The months fly by…

This year has been an eventful one for me; it’s hard to believe five months have gone by since my last blog post. But as the year draws to a close, I’ve finally made time to note a few recent milestones for the record.

At the beginning of September, on pretty much the same day my scholarship expired, I finished writing my PhD thesis, consisting of a novel, Mother of Pearl, and an exegesis on the topic of commercial surrogacy between Thailand and Australia. A month or so later, after a final proof read, I formally submitted my thesis (see photo, left). At the time of writing, my PhD thesis is still under examination, so you can’t call me by my Bond villain name, Doctor Savage, just yet. With luck, I’ll know the outcome within the first few months of next year.

In between finishing and submitting my PhD, I managed to find a new job as Director of Writers Victoria, which (as it says in our strategic plan) has the largest membership of any writers centre in Australia, and is the only organisation that works with writers all year round, across all styles and genres, at all stages of their development, and in all parts of Victoria. As someone who has been a passionate advocate for Victorian writers ever since I came to call myself one, I feel as though I’ve done a ten-year apprenticeship for this role without even being aware of it. It’s my dream job (news of my appointment made the online media), and a real privilege to be at the helm of an organisation where I’ve been a member and worked as a tutor for several years. (Above photo shows my predecessor, the exceptional Kate Larsen, passing on the banner to me).

Not realising I would have a job so soon after finishing my PhD, however, I’d already lined up teaching and festival commitments for the second half of the year, which has made the past few months a particularly busy time. These commitments included a session at the Melbourne Writers Festival as part of the schools program, with two brilliant YA authors, Kim Kane and Belinda Murrell (right), where I was accompanied by my Miss Eleven, a big fan of Murrell’s time slip books. I did a session on ‘rural noir’ at the inaugural Ballarat Writers Festival in October, delivered a crime writing workshop for the ACT Writers Centre in Canberra, and taught crime writing classes at my old high school later that month. Teaching crime writing to 15-year-old girls is among the tougher gigs I’ve had, but in the end, I really enjoyed it. I got the sense, too, that the students appreciated having an outlet for their murderous fantasies…

November also found me back at the Word for Word Non-Fiction Festival in Geelong. I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of being involved in this festival since its inauguration in 2014, for the past two years running masterclasses, as well as chairing panels. This year, I conducted a full-day workshop on Writing Essentials, saw Peter Carey give the opening night keynote address, and interviewed the very classy Caroline Baum about her book Only: A Singular Memoir.

My last ‘formal’ gig of the year was to attend a Reading For Good meet up, a book club designed to celebrate female writers around the world. I was thrilled to have my second novel (my personal favourite), The Half-Child, included on the 2017 reading list, where it was in highly esteemed company.

Another very cool thing that happened this year was that my short story, ‘The Odds’ (first published in the Review of Australian Fiction), was selected by UK crime writer Sophie Hannah for inclusion in the anthology Deadlier: 100 Of The Best Crime Stories Written By Women, published by Head of Zeus. As the blurb says, “From Agatha Christie and Daphne du Maurier, to Val McDermid and Margaret Atwood, women writers have long been drawn to criminal acts. Here, award-winning author Sophie Hannah brings together 100 of her favourite examples.” Having my work associated, albeit vicariously, with that of Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Val McDermid and Margaret Atwood is a career highlight, to put it mildly.

In the midst of all this, Australia voted in favour of marriage equality. I couldn’t see why we needed a plebiscite to deliver just policy in this area, but at least the right result came about in the end (photo at left shows me and my partner of 27 years at one of Melbourne’s Marriage Equality rallies).

An eventful year, as I say.

In the New Year, I will reflect on my reading in 2017. In the meantime, I extend my heartfelt wishes to readers of this blog for a happy, healthy and relaxing festive season.


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 is, Mother of Pearl, 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.
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19 Responses to The months fly by…

  1. Hi Angela, Wow what a year. Congratulations on your new job with Writers Victoria. I know the organisation will be in good hands with you at the helm. Have a relaxing break before you have to get into the new year. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    I’m so happy for you that you finished the Ph.D., Angela. Congratulations and well done! And I really want to read your novel. I wish you all the best in your new job, too; I know that you’ll do an outstanding job. Glad to hear your visits to the various gatherings went well, too. What a year, indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Margot. I had thought the PhD might lead to a sideways career move into academia, but it seems that not-for-profit management is my natural home! I will keep you posted on what happens with the novel — of course, I’d love for you to read it, even though it isn’t (*gasp*) a crime novel 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. tummymummy11 says:

    Wow- so much achievement in one post! Well done.
    And merry christmas- thank you as always for your support xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. FictionFan says:

    Congrats on finishing the PhD and the new job! I had to have a giggle when you described yourself as a Victorian writer though – means something different over here and you simply don’t look old enough! Say hi for me to Mr Dickens if he turns up at one of your functions… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lea Johnson says:

    I’ve happily followed the facebook feeds but having the blog wrap it all up makes me so proud of and excited for you all over again! Congratulations Angela (can’t wait to call you Dr. Savage..that’s way cool…) and hope to catch you in the New Year x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a lovely post Angela – about what has clearly been an exciting few months. Congrats on the Writers Victoria job. How wonderful to land a job that you are so inspired to do.

    Teaching crime writing to 15-year-old girls sounds fascinating, and I envy your hearing that Peter Carey keynote address. I believe I’m getting his latest book for Christmas. (Well, I’d better be as I bought it for my Mum to give me!!)

    Oh, and I do love the sound of Doc Savage! Do tell us when we can start using it. Meanwhile, all the best of the Christmas season to you and yours. See you, cyberly anyhow, in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sue. Discovering your blog has been another highlight of 2017. I was sorry to miss out on meeting you when I was in Canberra, but the trip ended up being truncated on account of the new job. I do hope our paths cross IRL in the near future. Meanwhile, I also look forward to keeping in touch cyberly. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a happy festive season.


  7. I hadn’t thought about Doctor Savage but is is an awesome name…look forward to addressing you that way officially sometime soon.

    I feel quite conflicted about the SSM vote…so annoying that it took place at all and the politicians didn’t just do the job we pay them for…that money could have gone to so many better things…but as you say at least we got the right result in the end.

    Wishing you a restful and relaxing break and here’s to 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think of ‘Doctor Savage’ as my Bond villain name, Bernadette 😉

      And I feel the same way as you about the SSM vote. Thank goodness love won!

      Thanks for your good wishes and here’s wishing you a happy, healthy and readerly new year in 2018.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mrs P. says:

    What an amazingly rich and productive year, Angela! Congratulations and all the very best for 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. amandacurtin says:

    That’s one hell of a year, Angela. Congratulations! x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kathy D. says:

    Wow! What a year — all good. Congratulations on getting in your Ph.D. thesis and on your new job. Cannot wait to read your book — even if it’s not a mystery. It still deals with a very topical issue.
    And what a plethora of riches in all the conferences you’ve been involved in. Sounds like the best time.
    Also, glad that Australia has enacted the legality of same-sex marriage. Who knows what will happen to the equality law here, given current circumstances. No one knows, but the resistance grows.
    Wish you the best in 2018 in all realms.


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