In 2018, I moved from Perth to Alberta, Canada. While now having moved back again, I caught up with Sydney-based author Ashley Kalagian Blunt who made the same journey but in reverse - from Canada to Australia - and wrote a book about it! Ashley’s new book, How to be Australian (2020, Affirm Press), tells… Continue reading How do you know if you’re really Australian?
Armchair Travel Through Fiction, is the title of one of the sessions I’m appearing in at the When Words Collide readers and writers festival in Calgary, Alberta, August 9-11. It’s made me think, what would I say about writing a faraway place - as the session outline promises - “accurately, vividly, and with sensitivity”? My… Continue reading Is “Vodka and Apple Juice” a book about Poland, or a book about Australia?
You know those people who say, 'I don't mind the cold, I just dress in layers'? Those people have not lived anywhere truly cold. When it's minus 35, dressing is not about layers. It's about having a bloody big coat. Preferably one that comes down to your ankles, with a hood, and a flock of… Continue reading Things that surprised me about living somewhere it gets to minus 35
People are nice, but it only goes so far. I find people say that a lot about what seems like a common experience when you move to a different country. Even a country like Canada where, let's face it, being nice is up there with ice hockey and running away from bears as a national… Continue reading The secret to making life-long friends
A little excerpt from my book about a Polish Christmas gathering. *** 'Jay,' my Polish friend Natalia said to get my attention, 'in Australia do you really sing that song - Waltzing Matilda?' 'Sure. Not every day, but ...' 'So, let's sing it! How does it start?' '"Once a jolly swagman ..."' I started, Natalia… Continue reading Sleep in heavenly peace
So it's Saturday night, in Halifax. If you're Canadian or Australian, I've possibly got your attention now. Although for different reasons. Canadians might be wondering if I'm talking about the east coast port city of Halifax, and if so why, given I now live in the middle of the Alberta prairies, a whole continent away.… Continue reading Saturday night, in Halifax
"When the living walk among the dead, we remember there is less between us than we might like to think." Young people in Poland mark Halloween in much the same way as people all over the world these days; it's an opportunity to dress up and have a bit of a crazy night out. But… Continue reading Halloween – Polish style
"It all started with WifeSwap USA," said no-one aspiring to be taken semi-seriously as a writer (or human being) ever. Yet, in a roundabout way, I have an episode of that reality TV show to thank for a lot of what Vodka and Apple Juice is. And a lot more besides. One explanation, coming right up.… Continue reading Everything I need to know about writing I learned from Wife Swap USA
Some of the best moments of this book occur when Martin is able to connect with people in Polish, and both parties see each other in a totally new way. Review of Vodka and Apple Juice by Ellen Cregen for Kill Your Darlings. There's a particular experience that I write about Vodka and Apple Juice… Continue reading “I spy with my Australian eye.”
Did you know ... LitFest Alberta is North America's only literary festival devoted entirely to non-fiction. This year it's on from October 11-21 and has a heap of great events, talks, and conversations. I'm very excited to have been invited to be on the panel for this year's "Memoir Hour" on October 13, and as… Continue reading LitFest Alberta 2018 is coming!