Fellowship), I was delighted to meet with not only several contenders and winners but also with publishers, booksellers and readers. The whole event was well organised, as usual, by the Library as administrator of these awards.

Saturday 25 – Sun 26 February, Fremantle Arts Centre

The annual Writers Weekend segment of the Perth Festival contained, as always, an interesting and controversial assortment of talks, panel sessions and readings.

Saturday 7 February, FAWWA Amphitheatre, Claire Copse, Swanbourne, 7pm

I was happy to be one of the featured readers at this Poetry Under the Stars event, open to the skies and open to all — “an evening of romance, music and poetry” organised by WA Poets Inc.


Monday 1 August, Glyde-In Community Centre, Fremantle, 9am

It was a pleasure to be invited back to Glyde-In, where I’ve spoken a couple of times before. Always an engaged and engaging audience.

Tuesday 26 July, Westcoast Community Centre, Grove Library, Peppermint Grove, 10am

I had previously spoken at this venue, but not to this group. I’m delighted that they’ve asked me to talk about The Madwoman’s Coat, and gave me a warm reception.

Tuesday 10 May, Mandurah Probus Club, 10.30am

In the past I’d been a guest speaker at several  Probus Club meetings in different locations, but this was my first encounter with the Mandurah Club. I enjoyed talking with this large and responsive group.

Thursday 10 March, Melville Ladies Probus Club

I enjoyed giving a presentation to this group on the topic of “History Meets Fiction,” with particular reference to a couple of my novels.

Mondays, 14 March to 11 April, MALA (Mandurah), Community Centre

In this course of five weekly sessions on “The Writing Process: From First Ideas to Finished Works,” I talked about making a start, developing the initial ideas, revising, editing etc., and covered a range of genres.

Tuesday 22 March, Fremantle Historical Society, Walyalup Civic Centre library

There was a particularly well-informed audience on this occasion as I presented some research-based perspectives on my novel about the Fremantle Asylum.


Thursday 2 Dec, A.H. Bracks Library, Melville, 6pm

Another talk on the topic “History Meets Fiction,” with particular reference to The Madwoman’s Coat.

Not an empty chair anywhere, and lots of appreciative comments afterwards along with book sales.

Sunday 24 Oct, 4pm: Show and Tell

This was my panel session at the Virtual Conference of the Historical Novel Society of Australasia.

Wednesday 6 Oct, RWAHS, Citiplace, 2pm

I was pleased to be invited to speak in the History in the City series organised by the Royal WA Historical Society, and the organisers told me they were delighted with the full-house crows. My topic was “History Meets Fiction in the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum.”

Fridays, 27 Aug to 24 Sept, MALA (Perth), Geo Burnett Centre, 11.45am

In this new course of five weekly sessions on “The Writing Process: From First Ideas to Finished Works,” I talked about making a start, developing the initial ideas, revising, editing etc., and covered a range of genres.

Monday 27 Sept, Gosnells Probus Club, Progress Hall, Huntingdale, 11am

Although I’ve previously been a guest speaker for other Probus Clubs, this was my first visit to the Gosnells one. The topic of my talk on this occasion was “A fiction writer’s view of history.”

Tuesday 14 September, South Perth Library, 6pm

 I was one of the writers featured at this library event as part of the “Australia Reads” program, when each of us read aloud from our books (not simultaneously!).

With me were David Allan-Petale, Amanda Bridgeman, Rebecca Higgie, David Price and Josephine Taylor. Thanks to Tamara Lampard for organising the event.

Tuesday 10 Aug and 17 Aug, Glyde-In Community Learning Centre, East Fremantle, 2pm

I’d spoken at Glyde-In once before, a few years ago. (Was scheduled for 2020 but Covid intervened.) It was good to return to this lively venue for a pair of well-received presentations on “Memory, Imagination & Writing.” I enjoyed the keen engagement from group members.

Tuesday 6 July, Karrakatta Club, Anzac House (CBD), 12pm

It’s a special honour for a male speaker to have been invited (once again) to Australia’s oldest club for women — which has recently moved to new premises. The hospitality was gracious, the response to my talk about The Madwoman’s Coat was enthusiastic, and the sales of my book were beyond expectation.

Monday 21 June, Melville History Society, Palmyra, 2pm

It was a pleasure to make this return visit to MHS, where I’d given talks to appreciative audiences in the past. My focus this time was on the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum.

Wednesday 16 June, Probus (Victoria Park), Vic Park Bowling Club, 10.30am

There was a large crowd in attendance for this presentation on the writing of my latest novel The Madwoman’s Coat.

Wednesdays, 5 May to 2 June, MALA (Rockingham), 9.30am

This series of five weekly lectures was a repeat of my course on “Memory, Imagination and Writing” presented earlier in the year to the Mandurah branch of MALA (the Mature Adults Learning Association).

Friday 16 April, U3A (Canning River), St Augustine’s Hall, Como, 1.45pm

I gave a talk to a large audience on the topic “When history meets fiction” with particular reference to my latest novel The Madwoman’s Coat, and also some discussion of one of my earlier books, That Untravelled World, which is set mainly in the Canning River region.

Mondays, 8 March to 12 April, MALA (Peel), 1.30pm

The Mandurah-based branch of the Mature Adults Learning Association hosted a series of five weekly lectures by me on Memory, Imagination and Writing.

Wednesday 31 March, BOOK LAUNCH, South Perth Library

My novel The Madwoman’s Coat was launched on this cheerful occasion.

Despite social distancing requirements there were more than fifty in attendance.

Events Officer Tamara Lampard did a great job of organising the event.

Anthony Styan, local history librarian at the City of South Perth, interviewed me about the book, and lots of copies were sold afterwards.


(the year when COVID put the kibosh on several scheduled events)

Tues 6 & 20 October, U3A (Perth), Citiplace Centre, 9.45am

This contribution to the University of the Third Age program (Perth city branch) was a pair of lectures on the topic “When history meets fiction.” I made particular reference to A Thousand Tongues. The group was responsive and appreciative.

4, 11, 18 & 25 September (Friday mornings), MALA Perth

I designed this course to appeal to those who write, or want to write, as well as to those who simply enjoy reading. Memory and imagination are basic sources for many kinds of writing, and the most engaging literary works usually blend the two in creative ways. The anonymous evaluations submitted at the end were gratifyingly laudatory.

3 March, Karrakata Club, 11.30am

It was a pleasure to be invited back to this long-established institution for a talk on “The Making of Historical Fiction: An Inside Story.”

15 Feb, Shakespeare Club, Citiplace Centre, 2pm

I gave a talk on “Shakespeare in Modern Fiction” to the Perth Shakespeare Club. It included discussion of my latest novel, which incorporates Shakespearean references in various ways.


4 Nov, 12 noon, Retired Literature Teachers Group

I’d last given a talk to this group a few years ago, and was glad to get a return invitation. I spoke about the process of devising and developing my new novel, A Thousand Tongues, and there was a lively discussion afterwards.

Oct – Nov, MALA (Perth and Rockingham)

I presented a weekly lecture for five weeks on the topic of ‘Myth in Literature and Society: Medieval to Modern’ under the auspices of MALA, the Mature Adults Learning Association. This series, a sequel to a course I offered earlier in the year, ran both in Perth and in Rockingham.

6 Oct, Katharine Susannah Prichard commemoration, KSP Centre

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Katharine Susannah Prichard, a day of special events was held at the Writers Centre named after her. This included launching an anthology of writings connected to her. An essay of mine, ‘Katharine’s Lingering Voices,’ appears in this book.

2 Oct, FHWA Writers Group, Bayswater

Having given a presentation to the Family History (WA) association earlier this year,I was delighted to be invited back to speak to its Writers special interest group about “Storytelling from start to finish.”

25 Sept, ‘Words with Wine’ — author talk, Manning Library

This was a conversation about A Thousand Tongues with Anthony Styan, Local History Librarian for the City of South Perth, at the new Manning community library. There was a full house.

1 Sept, book launch, Mattie Furphy House

My new novel A Thousand Tongues, published by Framework Press, was ceremonially launched at Mattie Furphy House in Swanbourne on the first day of spring.

The Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA) kindly made its heritage-listed premises available as the venue for this event.

The place was packed to the rafters, Paul Genoni gave a lovely speech about the book, a good time was had by all and lots of copies were sold on the day.

For my reflections on the event (and several responses), see here.


18 May, ETAWA Conference, Shenton College

It was a privilege  to share a plenary session at the state conference of the English Teachers Association of Western Australia. The conference theme of ‘Curiosity’ is aptly applicable both to teaching and to writing, and provided an interesting framework for my co-presentation with Josephine Wilson, author of the prize-winning novel Extinctions. For some of my thoughts arising from this session, see my blog post Curious Journeys.

March – April, MALA (Perth and Rockingham)

I presented a weekly lecture for five weeks on the topic of ‘Myth in Literature and Society’ under the auspices of MALA, the Mature Adults Learning Association. The series, which attracted large and lively groups, ran both in Perth and in Rockingham, and a sequel series will be offered Oct – Nov in both places.

10 March, Fellowship of Australian Writers

I conducted a 3-hour workshop on ‘Editing Towards Publication’ under the auspices of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA). Its emphasis was on the need to develop the habit of self-editing throughout the process of drafting and revision.

12 March, Western Australian Genealogical Society, Bayswater

At this WAGS meeting I had the pleasure of speaking to a packed room on the topic “Sometimes the facts don’t tell you enough: How a fiction writer looks at family history.”


14 Oct, 1.30, Peter Cowan Writers Centre, ECU Joondalup

This workshop on “Drafting, editing and revising towards publication” brought together a very interesting group of writers with diverse experiences to draw on, and all participants seemed to find it useful.

20 Aug – 22 Oct, MALA Mandurah 

It has been a great pleasure presenting this 10-week course for the Mandurah branch of  the Mature Adults Learning Association (MALA) on the topic of ‘Myth and Literature and Society.’

To judge from all the feedback, participants found it enjoyable too.

I’ll be giving a revised version of this course  to the Perth and Rockingham MALA groups in the first half of 2019.

22 Aug – 19 Sept, MALA Rockingham 

For this 5-week course for the Rockingham branch of MALA, my topic was ‘Presenting the past in literature: a writer’s view.’ We discussed a range of historical novels, Australian, American and British. A wonderfully responsive group!

16 May, The Old Mill, 6.30pm

As part of the Australian Heritage Festival I gave an illustrated presentation, jointly with architectural historian John Stephens, on ‘Fact and Fiction in the History of South Perth’s Old Mill.’

I spoke particularly about Satan Browne’s 1880 conversion of this landmark building into something strange – and my use of this episode in my novel The Mind’s Own Place.

The audience filled the venue to capacity. I’m grateful to Anthony Styan, Heritage Officer at the City of South Perth, for arranging this successful event.

23 Feb – 1 June (Friday mornings), MALA Perth

To my delight, the evaluation forms completed anonymously by people attending my course on ‘Reading Like a Writer: an inside view of literature’ for the Mature Adults Learning Association (MALA) in Perth could not have been more positive.

11 Jan, 9.30am, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre

I had the honour of being one of the featured speakers at the MALA Summer School in Mandurah. I spoke to a large and appreciative audience about ‘Literature in the Making.’


12 Dec, ASA party

It was pleasant to chat with a gathering of fellow-members of the Australian Society of Authors at an end-of-year party held at the University Club, UWA. As the only WA-based Director of the ASA, I spoke briefly on this occasion about the things that have made 2017 a memorable year for the organisation, especially its involvement in campaigns to protect copyright safeguards and parallel import restrictions.

13 Sept, Literary Lions

I was delighted to be the guest at a private function hosted by the Literary Lions group, which supports Western Australian authors through WritingWA. You can read about the Literary Lions here.

21 Aug – 30 Oct (Mondays 9am), Mandurah Community Centre, 41 Ormsby Tce Mandurah 

Under the auspices of the Peel branch of the Mature Adults Learning Association (MALA), I gave a 10-week course of lectures on ‘Reading Like a Writer: An Inside View of Literature.’ Meeting this appreciative group regularly was a rewarding experience for me, and its members were in the forefront of my mind when I posted my blog article ‘In Praise of Older Readers.’

20 August, Wireless Hill Museum

It was a pleasure to give one of the presentations in a day’s program celebrating aspects of the history of this place.

Mine was on ‘Fact and Fiction in Stories of Wireless Hill’ – an opportunity to talk about the historical context of my novel That Untravelled World, and to sell copies at a special price, with half the proceeds going to the Wireless Hill telecommunications museum.

5 August, 1.30-4.30, Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre, Joondalup

I conducted a workshop – intended for experienced authors and beginners alike – on ‘Writing About the Past.’

This session covered historical fiction as well as various non-fiction genres such as biography and memoir.

It’s not easy to meet the expectations of a diverse group, so I was pleased with the positive feedback received anonymously from participants’ evaluation sheets.

31 July – 1 August, City of Perth Library

WritingWA held a two-day ‘Writing and Publishing Sector Forum’ on 31 July and 1 August at the City of Perth Library and History Centre, 573 Hay Street, Perth. There were sessions on the publisher-to-bookshop supply chain, on self-publishing, on copyright and ‘fair use,’ on the recent state government review of writing and publishing in WA, and several other topics. My own invited presentation was on authors’ incomes and pay rates.


I spent a few weeks overseas, mainly in and around some of the locations of my now-completed novel A Thousand Tongues, which is set partly in England (19th and early 20th century) and partly in Western Australia.

18 March, Historical Fiction Reading Group, Subiaco

Book clubs and reading groups come in many shapes and sizes. In recent years I’ve been invited along to a pleasant variety of them to join in the discussion of one or other of my novels. This Subiaco-based club is a new one – or rather, it’s an established literary study group that is now turning its attention to a new genre. I was delighted to be asked to come along on this occasion to talk with them about The Mind’s Own Place.

10 March, writing workshops, South Coast Baptist College

I had a great time running a full day of writing workshops with students from this school south of Perth (several groups, ranging from Year 7 to Year 12), under the auspices of the ‘Reading Australia BookPros’ program, jointly organised by the Copyright Agency and the Australian Society of Authors. Any school can request an author visit through this scheme: click here for details of the scheme.

17 Feb, Wireless Hill Museum

Wire (1)Launched at the Wireless Hill Museum in Ardross, ‘The Wire’ is a new exhibition that focuses on the history of morse code. It takes visitors back to the earliest days of radio in Western Australia – a period represented in my novel That Untravelled World, which is partly set in and around the buildings that now comprise the museum.

I was invited to the exhibition opening, where I met members of the Morsecodians Fraternity of WA – a dwindling group. The exhibition is beautifully curated by Gina Capes. Copies of That Untravelled World are on display there for special discount sale to museum visitors.

Thurs 1 Dec 2016, 5.30pm, University Club, UWA

ASA colour logo

I enjoyed chatting with fellow-writers from my part of the country at the Christmas drinks get-together hosted by the Australian Society of Authors for WA members. Although I knew most of those attending, there were quite a few new faces too. As an ASA Board director I was asked to say a few words on this occasion, but it was an informal social event with no elaborate speechmaking.


Sun 16 Oct, 1.30pm, Perth Town Hall

Old Mill

The theme of this year’s Perth Heritage Days Festival was ‘The Way We Worked.’ In my  conversation with Richard Offen as part of the festival, I discussed ‘Victorian Perth in Fact and Fiction’ – with particular reference to the crisis that faced the Swan River Colony through lack of capital and labour, and the solution that convict transportation was intended to supply. This included some of the historical background to my main characters in The Mind’s Own Place.

Tues 4 Oct, Karrakatta Club

This talk to the Literary Lyceum group, focusing on The Mind’s Own Place, was my first visit to the Karrakatta Club, a venerable Perth institution. Nice to be invited! There was a good crowd, a convivial lunch, and plenty of book sales. What more could I want? Thanks to Mary O’Hara for the arrangements.

Sat 10 September, 10am, Avon Valley Literary Festival, Northam


For the second successive year I took part in this regional literary festival. It was nice to be invited back to conduct a talk-with-workshop on ‘Writing Historical Fiction.’ There was plenty of interaction with an appreciative group, and a good number of people bought copies of my novels afterwards. Congratulations and thanks to Angi McCluskey and her colleagues for another well organised event.

Sun 28 August , Mattie Furphy House, Swanbourne 


Mattie Furphy House, built more than a century ago in the Arts & Crafts style and associated with the author of Such is Life, provides a congenial setting for literary events. Look at that lovely jarrah panelling behind me!  Hosted by the Fellowship of Australian Writers, my talk on ‘Writing from Memory’ attracted a good crowd and generated plenty of conversation. I discussed the use of personal memory and cultural memory in various genres, from memoir and family history to historical fiction.

Sat 27 August, University Club, UWA


I spoke about my novel The Mind’s Own Place at this ‘Literary High Tea’ event run by Charlotte Guest from UWAP. Elegant food and elegant company – a very pleasant occasion. A highlight for me was that, during the lively Q&A session following my talk, one man in the audience announced that he had grown up in and worked in certain regions of England that figure substantially in the early chapters of my book (particularly Lancashire and Staffordshire towns), and he wanted to congratulate me on having managed to make all the local details I’d woven into the story – concerning the Vulcan Foundry, the potteries, the canals etc. – authentic in every respect. It’s gratifying to have that kind of authoritative testimony!

7-10 July, Adelaide – English Teaching conferences

I presented an invited paper at a “Re-reading Dartmouth” symposium, marking the 50th anniversary of an epoch-making event in English education, and then the following day I gave a keynote address on “The woven fabric of storytelling: memory’s warp, imagination’s weft” at the joint national conference of the Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE) and the Australian Literacy Educators Association. Large and responsive audiences, good discussion. My thanks to the AATE for the invitation, and also for having just reissued (in pdf form) my 1984 book The Making of Literature.

Mon 16 May, Retired Teachers Literature Group

I didn’t know about this group until recently but I’m glad to have been asked to give a presentation to its members about The Mind’s Own Place. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Mon 16 May, Miller Bakehouse Museum

Nice to have been invited back to speak to members of the Melville Historical Society about the factual basis of my latest novel. It’s a hospitable group, and there was plenty of lively discussion after my talk.

Thurs 12 May, Glyde-In Community Learning Centre

I really enjoyed my first appearance on the program at this well-known East Fremantle community centre – 42 Glyde Street – efficiently run by Ann Reeves. My talk on “Resurrecting the Dead in Fiction” used The Mind’s Own Place as its main frame of reference, and (to judge by the sales of copies afterwards) it was well received.

Tues 10 May, PLC Independent School

I had a lot of fun speaking to a group of young PLC students about writing narrative. When I visited this school for a similar session last year I found them refreshingly keen to learn from a practising writer, and this sequel occasion was equally satisfying.

Sat 7 May, ETAWA conference

It was a great pleasure to be a keynote speaker at this well organised, well-attended state conference of the English Teachers Association of Western Australia.

4 March to 8 April, Fridays 10am: MALA lecture series

As the feedback on my 2015 series of lectures for the Mature Adults Learning Association was enthusiastic, I was  invited back for this term. Last time my focus was on historical fiction; this new course had a different topic, ‘Reading Like a Writer: an insider view of literature.” I enjoyed ranging across different genres and interacting with a large and responsive group.

Mon 21 March, 12pm, Weld Club

It felt appropriate to be giving a talk about The Mind’s Own Place in the Weld Club, which is named after the person who was Governor of this state during part of the period when my novel is set. There was a pleasing appetite for book-buying among those who attended, and an excellent lunch satisfied my own appetite.

Tues 8 March, Fremantle

A group of loyal supporters of my novels, a Fremantle-based book club, asked me along to their meeting – this time for a chat about The Mind’s Own Place. I’ve been a guest of this group when it has discussed my previous novels, so it was be pleasant to see them for the third time and hear their questions and comments.

19-21 Feb, Perth Writers Festival

This year I was able to get to more PWF sessions than in the past, though even so it was often difficult to choose which of a number of simultaneous talks to attend. Not all writers are eloquent speakers, but several of those I heard were well worth listening to, and I’ll remember them for some while. I greatly enjoyed chairing the “Reimagining” session, which brought together the authors of three fine historical novels: Lucy Treloar (Salt Creek), Shirley Barrett (Rush Oh!) and Genevieve Glasfurd (The Words in my Hand). I was also a “living book” in one of the Human Library events. I’ve posted comments about both sessions on the blog page of this website.

2 Feb, Kent Street Senior High School

This was a bracing challenge: I worked with groups of Year 12 (English ATAR) students to develop their creative writing abilities. It seemed to go well, judging from appreciative comments afterwards (“That was really cool, sir!” etc.).

29 Jan 2016, Shenton College

I enjoyed conducting a workshop for the English teaching staff on creative writing with particular reference to the new Australian curriculum for Years 11 and 12.

Sat 19 Dec 2015, 3pm, Bunbury Museum & Heritage Centre

This was a a public lecture on history, heritage and fiction, to celebrate the opening of the new Bunbury Museum in the heart of the CBD: the Paisley Centre, 1 Arthur Street. Details here.

Tues 17 Nov, Shenton College

I gave an invited talk (“How to approach ‘Composing’ with Composure”) on the creative writing section of the new national curriculum for senior English to a conference of English teachers from state schools. Nice to see that one of the attendees, Sam Boswell, has posted some informal jottings about my presentation on her website (here).

Sun 8 Nov, 3pm, Mattie Furphy House, Swanbourne

I discussed with Bruce Devenish his biography Sir James Mitchell: Premier and Governor of Western Australia at this year’s final session in the “Creative Conversations” series organised by the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA). 

Friday mornings 16 Oct to 13 Nov, Mature Adults Learning Association

This invited series of lectures for MALA on “Presenting the Past in Literature: A Writer’s View” seemed to go well. The group members were a lively bunch of keen readers, and I enjoyed sharing with them a practitioner’s perspective on historical fiction.

Wed 28 Oct, 10am, City of Vincent Library

There was a large and responsive group for my talk on “Resurrecting the Dead.” Thanks to Julie Davidson, Local History Librarian, for organising the event.

Mon 21 Sept, Claremont/Cottesloe Probus Club

I’ve spoken at Probus Club meetings elsewhere in the past, but this group was the largest. A receptive all-male audience of 86 seemed to enjoy my presentation “A Fiction-Writer’s View of WA History” – and afterwards they certainly belied the notion that only women buy books: I’d brought along two large boxes of my novels and in a matter of minutes every copy was sold. My thanks to Ron Jones for arranging the session.

Sat-Sun 19-20 Sept, Avon Valley Writers Festival, Toodyay & Northam

P1010702 (1)

Another regional festival, with all the pleasures of meeting local readers (from Toodyay, Northam and the surrounding district) and sharing experiences with other guest writers, who included my UWAP stablemates and fellow fictioneers Amanda Curtin and Susan Midalia. Thanks to Angi McCluskey for coordinating the weekend’s events. My main contribution to the program was a workshop on “Finding Your Voice: Poetry or Prose?” You can read some of my thoughts on this topic in a blog post here.

Thurs 17 Sept, 7pm, Rockingham Arts Centre

Susan Midalia and I  featured in a Q&A chaired by Charlotte Guest (UWAP Publications Officer) at this “networking night” organised by the Rockingham Writers Centre. Not a large group but an interesting range of participants.

Fri – Sun 11-13 Sept, Kimberley Writers Festival, Kununurra

IMG_3617I’d previously visited parts of the western Kimberley – a vast landscape of extraordinary beauty – but I’d never visited Kununurra before.

What a fascinating environment, and what a lively community up there in the far north-east!

Local librarian Jo Roach and her cheerful team of volunteer colleagues provided warm hospitality, and there were lots of memorable things, especially (for me) a river cruise, a convivial dinner at the waterside Pumphouse Restaurant, a tour around the Kununurra community museum, and several sessions in the handsome new library building.


It was good to spend time with fellow-writers, too, including a talented bunch from Perth (Dave Whish-Wilson, Ken Spillman, Josh Cunniffe and Wendy Binks).

Here (left) are some of us in one of the “On the Couch” sessions.

All in all, this visit to the state’s furthermost corner was a really distinctive festival experience. Warm thanks to those on the spot in Kununurra who organised the event and to those from elsewhere who supported it in various ways, most notably WritingWA. 

Wed 26 Aug, 10-11pm, Royal WA Historical Society, Nedlands 

Oct 2015Newsletter Final-1I gave a brief talk about my new novel as one of the guest speakers for this well-attended RWAHS “Booked in for a Cuppa” event, and sold a good number of books afterwards. Geoffrey Bolton was scheduled to have been there too, and it would have been good to hear what he’d have said about his biography of Paul Hasluck – but he was too ill to take part, and his death came just a few days later: a shock for those of us who knew him, and a sad loss for anyone with an interest in WA history.

Thurs 27 Aug, 6pm, Lawrence Wilson Gallery, UWA campus

This 80th birthday party for UWA Publishing was a happy occasion, featuring fine music (Fiona Campbell’s voice blending beautifully with clarinet and piano) and a talk by Amanda Curtin about her long association with UWAP as editor and author.

Fri 28 Aug, 1.30pm, Mandurah Public Library

I enjoyed this return visit to the library in Mandurah. Stormy weather kept the attendance small but discussion was lively. My thanks to Irena Sadjovic for organising the event.

Fri 21 Aug, UWA Faculty of Education Conference Room

It was very pleasant to discuss my new novel with members of a Faculty-based book group – all intelligent and appreciative readers. Lots of interesting comments on the book. Thanks to Helen Wildy for arranging this session.

Wed 19 Aug, 6-8pm, State Library of WA Theatre

Horrible weather and consequent traffic chaos prevented some of the 150 people who’d registered from attending, and others trickled in late – but the audience seemed to enjoy this, which was the public presentation arising from my project as the 2015 Battye Fellow. Following an illustrated talk by me on “History’s Grist and Fiction’s Mill: researching and amplifying stories of Western Australia”, a panel of fellow-writers responded: Amanda Curtin, David Whish-Wilson and Jenny Gregory. My thanks to them and to the Library staff for organising the event.

Thurs 6 Aug, 6.15-7.45pm, South Perth Public Library

I was the featured writer on this occasion as part of the Library’s “Words with Wine” series. The event was organised with great efficiency by Tamara Lampard, and a good crowd of between 40 and 50 people turned up to hear me speak and then lined up to buy my new book. Thanks, Tamara!

Tues 28 July: recording of Cover to Cover interview

Recording with Ian 1 copyMeri Fatin is a skilled interviewer, and I enjoyed my conversation with her for an instalment of the “Cover to Cover’ TV program broadcast in August by Westlink.

The program is sponsored by Writing WA, through which the interview is now available here.


Thurs 23 July, 2-3pm, Swanbourne Bookcaffe 

ian reid at bookcaffe 1

I was the guest at a very pleasant meeting of the Swanbourne Bookcaffe’s book club, smoothly organised by the enterprising Emily Paull. (Thank you, Emily!) If you don’t know her cafe/bookshop, it’s well worth a visit.

I enjoyed the discussion and the session was well attended – this photo shows only one corner of the group.


Wed 15 July, 6-8pm, Lawrence Wilson Gallery: Book launch

My new novel The Mind’s Own Place was eloquently launched by Brenda Walker at the splendid Lawrence Wilson Gallery venue on the campus of the University of Western Australia. You can read my post on this happy event here.

Tues 30 June, 6-7.30pm, Reception Room, Fremantle Town Hall  

I was the invited speaker at a meeting of the Fremantle History Society on the topic “Constraint and Coincidence in the Small World Of Colonial Fremantle: the factual basis of The Mind’s Own Place.” There was a good crowd, good discussion, and plenty of book sales.

Sat 27 June 11am, Capital Radio broadcast

Tony Howes interviewed me about my new novel.

Thurs 4 June, 12-2pm, State Library of WA  

I was an invited speaker at a “Campaign for Copyright” event organised by the Copyright Agency. My topic was “Why Copyright Matters: An Author’s Perspective.” The CA has made the text of my talk available online here.

Tues 31 March, PLC 

It was a pleasure to give an invited talk about narrative writing to a group of young students at PLC, an independent school in Peppermint Grove. Their teacher, Catherine Smyth, asked me to illustrate my remarks with reference to my own fiction, but the emphasis was on the students’ own understanding of storytelling. It was a lively discussion, and the students had plenty of ideas. Good fun.

Perth Writers Festival 

Chairing a couple of sessions at the Perth Writers Festival was a pleasant experience:

Sat 21 Feb: Dolphin Theatre (UWA): WAR STORIES

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This was a stimulating conversation with Nicholas Shakepeare, whose novella Oddfellows is a fictionalised account of the only attack on Australian soil during World War 1, and Miranda Richmond Mouillot, whose A Fifty-Year Silence uncovers the story of her grandparents’ escape from the Nazis and the painful aftermath of that experience.

Sun 22 Feb: Dolphin Theatre (UWA):  COLONIAL DAYS

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Another interesting conversation, this time with John Marsden, author of South of Darkness, and Rohan Wilson, author of To Name Those Lost, whose novels recreate aspects of Australia’s colonial past.

16 December 2014: Attadale Probus Club

There was an appreciative crowd at this event, held at the South of Perth Yacht Club  with great views across the Swan River, for my talk on ‘A Novelist’s View of Local History and Family History’, which provoked plenty of discussion. The Club’s newsletter has printed an enthusiastic report on my presentation, declaring it to be ‘interesting’, ‘fluent’, ‘engaging’ and ‘polished.’

10 October 2014: Friday@Furphy’s (FAWWA)



12 July 2014: Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre, Joondalup

It was a pleasant experience to conduct a workshop on editing – the first this year in a series for the Advanced Writers’ Class run by PCWC. The Centre’s website is at

The group’s interests and experience covered a wide range but we found plenty of common ground. It was a bonus to have PCWC President Susan Stevens there throughout, and also a video-link to a participant in France!

18 May 2014: Mattie Furphy House, Swanbourne

I was invited to lead a session for the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA) ‘Book-length Project Group’ ably co-ordinated by Iris Lavell (who has since then handed over the role to others). For information about this group, contact the FAWWA:

It has a lively website at

3 May 2014: Market Development Skills Workshop, State Library 

This practical initiative by WritingWA in partnership with the Australia Council recognised that writers must increasingly be their own publicists. Conducted by Jaki Arthur from Hachette, the session got down to brass tacks of target readership, self-presentation and so forth. As the workshop was for selected writers only, I’m grateful for the opportunity to participate along with a number of other Perth-based writers, some of whom I hadn’t previously met.

17 March 2014: History Centre, City of Perth

Ian Reid presentation photographs (3)

I enjoyed conducting this workshop  for the Perth History Centre on ‘Historical Writing’.

My thanks to Jenna Lynch for organising this successful event.

Well in advance the workshop was fully subscribed, and there’s a large waiting list for a repeat session next year when the History Centre moves to the new City of Perth Library premises that are currently under construction.



11 March 2014: City of Cambridge Library

In the last few months I’ve given a series of  talks and readings in public libraries – most recently this one for the City of Cambridge, where I spoke about ‘A Fiction-Writer’s View of History.’ My thanks to Leesa Cheah for mustering a good audience.

27 Feb 2014: Royal WA Historical Society

I was invited with three others to discuss recent publications that have an historical basis – in my case, the novel That Untravelled World. RWAHS turned on a pleasant and well-attended show.

15 Feb 2014: U3A Melville Lecture Series

I spoke to an appreciative U3A group about the writing of That Untravelled World. It was my first contact with the University of the Third Age, which seems to be a well-run organisation. Plenty of book sales at the end of the talk testified to the enthusiastic reception.

5 Feb 2014: Koorliny Arts Centre, Kwinana: ‘Stories on Stage’

Koorliny 5.2.14

Amanda Curtin and I gave a joint presentation at the Koorliny Arts Centre on writing historical fiction – the first ‘Stories on Stage’ session for this year. The good-sized audience was pleasantly responsive, queuing afterwards to buy our novels, get them signed, and have a chat with us. The ‘duet’ structure seemed to work well. I was fortunate in being paired with Amanda. The Kwinana venue, which I hadn’t previously visited, was excellent for the purpose. Monique Mulligan, Koorliny administrator, did a great job of organizing the event and Terri-ann White, UWAP director, gave great practical support.

Dec 2013: KSP Writers’ Centre


I was the featured speaker in the final event for 2013 at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre. The occasion was [what would have been] Katharine ‘s 130th birthday. For the text of this talk, see my post: ‘TALES OF KATHARINE

Oct 2013: City of Vincent Library


This event pulled in a good crowd and produced some lively discussion. My presentation must have been fairly well received because at the end of the session I sold the whole box-full of my books that I’d taken along with me. Thanks to Julie Davidson, Senior Local History Librarian, for organising the occasion so efficiently.



Attached to the Vincent library entrance wall is this striking artwork by Judith Forrest, showing H.G. Wells emerging into our time and place with his book The Time Machine under his arm.


It’s an apt metaphor for the power of writing – especially historical fiction – to transcend the period of its creation, reaching out across the years to meet new readers.


Sept 2013: Geraldton Big Sky Festival

Big Sky cover

I had a great time as a guest at the Geraldton Big Sky Readers & Writers Festival in September. Susan Smith and her many helpers did an admirably efficient job in organising the event.

Audiences were appreciative, fellow-writers were congenial, and the atmosphere was very positive.


Big Sky: signing books with Dianne Wolfer (front) and Toni Jordan



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