Category Archives: Cleanskin

The Year of Taking a Deep Breath …

… and writing a great many things …

… is here. It’s here.

What is she talking about? you mutter.

Upon which I refer you to my earlier post, The Year of Doing Way Too Much and Nowhere Near Enough.

And then I say this:

In 1999, in an airport departure lounge, I scribbled the beginnings of what would eventually become my first poem.

In 2001, I said out loud to someone for the very first time that I was interested in maybe writing something one day. I remember this very clearly for reasons I will save for a future blog post.

In later 2001, I had an idea for a picture book, and thought it was excellent and bound to be published.

From 2001-2006, I collected approximately 762 rejection letters for that picture book, other picture books, chapter books, Young Adult novels, and novels of indeterminate genre and readership. I also published a few poems.

In 2007, my first novel, Annabel, Again, was published.

In later 2007, my poetry collection, Cleanskin, was published.

                     2782WALK_AnnabelFULL02.indd    Cleanskinhires

From 2008-2015, I published a further 11 books for children and a far-too-small handful of poems.


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Cottonmouth XI

Cottonmouth XI happens this Thursday. There’ll be musical acts, open mic and a swathe of invited readers. I’ll be on around 9.15, reading a few poems from Cleanskin. If you’re in the area, come along. If you’re not, catch a bus or train until you are in the area, then come along. It’s relatively simple, really.

This one isn’t for kids, though (if the image on the poster doesn’t clue you in, the venue probably should). This is part of my other life, the one in which I sometimes stay up well past my bedtime.

Google Perils

Have been Googling “Cleanskin” in an attempt to find reviews, blog posts etc on my poetry collection for the publisher to use in their grant acquittal.

Here’s how it goes:

Search Term: Cleanskin

Search Results: Quality Australian wines from $5.99 a bottle.

Me: Hmm, I wouldn’t mind a glass of red.

Repeat. Repeat again. Forget what I was doing in the first place.

Of course, I could just add “McKinlay” into the search string, but that wouldn’t be anywhere near as much fun.

Note to self: do not choose book titles that remind you of red wine. Alternatively, be more self-disciplined.

Cleanskin is Travelling!

Thank you to ‘stillcraic’ from Wingello, NSW, who has helped me achieve a quirky little personal goal of mine – to have a book released into the wild on BookCrossing! If you don’t know about BookCrossing, get thee hence and discover its delights forthwith.

What’s more, stillcraic tells us that s/he read my little book ‘with interest’ – what more could a writer ask for? Personally, I always try to approach a book with disdain, aloofness, or a full bag of marshmallows, but each to his own, I guess.

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Cleanskin Has Landed!

My first volume of poetry is out, and it’s gorgeous! I just love what the designer has done with the image; I could sit and stare at it quite happily for hours. These are poems for adults, rather than children, although I do draw on some of this material in my poetry workshops. Cleanskincover

Copies have gone out to Westerly subscribers; non-subscribers can purchase copies either through me or the Westerly Centre. For $9.95, you receive 24 pages of poetry goodness and a CD of me reading and talking about some of the poems.

It’s an incredible thing to have a little book of poems to hold in my hand, and I can’t thank Westerly and ArtsWA (who funded the project) enough for the opportunity.

Cleanskin Has a Face

Here’s the cover image I’ve chosen for my little book of poetry:
The artist is the marvellous Nevin Hirik. Her work is so richly evocative and I love the figurative interplay between the image and the title, Cleanskin. It was quite challenging coming up with a title, but when I sat down to look at the manuscript as a whole, I realised that many of the poems are about the body, identity, memory, the complex negotiations between the past and present. So when I came across the word ‘cleanskin’ buried in the middle of one of the pieces, it seemed apt.

Poetry News!

More book news! I have just been contacted by the good folk at The Westerly Centre and informed that my poetry submission for their ‘emerging poets’ project has been successful. The literary journal Westerly received funding from ArtsWA to publish a small collection by a Western Australian poet who hasn’t yet published a book of poetry, and they’ve chosen mine.

My volume, entitled Cleanskin, will be published with this year’s issue of Westerly, some time in November. It will also feature a CD of me reading and discussing some of the poems. I now have to scurry around trying to choose a cover image and think of ways to sound intelligent and thoughtful.

I should probably add that this is poetry for adults, rather than children, although I do use some of my own material as a basis for teaching poetry workshops into schools.