Annabel Crabb Q&A

Q&A with Annabel Crabb, author of The Wife Drought, shortlisted for the 2015 ABIA General Non-Fiction Book of the Year

Crabb-Annabel

How did the idea to write your book originate?

 

The idea to write The Wife Drought came to me one Sunday when I was having breakfast by myself after speaking at a conference in Queensland. I had just published, that day, a Sunday column arguing that there would be more women in politics if they got the same kind of wives as the men have historically been fortunate enough to score. I had such a volume of correspondence in response to that column, even by breakfast time, that I decided to write a book about it. It may have been the invigorating effect of the feedback. Or perhaps it was the rare thrill of a croissant that was mine alone. Either way, that’s exactly where it started.

 

What’s your favourite thing about being a published author?

 

I love the opportunity it provides for the strangest conversations with people. Soon after the book came out, I had a fabulous exchange on Twitter with a new Dad in which I coached him in the art of jellying breast milk. That was weird. But in a good way, I think. Seriously, the best thing for me with this book is that I’ve had a really strong response from men who have read it. Women I was expecting. But I love that men are getting into it.

 

What are some of the things you love about Australian bookstores?

 

I love the staff most of all. Across all the retail outlets that exist in Australia, selling everything from widgets to G-strings, you would be hard-pressed to find an employee group more excited about their wares than the bookshop crowd. I love that. I love the staff picks. The podcast I heard where Emily Harms and Chris Gordon of Readings discussed my book was one of the most helpful reviews I’ve encountered.

 

What’s the most recent Australian book that you read and loved?

 

Steve Toltz, A Fraction Of The Whole. I know I’m slow to that one – I think I was having a baby and thus knee-deep in a box set of The Wire or something when it came out, but Leigh Sales gave it to me for Christmas and I was electrified. His new book, Quicksand, is firmly on my list too. This House Of Grief, too.

 

If you could meet any Australian author, dead or alive, who would you like to meet?

 

I think Helen Garner is my dream lunch date. Her writing has been such a big part of my life – her fiction, her criticism, her non-fiction. I love the way she doesn’t shirk the hard stuff. Her latest book, This House Of Grief (alongside which mine is shortlisted, a development that makes me die with joy) is a classic example of that.

 

What Australian book had the biggest impact on you as a child?

 

I read a lot of Australian authors… Colin Thiele, May Gibbs, Ethel Turner, Ruth Park – but I think the most influential books were the ones by Frank Moorhouse I started reading in my teens. His short stories, set in Australian country towns like the one where I grew up, really captured me and taught me about good writing.

 

After readers have finished reading your book, which Australian book would you recommend they read next?

 

This House Of Grief by Helen Garner.

The Wife Drought

Alice Pung Q&A

Q&A with Alice Pung, author of Laurinda, shortlisted for the 2015 ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year

 

What’s your favourite thing about being a published author?

 

The world inhabited by writers is such a democratic country: ideas have no border protection, so the only passport you need is an open-minded acceptance and curiosity. I have loved meeting other authors and readers from all over the world, and all different backgrounds.

 

What are some of the things you love about Australian bookstores?

 

The owners and staff, who are so enthusiastic, supportive and lovely. It’s like no other retail profession: the vendors have often sampled copies of their goods before selling them to you, and this is a good thing!

 

What’s the most recent Australian book that you read and loved?

 

Annabel Crabb’s The Wife Drought (non-fiction) and Antonia Haye’s Relativity (fiction).

 

If you could meet any Australian author, dead or alive, who would you like to meet?

 

For years I’d dreamed of meeting John Marsden and Melina Marchetta and I met them last year (they launched Laurinda in Melbourne and Sydney) so I can die happy. But in the afterlife I would love to befriend Ruth Park.

 

What Australian book had the biggest impact on you as a child?

 

Paul Jennings’ Unreal: Eight Surprising Stories.

 

After readers have finished reading your book, which Australian book would you recommend they read next?

 

Maxine Beneba Clark’s Foreign Soil. Her writing is legendary.

Laurinda

 

ABIA Shortlisted Author Testimonials

We’ve had so many great responses from our shortlisted authors after receiving the news of their nomination, have a read below.

General Fiction Book of the Year:

 

“I’m over the moon that Laurinda is nominated for the ABIAs and grateful for the enormous support of Australian booksellers. Being nominated for the General Fiction category means I have gone mainstream, a wonderful feeling for an Asian-Australian author!” – Alice Pung, author of Laurinda

 

“Thank you to the ABIAs for deeming Lost & Found worthy of shortlisting, for the respect you give my work and those of my colleagues, and for building bridges between Australian writers, readers, publishers and booksellers. As an Australian author and indie bookseller, I’m both grateful to and proud of my industry for being so passionate and fearless and creative in their support of Australian writing.” – Brooke Davis, author of Lost & Found

 

“Today I will go to my writing desk with an extra spring in my step and sparkle in my eye. Congratulations to all my fellow nominees in the 2015 ABIA awards. We are all winners because we’re part of such a vibrant, exciting and important industry.” – Michael Robotham, author of Life or Death

 

“I’m thrilled and grateful to be shortlisted for an Australian Book Industry Award. It’s an honour to be recognised by the same industry responsible for allowing me to keep turning up at my dream job.” – Liane Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies

 

“It’s a particular honour to be recognized by the Australian Book Industry. As a former business owner, I understand how essential their role is to a book’s success. Australian booksellers have made me welcome all over the country and I’ve tried never to say no to a signing or event. They’ve held me to that promise and kept me busy this past year.” – Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Effect

 

General Non-fiction Book of the Year:

 

“It is an honour to be shortlisted for the book industry awards, a privilege to be placed in such distinguished literary company.” – Don Watson, author of The Bush

 

“To be in the same anything with Helen Garner makes me expire with joy. To be shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards is an immoderate thrill. To have both at once is almost too much.”– Annabel Crabb, author of The Wife Drought

 

“I put a decade of my life into the book in the belief that birds deserve to be a mainstream topic, not just something for bird nerds. The nomination has touched me deeply by implying I was not wasting my time.” – Tim Low, author of Where Song Began