The five best things I learned doing a creative writing MA

As a novice, er, novelist, I got lucky. To no-one’s surprise so much as my own, I was accepted onto the MA Creative Writing (Research) program at the University of Technology Sydney, the output of which, five years later, was my novel Where There Is Darkness and a 10,000-word ‘exegesis’ (a word I had to look up in a dictionary upon starting the course).

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The best seat in the house

For the fourth year running, a seal has taken up seasonal residence on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. I don’t mean on the main front steps – the ones Crowded House perform on – but the narrow ones leading down to the little landing stage at the north-west tip of the Opera House forecourt. Luckily these steps are rarely in use, being reserved for visiting VIPs who arrive by water. Perhaps the royal barge moored there when the Queen opened the joint in 1973. Had a seal been in residence back then, it might have been evicted to make way for her. Or maybe the Queen would have deferred to the seal and ascended to the forecourt by another route, thus giving it the status of royal seal. Continue Reading →