Entries in Eminent Writer in Residence (1)


On Eminence

I spent September as the Eminent Writer in Residence at the Museum of Australian Democracy – Old Parliament House.  I suspect I’m more imminent than eminent but this Residency seemed tailored for me.  My writing, at its heart, is about democracy and Australian democracy in particular.

I lived that month in the Artsit at Gorman House.  A compact space that had everything a writer needs as well as doors to die for. 

 Located on the second floor one could argue it was a “garret” of sorts.  There were violin makers (The Avenue) across the hallway, and beneath me galleries and the ACT Writers’ Centre.  Let’s just say there was no shortage of creative ambiance.  In this space I spent many happy hours writing and editing – lingering in writerly pursuits in a way that my crazy busy life would not normally allow.

During the days I caught the bus across Commonwealth Bridge to Old Parliament House, where I was given an office, the assistance of the wonderful researchers, librarians and volunteer staff of the Museum of Australian Democracy, as well as access to the collections and resources of the museum.


A photograph of Prime Minister Chifley, reading Dangerous Lady by Cohen told me that crime writers were welcome in the House. 

And I did feel welcome.  The walls of Old Parliament House were anxious to whisper stories, to hint at rumour and possibilities.  I wandered the corridors, wrote in the Senate and explored the gardens and out of way places.  I listened for echoes of the past – they were many and loud.   I came away from my residency with material and inspiration for many books.


I am deeply grateful to the Arts ACT, the ACT Writers Centre and the Museum of Australian Democracy – Old Parliament House for this amazing opportunity to immerse in history for a while.