• just_a_girl by Kirsten Krauth

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    "… straddles YA and adult literary fiction in the same way as Tim Winton's Breath … Layla's is a unique voice. A beautifully told story.” — Cameron Raynes

  • Kirsten Krauth

    Novelist. Blogger. Editor. My first novel just_a_girl just published. I blog on all things literary and filmy at Wild Colonial Girl

    "just_a_girl is a complex and timely novel, the first book by a strong writer who is not afraid to go to honest, dark places." 
    — Angela Meyer, LiteraryMinded blog

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New Oz writing: for the Santa sack

Kirsten Krauth's list of top Oz writing 2015

Each year, I go to the bookstore during the Christmas rush and get overwhelmed. Then I head for the first table I see and buy the same names I did last year as gifts. But Tim Winton, Alex Miller, Bill Bryson, Jamie Oliver don’t need me any more. I asked some Oz writers about their favourite Oz reads from the past year. It was an impressive list. I’d like to share it with you, in the hope you’ll share it widely too. All these women writers have achieved remarkable things: to get published in the first place (it’s never been tougher); and to support each other and gain inspiration from reading other women’s work. I’d love to hear if you’ve read these books. If you’ve…

Communicating the incommunicable: celebrating the work of Richard Flanagan

Australian novelist Richard Flanagan wins the Man Booker Prize in 2014 for The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Through Richard Flanagan’s writing flows the destructive power of love, the lyricism of horror, the revisioning of Tasmania, and the gaps between words and action. High school dropout. Bush labourer. Rhodes scholar. River guide. Environmental activist. Film director. Man Booker prize winner. Indigenous Literacy Foundation ambassador. Whatever way you twist it, Richard Flanagan has had an unusual career. While Flanagan has often publicly stated that he believes writers should be separated from their defining adjectives, it’s hard to divorce him from Tasmanian. Given the tidal wave of support following his Booker Prize win in 2014, and the video of US President Barack Obama buying Flanagan’s book at a bookstore, former Tasmanian premier Paul Lennon may rue the day he said, “Richard Flanagan and his fiction…

Every holiday was father’s day: writing fathers + daughters at Clunes Booktown

At Clunes Booktown, I shared the stage with my dad for the first time (at my first festival) and we talked about writing fathers, writing daughters, creating unique voices (we both feature 14-year-old girls in our work), what our characters share, how we translate family stories into fiction, and whether our memories ever come at things from the same angle. It was a very moving session for both of us (perhaps more than the audience realised), a sharing of ideas, sad moments, and joys too. Here are the edited highlights (thanks to Damon Girbon for the video and editing): Dad (Nigel Krauth) is a writer who’s had many novels published, both for adults and YA audiences. He wrote a play Muse of Fire that was performed by the Adelaide Theatre…

Bendigo Writers’ Festival: girls, grief, guts

Kirsten Krauth + Jenny Valentish, Radio National's Life Matters, Bendigo Writers Festival

On the radio oh oh The Bendigo Writers’ Festival kicked off with ABC Radio National’s live broadcast from the Banquet Room in the Capital theatre. Fellow Castlemaine writer, editor and troublemaker Jenny Valentish joined me to talk with Natasha Mitchell (Life Matters), Michael Cathcart (Books and Arts Daily) and Fiona Parker (ABC Central Victoria) about girls growing up too fast and what it’s like to be a regional writer. Both of us have ended up in Castlemaine via circuitous routes but she wins — Jenny’s from Slough, UK. (I vaguely remember The Office being set in Slough. Great claim to fame there.) Our novels Cherry Bomb and just_a_girl are quite eerie in their shared sensibility: teen girls moving through the world with irony, detachment and the desire for sexual conquest. You can listen to…

“Hell is a half-filled auditorium”: Richard Flanagan at Varuna/Sydney Writers’ Festival

Richard Flanagan + Geordie Williamson, Varuna/Sydney Writers' Festival

Richard Flanagan started his session quoting Robert Frost, while peering out to see the Carrington packed to the rafters. After watching him again down Sydney Theatre-way, I doubt he’ll ever have to worry about empty seats again. The Narrow Road to the Deep North is my favourite book of recent years. Its scope, its compassion, its use of poetry, its melding of the Australian/Japanese view, its horror and love, its strange and cyclical stucture: I have it by my bed to dip into, trying to learn its secrets, as it helps me start on my second novel. Taking part in writer sessions recently has helped me realise the importance of choosing a good interviewer. Geordie Williamson is always sensitive and assured, and I love how he challenges Flanagan with…

Tough love: Sally Piper & Annah Faulkner – Varuna/Sydney Writers’ Festival

Sally Piper + Annah Faulkner, Varuna/Sydney Writers' Festival. Photo: Bette Mifsud.

Annah Faulkner has the kind of eyes so sharp they seem to penetrate you to the bone. When talking about her novel The Beloved, you can imagine she is as gusty as the characters she speaks of. Sally Piper, a former nurse, has just released her debut novel Grace’s Table, and this is her first appearance at a festival. Annah talks about how love seems to have changed over the generations, how in the past love could be fierce, so fierce it was like fighting for survival. There can be a point for mothers where they want something so badly (for their child), they’re so fearful about what’s going to happen (to their child), that their love tips at a point into something else, into…

Here and Now: Felicity Castagna and me – Varuna/Sydney Writers’ Festival

Kirsten Krauth, Felicity Castagna + Irina Dunn, Varuna/Sydney Writers' Festival. Photo:

When you go up on a stage to talk about your book, the harsh spotlight and the mics and the intense concentration and the nerves means the event can fly past you even as you’re experiencing it. Something like smoking too much pot. I was going to dredge up my disconnected and whimsical memories but — thank God — I discovered Lisa Fleetwood’s Welcome to My Library blog, which covers it so much more eloquently than I could. She’s kindly agreed to do the work for me, and let me reproduce it here… HERE AND NOW: DEBUT FICTION AT THE VARUNA/SYDNEY WRITERS’ FESTIVAL: FELICITY CASTAGNA AND KIRSTEN KRAUTH BY LISA FLEETWOOD Wow, what a great start to the Sydney Writers’ Festival! I love the day up…

A room with a view + Emma Donoghue: Varuna/Sydney Writers’ Festival

Kate Fagan + Emma Donoghue at Varuna/Sydney Writers' Festival. Photo: Bette Mifsud.

Walking into Varuna (a residence for writers in Katoomba) from the road is like entering some kind of wonderland. It seems to be a place where you leave your baggage at the gate. I sleep in the Sewing Room, in a small wooden single bed with a patchwork quilt, and read and write here in the Green Room, with wall to wall library shelves, a huge desk, window views and a comfy chair to sit. Whenever I’m struggling for a metaphor to grab when describing writing and editing, I tend to go with the handicrafts. I do find my own method of putting a manuscript together works much like a hand-made patchwork quilt, writing the fragments and then piecing them together according to colour, texture, style….

Festivals: Clunes Booktown, Sydney Writers’ Festival + how to approach them

Before I head into a general ramble about festivals, I’ll get the topical bit out of the way to say: yes, I am in! May is festival time so if you live in Sydney, Melbourne, or the regions surrounding me (Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, etc), please come and see my fest debuts; it’s always nice to have bums on seats. And I always like to get audience questions from people I already know. CLUNES BOOKTOWN, 3-4 MAY This is one of my favourite festivals, where the beautiful old streets are taken over by second hand booksellers; a literary paradise. It’s a nice day trip from Melb or a fun weekender. I’m excited to be including on the program, doing a session with graphic novelist Nicki Greenberg (where…

Friday Night Fictions: February 2014

Welcome back to another year of Friday Night Fictions, for debut authors (novelists, short story writers) in all genres and formats (self-published and digital-only welcome!). Over the break, I did a wonderful interview with Tracy Farr, author of the lyrical and memorable The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt. I also met a number of other writers featured here (at the Victorian Premiers Literary Awards, all pomp and ceremony) including Kate Belle (The Yearning, in the August edition) and Laura Jean McKay, who you will meet soon, talking about her short story collection, Holiday in Cambodia (November edition). This year I’ve decided to make FNF a three-monthly event, rather than monthly, and I hope it continues to grow in 2014 and recognise new talent. I’ve…

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