After learning Tony Abbott only has one Word document and everything he’s ever written is in it, the hosts discuss what’s open on their computer when they write. Katherine is all about Scrivener, spreadsheets and Om Writer whereas Kate’s approach is less technological. No surprises there. Kate also journals a lot… The document for her work in progress is MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND words.
The Katherine talks to Russian-born, Israeli-Australian novelist, short story writer, essayist, memoirist and former academic Lee Kofman.
Lee is the author of three fiction books (published in Israel in Hebrew). She has edited two anthologies of personal essays by prominent Australian writers. Lee’s most recent book, Imperfect is a work of creative non-fiction.
- Ghosts at well known Australian writing retreats including the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre and Varuna, the Writers House. Oh, dear.
- Lee’s first novel, Scars. She says:
It was a serious failure… It sold 300 copies and I didn’t get any book reviews…
What I took from that first experience mostly was… that I sucked at writing.
Lee also talks about the highs and lows of publication. For her second novel:
I flew all the way to Israel to launch that book, to feel at least some connection t it. Five days before the launch party, the publisher called me and said, ‘The truck with your books was stolen.’
Lee moved to Australia with limited English language skills:
I decided I would have to pay the price for becoming a writer in Australia and the price was I basically said goodbye to my other two languages, Hebrew and Russian. For the first decade that I lived in Australia I read only in English. I read in a painful way with dictionaries by my side and every word I didn’t understand I would check. .. It would take me two days to get through two pages.
Things that helped Lee build a writing community around her:
- Writers Victoria
- The aforementioned Varuna, the Writers House
- Doing a Masters of Creative Writing at Melbourne University. (Though, there were goods and bads about this. She got writers block, for example. (Check out Lee’s blog for more on this.)
- In fact, check out Lee’s blog full stop. There are so many phenomenal posts, a few of which we discuss further including this one on writers groups and this one on (reluctantly) keeping the book alive after publication.