writer, editor & phd candidate

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shadowsMy play Shadows will be performed on five dates during the Monash University Container Festival 2014.

Directed by Ephiny Gale and starring Maria Roitman, Victoria Brown and Lauren O’Dwyer, Shadows was written to exploit the enclosed theatre spaces involved in the Container Festival. It examines the choices made by three women separated by time but linked by the eternal forces of love and death.

Performance Dates:

Wednesday 6th of August – 8:30pm
Friday 8th of August – 9:15pm
Monday 11th of August – 8:35pm
Tuesday 12th of August – 7:45pm
Friday 15th of August – 7:10pm

Due to the nature of the performance space, seating is limited, so pre-booking is encouraged. Details of how to do so can be found on the Facebook event page.

Undertow and Shadows

undertowAKA: Finally, an update.

Firstly, Undertow is now officially launched and available for purchase on Amazon. My piece ‘Breath’, a historical ghost story, is one of twenty stories with links to the Gold Coast. I really like the cover art and am looking forward to getting my own copy so that I can read the other stories in the anthology.

Secondly, I have actually been doing some writing. Will wonders never, etc etc. It’s a short play of approximately 20-25 minutes, called ‘Shadows’. Comprising of three monologues about three women with three secrets, it was written to exploit the enclosed theatre spaces involved in The Container Festival at Monash University. Hopefully it’ll be produced there later this year under the direction of Ephiny Gale.

An Update

bookcaseI’m afraid I’ve been neglecting this site rather dreadfully over the past half year or so. I’ve been in something of a transition period, but have come out the other side more focussed and inspired.

Quite a few things have been happening, but here are just a few snippets by way of an update.

  • ‘Speed Dating’ had a very successful season in Sydney, polling well with both the judges and the audiences. We just missed out on the Gala Final, but that didn’t do anything to dull my enjoyment of the process. Glen was a great director to work with, and I loved what he and the actors did with my words. I didn’t get up to see the production, but I was able to watch it on DVD, and it was a strange, but exciting, experience watching my play being performed.
  • My short piece ‘Wound’ was accepted for publication by Every Day Fiction. It’ll be up on the site on the 18th of April (almost in time for my birthday) and I’ll update when it’s available to be read.
  • I’m moving to Melbourne! I’m still a country person at heart, but my partner and so many of my people are in Melbourne, so I’m headed back there myself.
  • I’ve started studying towards a Master of Letters (Creative Writing) with CQUniversity. As of today, I’ve completed the first draft on two short stories, one for each of my first two units. I’ll probably talk more about those pieces in the coming months as I move through the editing process and eventually seek homes for them.
  • I’ve done a minor site update, taking the focus away from other people’s writing and placing it upon my own.

Speed Dating (Still)

The Sydney Short + Sweet season of ‘Speed Dating’ begins tomorrow night. This is the end of the play’s Short + Sweet experience, but it’s been a very fun ride. It was accepted into four festivals in two countries, and will be performed in three of those four festivals. For a novice theatre writer such as myself, it’s been an excellent experience, and one which I hope won’t be my last encounter with having my work performed.

Chookas to my Sydney director and cast!

Speed Dating: Sydney Style

Short and SweetI was excited to find out recently that “Speed Dating” has been accepted into the original and biggest Short + Sweet festival in Sydney. It’s been chosen as a Top 80 play, which means multiple performances, and I’m hoping to be able to fly up there to finally see a production myself!

The director is Glen Pead, and the cast for the production is as follows:

Kate: Alannah Robertson
Megan: Lisa Hassens
Jill: Orlena Steele-Prior
Alicia: Karina Bracken

I look forward to seeing what they do with the script!

Leaves: Collected Plays of Alan Calaby


My father was a playwright and a poet. Unfortunately, he remained unpublished (although not unproduced) when he died in 2009. He had genuine talent, but was stylistically difficult to market. I wanted to see him in print, both as a way of ensuring that a goal of his was met, and as a hold-in-your-hand tribute for my family and myself to own, so I published his major works myself.

I’ve done a lot of research into the rapidly growing self-publishing industry over the past couple of years, largely due to my involvement in reading and reviewing works by indie authors. I absolutely believe that there is still a place for mainstream publishing. After all, when we writers dream about being published, we probably have a particular publisher or three that is centre stage in those dreams. (No, I’m not going to name my One True Publisher. Although my friends can likely guess.) The more I read and learn about indie publishing, however, the more I am convinced that it’s an excellent development for niche fiction and non-fiction. The big publishers have a bottom line to worry about, so they have to focus on the fads and books likely to generate big sales in a short time-frame. Sometimes, however, you don’t want to read (or write!) about vampires or dystopian futures. You might want to delve into queer fiction or pagan memoir… or historical, poetic plays, like my father’s. And that’s where indie publishing really comes into its own.

After months of editing, formatting and design, I originally decided to use Blurb to publish Dad’s book. I’d used them for a book of photography in the past and had been pleased with the quality of the finished product. However, I quickly discovered that the Blurb system has not yet come into its own with regard to books consisting of a lot of text and, after spending days wrestling with their software only to find that the time I’d spent was wasted due to the file’s refusal to upload, I decided to seek out a better provider.

Like many other people choosing to self-publish, I ended up with CreateSpace. It was a surprisingly positive experience. I’d worried that it might be a little formulaic but, in fact, I was able to design the book and the cover exactly how I wanted. You receive an ISBN as part of the package and it’s free to distribute on the CreateSpace site, Amazon.com and the European Amazon sites. For those people wanting more distribution options, there’s an additional package that can be purchased. (For most self-published books, however, it might be hard going to generate enough non-Amazon sales to make that package worthwhile.) And, of course, CreateSpace being an Amazon company means that there’s an easy pathway to publishing a Kindle eBook as well, should you wish to do so. (I chose not to for this project.)

Ultimately, I was satisfied with the experience. I’m not sure if or when I’ll be self-publishing again but I enjoyed the process and the final outcome this time around.

And, for anyone who’s interested in seeing the final project, you can check out Leaves: Collected Plays of Alan Calaby on Goodreads and Amazon (although the “click to look inside” is using a previous version, for some reason).

(Edit: I should also say that the prices online are set so that there is no profit being made by me.)

More Reviews

Short and SweetTwo more reviews of the Auckland production of “Speed Dating” came through today. One is more of a review of omission, although “highly observational” is the kind of comment that is great because it makes you think about what you’ve written.

The second was a lovely review to receive. I am always happy to have the words “excellently written” attributed to something I’ve created. I’m also interested that two of the three reviews have spoken of the majority of the piece being very cynical. It shows you that the outlook of the writer really does slip into their work, even when it’s not intended!

Thanks to all of the reviewers and everyone who has taken the time to see some or all of the plays involved in the festival!

Speed Dating (Yet Again)

Speed Dating“Speed Dating” opened in Auckland last night, and is apparently going well so far. A brief review is up at The New Zealand Performing Arts Review & Directory. It’s exciting to have a play reviewed for the very first time, and “surprisingly uncynical and moving” is a unexpectedly non-scary thing to hear. (And an amusing thing to hear for anyone who knows my super-cynical self.)

Meanwhile, I heard earlier in the week that “Speed Dating” has also made it into the Melbourne Short + Sweet festival. It’ll be a wild card this time around, and will be directed by Harriet Devlin. I’m going to be abroad when it’s on, but it’ll be nice to have something produced in my own state – even if it is a little daunting to think that people I know might see it!

Speed Dating (Again)

Short and SweetShort + Sweet Queensland is over, which means that the focus for me moves onto Short + Sweet Auckland.

I was excited to find out last week that ‘Speed Dating’ has been accepted as a Top 30 play for the Auckland festival, and will be directed by Jessica Joy Wood.

We’re likely still a while away from confirmation of performance dates, but I shall update with these once they’re available.

(Meanwhile, there are photos of the Brisbane production available here and here.)

Speed Dating

Short and SweetFor those interested, my short play Speed Dating will be performed twice this Saturday, as a wild card entrant in the Brisbane & the Gold Coast Short + Sweet Festival 2012.

It’s on at The Loft, Kelvin Grove in Brisbane, and ticketing details are available online, at the Gardens Theatre website. Due to a near sell-out of the evening show at 7pm, a 3pm matinee has also been added.

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