A Lovely Review and a Facebook Competition

Is it Friday already? I’ve been meaning to post about this wonderful review that Madigan Mine received from Kylie Fox and Amanda Wrangles over at Book Lover’s Club on Facebook. If you don’t have a Facebook account, I don’t think you’ll be able to read it, so I’ll post the review in full at the end of this entry.

Book Lover’s Club are also running a competition to win a personally signed copy of Madigan Mine. You will need to be on Facebook to enter, so if you are please toddle along and have a look at their page. All you need to do is come up with a question you’d like to ask me about my life, my work or about Madigan Mine. The most interesting and original question wins the book. I’ll be choosing the winner and also answering the question, so make sure it’s a good one!

Entries close 18 November 2010.

And now, here’s that review:

Once in a while a book comes along that is so beautifully written, so perfectly crafted that it leaves you with a serious case of envy – word envy that is.

Such is the case with Kirstyn McDermott’s “Madigan Mine”. The characters are so rich and believable, the world you are transported into so whole and multi-dimensional and the very mood of the book so tangible that, as a reader, there is never a moment, from start to glorious finish, that you are taken out of the story, reminded that you are simply a spectator to it. No, from the first page it grips the reader by the throat and doesn’t let them go.

Madigan Mine is difficult to outline briefly – every line, every word is a new discovery and to tell of one thing, hints at the next.

Alex Bishop loves Madigan Sargood, has always loved her, so when, after twelve years apart, a chance meeting with her is like a dream come true. But it soon becomes clear that Madigan, though beautiful, is also something far more dangerous.

When she commits suicide, Alex’s troubles should be over. The danger and impending doom that Madigan bought into his life should be gone. But it’s not. It’s only just the beginning.

Alex can’t get Madigan out of his head. She haunts his every waking moment but is it all in his mind? Is he crazy with grief? Or is it something more sinister?

Alex must delve into Madigan’s past to uncover her reasons for committing suicide and to discover why she won’t, even now, leave him alone. His life – and the lives of those he cares about – depend on it.

Madigan Mine is deliciously dark but never gratuitous in its use of violence. The sinister feeling that underlies every line, even seemingly innocent exchanges, never waivers.

McDermott has created a cast of characters that are real. They have flaws, they have motivations that aren’t always pure and, they make mistakes. Not one is a clichĂ©, not one sounds like the “every” character that we so often read, who can belong in any book, any story. Each is unique and each is complete. This is their story, and we never doubt it.

McDermott doesn’t shy away from making the tough calls. For every twist and turn that Madigan Mine takes us on, there are two options for McDermott – and in every one she opts for the harder, the more heart-breaking, the more surprising.

Madigan Mine was read by both the administrators of Book Lover’s Club, and the hardest thing about it was not slipping up and telling the other what was coming next. We  both seriously loved and recommend this book.

~ Kylie Fox and Amanda Wrangles.

Varuna Short Story Competition and Masterclass

I’m a short story writer at heart. If I had my way, I’d spend the rest of my life writing them, rather than wrestling with words at novel length. Although conventional wisdom has it that no one reads short stories, that collections and anthologies are a hard sell, I love fiction in the short form. So it’s gratifying to see short stories being embraced and nurtured at Varuna: The Writers House. Listen up, short story writers:

Varuna is proud to partner Scribe Publications in two new programs aimed at presenting, exploring and extending the range of short story writing in Australia.

The programs are open to writers resident in Australia. Writers are invited to apply for one or both programs:

  • The Varuna/NAS National Short Story Competition
  • The Varuna/Scribe Masterclass: Exploring the Short Story, with Cate Kennedy and Robin Hemley

The Varuna/NAS National Short Story Competition seeks short stories for possible inclusion in Scribe’s short story anthology. The anthology, to be published in 2011, is the second in Scribe’s New Australian Stories series. New Australian Stories 2.0 will showcase a rich diversity of short stories by contemporary Australian writers.

The Varuna/Scribe Masterclass is an intensive six-day residential program to help writers extend their knowledge of this perennially novel and vital medium. Activities include discussions, readings and practical work, with participants editing one of their short stories and starting a new one. The masterclass will be led by two respected short story writers. Robin Hemley, writing professor with the University of Iowa’s renowned writing program, has written stories and essays that have appeared in many anthologies and literary journals. Cate Kennedy is an award-winning short story writer, with an acclaimed short story collection, Dark Roots.

Submissions close 31 July 2010. Click here for full details.

Varuna: The Writers House