Emma Batchelor: What I'm reading, writing and listening to in May | HerCanberra

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Emma Batchelor: What I’m reading, writing and listening to in May

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Welcome to a monthly update for readers, writers and literary lovers.

Expect a celebration of local Canberra talent, plenty of reading recommendations, and a roundup of events and opportunities.


I first discovered author and journalist Daisy Buchanan through her wonderful podcast series You’re Booked. Each week Daisy visits the home of a writer to take a peek through their book collection and talk through the stories that have shaped them.

I have discovered so many new books through this series including Careering, Daisy’s fifth book and second work of fiction. Drawing on her non-fiction writing and personal experiences about work, Careering is incredibly funny and readable. Through two female characters at different stages of their careers, Daisy unpacks the toxic relationship women can have with their dream job.

To celebrate the publication Careering, Daisy is also hosting Daisy is Careering, a podcast where she and a series of guests explore their relationship to work. You might also like Daisy’s sexy first novel Insatiable and sister podcast Daisy is Insatiable.

Careering by Daisy Buchanan | Published March 2022 by Sphere


I have been looking forward to Body Work ever since reading an essay from Melissa Febos published in the New York Review of Books about the literature that blew her mind as a queer teen on Cape Cod in the 1990s.

I loved the way she wrote about herself and her experience so, when I discovered her upcoming book was a blend of memoir and craft masterclass, I immediately pre-ordered it. Drawing on her own path from aspiring writer to acclaimed author and writing professor, Melissa Febos tackles the emotional, psychological, and physical work of writing intimately. Get a taste by reading an extract on writing sex scenes here.

Body Work – The Radical Power of Personal Narrative by Melissa Febos | Published March 2022 Catapult

About to read

I bought Brown Girls from my local bookstore a little while ago, compelled to pick it up by its vivid cover. Through lyrical prose author Daphne Palasi Andreades dives deep into the lives of a group of young women of colour growing up in Queens, New York.

This coming of age novel set against a backdrop of race, class, and marginalisation in America today has been praised widely. I am excited to curl up and spend time with friends Nadira, Gabby, Naz, Trish, Angelique.

Brown Girls by Daphne Palasi Andreades | Published January 2022 Fourth Estate

Local love

Canberra author Tabatha Carvan’s debut This is not a book about Benedict Cumberbatch has recently been published in Australia as well as in the UK and US. Drawing on her personal experience of falling for British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, Carvan examines feminine joy and pleasure and how that changes as women age.

Warm and tender, this book offers a clarion call to love something like you used to, whatever it may be.

This is not a book about Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabatha Carvan | Published March 2022 Harper Collins

Big News

Evelyn Araluen’s debut collection of poetry and prose, Dropbear, has been announced as the winner of the tenth annual Stella Prize.

With 2022 marking the first year that poetry publications have been eligible for the prize, it is significant that Dropbear has been selected as the most original, excellent, and engaging piece of written work by an Australian woman or non-binary writer published in 2021.

Dropbear by Evelyn Araluen | Published March 2021 UQP

Events, workshops and opportunities

  • Local author Nigel Featherstone will be launching his new book My Heart is a Little Wild Thing in conversation with Anne Vidot at Harry Hartog ANU. In this deeply personal novel, Nigel imagines the course of one man’s quest for happiness based on one question—what if I disobey my mother? This event is free but registration is required.

Book launch and conversation 28 May 2022 | Register here

  • The 2022 ACU Prize for Poetry is now open for all Australian residents. The prize aims to support the emergence of new and dynamic Australian poets and poetry. This year, ACU is calling for new poetry on the theme of ‘Hope’.

Entries close 4 July 2022 | Enter here

  • And finally, a reminder that The Australian/Vogel literary award is open for 2023. The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award is one of Australia’s richest and the most prestigious award for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of thirty-five.

Entries close 31 May 2022 | Find out more

If you have a recommendation, event or new work to share please get in touch!

Email me: emma.batchelor.writer@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram @emma__batchelor


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