Interview with the Australian poet in the Ceylon Today

Chris MooneySingh“Having returned to Australia after two decades to complete a creative writing Ph.D, I now see that identity and adoption of other cultural influences have been concerns of mine from an early age. They led me away from Australia to seek a more integral understanding of myself in the light of Eastern philosophy, and other traditional life and culture.

There could hardly be a more carefully balanced longlist than the 11 Australian novels chosen for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

The judges included Aboriginal authors, women, veterans, newcomers and a generous interpretation of the award’s search for depictions of ”Australian life” in a strong but unexpected line-up that so far allays past concern about male dominance of the $60,000 award.

Kitaab’s fiction editor Monideepa Sahu interviews the multi-faceted author from Australia

Ken SpillmanKen Spillman is a multi-faceted author from Australia, whose writing has won legions of fans across Oceania, Asia and the world. With over 35 books spanning many genres to his credit, he is also an editor and a critic. Dr Ken Spillman is an examiner for doctoral and masters degrees. An entertaining and uplifting speaker, he has captured the hearts of tens of thousands of children in Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines and Singapore.

Ken Spillman’s Jake series is a smash hit with younger readers. His adventure series, The Absolutely True Fantasies of Daydreamer Dev is attracting many fans in India, as is his novel Advaita. His widely appreciated Young Adult novels, Love is a UFO and Blue have captured the hearts and minds of teenagers.

His writing has been shortlisted for a WA Premier’s Book Award five times in four different categories – for two wins. His impressive list of literary honours includes:

Creative Development Fellowship, Department of Culture and the Arts, Western Australia, 2010

Top 5 listing, The Australian critics’ Books of the Year, 1997

Winner, Fellowship of Australian Writers’ National Literary Award.

Over to Ken Spillman, as he shares some exclusive insights with Kitaab.

Your books are widely read and appreciated by readers all over Asia and worldwide. What’s your magic formula for infusing your writing with such universal appeal?

I don’t really think there’s a magic formula. Good stories well written travel all the time – after all, we read to enter other worlds. For a writer coming from outside the US and UK, however, finding global markets is difficult. For me, fun is the key. Sometimes I ask audiences, “Who likes fun?” – and of course they all raise their hands enthusiastically. I have a sense of fun and, beyond that, I can only say that I’ve worked hard for a long period, been patient, had some luck, and benefited from the guidance and example of others.

Stephanie Green on the summer reading pleasures in Australia: The Conversation

Summertime and reading always went together in my family. Whether we were sunbathing on hot silky beach sand or cooling off in the back yard under a shady plum tree, our books came too. In those pre-digital days, the best Christmas presents were books – the paper and cardboard kind, with a spine you could crack. Ideally, something that’d last the distance so we wouldn’t run out of good reading before the end of the holidays.

Chris MooneySinghIt was a rare sight. When a ruddy Caucasian Sikh with a full flowing beard, dressed in loose Punjabis and wearing a turban, comes on stage and full-throatedly recites divine poetry – one sits back feeling that things must still be somewhat well in the world. Enter Chris Mooney-Singh, another revelation of The Goa Art and Literary Fest 2013. Poet, novelist, dramatist, musician, teacher, events organizer, journalist and broadcaster; life as led by Mooney-Singh seems to be a wonderful example of how following one’s passion can lead to a very broad band of experience.

Australia’s relationship with Asia has always been a focus for heated debate and, often, misunderstanding. What role do books play in moulding this relationship?

A research project underway at the Queensland University of Technology seeks to answer that question by investigating the role of children’s literature in shaping young readers’ attitudes to Australia’s past, present and future relations with Asia.