Author talk in Phnom Penh

Book 4It’s been a while between posts. I put it down to consultancy work that took me to six different countries in the last six weeks of 2008 and the first two weeks in 2009, followed by a holiday (punctuated with job applications) in southern Thailand, the move home to Melbourne and starting a new job. I’ve barely had time to write a shopping list, let alone a blog. And as for working on my novel…

Let’s just say I appreciate the irony of have called our travel blog Great Balancing Act, when it’s now that the real juggling act begins. Love, art, work, childcare, all the demands and delights that come from being home amongst family and friends. I try to keep all the balls in the air, but some fall on the ground and roll beneath the couch, out of reach — at least for the time being.

Book 2Anyway, despite getting ready to leave Cambodia whilst in the midst of finishing one full-on job and preparing for another, I managed to appear for one night only at The Living Room in Phnom Penh to talk about and read from my first novel, Behind the Night Bazaar.

This in itself was a treat: converted from an old villa with ceiling fans and verandas all around, The Living Room was one of my favourite places to hang out in Phnom Penh.  Tash and I enjoyed many a pancake breakfast there on the weekends, and some Sundays I read stories there to children, while my friend Martel organised craft activities. My book club met there in the evenings once a month, and during December, it became my de facto office.

Book 1The reading was attended by many of my dearest friends in Phnom Penh, though there were also a few unfamiliar faces in the small crowd. On the walls of the room around us was a stunning photo essay of the community at Stung Meanchey garbage dump, upstairs an exhibition of portraits of Cambodian boxers.

I took the chance to read from my the draft of my second novel, most of which was written in Cambodia, dubbed Pattaya Bay (at least until I come up with something better). I chose a scene involving a dress rehearsal for a transvestite beauty pageant, and the feedback was very encouraging. One man in the audience — someone I didn’t know — reckoned the writing was more assured in the draft than it was in the published book.

Now if only I could find the time to finish the next draft…


The Living Room, #9 Street 306, Phnom Penh; open 7am-6.30pm Mon-Thurs, 7am-9.30pm Fri-Sun. Tel 023 726 139.

About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. She won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and the Scarlet Stiletto Award short story award. Her latest novel, Mother of Pearl, is published by Transit Lounge. Angela holds a PhD in Creative Writing, is former CEO of Writers Victoria, and currently works as CEO of Public Libraries Victoria.
This entry was posted in About the author, Angela Savage, Behind the Night Bazaar, Books, Cambodia, Working mother, Works in progress, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Author talk in Phnom Penh

  1. Helen Morgan says:

    Very encouraging feedback from that chap. Good on you! And what a great book club location – glad you were able to make it to our first one of the year here and completely understand if getting down to that next draft keeps you away from any more!


  2. Emiko says:


    I arrived by pure coincidence on your blog while searching the exact adress of the living room for a friend.

    You are mentioning a book club … Is this still going on ?




  3. Pattaya has rapidly evolved from a fishing village to a tourism hub. Economy of one of the city has also changed with this. Economy, that was some decades before based on fishing and agriculture, has developed sectors like tourism, shopping, property and health care. One can say that economic system of Pattaya has drastically changed.


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