Category: Formaldehyde

So many novellas, all in one place


If you’re in Melbourne and love being read to, come along to this event:

Viva La Novella Readings at The Wilde 
Presented by Seizure.

Winners of the Viva La Novella Prize will be reading from their books. Join us for a drink and a listen to the next generation of unique Australian literary voices.


Marlee Jane Ward reading from Welcome to Orphancorp
Jane Rawson reading from Formaldehyde
Christy Collins reading from The End of Seeing
Jane Jervis-Read reading from Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall
Julie Proudfoot reading from The Neighbour
Nicole Smith reading from Sideshow
Rose Mulready reading from The Bonobo’s Dream
Hoa Pham reading from The Other Shore

Entry $2 for a chance to be in the door prize: a full set of Viva La Novella books, which includes:

The Bonobo’s Dream by Rose Mulready, Populate & Perish by George Haddad, Welcome to Orphancorp by Marlee Jane Ward, Formaldehyde by Jane Rawson, The End of Seeing by Christy Collins, The Neighbour by Julie Proudfoot, Sideshow by Nicole Smith, The Other Shore by Hoa Pham, Blood and Bones by Daniel Davis Wood, Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall by Jane Jervis-Read

Thursday 15th December

The Wilde
153 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
(the number 86 Tram with get you almost to the door)

6.30 for a 7 o’clock start


Talking about tiny books

This year I’m doing more writing and less talking about writing, but I am doing this neat event, thanks to Wayward Books and the super White Rabbit Record Bar (where much of ‘A wrong turn at the Office of Unmade Lists’ was written). Me and co-Viva la Novella winners Christy Collins and Marlee Jane Ward (whose book also won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award) will chat with Judy from Wayward Books about all things novellaish. If you’re in Melbourne, come along on 25 February. Event details are here

Some Formaldehyde reviews

A little novella like Formaldehyde was never going to get much attention from book reviewers, so I’m really pleased to see a few reviews cropping up here and there over the last few months.

  • Ed Wright, who was super-kind about A wrong turn at the Office of Unmade Lists a few years back, said Formaldehyde‘s ‘deliberate implausibility is refreshing’ in a review in the most recent Weekend Australian.
  • Declan over at Writerful Books says he was ‘fully drawn into this story with its weird and wacky characters’.
  • I managed to unsettle Stephanie at No-award for a second time running; she says ‘Jane’s fiction work often leaves me confused and slightly unsure (if ‘twice now’ can count as ‘often’); Formaldehyde is a part of that pattern.’
  • Rachel at Leatherbound Pounds follows up a great review of Unmade Lists by saying Formaldehyde is ‘funny in the darkest, driest way possible. I laughed out loud and I was confused and I was shocked and a little bit sad. It’s surprising, quietly political and has a freshness that I enjoyed so much.’ You can read the review here.
  • And Alan at Readings reviewed all three Viva la Novella winners, saying Formaldehyde was ‘a delicious blend of science fiction and magical realism, of severed limbs and Russian novels … a baffling, joyous and addictive read’. Thanks, Alan!

Some Formaldehyde bits and pieces

Formaldehyde is popping its little preserved head up all over the place. Like where? Like here:

  • On WritersBloc: Dear WritersBloc have chosen me for this month’s book club, which means you can read an excerpt from the book and join me and Geoff Orton online when we talk about it on September 29.
  • On Seizure: another, different excerpt (you should read this one first because it’s the first chapter…) and a lovely piece from Marisa Wikramanayake about editing Formaldehyde.
  • At Write Around the Murray: Marlee Jane Ward, who wrote the arse-kicking Welcome to Orphancorp, Seizure publisher David Henley and I will be talking novellas and reading some bits and pieces in Albury on the evening of Friday 11 September.
  • On Goodreads: get a copy for free (if you win, but not if you don’t).
  • In Collingwood, for Visible Ink: Visible Ink magazine wants to pay its writers, so they’re running a fundraiser to get the cash together. I’ll be doing a reading.
  • On YouTube. Formaldehyde was the first proper thing I wrote and I was terrified I’d run out of ideas so, instead of coming up with a plot like a normal person, I made a mix tape (yes, on cassette) and set myself the task of writing one chapter per song. Something from the song had to appear in the chapter. Not all the references have survived til the final version, and not all the songs can be found on YouTube but still, if you think you’d have fun listening to the kind of terrible music a homesick Australian in San Francisco might cue up, go for it!

Melburnians, Canberrans, Sydneysiders: wouldn’t you love a weekend away?

Write Around the Murray – Albury’s literary festival – kicks off on September 9. It seems like the perfect excuse for a weekend in regional Australia. This year they’re encouraging visitors to ‘take a journey to alternate worlds’, and featuring sessions on fantasy, sci-fi, climate … Continue reading Melburnians, Canberrans, Sydneysiders: wouldn’t you love a weekend away?