Year: 2015

Victorian Premiers Reading Challenge 2015

Posted in Empire of the Waves, Literature Tagged with: ,

Book Review: Sandra Fahy’s Marching Through Suffering: Loss & Survival in North Korea

Writing in the The New York Times, former North Korean counter-intelligence officer and poet Jang Jin-sung observed that his decision to flee the DPRK was precipitated by a realization “that there are two North Koreas: one real and the other a

Posted in International Relations, Northern Korea Tagged with: , ,

Trinity Grammar School Preparatory School

In something of a homecoming, I had the opportunity to speak at the Trinity Grammar School Preparatory School assembly about Empire of the Waves in mid-November. Since I wrote this novel as a kind of letter to my strange and

Posted in Empire of the Waves, Literature Tagged with: ,

Camdenville Public School Creative Writing Competition

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the last assembly of the term at Camdenville Public School in Newtown. On the invitation of Principal Sue Smith – a fellow lover of fantasy literature – I had the honour of

Posted in Empire of the Waves, General, Literature Tagged with: ,

Kids’ Book Review Guest Posts

Kid’s Book Review is one of the best online resources for lovers of Australian children’s literature, and Australian lovers of children’s literature. It’s a place brimming with reviews and interviews and resources for readers of all ages, parents, students, teachers

Posted in Empire of the Waves, Literature Tagged with: ,

The Emu and the Lion: A Reflection on Illustration for Children

Word and image are alchemically bound in children’s literature. Lewis Carroll’s Alice is John Tenniel’s Alice. Kenneth Grahame’s Rat and Mole and Toad are E.H. Shepard’s too. Of course, thousands of artists have illustrated these words in the generations since

Posted in Empire of the Waves, Literature Tagged with: ,

Sa Pa

The promise of a rail journey fills the heart with the true spirit of travel. Flying always feels like cheating. And so it was that full of the travelling spirit I departed on a sleeper train from Hanoi to Lao

Posted in Travel Writing Tagged with: , ,


After a late departure following ferocious storms, I depart for a sky trembling with turbulence in an almost empty Chinese plane. The Vietnamese scientist I befriended in the long wait in Beijing keeps me company, and worries as I become

Posted in Travel Writing Tagged with: , ,

Hagiography of the Kims & the Childhood of Saints: Kim Il Sung

Over at Sino-NK, you can now find the concluding installment of my two-part series, exploring the childhood hagiographies of the North Korean leaders. Last time, I considered the early life of Kim Jong Il, the “heaven-sent” boy destined to become

Posted in North Korean Children's Culture, Northern Korea Tagged with: , , ,

The Hugging Mother of Kerala

The backwaters of Kerala are beautiful, a deluxe labyrinth of canals – some cool, coconut lined and quiet, others as packed and polluted as a Bombay flyover. Depending on your tendency to worry, it is either Venice among the palms,

Posted in Travel Writing Tagged with: , , ,