It’s traditional to write biographies in the third person and that is how I have always done it. However when writing this one, I suddenly balked at the idea of referring to myself as a stranger, so here I am, in the first person.
I have always been close to story, drawn to it as one is drawn to a blazing fireplace on a cold night; for comfort, company, rumination and illumination. As a child, the stories I read acted (and still do), as a compass, guiding me through life. As an adult, stories have become a mirror in which I can explore myself, and a means of connecting with others, liberating my thinking, and increasing my understanding of the world in which I live. So it’s no surprise that I have been drawn to the risky business of writing.
It continues to be a rocky but rewarding ride, fraught with periods of excruciating doubt and punctuated by moments of exhilarating joy. In the process I have become the author of two novels, Flight (Fourth Estate 2012) and Gathering Storm (Penguin 2008), which is currently being adapted for screen. My short stories, essays and life writing have also been published in anthologies, magazines, newspapers and literary journals. I have just finished a new novel, Between Worlds and am working on a non-fiction book called The Alchemy of Story, a study of the transformative power of story and the mysteries of the creative process.
At various points along the way, I completed a BA in Writing at the University of Technology in Sydney, an MA in Writing at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK and a PhD at Swinburne University in Melbourne. I now work as a Creative Writing Fellow at Aberystwyth University in Wales and also teach on the online MA in Writing program at Swinburne University in Melbourne.
For more than twenty years I have worked as an editor and manuscript assessor, a mentor, and a teacher of creative writing, running short and long workshops and courses on all aspects of creative writing at introductory and advanced levels. For two years I ran a weekly creative writing course for psychiatric patients suffering from chronic depression and explored ways of using story to rebalance the psyche. Along with ‘how to’ writing workshops on a wide range of subjects, I also run workshops that link the art and the craft of writing with its potential for personal transformation.