Seasons, world events, life goes on, literature survives


Seasons, world events, life goes on, literature survives

Thanks to those who have prodded me to get on with the next newsletter.

At the June solstice the weather in peaceful, pretty Çanakkale was blazing hot, and I watched a long sunset over the Dardanelles from the shade of my balcony and then the full moon rise. 

I began a draft of this newsletter, to tell you about …. 

Sozopol Fiction Seminar

I had just returned from the Sozopol Fiction Seminar in Bulgaria, created by the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation which runs literary actives year round and holds the Seminar annually. What a pleasure to be brought into close contact with other writers and literature workers. Intense long days and nights of conversations, workshops, readings, talks, consultations, and more conversation over splendid meals with, in Sozopol, endless views of the Black Sea. 

In Sofia our venues included Club Peroto, a spacious area with plenty of seating, a bookshop and a cafe/bar and it’s never closed. It’s housed in a Soviet-era Culture Centre that holds theatres, a basement jazz club and exhibition and music venues. The Bulgarian organisers and participants — writers, editors, publishers, translators— were all so talented and witty. English-language and Bulgarian writers were paired at a couple of Readings events, one in Sozopol and one in Sofia, each reading the other’s work in translation as well as their own story in original language. Violeta Radkova and I were one of these pairs. The event underlined the treasured and necessary values of literature, and the immense importance of international exchange. We must have more programs of this kind. 

Here’s a link to the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation:

Poznan, Poland: “Europe and Down Under”

A delightful small conference called “Europe and Down Under: Bridging Gaps and Fostering Connections” on 1-2 July was organised by the Faculty of English at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, a city with a truly gorgeous old city centre. I read and talked about parts of my work that reflect a lifetime living with the idea of Europe. It’s fascinating to observe Australia and its literature studied from outside. Both experienced scholars and current post-grad students presented a range of papers.   Lively discussions and much conviviality. 

Conference program and info here!program/cee5

Onwards. Via Warsaw and Prague to Budapest

Far too little time in those cities, especially Prague, which holds memories of 10 days spent there in 2006. Catching up with a couple of friends and managing to fit in a day at Karlovy Vary, the handsome spa town which was holding its annual film festival. A film followed by taking the waters: nice way to spend a day.

Then to Budapest, where I am spending a month. Seems I should provide a reason. It’s summer break from teaching.  I want to spend more time in an old European city. I’d like to know this city better. I hope to get some work done. Have an airbnb light-filled apartment in District Seven, the old Jewish area. 

monstrous events

As I write this, news of the coup in Turkey dominates, and this just after Nice, and there have been such monstrous events all this time — Orlando happened while we were in Sozopol; I seem to constantly be exchanging expressions of baffled horror with friends. How and of what do we speak in such times? Getting on with one’s work, in any case, cannot be wrong. Let’s see what happens to the work.

Recent new reviews

Recent new reviews include this one of Ghosts Like Us by Isobel Blackthorn who says “The prose is not only poetic but often ambiguous and subversive”  and “Ghosts Like Us is a sharply intellectual work, poised, and as avant-garde in its construction as the worlds it depicts” . Link:

And this one of Local Time; a memoir of cities, friendships and the writing life by Sue Bond who says “There is much gorgeous descriptive writing as well as thoughtful, heartfelt, experimental, painful writing”.

Details of those and my other books as always at the website

Choosing two books to tell you about in this newsletter


I started Local Time Publishing to keep my back list titles in print. I added a new collection of short prose, simply called 7 Stories, 2 Novellas. The seven are stories of “magic, romance and fabulation”: a collection of stories with a supernatural element written over many years (mostly previously published).  The two novellas are both set in the 1960s, written long ago. More here:

Today my favourite of these stories is "Heathcliff and Me". And by the way a Turkish film student wants to make a film of "Party Girl" which was translated into Turkish.



My first vampire story, “My Transylvanian Cousin”,  is in the collection. Some years later, I wrote a vampire novel, Always Hungry, first published by Press-On at Arcadia/Australian Scholarly Publishing in Melbourne. Set in Amsterdam, it’s been called “… delightfully sophisticated and refreshing … playful, beguiling, horrifying and sexy (SMH)” . More here:


Below: me in Sofia with my name in Bulgarian



Plans and anticipations

That new blog. With bits of various occasional writing, including work in progress. 

Creating more ebooks from the LTP published titles. Meanwhile, there are other ebook editions available at Smashwords, go to

Proposals have been accepted for papers at the September conference in Turin, Italy of the European Association of Creative Writing Programs and the November conference in Guangzhou, China of the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators Association, so I’ll be working on those papers: challenges for me to organise and create thoughts about European unity for Turin and varieties of English language for China.


this newsletter

If you’re receiving this, I love to hear from you.  

Please do forward this email newsletter.

To subscribe, go here:

The first email newsletter can be viewed here:

Local Time Publishing FaceBook page is here:

Please “like” and ask for notifications

Want updates?

Latest updates on my publishing, speaking and writing activities will be posted at the occasionally updated Newsblog at my website. []

Deals for days [again]

I offer any book of mine published by Local Time Publishing to anyone who asks me directly for $US10 plus shipping, and if you need to pay less just let me know.  All my books will be available as ebooks if they aren’t already. 

Please consider being a reviewer [again]

Reader reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads, and you might know others, and reviews and comments on book and publishing blogs, are arguably more important for reaching readers than a review in a heritage journal/newsletter. (Those that remain.)  Already a couple of friendly readers have posted reviews of my new books at Amazon and Goodreads.

Scroll down for customer reviews:


You might be someone who has already written me a kind response to a book, or told someone what you think. Please consider posting a version on one of those sites. 

If you want a copy of a book to review, please get in touch.

Hoping for peaceful times for all

Twitter: @ZenIArab