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Revisiting

November 30, 2016

Michelle Michau-Crawford

A quick (re)visit with Amanda at Looking Up, Looking Down here. 

 

 

Offically launched

April 21, 2016

Michelle Michau-Crawford

It has been around two months since Leaving Elvis started appearing on bookstore shelves throughout the country. On Wednesday 6th April UWAP, my fantastic publishers threw a small soiree for family, friends and interested people to formally mark the occasion. I was delighted Julia Lawrinson agreed to launch the book. Julia and I share all sorts of experiences, some of which I had forgotten about until her wonderful speech.

I took my camera, but once I arrived at Love House was so busy chatting to all the  people who came along to share the  evening with me, I forgot all about it.  Luckily for me some people had phones. Here’s one of the photos, and there are a few more on my facebook page. IMG_0122

ABR Review

March 22, 2016

Michelle Michau-Crawford

Such a thrill to have my book reviewed in the ABR. If not for the ABR and the Elizabeth Jolley Fiction Prize in 2013, there may well have been no book to review.
Leaving Elvis and Other Stories

by Michelle Michau-Crawford

UWA Publishing, $24.99 pb, 156 pp, 9781742588025

FICTION
Leaving Elvis and Other Stories by Michelle Michau-Crawford
Reviewed by Francesca Sasnaitis • March 2016, no. 379
Michau-Crawford’s accomplished début collection bears comparison to Tim Winton’s impressionistic The Turning (2005) and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge (2008), though Leaving Elvis is properly neither the portrait of place nor of a single character. The place might be any dilapidated small town in the wheat-belt region of Western Australia. The chronological stories follow the fortunes, or more aptly the misfortunes, of a family blighted by trauma, poverty, abuse, and silence.

In ‘Getting on 1948’, the patriarch Len returns from Changi prisoner of war camp. Reuniting with his wife and daughter should be a joyful affair, but it is clear Len has lost more than his foot in the war. He has come back ‘alive but not the same’, just like his father after World War I. As with his father before him, rage and alcohol are Len’s poor defence against ‘the night terrors’. History has a terrible habit of repeating itself, and reputations, once gained, are extremely difficult to live down. Scraps of information, which the characters are at great pains to conceal from society, each other, and even themselves, are meted out as sparingly as a thriller, and with the same effect of suspense.

Michau-Crawford’s writerly ear is well attuned to the nuances of the Australian vernacular; as the focus of the stories alternates between Len, his embattled wife Evie, their daughter Olive, and her daughter Louise, she makes subtle shifts in language, which reflect the attitudes of each character and period, from the 1940s through the conservative 1950s, the radical 1970s, to the present.

The eponymous penultimate story won the ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize in 2013, and would have made an admirable finale. As it is, it makes the coda of ‘Can of worms 2016’ seem extraneous – that is until the wallop of the last sentence.

 

Future Tense

February 24, 2016

Michelle Michau-Crawford

*That time I said something tongue in cheek and people really thought I was creating a book about gut health.

Future Tense,  Jan/Feb 2016, Australian Book Review

WHAT DREW YOU TO WRITING?

Some of my earliest memories involve sitting alone or even amongst people, making up stories and reimagining the world around me. I’ve never stopped doing that, so I guess it was a natural progression.

DID YOU STUDY WRITING? IF SO, WAS IT WORTH IT?

Yes, informally, then at university as a ‘mature age’ student. The formal study enriched my reading habits, and gave me the space to work out what really matters to me in terms of my own writing. Everything I’ve done in life was worth it, at some level.

 

DO YOU WORKSHOP DRAFTS WITH OTHER WRITERS?

No. What I do benefit from is having a select group of friends to discuss the other stuff that sometimes impacts on the ability to award the writing work the space it needs. But we rarely talk about the writing projects until they are close to finished.

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES THAT EMERGING WRITERS FACE?

Detaching from the 24/7 feeds and the hype around prizes and public events, and remaining focused on individual goals can be a challenge. Oh, and a personal one – coming to terms with being called ’emerging’ at fifty years of age!

HOW SUPPORTIVE ARE GOVERNMENT, PUBLISHERS, AND LITERARY MAGAZINES?

I imagine that all publishers are doing the best they can under difficult conditions. If that means writers have to share shelf space with colouring books, so be it. I have admiration for those working to promote new and established writers in literary magazines.

WHAT IMPORTANCE DO YOU PLACE ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND DIGITAL PUBLISHING?

I’m an intensely private person. Although I have developed some writer relationships through social media, I don’t really connect with the superficiality that wide use seems to demand. I am trying to embrace it, but it doesn’t come easily or naturally to me. As far as digital publishing goes, I’m a dinosaur. I read short pieces and do much of my research online, but it has never been a goal of mine to publish an e-book. I tend to only read them when on planes. If I enjoy the book I often go out and buy the real thing. I suppose I need to evolve.

SHOULD EMERGING WRITERS LOOK BEYOND AUSTRALIA FOR OPPORTUNITIES?

I’m currently working to eliminate that particular sh word from my vocabulary. There is only the way that works for the individual in seeking to achieve their own goals.

WHICH WRITER HAS MOST INFLUENCED YOU?

There are many. About fifteen years ago when I first read Hélène Cixous in translation something clicked for me. Her section on my bookshelf is my ‘go to’ place when my writing brain is stuck, and I’m in a space of self-doubt.

WHICH OF YOUR LITERARY CONTEMPORARIES DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?

I admire everyone who puts their heart and soul into creating something beautiful with words. But in no particular order, a by no means comprehensive list: Gillian Mears, Gail Jones, Joan London, Helen Garner, Kate Grenville, Cate Kennedy, Charlotte Wood, Brenda Walker, David Malouf, Luke Davies, Kim Scott, Amanda Curtin … I’m currently utterly absorbed in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan stories. In my fantasy writing life, like her I’d remain anonymous to everyone but my publisher.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

A series of colouring books. The first book is called Colour Your Way to Gut Health. I’m counting on the range becoming a massive bestseller and buying me years of writing time. But really, I’m working on several projects. One is a work of fiction shifting between times and continents. Another is a selection of essays and fiction around a particular theme. Each will die a miserable death if I speak about them further at this point.

Michelle Michau Crawford 2Michelle Michau-Crawford won the ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize in 2013Leaving Elvis and Other Stories (UWA Publishing), her first book, will be published in February 2016.

2,2 and 2 with Amanda Curtin

January 20, 2016

Michelle Michau-Crawford

I had fun answering these questions for Amanda Curtin, an exceptional writer and editor for her series 2,2 and 2, on her website, Looking Up, Looking Down.

Some real news at last.

November 14, 2015

Michelle Michau-Crawford

I am pleased to share the news that my debut book, Leaving Elvis and Other Stories, will officially be released in February 2016. Available soon from good bookshops throughout Australia, or if you prefer can be pre-ordered directly though the publisher by following this link: UWA Publishing. For those ordering in Australia there is no postage charge incurred using this option. 12218707_10153761607677079_2142340854_o (1)

Book News

March 24, 2015

Michelle Michau-Crawford

I am thrilled to announce that my book Leaving Elvis and other stories, will be published in February 2016 by UWA Publishing.

More to come on this soon (I expect). . .

The next wave (part 4): WA women writers to look out for

February 10, 2015

Michelle Michau-Crawford

*Gosh, I had this sitting ready to post for weeks and forgot about it until those weeks became months. I really do need to lift my game! Be sure to check out all the other ‘Next Wave’ writerprofiles too.

looking up/looking down

picisto-20141127082720-542876

The next wave is a four-part series featuring exciting Western Australian women writers with manuscripts ready for submission or nearly there. I hope you’ll remember their names and watch out for their published work.

My final two guests are Michelle Michau-Crawford and Louise Allan.

MichelleLR-2Michelle Michau-Crawford

Michelle and I share a love of short stories—and Paris. Michelle recently spent a month there, collects French literature and is currently attempting to learn French so she can read her collection. ‘Despite it being the so-called City of Love,’ she says, ‘it is my favourite place to visit alone.’ Her love affair with the city began by accident on a trip in 2008. Having been a huge Leonard Cohen fan all her life, she discovered he was performing in Lyon two weeks after a conference she was attending in Dublin. ‘I extended my trip, bought a scalped ticket and went to Lyon…

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Westerly Launch

November 24, 2014

Michelle Michau-Crawford

The Westerly Magazine Issue 59:2 will be launched  on November 26 2014 by Kim Scott at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery. The magazine, produced by the Westerly Centre at UWA, has been publishing lively fiction, poetry and articles over the last 60 years.

This Special WA/Asian Edition celebrates Westerly’s 60th year of publication, with essays on each decade of its history. It features work by Fay Zwicky, Paul Hetherington, Robert Drewe, John Mateer, Susan Midalia, Simone Lazaroo, John Kinsella and many others.

This will be the last issue for co-editors Delys Bird and Tony Hughes-D’Aeth.

*  Happy Haven Holiday Park, a short story from my forthcoming collection is published  in this very special edition.  Yes, I’m one of the ‘and many others’ and I was delighted to be invited to contribute to this edition of the journal.

Judges’ Report

November 20, 2013

Michelle Michau-Crawford

From the ABR, November  2013, Judge’s Report

Late last month, at a lively ceremony held at Gleebooks, David Malouf named Michelle Michau-Crawford’s ‘Leaving Elvis’ as the overall winner of the 2013 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. The first prize is worth $5000. The judges – Tony Birch, Maria Takolander, and Terri-ann White – could not split the other two shortlisted stories, Rebekah Clarkson’s ‘The Five Truths of Manhood’ and Kim Mahood’s ‘The Accident’; each author receives $1500.

Here is the judges’ report:

The judges for 2013 Jolley Prize had a huge task of reading through an unprecedented number of entries to produce a longlist of forty-two, a shortlist of nine, then, finally, a winner. With ‘Leaving Elvis’, Michelle Michau-Crawford tells a story of regret and adolescent memories – a story containing a relinquished baby – and the pain of silence. It is distinctively and successfully achieved through the undercutting of wry language and expression and gentle humour. The figure of the grandmother in the story – a fiercely loyal survivor – is a wonderful creation. We were impressed by the breadth of this story. The way it was shaped and told made it our unanimous choice as winner. It also, curiously, had echoes of the distinctive elements of Elizabeth Jolley’s own fiction and of the subterranean worlds of silence and deception, and unlikely heroes, she created in her books.