Earlier this week, Australian literary journal Review of Australian Fiction (RAF) published an excerpt from chapter 3 of my novel-in-progress. This excerpt appears under the title “Are You There, God? It is I, Robot”.
Each fortnightly issue of RAF publishes two stories by Australian writers. In this latest issue, my piece appears with a piece by recent Miles Franklin award winner A. S. Patrić:
Curious to see more? Here’s an-excerpt-from-my-excerpt:
In many ways, this particular publication of my work has been years in the making. I’ve mentioned before that the entire chapter from which the excerpt is drawn took me around 2 years to write. But this chapter, which addresses the question of God’s existence, is really the culmination of many more years of development. Over the years that I’ve been working on my novel, I’ve been developing as a reader of the scholarly ideas that I’ve been encountering in the course of the project. I’ve also been developing in my ability to concretise these scholarly ideas into the form of fiction. Better still, in a way, I feel that my novel project has improved my writing practice by prompting me to be more generous as a writer. In chapter 3, I address and re-address my topic several times, trying out new approaches. The question of divine existence is a topic that can never be exhausted of approaches and this inexhaustibility, while intimidating, has also been invigorating for me, spurring me to try out multiple lines of thought in the course of my chapter and to offer an array of new ideas to the reader. It’s a satisfying way to bear out my belief that a book project is like a studio of sorts, where I can invent many new ways of working.
“Are You There, God? It is I, Robot” was originally published in Canadian literary journal PRISM international, which felt particularly special because it was my first publication as a Canadian permanent resident. At the same time, I’d always planned to offer the excerpt to literary magazines in Australia too. One of the reasons why I relocated to Canada was for career reasons – yet this relocation was not to move my career, but to expand it (I still have an Australian publisher, after all). So having this piece published in both Australia and Canada also feels like a milestone, and it actually reflects some things that I try to do in my own fiction. In my fiction, I’m interested in drawing on the strange and unexpected proximities that arise when texts and ideas circulate in surprising ways. Through my own writing, I help those texts to travel more widely still and be less place-bound. Sometimes it can be tricky to negotiate the practical constraints to such activity. In the case of publishing work in literary journals in multiple parts of the world, most journals insist on publishing works that have never appeared before and in any form. So I’m really grateful to those editors who are willing to negotiate with me around these constraints.
Being published in RAF has itself felt like years in the making. I was first approached years ago about being published in the journal and every time I’ve not had work available to offer. A few months ago, however, the timing was finally right for me to submit some work to the journal.
RAF has an interesting pay arrangement for a literary magazine. As noted on RAF’s website, the two writers whose work appears in each issue are paid “50% net of each sale, divided between both writers, in the form of royalties. So every time you buy an issue of RAF or subscribe you are directly contributing to paying Australian writers.” So this is further reason to consider buying this issue (or better still, subscribing to receive this current issue plus the next five issues). When you buy an issue, you’ll receive two files: an ebook in Kindle-compatible mobi format and a DRM-free ePub (the latter being “compatible with iPhone/iPad, Android devices, Kobo, Nook, and most other eReaders”). Each issue costs just $2.99 Australian dollars. (At the time of writing, this equates to around $2.96 Canadian dollars or $2.25 US dollars.)
On the freelance work front, I’ve recently wound up a busy period of work. My most recent job was copy-editing an art history PhD thesis under a very tight deadline. Congratulations to my client, who has now submitted the thesis for examination (and who sent me a photo of the moment when the thesis was submitted!).
Congratulations, also, to another client for whom I wrote two funding applications a few months ago. This client was recently notified that one of these applications, for an Australia Council fellowship, has been successful. It’s brilliant news, particularly since government cuts have made federal arts funding all the more competitive. Fingers-crossed for that second application too.
Now that I’ve finally planted roots in Toronto, I’m also hoping to receive work from as many Canadian clients as possible, while still working for as many Australian clients as possible (as you can see, there are reasons why I use the hashtags #conslutancy and #notatypo when I make social media posts about my consultancy work). Finding local freelance work will be a slow process but I did recently pick up my very first freelance job in Canada – and I couldn’t be happier with the job, which will involve providing a manuscript assessment and editorial consultation for a collection of essays by award-winning writer Hiromi Goto. It’s an honour to have been asked to do this job!