This blog began with a six-month journey overseas, part holiday, mostly research and a blog seemed a good way to write and reflect. As happens with travel, grand plans are often shaken down to something more modest. The day-to-day business  of negotiating language and new places took over and I didn’t post as often as I’d hoped, but now I’m home, I’ll keep on going. I’m a reader and a writer, so most things have a literary edge for me.

I’ve spent much time and energy teaching creative writing and all kinds of English literature at university, with a special interest in medieval literature, but now I’ve moved on to focus on what I had always wanted to do — writing. My poems and short stories have been published in the usual places, and I have a book of poetry, i painted unafraid, published by Wakefield Press and Adelaide’s wonderful Friendly Street Poets. A short play, ‘Artemisia’, about the remarkable Artemisia Gentileschi, has been performed at Adelaide Fringe, and at the Sydney and Melbourne Short+Sweet Festival. My novel The Anchoress won the Varuna LitLink NSW Byron Bay Unpublished Manuscript Award in 2010 and, in a slightly revised incarnation, will be published by Fourth Estate, Australia; Faber, UK; Farrer, Straus & Giroux, USA, and Gallimard /Denoel in France. But not until March 2015 … so I am learning patience. My PhD thesis is a study of the story of St Margaret of Antioch, patron saint of childbirth, who was swallowed by a dragon and burst out its back, proclaiming herself a hero. It has been published as Three Methods for Reading the Thirteenth-Century Seinte Marherete, by Mellen Press; it’s academic writing, about female virginity and agency, and is actually more interesting than the title might suggest!

I live in the country outside Canberra. A lovely man, two dogs, two alpacas, four chooks and a host of birdlife keep me company.

‘Write in pencil only’ because nothing is ever final or certain or right.


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  1. Thanks Robyn, will look on with interest! I like the idea of the pencil, as our typing is also changeable but lacks that tactile element. And the memory of skin..Babette Rothschild wrote a book The Body Remembers, re trauma therapy but why not for other experiences as well? Thank you for ideas to ponder. I look forward to some Greece-inspired moments. Is the light remarkable? Maeve xx

  2. Thanks for the thoughts about skin, Maeve. I wish I wrote in pencil more often, but I seem to be caught into this computer thing! and yes, the light is wonderful, especially near the sea. And the weather is hot, each day, clear sky, warm nights, hardly any clouds. Beautiful in the evening.

    1. Yes, yes, I agree! But I thought that the ‘follow’ option included both. A friend says he gets updates in his email. But I might need to do something else as well. I’m still a bit rabbit in the headlights about all this. Any advice gladly received. And I’ve begun to realise that I should change my name, for when I write comments on blogs, to the name of my blog. Is that right? I noticed Nigel Featherstone has me in his ‘following’ list as my name, and not as write in pencil only.

      1. Maybe WordPress Follow does that. If your friend says he does then there’s a good chance I will. I did think WordPress Follow might. It’s just that when I clicked Follow it only mentioned the Reader so I got concerned. Let’s see if I get an email when you do your next post – except, if I don’t get an email I won’t know!

        As for your name, you can do it either way. My daughter has her name not her blog name when she comments on her own or other blogs. Others do too. I was shy when I started and didn’t want anyone to know my name. Of course it came out as people worked out who I was, but I’ve decided to stick with my blog name anyhow. As a writer though, you may like to keep your name out there?

  3. I’ve just discovered that for some reason my “follow” didn’t result in automatic emails. I’ve been in and out so much this year with two trips overseas and several within Oz that I hadn’t followed up. I have now, and should be emailed in future when you post!

    1. Hi Sue. Lovey to hear from you. There is an ‘edit’ option on the page where all the blogs you follow are listed, if that’s the thing you’ve found. It’s very handy because you can adjust how often and how much follow-up you receive in your email in-box. Anyway, great to hear from you.

      1. Yes, thanks Robyn, I knew about that and have fixed it. I was surprised, because all the ones I’ve followed recently – I followed yours back when we first discovered each other’s blogs – have defaulted to the new posts notification option, but that didn’t happen with yours. Maybe WordPress has changed its “follow” default since then or somehow I’ve changed the default in my settings somewhere? Anyhow, I should now receive notification when you post.

  4. Living with two alpacas must be quite an adventure. I researched alpacas and found a farm near me in order to write a chapter about them in my children’s book. I visit the farm often now because I’ve fallen in love with their enchanting ways, particularly the humming and dancing at dusk. Of course, it is also nice to have the company of dogs, cooks and a lovely man.

    1. We now have three! The new one is called Pacquita (Spanish for small parcel, haybail). She’s gorgeous but she has grown up so quickly. The weather here is warming up, and so they take a dip in the dam — walking in and dropping onto their tummy. They come out half white and half brown from the mud. Very cute.

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