When I was 23 and struggling to get anyone to notice I’d written a novel,
it annoyed the crap out of me to see so-called “Young Writer” prizes won
by 35-year-old guys with no hair. In which parallel universe, I wanted to know,
could those tottering old farts be considered young?
Which is why I’m so happy to be named among the Sydney Morning Herald’s
Young Australian Novelists (for Company). Somewhere
out there, a curly-haired 23-year-old is muttering about the unfairness
of it all. Suck it up, punk.
Until recently I was a complete unknown in my home country of Australia,
while enjoying in the US a level of fame I would characterize as
slightly less completely unknown. This gripping irony unfolded
last year when I switched local publishers to Scribe, a feisty upstart
with the crazy idea of getting me to do some publicity.
So it was that I ended doing a lot of interviews in which I talked
about how I did no interviews in Australia, and wasn’t
that weird, what with me being slightly less completely unknown
in the US and all. Scribe is planning to re-publish Syrup
in a few months, and now my publicist is frantic because
with that angle exhausted, there’s nothing interesting left about me.
I am now so slightly less completely unknown, in fact, that the
State Library of Victoria—that’s my home state—even
noticed I had a book published.
This is exciting not just because it’s a great way to encourage
people to read my book in a way that generates no sales. They’re
also running a competition inviting you to
vote for your favorite book.
I wasn’t sure it was ethical to ask my readership, the vast majority
of whom reside outside Victoria, to vote for me in what seems intended
as a purely local poll. But I asked Scribe, and they said, “Hell, yes. See
if they can vote multiple times, too.” So I guess it’s okay.
In other local news, I’m doing a reading from Company at
Library on Thursday 31st January 2008 at 6:30pm. I’m also reading
my short story A
Shade Less Perfect at
the launch of
Sleepers Almanac on Wednesday 6th February 2008 at 6pm in the
Bella Union Bar at Trades Hall, cnr Victoria and Lygon St, Carlton. Aloud,
I mean. I’m not just sitting there, quietly turning the pages. I’m a professional.