Freelancing: Essays, exercises, profiles and book reviews


I have had the joy of writing many features and essays, at one time many of them for A2 at The Age. There is a special thrill when I get a brief for a subject I don’t know much about, such as Victorian-era fashion, and delve into research, interviewing and then putting what I’ve learned on the page. I can find only about a third of my Age columns online or free to view, but here they are. Details of others are in my publishing history.

In late 2020 I began a new fortnightly column, interviewing artists on their works in progress. NB: The Saturday Paper has a paywall after viewing three articles in a week.

Q&A In Progress column, Dan Golding, composer, academic, journalist and radio presenter, for The Saturday Paper, Feb 2021

Q&A In Progress column, Nardi Simpson, novelist and musician, for The Saturday Paper, Feb 2021

Q&A In Progress column, Liza Lim, composer and teacher and writer, for The Saturday Paper, Jan 2021

Q&A In Progess column, Garth Nix, author, for The Saturday Paper, Dec 2020

Q&A In Progress column, Kate Mulvany, actor and playwright, for The Saturday Paper, Dec 2020

Profile of Richard Tognetti, violinist and Artistic Director of Australian Chamber Orchestra, for ABC, June 2020

Profile of violinist Satu Vanska from Australian Chamber Orchestra, for The Saturday Paper, September 2019

Excerpt from a memoir essay, Clinging. Dumbo Feather online magazine August 2019. Longer version first published in Split, anthology (Ventura Press), 2019

Interview with singer Lior for the Australian Chamber Orchestra program, August 2019.

Review of Nicola Redhouse memoir, Unlike the Heart, for The Saturday Paper, March 2019

Profile of Angelica Mesiti, video installation artist, for The Saturday Paper, April 2019

Profile of Shaun Parker, choreographer and dancer, for The Saturday Paper 2020

Profile of Satu Vanska, principal violin with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, for The Saturday Paper, 2020

Profile of Yvette Coppersmith, visual artist and winner of the Archibald Prize, 2018

Profile of Diane Busuttil, choreographer and dancer, June 2018

Guest blog on what I’m currently reading, for Meanjin literary journal, September 2018.

A letter to my young son for Mothers Day, in the era of #MeToo, for Spectrum liftout in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, May 2018

Piece about Stradivarius and ACO, April 2018, plus another long essay in the printed program.

Profile of Evelyn Ida Morris, musician and composer, for The Saturday Paper, April 2018

Portrait of John Neumeier, ballet choreographing legend, for the Saturday Paper,  September 2016

Portrait of Joe Scotland, art studio director from London, for The Saturday Paper,

Long profile of Father John Misty, a.k.a. Joshual Tilman, musician, for The Saturday Paper, April 2016

Profile of Simon Phillips and Carolyn Burns, theatre director and writer, The Saturday Paper, April 2016

Profile of Daniel Crooks, visual artist, The Saturday Paper, March 2016

Essay, ‘A Child’s Right to a Good Earth’, for Right Now (human rights organisation), November 2015

Profile of Mary Coustas, artist and mother, The Saturday Paper, November 2015

Profile of Richard Mosse, installation artist, The Saturday Paper, October 2015

Profile of Ally Warren, bird of paradise, The Saturday Paper, June 2015

Profile of Glyn Johns, sound engineer, The Saturday Paper, April 2015

Excerpt from ‘Mothersight’, a personal essay in Mothermorphosis (MUP), an anthology of memoir essays about motherhood, 2015. Here published in Fairfax’s DailyLife section.

Op-ed about women and footballers,, April 2015

A writing exercise, for Writers Victoria, March 2015

Profile of Sir Andrew Davis, conductor, The Saturday Paper, March 2015

Op-ed about drugs, second chances, and Bali 9 men facing execution, for, Jan 2015

Op-ed about Malcolm Turnbull, The Saturday Paper, December 2014

Profile of Daniel Andrews, Labour leader, The Saturday Paper, November 2014

Profile of Angus Sampson, actor, The Saturday Paper, November 2014

Profile of Craig Wiese, The Saturday Paper, September 3014

Profile of Robyn Archer, talent, for The Saturday Paper, June 2014

Profile of Dan Sultan, musician, for The Saturday Paper, July 2014

Profile of Vanessa Cross, paramedic, for The Saturday Paper, May 2014

Profile of comedian Greg Fleet, for The Saturday Paper, March 2014.

An essay on writing sex/erotica, in Talking Books e-anthology, published by Xoum, March 2013. Originally appeared as an article in Newswrite, the NSW Writers Centre newsletter.

Luna Park 100 years, an article about the place and its place in my life, The Age, December 2012

Op-ed in Fairfax (the Age) about political rhetoric and how inane it is, August 2012

‘My favourite novel’ for the Weekend Australian‘s Review, August 2012

An op-ed piece for the Fairfax papers series on drug decriminalisation, June 2012, published in Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

A piece from a few years ago, on how I write, for editorial company The Fine Line (UK). A cardio sprint on a tightrope.

Not really an essay, but a guest blog on the subject of writing, for Kill Your Darlings journal, December 2011

‘After the Words’, reflections on memoir writing during and after publication, in Griffith Review edition ‘Such is Life’, August 2011.

A memoir piece that appeared in Madison magazine, about a relationship that changed me: Jack, who also appears in The Romantic. August 2011.

Sex Work and Feminism, in Meanjin, March 2011. A look at the ways various schools of feminism treat the issue of sex work, and how sex workers themselves see their profession.

A Forest Lament‘, in The Age 2010, about logging of old-growth forests in eastern Victoria. Here it’s on the website of Environment East Gippsland, an organisation I worked with closely while writing this piece, which is one I am proud of, as forest conservation is one of the more important parts of environmental husbandry and one that is not well understood by most people.

Cry of the Vanquished‘, in The Age 2008, about Euripides’ Women of Troy.

Victorian Secrets‘, in The Age 2008, about an exhibition of 19th century women’s fashion.

Interview with author Kathleen Stewart, author of The After Life.

History of pleasure and pain‘, in The Age 2008, about an exhibition on drugs and their social history.

An age-old myth reawakens‘, in The Age 2007, about a production at The Malt House Theatre about Sleeping Beauty.

Sticky Business‘, in The Australian 2007, about writing erotica and sexy scenes.

International Whores Day, for Scarlet Alliance website 2007. A feature about the sex worker pride movement and their annual parade in Sydney.

Gardening? Not in my backyard,’ in The Age (for some reason this link goes to someone who re-published it online).

‘Don Quixote in Shanghai’ is a short memoir piece about my four months in Shanghai, which appears in the the Griffith Review Annual Fiction Edition 2010.

Big Ideas feature on drug debate and legalisation in, Nov 2010


I love writing book reviews — it’s at once a brisk and business like thing, and one which requires consideration and epiphany and leaving the book alone after reading while things sink in. It’s never justice to sum up a book in 600 or 900 words, it’s always an insult of a kind, but for a writer it’s a great challenge.

Again, these are the ones I can find online. Most of these were written for The Age and Australian Book Review.

Unlike the Heart, Nicola Redhouse, The Saturday Paper, March 2019

A Loving, Faithful Animal, by Josephine Rowe, Australian Book Review, July 2016

You Feel So Mortal by Peggy Shinner, Weekend Australian, Sept 2014

The Empress Lover by Linda Jaivin, in Australian Book Review, April 2014

What I didn’t expect (when I was expecting) by Monica Dux and Welcome to your new life by Anna Goldsworthy, in Weekend Australian, April 2013

The Conversation by David Brooks, in The Weekend Australian, 10th Nov 2012

The Memory of Salt by Alice Melike Ulgezer

‘Our Kind of People: Thoughts on HIV/AIDS’ by Uzodinma Iweala

‘Melbourne’ by Sophie Cunningham

‘Sex and Stravinsky’ by Barbara Trapido

‘The Inconvenient Child’ a memoir by Sharyn Killens

‘Iran: My Grandfather’ by Ali Alizadeh.

‘My Dirty Shiny Life’ by Lily Bragge

‘Love Machine’ by Clinton Caward

‘Smoke in the Room’ by Emily Maguire

‘Figurehead’ by Patrick Allington and ‘Document Z’ by Andrew Croome

‘Heavy Allies’ by Wayne Grogan

‘My Reading Life’ by Bob Carr

‘The Porn Report’ by Catherine Lumby, Katherine Albury and Allan McKee

‘The Scandal of the Season’ by Sophie Gee

‘Vocational Girl’ by Rosa Mundi

‘Mother Missing’ by Joyce Carol Oates

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