Brendan Cowell on process, poetry & stirring the pot

Brendan Cowell is an award winning Australian actor, writer and director.

He wrote the the hit play Ruben Guthrie for Belvoir St Theatre and went on to write and direct the film adaption, winning an Australian Writers Guild Award for the screenplay. His eleven plays have been produced all around the world, winning him multiple awards, and leading to him being named a ‘leading light amongst playwrights of his generation’.

 Brendan played the popular character Tom in Love My Way and wrote many episodes of the critically acclaimed television drama series. He has played the lead role in feature films, including Noise, Beneath Hill 60 and I Love You Too and will appear in the upcoming second instalment of James Cameron’s Avatar. His first novel How it Feels was published in 2010 and his most recent novel is Plum, published by Harper Collins.

Brendan lives in Newtown, Sydney.

We discuss:

  • Writing poems as a kid
  • The genesis of Plum in a poetry night
  • Writing in London lockdown
  • Sending early draft words to his mum (who delightfully appears in the episode)
  • Writing vomitously
  • Researching concussions and brain injury
  • Writing Australian men, toxic masculinity
  • Writer cameos in Plum – Plath, Whitman, Bukowski and more
  • Working with publisher, Catherine Milne
  • Dealing with success and being an ‘affable guy’
  • Why to be an artist, you have to ‘stir the pot’

Advice to writers:

  • No one can write the story that you can.
  • Piss people off
  • Don’t try and second guess your readers

Book recommendations: I Shot the Devil by Ruth McIver and Swallow the Air by Tara June Winch

Find out what Brendan’s doing and reading via instagram.

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