By Agata Mrva-Montoya
Congratulations! After years of doing research and writing, you finally joined the ranks of freshly minted PhDs. You even have an endorsement from your examiners – ‘this work is brilliant and should be published’. So, you send it in to a publisher, then another one or two. And your proposal gets knocked back, time after time. Why?
Rowena Lennox has worked as a book editor for many years and is an adjunct research fellow at the Australian Centre for Public History at the University of Technology Sydney. Her first book, Fighting Spirit of East Timor, won a New South Wales Premier’s History Award. Her second book, Dingo Bold, was published in January 2021.
By Joshua Lobb
My novel is about many things. I’ve called it ‘a novel in twelve stories’ for a reason.
To give you the simplest framework:
It’s made up of 12 related stories. Each story describes an encounter with a different species of bird. Some are constantly in our lives, like kookaburras in our garden or magpies who swoop us on our way to work. Others are on the verge of extinction, like the Gould’s petrel whose breeding ground is limited to one small island off the coast of central NSW. Some birds become part of our family, like a pet budgie. Others are incorporated in more literal and violent ways, like a factory-farmed chicken on our plate at dinner.
One the other side of the encounter is a human at various stages of his life: a boy, a young man, a parent, a widower – but not necessarily in that order. He’s trying to piece together his life and his relationship with his daughter and his relationship with the world around him.