Emma Batchelor: What I read, write and listen to in October


posted on

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

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


Like many people, the first book I read by literary cool girl Ottessa Moshfegh was My year of rest and relaxation. I found the story disturbing but compelling, and the images the last page conjured up for me remain etched in my memory. I was interested in Moshfegh’s latest offer Lapvone but after reading this brilliant conversation between Moshfegh and writer Andrea Long Chu, I realized I wasn’t in the mood for a depraved tale set in a medieval village, so I opted to read the 2021 author’s novel instead , Death in his hands. Moshfegh’s take on a whodunit subverts the genre with its signature sinister vibes.

Death in His Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh | Published in July 2021 penguin

While reading

Nina Stibbe is a master of comic writing and I love all of her work. His non-fiction book Love, Ninaa collection of letters written to her sister in the 80s while Nina was working as a nanny in literary Camden, was important to me when working on my own novel. One day I will amaze the world is about friendship, work, and whether you’ve lived the right kind of life. It’s lovely.

One Day I Will Astonish the World by Nina Stibbe | Published in August 2022 penguin

About to read

I’m very happy to be in conversation with Shane Janek AKA Courtney Act about their memoir Caught in flagrante delicto at the Théâtre de Rue on Tuesday November 1st. I look forward to talking with Courtney about gender, sexuality and identity and the process of capturing it all in writing. It’s a free event and you can register for a seat here.

Caught in the act by Shane Janek AKA Courtney Act | Published in November 2021 Panterra Press

local love

The ACT Book of the Year 2021 was recently announced at the Municipal Library. Among the books awarded this year are:

  • Winner: Spinoza’s overcoat by Subhash Jaireth
  • Strongly recommended: Oil under troubled water by Bernard Collaery
  • Strongly recommended: Doggerland by Moya Pacey
  • Pre-selected: Absolutely by Dr. PS Cottier
  • Pre-selected: Nigh by Dr. Penelope Layland
  • Pre-selected: The Portnoy Trials by Dr. Patrick Mullins

All these books are available to borrow ACT Libraries.

Rapid Fire Recommendations

Events, workshops and opportunities

  • Registration for the ACT 2022 Book of the Year is now open. The award recognizes excellence in literature and is valued at $10,000 for the winner, $2,000 for any highly recommended book, and $1,000 for each shortlisted book. The award aims to support the development of ACT-based writers, promote writing in ACT, and contribute to a positive writing culture for ACT. The ACT Book of the Year Award is given to books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry written by authors who reside in ACT or who can specifically and strongly demonstrate an art practice based on ACT.

Registration closes Monday, October 31, 2022 | Enter here

  • Local author Chris Hammer will be in conversation about his new book The inclination with his journalist friend Michael Brissenden. The inclination is the best-selling author’s latest thriller and sees the return of two key characters from his previous novel treasure and dirt.

6:00-7:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 8, 2022. This is a free in-person event | register here

  • Dr. Kate Warren will present her research on the 2022 National Library Fellowship in the form of a free online lunchtime lecture. Dr Warren examined Australian mid-century magazines and their engagement with the visual arts.

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Thursday, November 10, 2022. This is a free online event | Learn more

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

Email me: [email protected] or DM me on Instagram @emma__batchelor


Comments are closed.