Aussie author spotlight: Jacinta Halloran

Last week, I did my first post for the Australian Women’s Writer’s Challenge which is aimed at supporting and promoting Australian women – you should check it out when you get a moment. For this auspicious occasion, I was lucky enough to interview Jacinta Halloran. Keep reading and you can discover what we chatted about.

A little while ago, I speculatively turned up to a book event as part of the Woodend Winter’s Arts Festival.  Since we’d arrived in Woodend, I’d been having an internal debate about whether to buy a ticket to this event. To go, I’d have to get up earlier than I’d like (on a holiday weekend no less) and face a cold, foggy morning (being winter and all). Plus, I hadn’t heard of the author. In the end, of course I decided to forgo the extra sleep and I headed into Woodend to listen to Jacinta Halloran. I’m so glad I did.

Jacinta Halloran
Jacinta Halloran

The more Jacinta talked about her books and her writing that morning, the more I warmed to her – she was articulate and thoughtful and with three books under her belt (Dissection, Pilgrimage and The Science of Appearances) she obviously knew what she was talking about. What struck me most about Jacinta was that, as well as being an accomplished author, she is also a GP and still practises part time. What an extraordinary brain she must have, I kept thinking, to do science-y things and also do creative, art-y things.

August: Books I read and a thing that made me laugh

August has gone by in a blur. A cold, rainy, winter-in-Melbourne blur. I’ve been neglecting this little blog – for which I have no real excuse, other than LIFE.

I’ve done lots of reading (there’s always time for reading), but not a lot of reviewing. Here’s a snapshot of what books shaped my August, my verdict on each and then a little thing that made me laugh.

Reworking New Zealand’s history: Where the Rekohu Bone Sings

Where the Rekohu Bone Sings by Tina Makereti is a beautifully told story set that traverses three different time periods in New Zealand and is conveyed through three different narratives. It’s one of the few fictional stories about the fate of the Moriori people (one of the others being David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas) and despite tackling complex themes of identity, colonialism, racism and shame, it’s carried by a lightness of touch that makes it a pleasure to read.

Three different, interwoven stories might sound convoluted, but Tina Makereti works it seamlessly so that each strand adds a powerful layer to the overall narrative.

Six books the library nabbed for me (and why I’m reading them)

I must have gone a bit mad a couple of weeks ago. While I don’t remember it, proof of this flaky episode was a series of library notifications delivered to my inbox last week alerting me that a(nother) book I’d requested was waiting for collection – six in total! I felt a bit overwhelmed after the visit to the library; I could only just carry all the books home.

Here’s a run-down of the six books I’ve now added to my (literally) towering book pile and why they’re there.

12 days, 4 books and a beach

Melbourne is in the depths of winter. It’s a little different to Glasgow winters – where I would look desperately at the day’s forecast and plead that the top temperature rise above 0 degrees – but it can be quite chilly.  Sometimes I have to wear gloves, as well as a scarf and coat. To escape this dreariness, me and my little family recently headed north to Queensland, like the humpback whales, for 12 days of excessive frolicking, lounging, eating and of course, reading.

On this holiday I read 4 totally different books:  Phone, Our Women Our Ways Our World, The Essex Serpent and The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly. Here’s a short review of each (and some gratuitous beach photos).