13 May 2010
It's now liliwilkinson.com.au, not liliwilkinson.com. This is Important.
Also my blog is now here, and the RSS feed is here, but if you already subscribe via RSS it should update automatically.
Change your bookmarks!
11 May 2010
Tolkien was a Catholic, for whom the basic issues of life were not in question, because the Church had all the answers. So nowhere in 'The Lord of the Rings' is there a moment's doubt about those big questions. No-one is in any doubt about what's good or bad; everyone knows where the good is, and what to do about the bad. Enormous as it is, TLOTR is consequently trivial. Narnia, on the other hand, is the work of a Protestant - and an Ulster Protestant at that, for whom the individual interaction with the Bible and with God was a matter of daily struggle and endless moral questioning. That's the Protestant tradition. So in Narnia the big questions are urgent and compelling and vital: is there a God? Who is it? How can I recognise him? What must I do to be good? I profoundly disagree with the answers that Lewis offers - in fact, as I say, I detest them - but Narnia is a work of serious religious engagement in a way that TLOTR could never be.
From an oldish interview here.
04 May 2010
18 April 2010
11 April 2010
08 April 2010
The gateman closed one eye in speculation, and scratched his head. “Wull,” he said in his simple countryman's accent. “If ye follow this 'ere road, down over th' bridge, then it's th' first buildin' on yer roight.”
“Thank you,” said Nellwyn, and they turned away.
“'Ere!” said the man, waving at them. “Y' mun stay on this road, an' down't stray int' th' back-streets, loike, for there be some nasty characters about.”
(Lord of the Rings)
The next evening, Nellwyn came down reporting bad news, he had not seen the explosions because of the high mountain peaks, but he had seen a gigantic flock of evil-looking crows flying in their direction.
“Crows?” said Flontale, looking up from where he was sitting cross-legged by their campfire. “What could crows do to us?”
“These aren't just a few crows,” Nellwyn said, frowning at the thought Flontale might be braver than one of the best fighters in the village. “They're huge! Each one has a wingspan of about three feet, and their eyes - ugh.” He shuddered.
“How many?” asked Dadoe, reaching for his axe and testing the point with his thumb. Dadoe was never one to mince words.
“I don't know. They were stretching off over the top of the mountain beyond my line of vision.”
Dadoe put down the axe carefully. “Ah. Maybe fighting them wouldn't be such a good idea.”
(Chronicles of Prydain)
“You cannot treat me this way!” cried Dylarn, “I am ill!”
“And I'm the great God Tefflar!” snapped Leyha, “Stop whining and get on with the packing!”
“But I am ill!”
“I know, you said it before.” She turned to the others, “And he says that he's a warrior, hmph!”
The Third of the Yswin reached into the three's minds.
He projected images of home, of death, of killing, all three saw Leyha burying a black sword with a yellow jewel embedded in the hilt into Sul's chest....
He sighed, and called for Elondwar. He hadn't really wanted to become a God. Of course it was nice having the power to make the kingliest of kings bow down to Him, but a lot of hardships came with being a God.
“You called, Divine One?”
He looked up, “Entertain me, Elondwar.” He said wearily.
She grinned mirthlessly, showing her long, blood-red fangs.
“I think I can manage that.”
He leapt, catlike over a fence, and slid in the window of a peasants house. Inside, four peasants were asleep. Tel crept over to one of them, and raised their wrist to his lips. Ari saw him bite down hard, and the peasant jolted in pain, but slept on. As Tel drank, the colour came back into his face, and he straightened, sliding a gold coin into the still-sleeping peasant's clenched fist.
30 March 2010
23 March 2010
- Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
- Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody
- Ready or Not by Meg Cabot
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
- Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
- Mandragora by David McRobbie
- Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
- Skellig by David Almond
- Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
- Abyssinia by Ursula Dubosarsky
Del Del by Victor Kelleher
So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Forever by Judy Blume
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Space Demons by Gillian Rubenstein
Doing It by Melvin Burgess
48 Shades of Brown by Nick Earls
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
What are yours?
18 March 2010
First, there's an article in the Telegraph about the Orange Prize, a literary award for women writers:
Given that women have won five out of the last six Whitbread/Costas, does the level of injustice remain enough to justify the Orange?Well. A few points, if I may.
Women are predominant, in terms of numbers and power, in most of the major publishing houses and agencies. They sell most of the books, into a market that largely comprises women readers. They are favoured by what is overwhelmingly the most important publishing prize (the Richard and Judy list), and comprise most of the reading groups that drive sales. Girls in schools are more literate than boys, and pupils are taught reading mainly by female teachers promoting mainly female writers.
- Six out of the last 20 Booker Prize Winners have been women.
- Two out of the last 20 Booker Prize Winners have had a female protagonist. That's 10%.
- Publisher's Weekly's Best Books of 2010 list are all by men.
- Our own Miles Franklin longlist features 3 women and 9 men.
- There are more women working in publishing than men, more women write books and more women read books. This is all true. Yet capital-L-literary awards are undeniably skewed towards men.
- There are more female teachers because teaching continues to be a low pay, low status job.
- Despite this, the vast majority of class texts are by men, and feature male protagonists.
- In VCE this year, there are 9 texts available by women, and 27 by men.
- I know of a local private girls' school where, from Years 7-10, not one text is studied featuring a female protagonist. NOT. ONE.
"I just want to say," I said as the meeting closed, "that we have sat here and consistently called books by women small and books by men large, by no quantifiable metric, and we are giving awards to books I think are actually kind of amateur and sloppy compared to others, and I think it's disgusting."Here's a (relatively mild) comment from that article about the Orange Prize:
Our default is that women are small, men are universal.
I am a life long reader and have read thousands of books, however I have read probably less than 20 books written by women. Women write differently from men and I feel their efforts appeal mostly to other women.Which brings me to our friend Nicholas Sparks. Nicholas is the author of The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe and Dear John, among others. First, I have to admit that I've never read any of his books, nor seen any of the film adaptations. But I've seen the previews, and that was enough to know that it isn't really my thing. On the whole, I prefer my rom to also include com.
So Nicholas recently gave an interview*.
If you look for me, I'm in the fiction section. Romance has its own section... I don't write romance novels. Love stories — it's a very different genre. I would be rejected if I submitted any of my novels as romance novels...Apart from, hmm, I don't know. A WHOLE BUNCH OF WOMEN.
There's a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It's a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it's very rare that it works. That's why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It's all drama...
I write in a genre that was not defined by me. The examples were not set out by me. They were set out 2,000 years ago by Aeschylus, Sophoclies and Euripides.
A romance novel is supposed to make you escape into a fantasy of romance. What is the purpose of what I do? These are love stories. They went from (Greek tragedies), to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, then Jane Austen did it, put a new human twist on it. Hemingway did it with A Farewell to Arms.
There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do.
Thanks to Karen Healey, Meanjin and Bookslut for bringing all these articles to my attention.
*Did I mention that the interview was a joint one? With Miley Cyrus?
09 March 2010
Barbara Jefferis was the founding President of the Australian Society of Authors, and the Award is for “the best novel written by an Australian author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society”.
Last year Helen Garner won, so it's pretty nice company to be in.
You can view the shortlist and the other Highly Commended title here.
And here's what the judges said about PINK:
As a novel written for young adults, Pink deals in some refreshing and witty ways with the stock themes of confusion over sexuality, peer group pressure, and what not to wear. While Ava’s parents have no problems with her lesbianism or goth attire, she is not so sure. She dons a pink cashmere jumper and switches schools. But rather than just inverting a conventional coming-out plot to produce something more conservative, Pink complicates the simple trajectory of this kind of narrative. It depicts young women, gay and/or straight, positively, and offers a far from neat conclusion. Ava, having learnt several Emma-esque lessons about tolerance and judgment, still remains undecided.
05 March 2010
The Hippopotamus's BirthdayHe has opened all his parcelsbut the largest and the last;His hopes are at their highestand his heart is beating fast.O happy Hippopotamus,what lovely gift is here?He cuts the string. The world stands still.A pair of boots appear!O little Hippopotamus,the sorrows of the small!He dropped two tears to minglewith the flowing Senegal;And the 'Thank you' that he utteredwas the saddest ever heardIn the Senegambian junglefrom the mouth of beast or bird.
01 March 2010
26 February 2010
15 February 2010
12 February 2010
So attached was the author Patricia Highsmith to snails that they became her constant travelling companions. Secreted in a large handbag or, in the case of travel abroad, carefully positioned under each breast, they provided her with comfort and companionship in what she perceived to be a hostile world.It just gets better from there.
30 January 2010
On entering the taxidermy laboratory in Melbourne Natural History Museum’s department of Preparation on the morning of January 18th, at approximately 9:25, Beatrice May Ross noticed six unusual things, all of which turned out to be of utmost significance. The things (in no particular order) were:
a. The clock on the wall was running three minutes fast, putting the time at 9:28.
b. On the third shelf from the right (four shelves down), a jar marked “Eyes, mammal, XL” was missing a lid.
c. Gus, the head taxidermist, was eating a wholemeal sandwich containing roast chicken, mayonnaise, alfalfa sprouts, plastic cheese, tomato and beetroot.
d. The beetroot was about to make a desperate bid for freedom and head for the relative safety of the front of Gus’s bottle green Natural History Museum hoodie.
e. Gus didn’t seem to be particularly concerned that Bee was running 25 minutes late (or 28 if you believed the clock on the wall).
f. Someone else was in the laboratory. A young man, probably a couple of years older than Bee. He had artfully messy dark brown hair, black plastic framed glasses and a glint in his eye that Bee found simultaneously alluring and deeply irritating.
29 January 2010
03 January 2010
01 January 2010
A lot of people I care about had a crappy 2009. I didn't.
2009 started well, surrounded by my friends in Philip Island. Then Michael came into my life and made everything just that little bit more awesome. I've never felt so lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful, inspirational, supportive people.
It's also been a bloody good year for writing. I was a guest at the Edinburgh Book Festival and did about a zillion school visits which I thoroughly enjoyed. I had two books published, Angel Fish and Pink. I'm especially proud of Pink because it's the first book I've written that I wasn't commissioned to write, it was all me. It's been so exciting to see it do well, and I can't wait for it to come out in the US next year and see what they make of it. This year I've also sold books to the UK, Italy, China and Turkey, and I saw my first international editions (the UK and German versions of Scatterheart).
I did NaNoWriMo, which nearly killed me but felt like a pretty awesome achievement. I baked Christmassy things. I learnt how to use a sewing machine. My cat that I'd had since grade 5 died. I visited my senile grandmother and was pretty sure she had no idea who I was. I helped deliver another successful Reading Matters. I turned 28. I fell in love. I joined a writers' group. I walked along Hadrian's Wall for three days. I learnt the six steps of drinking whisky. I read lots of books. I finally started watching Battlestar Galactica.
I've watched people I love be sad this year, and struggle, and make hard decisions. And sometimes I feel guilty, because my life is pretty damn awesome. But guilt is a useless emotion, so my New Year's Resolution is to feel lucky instead of guilty. And take the awesome while it's here, and acknowledge that I've worked damn hard for it.
I'm really looking forward to 2010. I'm looking forward to writing a lot, and getting better at it as I do. I'm looking forward to reading exciting new things. I'm looking forward to all the adventures that life presents (except for the complicated provisional tax thingy the ATO wants me to do). And most of all I'm looking forward to spending time with the people I love, and doing everything I can to make their 2010 as awesome as my 2009 was.
Happy New Year!