Just days before COVID-19 sent us all home, Josephine Taylor and Catherine Noske jumped into the studio with Fremantle Press for an episode of Love To Read Local Radio. The two friends are best known in Western Australia’s literary community as editors of the journal Westerly and as academics and mentors, but this episode provided an opportunity to celebrate the release of Catherine’s debut book The Salt Madonna and to foreground Josephine’s forthcoming novel Eye of a Rook.
The pair discuss the complex structure of The Salt Madonna and how Catherine equated the rhythm of the writing process with her own experiences riding horses. In writing about unresolved violence in Australia, Catherine shares her struggle to lean in to uncertainty, holding multiple truths, untruths, impossible, unresolved and projected truths in a web of tension while creating a nuanced and compassionate work of fiction.
How do writers of this calibre maintain energy for their day jobs? The enthusiasm of these two colleagues and friends is readily apparent as they describe their work at Westerly, helping Western Australian writers to learn their craft and earn their place on national and international stages. The only downside, they say, is rejecting the works submitted – something they offset by providing writers with meaningful feedback. To get a taster of all the Westerly has to offer download the free digital edition or, better still, support them by buying a 12-month subscription.
This episode is produced by Fremantle Press for Love to Read Local. To listen to more episodes, subscribe to the Fremantle Press Podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.
About Love to Read Local by Writing WA
Love to Read Local is a statewide, online celebration of Western Australian stories, books and writers. While we remain at a social distance in the physical world, let’s get socially closer in the digital world. Visit the Love to Read Local website to connect with other readers, tell us which local books you love to read and perhaps inspire others to read those books too!
About this week’s guests Josephine Taylor and Catherine Noske
Josephine online: https://josephinetaylor.com/
Josephine Taylor is a writer and freelance editor who lives on the coast north of Perth, Western Australia. She is Associate Editor at Westerly Magazine and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Writing at Edith Cowan University. Josephine teaches, facilitates and judges in literary fiction and creative non-fiction. Her personal essays and fiction have been anthologised, and published in journals including Axon, M/C Journal, Outskirts, Southerly, TEXT and Westerly. Her debut novel is Eye of a Rook.
The Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske
Catherine online: https://www.uwa.edu.au/profile/catherine-noske
Catherine Noske is a writer and academic at the University of Western Australia. Her research focuses on contemporary Australian place-making and creative practice. She has been awarded the A.D. Hope Prize, twice received the Elyne Mitchell Prize for Rural Women Writers, and was shortlisted for the Dorothy Hewett Award (2015). She is editor of Westerly Magazine, and The Salt Madonna (Picador) is her debut novel.
Love to Read Local recommendations and books discussed
Fauna by Donna Mazza
Fineflour by Gillian Mears
Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears
‘Framed with Tenderness’ Maddie Godfrey
How To Be Held by Maddie Godfrey
‘The House at the Edge of Town’ by Matthew Hooton
‘The Exhibit’ by Donna Mazza
Tourmaline by Randolph Stow
Voss by Patrick White
Music: ‘Letter to a Daughter of St George’, from the Meat Lunch EP: Songs from Floaters. Written by Alan Fyfe. Performed by Trevor Bentley (guitar and vocals – @trevormb) and Chris Parkinson (harmonica). Produced by Blake Carnaby of Nuglife studios with impresario work by Benjamin P. Newton.
Producer: Claire Miller
Mastered and edited by: Aidan d’Adhemar
Sponsor: This show was made possible with a grant from the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund