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 Best 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 Brighton Library on Thursday 31st January 2008 at 6:30pm. I’m also reading my short story A Shade Less Perfect at the launch of The 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.