Emma Batchelor: What I’m reading, writing and listening to in June | HerCanberra

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

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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 picked this up from an independent book shop in Melbourne based solely on its cover and the contents did not disappoint. Told in short, biting fragments, this novella about the chore of existing can be enjoyed in a single afternoon. Unemployment, boredom, chronic illness, and online dating are all explored through a darkly funny, twenty-something narrator who is just trying to get by.

Nostalgia has Ruined My Life by Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle | Published August 2021 Giramondo Publishing


This book was recommended to me by a new friend and I inhaled it. Loveless follows Georgia as she navigates her first year university life expecting to have the same sort of sexual and romantic experiences typical of her peers. What follows instead is her growing understanding of herself as asexual aromantic as she works to repair the platonic connections in her life. If Alice Oseman sounds familiar it is because they are also the creator behind the million-copy bestselling Heartstopper books which have recently been adapted for TV by Netflix.

Loveless by Alice Oseman | Published August 2020 Harper Collins

About to read

Earlier this month the winner of the 2022 Australian/Vogel Literary was announced with Nell Pierce taking out the prestigious prize for A Place Near Eden. My to-read pile is so big I lent my copy straight to my mum but I am looking forward to delving into this story later this month. Part absorbing mystery, part family drama, A Place Near Eden examines the pursuit of truth and the ways we can fail those we love.

A Place Near Eden by Nell Pierce | Published May 2022 Allen & Unwin

Local love

Canberra author Shelly Burr’s scorching debut novel Wake made its way onto the bestseller lists not long after coming out. Fellow crime fiction author and Canberran, Chris Hammerwho recently led a conversation with Burr at ANUhas described the book as ‘one of the year’s best debuts.’ Wake delves into the grief and guilt surrounding an unsolved disappearance that still haunts a small NSW farming community. The Ozlit Book Club run by Muse will be reading Wake this month. Join their discussion here.

Wake by Shelley Burr | Published April 2022 Hachette

Guest Selector

On the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) last month I was very lucky to speak at an event put on by the Book Cow in Kingston alongside the incredible Jenni from A Gender Agenda. Together with a group of readers, we talked about the stories we love, those we hope to read, and those we wished were better. Euphoria Kidsa recommendation that comes courtesy of the groupis an Australian coming of age novel about a group of queer neurodiverse teens exploring their power.

Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans | Published February 2020 Bonnier Echo

Events, workshops and opportunities

  • The Canberra Writers Festival returns in 2022 with a full line up of live, in-person events from Wednesday 10 August through to Sunday 14 August.

The full program will be announced on 29 June 2022 | Find out more

  • The next round for artsACT Arts Activities funding is now open. Artists can apply for between $5000 – $50,000 available to undertake a broad range of activities including artform-based projects, mentorships, residencies, professional or skills development and opportunities for the community to actively engage in the arts. Applications are open to ACT-based artists at all stages of their careers.

The current funding round closes on 31 July 2022 | Find out more

  • Presented by ACT Writers, Between the Lines is a facilitated online book group for writers. Over the course of six, monthly sessions running from July to December 2022, prominent authors who are experienced facilitators will lead participants through a series of conversations about books on a carefully curated list.

Applications close 24 June 2022 | Find out more

Bonus Recommendation

For Pride Month the National Library of Australia has pulled together a selection of some of the LGBTIAQ+ texts and materials in their collections. You can access them here.

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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